I've been a little "under the weather" the past few days, but I was bound and determined to stick to my meal plan for this week! I've been wanting to try this recipe for quite a while now...my parents gave my sister, Sarah and I a special cookbook put out by Sam's Club, called "Favorite Family Dinners". It includes recipes from many famous chefs, including Tyler Florence, who I know so many of you rave about :) This was one of the recipes that immediately caught my eye and then when Sarah made it and posted it on her blog, I knew we had to try it! I was a little nervous to use the spicy Italian sausage, as I've never been a fan of eating anything too spicy, but it honestly was not the least bit overpowering and I wouldn't hesitate to use it again! There were a couple of minor substitutions that I had to make, as I did not quite have the energy to run out to the store and I wasn't about to ask my husband to make another trip out, but the dish still turned out great!
Penne with Spicy Italian Sausage, Cream, Tomatoes and Peas
4 links spicy Italian sausage (I went ahead and used all 5 that came in the package!) 1 pound dried penne Extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves (one of the items I didn't have, so I used the dried) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup heavy whipping cream (I substituted half and half, as it was about 1/3 the cost) 2 cups peas, blanched 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sausages in a roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden and just cooked. Cut sausages at an angle into bite-size pieces.
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until tender yet firm (al dente).
Set a large, heavy-based pot over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent and fragrant. Add tomatoes and basil; season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, then fold in cream and continue to simmer until rich and creamy. Add sausage, blanched peas, pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Fold together and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Serve topped with a shower of cheese and garnish with basil.
*TIP: To blanch peas, submerge them into boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes (1 minute for frozen peas), then strain them and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Strain them again and set aside.
Source: Sam's Club Favorite Family Dinners (excerpted from Tyler Florence's cookbook: Dinner at My Place).
The summer is winding up and I just could not resist making grilled hamburgers at least one more time! This recipe comes from a cooking magazine that I recently won in a giveaway...there are SO many wonderful recipes--thank you again, Lynda!!! We're having some "grill issues", so the hamburgers did get a tad bit charred on the outside, but they were still really good and actually were a little too rare on the inside...I hate to admit this, but we actually just stuck them in the microwave for a minute! I kept trying to decide what to serve with them (in addition to corn on the cob) and as I was looking through my refrigerator, I came across about 8 good-sized red potatoes that I needed to use. I went in search of a recipe and found this recipe for "Crash Hot Potatoes" on For the Love of Cooking. Pam has absolutely wonderful recipes on her blog--I've never been disappointed by anything I've tried! The potatoes were a little too "grown up" for my 4 year old and 17 month old, but my husband and I really liked them.
1 pound ground round 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 small onion, minced (about 3/4 cup) 1 large egg white (I used the whole egg) 2 garlic cloves, minced Cooking spray 4 slices Provolone cheese (*my addition*) 4 lettuce leaves 4 slices red onion, separated into rings 8 thin slices tomato 4 whole wheat kaiser rolls, split (or your "roll of choice")
Prepare grill. Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Shape into 4 (1/4 inch thick) patties---(I actually increased the ingredients and made them closer to 1/3 - 1/2 pound each!).
Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. (Add cheese last couple of minutes, optional!)
Top hamburger with lettuce, onion and tomato...and any other condiments you so desire!
Crash Hot Potatoes
12-15 baby red potatoes 1 tbsp olive oil Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender. Place on a cooking sheet coated with cooking spray or drizzled with olive oil. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and with a potato masher, gently smash each potato. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper (I also added a Rosemary Garlic Seasoning that I had from Sam's Club!).
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Eat plain or top with a little sour cream and green onions. (I didn't have any green onions, so I actually sprinkled them with chives).
My husband eagerly volunteered to make dinner last Saturday night, so that I could shower and unwind before heading to work bright and early the next morning. I found this recipe earlier in the day and was thrilled that I just so happened to have all of the ingredients! We actually used frozen tilapia fillets and I would not hesitate to make this again--or let my husband make it again, I should say ;)
For the pasta: 2 tablespoon light olive oil 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro (optional) 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over medium heat, stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil. Cook the macaroni uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle both sides of the tilapia fillets with lemon juice, oregano, basil, cilantro, salt, and pepper, and lay the fillets in the heated skillet, making sure they don't touch. Sear the fillets for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until the fish is golden brown on the outside, and opaque and flaky inside.
Return the hot, cooked macaroni to the saucepan, and stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat the pasta. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, stir to mix, and stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, the garlic powder, basil, oregano, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Divide the pasta between two plates, and top each with a tilapia fillet.
This recipe comes from one of those little recipe cards that you occasionally receive through the mail...I actually think I made it for the first time about 6 years ago, shortly before we moved into our house, but I happened to come across it about a week ago and knew I had to add it to my weekly menu! It probably is not the healthiest of recipes (as the chicken strips are fried), but it's perfect for a quick, weeknight meal...especially now that kids have started going back to school. I had every intention of making the honey mustard sauce, but found out that I didn't have nearly enough honey, so while I'm going to include the recipe, I do not have a picture. I did try it 6 years ago and remember really liking it! (Sorry the chicken finger picture is a bit dark...we didn't end up eating until close to 9pm!)
Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4 ounces each) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon pepper 3/4 cup milk 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
Honey Mustard Sauce:
1/2 cup honey 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Cut chicken into 1/2 x 2-inch strips. For honey mustard sauce, blend honey and mustard in a small bowl; set aside. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken in milk. Roll in flour mixture to coat well. Place chicken on waxed paper.
Pour 1/4 inch of oil into a large, heavy skillet. Heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F or until a cube of white bread dropped in oil browns evenly in 1 minute. Divide chicken into batches. Place chicken in an even layer in hot oil. Fry, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sauce.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the honey mustard 1 or 2 days ahead of time so the flavors have time to blend. Fry the chicken fingers up to 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil. Reheat in a 300 degree F oven.
I've been on a major cleaning frenzy...I made my two page list and have been working hard to cross things off! I worked up quite an appetite, so I headed down to the kitchen to see what I could grab for a quick bite to eat. I didn't want to waste much time, so as I was looking through the refrigerator, I realized I had all of the ingredients to make BLT's. Then, it dawned on me that my husband had grilled some delicious chicken breasts the other night, so I thought I'd throw together a "chicken club". My recipe isn't anything extravagant, by any stretch of the imagination, but I will say...the way the chicken breasts were seasoned made a HUGE difference, which is why I thought I'd share this "recipe"...if you even want to call it that :) The proportions I'm giving are just for one sandwich, but obviously you can easily adjust if you want to make it for additional people!
Chicken Club Sandwich
1 boneless skinless chicken breast Durkee Grill Creations St. Louis Style Chicken & Rib Rub (the *secret* ingredient!) 3-4 slices of bacon (the more the merrier!) Miracle Whip Lettuce Roma tomato, sliced 2 slices of bread (anything will work...I actually just used plain white bread!)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rub chicken breast generously with the Chicken & Rib Rub (on BOTH sides) and grill for 8-10 minutes (turning halfway through) or until no longer pink. While chicken is grilling, place bacon in oven and cook until desired crispness is achieved--generally about 15 minutes. When chicken and bacon are both thoroughly cooked, toast two slices of bread. Generously spread Miracle Whip on both slices of bread. Place chicken breast on one slice of bread and top with bacon, tomato and lettuce. Place other slice of bread on top and enjoy ;)
NOTE: The chicken breasts could easily be made ahead of time and reheated, as I did...as long as you don't overcook them the first time around and just pop them in the microwave for a minute or so, they will remain extremely moist!
***I'm not sure if the seasoning mix is available everywhere, but we got a big container of it at Sam's Club.***
I just love my crockpot! It's funny, because I tend to go in spurts--I'll use it several times in a row and then I forget about it for a while, only to wonder why I don't use it more regularly?!? This is an extremely easy recipe to throw together and quite frankly, I think it could be considered a quick weeknight meal. They say to cook it on low for 3-4 hours until it's heated through, but everything is already cooked before you even put it in the crockpot, so you could easily just set it on high for an hour or so and I would imagine it would produce the same result! One thing that I can't stress enough is to make sure you add some seasoning to the beef, veggie and sauce mixture before adding it to the crockpot. I ended up stirring in some garlic salt at the end, because I thought it was really bland. It definitely need salt of some type and had I not been in such a rush to throw it together, it probably would have dawned on me that the recipe itself didn't call for any seasoning!
Pizza in a Pot
1-1/2 pounds ground beef 1 medium green pepper, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce 1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 pound spiral pasta, cooked and drained 2 packages (3-1/2 ounces each) sliced pepperoni 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, pizza sauce and tomato paste.
In a 5-qt. slow cooker, layer the pasta, beef mixture, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through. ***If you'd like, substitute 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage for the pepperoni in Pizza in a Pot. Cook it along with the ground beef, green pepper and onion.***
I made these potatoes as part of my husband's birthday breakfast last Saturday and everyone seemed to really enjoy them! My husband is a big "breakfast fan"--much unlike myself! He's all about having a breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, biscuits, etc, whereas I'm content just having a bagel and coffee :) Since it was "his day", I wanted to make it as special as possible, so I prepared all of the above components--minus the sausage, because I thought that might be overkill! There's really nothing particularly fancy about these potatoes--just a simple, quick recipe!
5-6 red potatoes, diced 1 stick butter (or margarine) 2 tablespoons olive oil 3-4 cloves garlic, minced 1-2 tablespoons onion powder Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Melt butter and oil on medium-high heat in 12 inch skillet. Add potatoes, garlic and onion powder and stir to coat. Generously season with Kosher salt and pepper. Stir frequently until tender, brown and crispy--approximately 20 minutes.
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Oh, how I love the State Fair!!! I'd be lying if I said that the food wasn't one of my favorite aspects :) Without fail, I ALWAYS have Italian sausage with peppers and onions---so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My husband and I decided to recreate this "fair favorite" at home over his little mini-vacation and was it ever a treat! I think what really makes or breaks this recipe, however, is the type of sauce you use--I almost prefer a sauce with a hint of sweetness to it. That would be my one suggestion...make sure you use a good sauce!!!
Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions
6-8 Italian Sausage Links 1 green pepper, cut into strips 1 red pepper, cut into strips 1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thinly 1 jar of your favorite pizza or marinara sauce (again, I'd try to get one that has a hint of sweetness or just make sure you add a bit of sugar to the sauce!) Brat Buns Parmesan Cheese
Place Italian sausage links in a skillet and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove sausages and place on grill or in grill pan and cook for 7-8 minutes (maybe slightly more or less, depending on how well you like them cooked!). While sausages are grilling, saute peppers and onions in 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine until tender.
To serve: Place one Italian sausage link on each brat bun. Pour sauce over sausage and top with peppers and onions. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top.
This is the last full day I'll have with my husband and kids...he goes back to work on Wednesday and I signed up to work tomorrow. I was trying to figure out what to make for lunch, when I remembered that we had some shrimp leftover from when we had fondue the other night for my husband's birthday. I certainly didn't want it to go to waste, so I immediately thought I would make shrimp scampi...one of my favorite dishes! We've experimented with several different recipes over the years and I decided that I would just kind of "wing it" this afternoon. I thought it was pretty good, if I do say so myself :) My husband and I have tried recipes in which I thought the "wine flavor" was too much, so that was my one major change. I added half white wine and half chicken broth. I didn't have fresh parsley, so please excuse the dried. If you're making this for a family of 4 or more, I would at least double it!
8 oz angel hair 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) 2 tablespoons olive oil 5-6 cloves garlic, minced 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup chicken broth Sea salt and black pepper to taste Parmesan cheese (for garnish) Fresh parsley (for garnish)
Boil pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 10-15 seconds, stirring constantly to make sure it does not burn. Add shrimp and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes--continuing to stir constantly. Add wine and chicken broth and bring to a boil; allow to boil for 1 minute. Add pasta, salt and pepper and stir to coat. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Today is my husband's 30th birthday...now I no longer have to listen to all of his little digs about my age! We're only about 8 months apart, but I happen to be the older one, so he's always teasing me--especially because he knew I had a rough time with turning 30 :) Having two small kids and no babysitter makes it a bit rough to plan an evening out, so I decided that I would plan a nice, romantic fondue dinner for tonight (after the kids go to bed) and I made this meal last night in honor of his birthday. The chicken recipe is from Donna (My Tasty Treasures) blog and as usual, this recipe was fantastic! It reminded me a lot of a lemon chicken recipe that I have made in the past, but it did slightly vary and I really enjoyed it for a "change of pace". I was extremely "iffy" about the potatoes--I kept looking at the recipe and knew that the ingredients sounded wonderful, but never before have I made potatoes in the microwave...other than when I just start baked potatoes in the microwave, but they inevitably end up in the oven to crisp up a bit. I thought the flavor was outstanding and I didn't mind in the least bit that they weren't prepared in the oven--they would be perfect for a quick weeknight meal! The green beans weren't really a formal recipe...I just kind of played with them until I got them right!
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs) All-purpose flour, for dredging Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 large eggs (I only used 2 and had plenty left) 3 tablespoons water 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 lemon with rind, cut in thin rounds 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 cup chicken broth 1/2 lemon, juiced 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup flat chopped leaf parsley (I forgot to get some, so I used dried)
Pound your chicken breasts till they are about ¼ inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter, season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash. heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
Dredge both sides of chicken in flour mixture, and then dip them in the egg wash. Let it coat completely. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 2 minutes on each side. Until golden, turning once. Remove cutelts to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.
Toss the lemon slices into the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Until fragrant. Add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Roll the butter in some flour and add to the skillet, this will thicken the sauce. Stir to incorporate and dissolve the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and returnt he chicken to the pan; place the lemon slices on top of the cutlets. Simmer gently for 2 minutes to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Buttery Garlic Potatoes
6 small red potatoes, quartered 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 teaspoon seasoned salt 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Place the potatoes in a 2-qt. microwave-safe dish. In a small bowl, combine the butter, seasoned salt, paprika, parsley and garlic; pour over potatoes and toss to coat.
Microwave, uncovered, on high for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring frequently.
1 pound fresh, washed, trimmed green beans 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1/2 - 3/4 cup finely chopped vidalia onion 2 garlic cloves, minced (I tend to use a bit more garlic when I cook! We can never have too much garlic!!!) Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Steam green beans to desired tenderness (approximately 10-12 minutes). While beans are steaming, add oil and butter to a skillet on medium-high. When butter melts, add garlic and onion and saute until onion becomes tender. Add cooked beans to the skillet and stir to coat. Season with sea salt and pepper.
This might honestly be my new favorite "at home" Chinese food recipe!!! (Thank you, Sarah!!!!!!!!!!) I've tried and tried over the years, to make something that tasted even remotely close to what I have when I eat out and this was pretty darn close. I did make a couple of minor changes and will reflect them below--I definitely trust my sister's judgment and thanks to her suggestions, it turned out perfectly! My husband not only had seconds, but made a point to mention that he thought it was the best "Chinese-style" dish I had ever made.
1 1/2 lbs flank steak (sliced thinly, against the grain) 6 tablespoons cornstarch (for dusting) oil (for frying)
Marinade: 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Sauce: 10 tablespoons water 10 tablespoons sugar 7 tablespoons ketchup 3 tablespoons vinegar 1/2 teaspoon crush chili pepper (I substituted a little chili powder and red pepper flakes, b/c I didn't have chili pepper) 5 teaspoons cornstarch
Vegetables: 2 tablespoons garlic (minced) 1 medium red bell pepper (cut into chunks) 1 medium green bell pepper (cut into chunks) 1 medium vidalia onion (cut into chunks)
In a bowl or resealable bag combine all marinade ingredients and mix well. Add beef slices and marinate for 15 minutes. While beef in marinating, mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate. When the beef is done marinating coat the beef slices with 6 tablespoons of cornstarch. Remove any excess cornstarch and deep fry (either in a deep fryer or wok) beef slices in batches until floating or golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Add a couple tablespoons of oil to the wok and add minced garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add red and green bell peppers and onions and stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside. Pour sauce into the wok and heat until boiling. Return veggies and beef to pan and mix with sauce mixture until well-coated.
I am so behind on posting!!! I made the pork tenderloin and these pork fajitas a few weeks ago and am just getting around to posting. I'm going to start by saying that while this was a great way to use up the leftover pork tenderloin, I still am somewhat partial to steak or chicken fajitas. My husband and I generally don't care to reheat meat, so I was trying to think of a clever way to utilize the leftover pork. I always tend to use Allrecipes.com as my "fallback" and came across this recipe. It was definitely "good" and if you happen to be a huge fan of pork, you'd probably really like these, but I think I definitely gravitate more toward steak or chicken...perhaps more out of habit?!?
Quick Pork Fajitas
1 - 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, thinly sliced 3-4 tablespoons fajita seasoning 1 onion, sliced 1 green bell pepper OR red bell pepper, sliced 6 flour tortillas, warmed
In shallow bowl, toss pork pieces with fajita seasoning. In large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, stir-fry pork pieces with onion and green pepper until vegetables are just tender (about 5 to 10 minutes). Wrap portions in flour tortillas with salsa.
If you want to see how this pork should really look, make sure to check out Donna's (My Tasty Treasure's) blog...her pictures were WAY better!!! We had some minor issues as far as the cooking time goes and had to cut into it several different times. I had to laugh, because I bought a pork tenderloin, having absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it and then I came across this recipe on Allrecipes.com. To my surprise, Donna posted the very same recipe the next day! She is an absolutely amazing cook, so the fact that she recommended it, let me know that it was definitely worth trying. It was wonderful, although I think I ended up using a 3 1/2 pound pork loin instead of (2) 3/4 lb pork tenderloins, so I should have researched the cooking time a little more thoroughly as I grossly underestimated the amount of time it would need. Tomorrow, I'll be posting a recipe that we tried to utilize the leftovers!!!
Place soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, dried onion, cinnamon, olive oil, and a touch of garlic powder in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal, and shake to mix. Place pork in bag with marinade, seal, and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly oil grate. Place tenderloins on grill, and discard marinade. Cook 20 minutes, or to desired doneness. Slice into medallions, and serve.
If you were to look up the word "picky" in the dictionary, you would see a picture of my husband off to the left. Growing up, I was exposed to all sorts of different foods and encouraged to experiment with different flavors, but after meeting my husband, I somewhat locked myself into an eight to ten meal rotation and was reluctant to deviate. I have since given birth to two of the least picky eaters on the face of the Earth, thus inspiring me to transform my cooking style. I know many people, like myself, lead such hectic lives, so I strive to find recipes that are quick and easy--especially those that you can whip up with ingredients that you ordinarily have on hand!
A bit about me...I married my husband, Marcus, on June 1, 2003 and we welcomed our son Jacob on March 22, 2005. Our daughter, Madeline, was born on March 1, 2008. I stay home with the kids for the most part, but also work occasional shifts as a registered nurse at a local hospital. I truly hope you enjoy my blog. A special "thank you" to my sister, Sarah, for giving me the idea! Her creativity is hard to live up to, but I'm a very determined person and hope to make her proud :)