Sausage, Peppers and Onions – My favorite!

I LOVE sausage, peppers and onions.  This is a really quick meal you can make under an hour when you get home from work. I love it over rice, Kent loves it on a roll.  You could have in a roll, serve over pasta, rice or by itself.  Whatever works for YOU!

Sausage, Pepper and Onions

May 012


May 001

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage (I like hot)
2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/4 inch thick slices
2 onions, sliced (I like Vidalia onions)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregan0
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (no fresh, try 1 teaspoon dried – that is what I had to do tonight)
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup beef broth (or chicken broth or water or marsala wine – whatever works for you!)
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4-6 Italian rolls


1.  Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain.May 003
2.  Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onions, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. May 005Add the oregano, basil, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
3.  Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the broth, tomatoes, and crushed red pepper, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
4.  Cut the sausages into 1/2-inch slices. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. May 009Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.May 010
5.  Serve in bowls alone or over pasta or rice. Or, if serving as a sandwich, split the rolls in half lengthwise. Hollow out the bread from the bottom side of each roll, being careful not to puncture the crust. Fill the bottom half of the roll with sausage mixture. Top and serve sandwiches immediately

Molten Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

Martin2 is home for the weekend.  May 008 He is working in Door County for the summer.  He sneaks home when he can.  He requested lava cake with peanut butter filling for our Friday Pizza night.  I couldn’t refuse that request, would you?!  Lava cakes are super simple, take not time and are incredible delectable.  So…why not!

Molten Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

May 012


1 stick  plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, plus melted butter for brushing|
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
6 ounces dark chocolate, 70 percent cocoa, chopped (I think you could use any chocolate you want.  Variety is the spice of life!)
3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 Tablespoon confectioners sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush four 6-ounce ramekins with melted butter. In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of the flour; dust the ramekins with the cocoa mixture, tapping out the excess. Transfer the ramekins to a sturdy baking sheet.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter with the chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly. (I cooled for 5 minutes.)
  3. In a bowl, blend the peanut butter with the 1 tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. (I used softened butter, not melted.)
  4. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the eggs and salt at medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate until no streaks remain. Fold in the 1/4 cup of flour.
  5. Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the prepared ramekins, then spoon the peanut butter mixture on top. Cover with the remaining chocolate batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the tops are cracked but the centers are still slightly jiggly. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool for 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. Run the tip of a small knife around each cake to loosen. Invert a small plate over each cake and, using pot holders, invert again. Carefully lift off the ramekins. Dust the warm cakes with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

We served with Haagen Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream!  Everyone loved this, well at least 4 people.  That’s all this recipe serves.  If you want more, you need to double the recipe.

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

I have tried a couple of different recipes for the Chicago Deep Dish pizzas.  This one was a hit.  Kent said it was better than Pizzaria Uno.  I got this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  Everyone liked this pizza; Eric, Martin II, Kaitlin, Lily, Paige, Kent and myself.  Rachel likes my usual pizza dough so she passed on this one.   Love this awesome recipe.  It is also really simple and no brainer delicious!!

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Dough

May 002May 016060213 cupcake day 008


3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (I weigh the ingredients if I can)
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil

Pizza Sauce (this is quite delish!)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated onion, from 1 medium onion (see note)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Table salt
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper


1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups) (see note)
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
4 ounces of meat (I used sausage on one of the  pizzas)


1.  Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)

2.  Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes

3.  While dough rises, make your pizza sauce.  Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper. (This sauce is great for any pizza.  Deep dish or not!)

4.  Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rectangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges.  Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.

5.  Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.

6.  For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza

This was a pizza I made in 2012!!  When I was organizing my blog I saw it and thought I would give it another try tonight.  Martin2 and his friend Kaitlin along with Paige enjoyed this Simple and Delicious pizza.  It is funny, the last time I made this pizza was 3 years ago. Maybe I should organize my blog more often!

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza
(slightly adapted recipe from  Annie’s Eats blog)

May 003


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Chili Sauce

Ingredients for pizza

Pizza Dough
Olive Oil, for brushing
8 slices bacon (cut into 1/2 inch pieces, cooked until crisp)
1 small yellow or vidalia onion
Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup freshly, grated Parmesan Cheese
2-3 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 cup diced strawberries


1.  Add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook 3-4 minutes or until reduced by about have with a thick, syrupy texture.  I usually take off the heat after the 3-4 minute time period.  As the sauce cools it thickens.  (That is my experience at least.) In a small bowl, combine the balsamic reduction, strawberry jam and sriracha chili sauce.  Set Aside.

2.  To make the pizza, preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Be sure to preheat pizza stone for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Lightly brush perimeter of the dough with olive oil.  Spread the balsamic-strawberry mixture in a thin layer over the crust (You may not use all of it, I didn’t)  Layer with the bacon, strawberries, cheeses, onion and parsley. (I carmalized the onions and totally forgot to put them on the pizza.  I guess I will use them on a burger!  Next time I will add them. The pizza was still awesome!)

3.  Transfer pizza to oven onto stone.  Bake until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned, about 12-14 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.  Enjoy this simple and delicious pizza!

LOVED it!!  Simple and Delicious.  Give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.  🙂

Bruschetta with a blast from the past – October 2012

05/25/2015;  Cleaning up my blog.  I saw this post.  Brought back some fun memories.  I LOVE Denver!!  Chasing Scott around Syracuse with Kathleen was tons of fun.  Borio’s is always a great place to be with my hubby.  Ending with Pizza Friday with my crew.  I have to make Bruschetta more often! I am a very lucky lady!!

We had a quiet Pizza Friday.  It has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks so I was good with the quiet.  I have been to Denver and Syracuse this month so it has been a whirlwind.  I still have to post about the fabulous time I had with Scott and Kathleen at Frasca’s in Boulder CO!  Kent and I drove to Syracuse NY last week.  We left Friday and came back on Monday.  So, we Kent and I had our “Pizza Friday” in Syracuse last week.  We went out to Red Lobster and had a very nice meal with awesome service.  Saturday we went to our favorite restaurant in Syracuse, Borio’s Restaurant.  As always, a fantastic meal.   When in Syracuse Kathleen, Tony, Becky (and mom briefly) along with me of course chased my brother Scott across town for the Empire Marathon.    FYI: Scott ran 26.2 miles in 3 hours 8 minutes.

The next thing going on; last Friday Martin had his first Art Gallery event in Milwaukee.   I wish I could have been there but Kent and I were driving to Syracuse so that was not possible.  It was great to see my parents, Kent’s parents, Tony, Becky, Scott and Kathleen.  Enough of that, onto Pizza Friday.

This week I made the typical pizzas; sausage, BBQ Chicken, and a veggie pizza.   I recently started making my own pizza sauce.  I am sure you thought I did that before but I was using Del Fratelli Pizza Sauce.   I discovered it is much better to make your own.  For appetizers we had Spinach and Artichoke Dip (next time less mozzarella, if any at all) with blue corn chips and multi-grain chips.  I also made Bruschetta with freshly baked bread.

Pizza Sauce (SIMPLE!!!)  Update; 5/25/2015 – Rachel likes the can better.  (I think she is sick of me saying this – but she does!)

28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes (I use 6-in-1 Tomatoes. You can use whatever brand you want)
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

That is all there is to it.  Mix it up and you have a “simple and delicious” pizza sauce!

The Bruschetta was requested by Martin.  I tried this recipe and we thought it was great.  Give it a try;


How to pronounce Bruschetta  🙂


4 Roma Tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese ( I uses Pecorina Romano)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (LOVE this wonderful condiment)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Loaf french baquette or bake your own bread (recipe is here)

Mix all ingredients together.  Slice the bread in 1/4 inch slices and bake at 350 degrees until well toasted, about 5-10 minutes.  You can rub garlic onto the top of each slice of toast.  Spoon the Bruschetta on top of each slice and serve.  Very Simple and Delicious!! As always, Pizza Fridays are awesome.  The tradition of having our family together means more to me than anything in this entire world.  And that’s the truth!!

Caribbean Jerk Burgers

I love spicy heat and so does everyone else in our family (Well, almost everyone!).  Eric had mentioned in recent conversations he would like a Caribbean hot sauce.  When I saw this recipe in my Food Network magazine, I thought this would be the perfect start to his request. Since the Martin’s were recently in New Orleans and brought back some spice I knew they had some Cajun Seasoning.  I pit stopped over there to grab this spice.   These burgers definitely had heat but were quite delicious.  Here goes!

Caribbean Jerk Burgers

may 017


may 009


Jerk Sauce

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons – I used 2 larger ones)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup jarred jerk saucemay 001 (got this at Woodman’s)
2 Tablespoons Cajun Seasoning (Borrowed from Martin2.  I swear he has no taste buds.  This stuff was HOT!)
1-2 Tablespoons of crushed red pepper (I used 1 Tablespoon.  The Cajun Seasoning brought the heat to this sauce!)
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced

For the Veggies

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, cut into 3 inch sticks
1 medium zucchini, cut into 3 inch sticks
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 3 inch stripsmay 011
Kosher salt

For the burgers
Canola oil for the grill (it was raining, I used my cast iron skillet.  Wish this Summer would get here!)
2 pounds ground beef
kosher and freshly ground pepper
4 hamburger buns


1.  Make the jerk sauce; Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, jarred jerk sauce, Cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes in a bowl until combined.  Add red bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic, cover and refrigerate. (It is recommended to refrigerate over night.  I found this recipe at 11 in the morning.  It was in my fridge for a couple of hours and was perfectly fine.)
2.  Make the veggies;  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the carrots, zucchini and bell pepper, season with salt and saute, tossing occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup of the prepared jerk sauce and cook until the veggies are glazed, 1-2 minutes.  may 014Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
3.  Make burgers;  I think you know how to make a hamburger.  However, I added a 1/4 cup of the sauce to the hamburger mix. We had a double whammy of spice.  You do not need to add the sauce to your burgers.  We like spice so it worked for us.  (I am weird and weigh the burgers before I form them.  I like to have a 6 ounce burger. Seems the right size for a typical bun!)
4.  Grill or fry burgers.  As I mentioned I used my cast iron skillet.  4-5 minutes each side.  While burgers are cooking, toast the buns. (I lightly buttered and toasted one side in a non stick skillet.)
5.  Serve the burgers on the buns, topped with the sauteed veggies.

You will have extra sauce left over.  You could use as a marinade for chicken or for other veggie mixes.  Mine is almost gone.  I ended up making more burgers.  Next time I make this I will have some Cajun Seasoning from Penzeys, my favorite spice store!




Lavender Earl Grey Cupcakes

Rachel requested the Lavender Earl Grey cupcakes for our Sunday get together.  I ended up going to Appleton to Penzey’s Spice to get the Lavender and to Fava Tea for the Earl Grey loose tea.  I won’t know until tomorrow how these go over.  We shall see…UPDATE:  I just had one and it was yummy. Very subtle taste of the tea in the cupcake and also subtle lavender flavor in frosting. (I guess I will use the lavender again!!)

Lavender Earl Grey Cupcakes

May 006


May 001

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
10 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup Earl Grey loose tea
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla


1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees
2.  Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
3.  Add butter and loose tea in pan.  Over low heat melt butter with tea.  When butter has melted, turn off heat and let the tea steep for 5 minutes.  Strain.  You will use the melted butter.  Discard the tea.
4.  In a separate bowl whisk melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until smooth
5.  Whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
6.  Divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake until tops spring back.  15-18 minutes.  Transfer to rack and let cool 5 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely.



2 cups confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon Lavender
1/2 cup water

1.  Bring 1/2 cup water and 1 Tablespoon of lavender May 002to a boil.  Steep 1-2 minutes. Strain.  You will need the lavender water.  Discard the lavender.
2.  Put 2 cups confectioners sugar in bowl.  Whisk in 2-3 Tablespoons hot water.  Whisk until blended.
3.  Add purple food coloring.  (I used 1 drop of blue and 2 drops of red food color paste.)
4  Frost cupcakes!May 003

That’s it.  Simple and Delicious!!

Shopska Salad

Here is a very simple salad that Martin had very often at home with his grandparents.  Totally simple and again delicious.

Shopska Salad

May 006

2-3 tomatoes, cut in 1/2 pieces and quartered
1 cucumber, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick
black olives (as many as you want)
1/2- 1 cup Feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Throw above veggies in bowl.  Crumble feta over salad.   Drizzle with olive oil and a touch of salt.  (Feta tends to be salty enough!).   We mix with our hands (Shhh, don’t tell anyone) and serve.  Enjoy!

Potato Kufteh – Bulgarian and Shopska Salata

Martin loves these ‘potato pancakes’ or potato kufteh as they are called in Bulgaria.  We have made these several times in the last 10 years.  We keep trying to get the recipe as close to his grandma’s kitchen as we can.  I think we got a little closer tonight.  Of course, nothing is as wonderful as how grandma makes it.  Even so, you will enjoy having this “simple and delicious” recipe on your table.


Potato Kufteh

May 005

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, quartered and boil until done (you can use red potatoes too)
1/3 cup green onion, chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1 egg
3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chubritsa (I used ground chubritsa. If you use unground herb I would add 1 teaspoon.  You could also use oregano or savory.)
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill
1 cup flour (place in bowl)
Vegetable oil (for skillet to fry kufteh)

1.  Boil  the potatoes until soft.  Drain and be sure they are dry.
2.  Add all other ingredients.
3.  Mix with a fork until blended.  Do not over mix.
4.  Take 1/4 cup and make into burger shape.  Should be about 2-3 inches wide, 1/2 inch thick.
5.  Take potato patty and dip into flour
6.  Using non stick skillet, add 2-4 Tablespoons of oil (the bottom of frying pan should be covered with oil) over medium heat
7.  Put potato patties in skillet and brown on both sides.  3-4 minutes each side.   When oil absorbs, add more. (I clean out with papertowel when I need to add more oil.)  In order to get the golden brown potato, you need oil.121513 002 121513 003
8.  Voila – all done and delicious!

The perfect accompaniment to go with the potato kufteh is the shopska salad.  Totally simple and again delicious. Enjoy these delicious potato patties!!

Lemon Cupcakes

Chris is having a birthday tomorrow.  I asked her what she would enjoy for a cupcake and she said lemon. Who doesn’t love lemon?! I love lemon too!

Lemon Cupcakes

may 010


1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract (if you don’t have just use 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  That will be fine)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup milk


Preheat oven 350 degrees and line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

1.  Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.  Set aside.
2.  With electric mixer or in stand up mixer, beat butter on medium high speed until creamy.  About 1 minute.
3.  Add sugar and beat until creamy, about 4 more minutes.
4.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then 2 teaspoons extract and 2 teaspoons lemon zest.may 003
5.  Beat in flour mixture in three batches on low speed, alternating with 1/2 cup milk.  When all blended mix on medium high speed until just combined.
6.  Divide the batter among the muffin cups.  Bake until the tops spring back, 20-25 minutes .  Transfer to a rack and let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely.



1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract (again, you can use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract if that is all you have.  I love lemon!)
2 Tablespoons Milk
1/2 cup lemon curd (the frosting tastes wonderful without the lemon curd.  However, it tastes even better with it!)


1.  Mix butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until creamy.  About 3-5 minutes
2.  Add extracts and beat on high 2-3 minutes.
3.  Add 2 Tablespoons milk and beat until creamy.
4.  Add lemon curd and beat until blended.

Frost cupcakes, top with yellow jelly beans.  I also added some yellow food coloring to some of the cupcakes.  Did I mention I love yellow too!!may 007

I couldn’t resist and had to have one tonight.   I think Chris and everyone at work will enjoy these simple and delicious cupcakes.  Happy Birthday Chris!!