All’Amatriciana – DELISH!

I had this dish at a restaurant recently.  I enjoyed it so much I wanted to try making it at home.  Didn’t take long to find a recipe online.  Simple and Delicious!

Bucatini All’Amatriciana

IMG_5119.JPG

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or chopped unsmoked bacon (I used pancetta)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion (red or yellow)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
Kosher salt
12 ounces dried bucatini or spaghetti (I like rotini so that is what I used.  Not a fan of longer noodles.  I blame that on my mom. She did not like spaghetti.)  🙂
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino (I used Pecorina Romano.  You could use Parmesan.  Please don’t use the green can.  Buy a chunk of the real thing.  It really makes a difference. You will thank me.)

Directions

  1.  Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes. (Be sure to constantly move around to avoid burning. Pancetta cooks fast.)
  2. Add pepper flakes and black pepper, stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Add onion and garlic, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes (remember to crush with your hands), reduce heat to low, stir occasionally, until sauce thickens.  15-20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and make pasta per the directions. (Don’t overcook.  Cook to al dente instructions.)  Be sure to add salt. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain in colander.
  6. Add pasta to sauce in skillet and toss. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and mix thoroughly until sauce coats pasta.  Add more pasta water if seems dry.  (1/2 cup was enough for me).
  7. Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lasagna – A Family Favorite

Lasagna has been a family favorite for years.  I have been making this lasagna recipe for 40 years. Yup, since I was 18 years old.  I think I got this one covered.  Guess it is time to share this recipe so my kids can make their own at their home.  For Eric’s birthday this year we had lasagna, meatballs with sauce (these meatballs were delicious.  Been making those a few years, too),  rosemary focaccia bread and Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Lasagna

IMG_5100

You start with:

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 – 15oz can diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce.  Depends on my mood.)
1# sausage, removed from casing
1 small-medium red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (if you don’t have fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (cheese is salty so taste, taste, taste!)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1.  Remove sausage from casing and add to frying pan.  Cook until no longer pink.  Remove from pan and put on paper towel lined plate for grease to drain. Set aside.
2.  Clean out fry pan with paper towels.  Add olive oil to sauce pan on medium heat.
3.  Add diced onions.  Cook onion on low to medium heat until opaque, about 4-5 minutes.  Add cloves of garlic and let cook 30 seconds.
4.  Add cans of tomatoes and let cook about 5 minutes until warm.
5.  Add rest of ingredients, including sausage and let simmer 30-60 minutes.  If you want you can simmer longer but it is not necessary.  Sauce does not have to take a long time.  Taste it, if you like it, then it is done.  I like it to cook down a bit so I usually go 45-60 minutes for a tomato sauce.

Next, prepare lasagna;

Ingredients

Lasagna Noodles (16 noodles work for me)
1 – 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

  1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Lightly spray 13×9 inch baking dish.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.  I use 16 noodles.
  3. Combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, eggs, mix well.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of baking dish, top with 4 lasagna noodles, spread ricotta cheese mixture, 1 cup sauce, 1/4 cup parmesan.  Repeat layering. Last layer of noodles, top with sauce and 1 cup mozzarella.
  5. Cover, bake 45-50 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Uncover, and place under broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown mozzarella.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Cut and serve.

Makes awesome leftovers!

My Mom’s Goulash

I was talking with my mom over the weekend.  I mentioned how I make hamburger and beans quite often. Kent and Eric enjoy it.  She was so surprised. She did tell me that she did not call it hamburger and beans.  She called it Goulash!  So I am updating this recipe per my phone conversation with my mom.  I am correcting the recipe name from Hamburger and Beans to:

My Mom’s Goulash

August 201 035

 

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped or sliced very thin – that is up to you (she used green bell pepper)
1 medium onion, chopped or sliced very thin – that is up to you too!
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2-15 oz cans Bush’s Original Baked Beans (You can use whatever beans you like, kidney, cannellini, baked, whatever is in your cupboard.  My mom used Campbell’s Pork and Beans)
2 Tablespoons fresh basil (if you don’t have fresh basil you don’t have to add any.  I know my mom didn’t add basil. I love basil.)
Salt and Pepper (of course)

Directions

1.  Using a 12 inch skillet, add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, add peppers and onions, saute for 2-3 minutes, add garlic.  Stir together.
2.  Add the ground beef to the peppers and onions, cook until no longer pink.  Drain any excess fat.
3.  Open up those cans of beans and add to the hamburger/peppers/onions.  Stir together and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4.  Add basil (or not) and stir together.  ALL DONE!

I never thought that anyone in my family would like this super quick meal.  Kent, myself and Eric really enjoy it.  It is super simple and very delicious.  Give it a try!  😉

Stuffing or Dressing-Your call

I start thinking about Thanksgiving sometime in July.  This is my favorite holiday.  I love thinking about the menu and getting everyone involved.  I drive my kids nuts talking about it more incessantly as the months go by and the day gets closer.  It is quite enjoyable. 😉  This year my stuffing was incredibly awesome.  Here is the recipe;

Checkerboard Stuffing

img_4761

Ingredients

16 ounces bread (mix of Pepperidge Farms Hearty White, Dark Pumpernickel and Rye)
12 ounces breakfast sausage
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
16 Tablespoons Butter (2 sticks.  I know it’s a lot of butter. That’s okay, it’s Thanksgiving!)
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 cups turkey stock (or chicken broth)

Directions

  1.  Weigh out 16 ounces of combination of above breads.  I placed slices of bread on a wire rack and covered with parchment paper.  I left out for 3 days so it could get hard rock stale. Next year I will cut into cubes before I do this.  However, it was simple enough to break/slice into small cubes. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In medium skillet over medium heat brown breakfast sausage.  Set aside.  Place in bowl last. That will give it time to cool.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 16 Tablespoons butter.  Add onions and celery along with salt and pepper.  Saute until transparent, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. While onions and celery are cooking chop your herbs.  Add herbs to the bread.  Then add the onions and celery along with the turkey stock and mix well.
  6. Place stuffing in 13×9 baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake another 15-30 minutes depending on how crispy you like your stuffing.

This was so flavorful.  You will love it. I know our family did!  Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a GREAT night!

 

 

 

 

 

Peas and Macaroni – Simple and Delicious

When I was younger every Friday my dad made dinner.  My favorite Friday dinner was when he made Peas and Macaroni.  I enjoyed watching him make it (he always seemed happy). I also enjoyed eating it, lots of it!!  I know this was a meal he had when he was growing up.  This is another “Depression” food but as far as I am concerned it is definitely not depressing!  One thing though, my mom always bought the LeSeur brand canned peas.  I also still buy the same peas.   Sometimes I will use frozen peas and a can of chicken broth.  It just doesn’t seem the same.  When I make this meal all I can  think of is my dad getting home from work on a Friday night, having a beer in the breezeway sitting on the steps, then coming in the kitchen and making the most delicious meal for all of us.  Don’t knock it until you have tried it!

Peas and Macaroni

img_4701

 

Ingredients

1 pound pasta (I use large elbows, you can use whatever you like.  I find the smaller pastas go better with this dish.)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 15 ounce cans of peas, not drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

1.  Cook pasta according to directions on box
2. While pasta is cooking add 3 Tablespoons olive oil to fry pan over medium heat.  Add sliced onions and peppers.  Cook until onion opaque, about 8-10 minutes.   Add garlic, oregano and basil. Mix through.
3.  Add 2 cans of peas. Cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
4.  In the meantime drain pasta in colander, then put back in sauce pan.
5.  When peas are heated through add to the pasta.  Mix the pasta and peas together.   Have a bowl and enjoy!  Simple and Delicious!!

Steak Fajitas with Onions and Peppers

Found this recipe in a Food Network magazine. A simple and delicious weeknight recipe.

Steak Fajitas with Onions and Peppers

IMG_4385

 

1 Tablespoon Paprika
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used 2 teaspoons.  Cumin is my absolute, favorite spice.)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak (I used beef tenderloin, per Kent’s request.  Great choice!)
Juice of 3 limes
3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the grill
4 bell peppers, thinly sliced (make it colorful!)
2 red onions, thinly sliced
8-12 flour tortillas
Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro, for topping

Directions

  1.  Mix the paprika, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. (If you use table salt, use 1/2 teaspoon)
  2. Put the steak in a large resealable plastic bag.  Add the juice of 1 lime, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the spice mixture, seal the bag and rub the spices into the meat.  Refrigerate 30 minutes to 2 hours.  While the steak is marinating chop the onions and peppers.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Toss the bell peppers and onions with the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil, juice of 2 limes and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.  Add to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and charred around the edges. (Honestly, I put the oil in the skillet, added the veggies, lime juice and salt in the frying pan.  One less dish to clean.)
  4. Preheat grill to a medium high heat and brush the grate with olive oil.  Grill the steak 3-5 minutes each side for medium rare.  Remove and place on cutting board, let rest 5-10 minutes. (No grill, no worries.  Use your cast iron skillet or a good old frying pan. However, if you have the grill, once again, one less dish to clean!)
  5. Warm the tortillas as label instructs.  Slice the steak against the grain, season with salt if desired.  Serve on the tortillas with onions and peppers; top with cheese and cilantro (unless you are a cilantro hater!)  Serve with lime wedges, if you wish.

Enjoy!!

 

Caribbean Curried Chicken & Chickpeas

Found this recipe in a Food Network magazine.  Super simple to make and delish.  Give this one a try on a weekday.

Caribbean Curried Chicken and Chickpeas
(Better pic to follow.  I forgot to take one and then remembered!!  Here it is…)

IMG_3801

Ingredients

5 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, quartered
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons Madras curry powder (I used the Penzeys Now Curry)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 15 ounce cans chickpeas (do not drain)
1 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of one lime
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
Caribbean hot pepper sauce, for serving
2 pieces naan bred, warmed and cut into wedges

Directions

  1.  Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot.   Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes.  Add curry powder and half of the garlic.  Cook Stirring, until the garlic softens slightly, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir the chickpeas and their liquid into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low; cover and cook until the chicken is tender, about 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, puree the remaining garlic, cilantro, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, the lime juice and vinegar in food processor or blender until a paste forms. (You could use mortar and pestle too.  Not my thing.)
  4. Heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cilantro past; cook until dark green, about 1 minute.  Transfer to a medium bowl and add the coleslaw mix; season with salt and toss to coat.
  5. Top each serving of the chicken curry with the slaw mixture, hot pepper sauce and cilantro.  Serve with the naan.

IMG_4406 I LOVE all my Penzeys spices.  I go there at least once a month to buy a new one to use or just to look around.  Fun, fun, fun!!

 

Veggie Stir Fry – Simple and Delicious

Went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday afternoon.  I love all the gorgeous colors from the produce that line the walkway.  I ended up grabbing some basil, broccoli, purple/yellow/green bell peppers, snap peas, red onions, garlic, carrots, corn on the cob and some pet treats for Rooney and Franny.

The basil was a natural reflex.  I ended up making some pesto.  I LOVE the color, smell and taste of basil.

The corn on the cob is for Lily’s birthday.  We will be celebrating on Friday.  She made a request for Chicken Burritos, marble cake with buttercream frosting (box cake and canned frosting preferred.  It is her birthday after all!) and corn on the cob.

I ended up making a veggie stir fry for the evening.  It is a very simple recipe and involves lots of chopping.  Chopping is one of my favorite past times.  (It is great for stress related days too!) 🙂

Veggie Stir Fry

IMG_4364.JPG

 

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons canola oil
1-2 teaspoons ginger (I prefer fresh.  You can use dry spice but use less.)
1 carrot, matchsticks  (or not, it is up to you. You can just chop in small pieces. )
2 medium bell peppers, sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin (I use red or white)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces snap peas (I cut off the ends and cut in half if large)
16 ounces broccoli
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1.  Add 2 Tablespoons oil to non stick frying pan over medium high heat.  Add carrot, bell peppers, onion, garlic, ginger with salt and pepper.  (Don’t add more salt as the soy sauce is salty.) Saute until soft – about 3-6 minutes.
  2. Add snap peas and broccoli (or whatever veggies you choose).  Cook until warmed through.  About 5 minutes.  (We like our veggies with a crunch!)
  3. While the veggies are warming through; combine soy sauce, oil and cornstarch in small bowl.  Mix well.
  4. Add to warmed veggies and combine thoroughly.
  5. Serve over rice or noodles.

Super easy for after work.  You could chop veggies the night before if you desire.  Simple and Delicious!!

 

Shepard’s Pie – Simple and Delicious

Shepard’s Pie is a great comfort food.  That is what this Sunday was all about.  I had a recipe I have used for years which called for a dry onion soup mix.  I wanted to try a recipe that did not have onion soup mix in it. I found this recipe on Food Network.  Gotta love Rachel Ray.  I changed the recipe up a bit but it worked for us!

Shepard’s Pie

March 007

Ingredients

2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup cream
3 Tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2  cup beef stock or broth
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Directions

1.  Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl.
2.  Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.
3.  While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with ground beef.
4.  Season with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes.
5.  I drain the drippings from the pan.
6.  Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
7.  In a  small saucepan over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute.
8.  Add gravy to meat along with 1/2 cup of broth to ground beef and vegetables. Stir in peas.
9.  Preheat broiler to high. I used the skillet as a vessel or you could fill a small rectangular casserole with the meat and vegetable mixture.
10.  Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned.

That’s it.  Simple and Delicious.  No leftovers for this one.  Enjoy!!

Rosemary Balsamic Vinegar Chicken Breasts

This is a simple and delicious recipe.  Serve with salad, rice, potato or veggie. Whatever works for you.  Takes under an hour.  Great for a weekday meal.

Rosemary Balsamic Vinegar Chicken Breasts

February 010

Ingredients

4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (rinse and pat dry chicken and place in bowl)
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 stems rosemary-chopped, about 2 Tablespoons (I used fresh, you could use dried but if you do that I would only use 1 Tablespoon)
4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin (smack garlic with a knife, the skin will break away easily and you with have cracked garlic)
Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1.  Coat chicken in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Add rosemary, salt and pepper.  Let set for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat a medium non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Do NOT add any oil.  Add chicken breasts and cracked garlic to pan.  Cook chicken 4-5 minutes each side.  I only turned once.
  3. Transfer to a baking dish.  I placed in 350 degree oven and baked for 15-25 minutes, depending on how thick the breasts are will depend on baking time.

The chicken breasts were so flavorful and moist.  This time I served with mashed potatoes and garden salad.  Another simple and delicious meal.  Enjoy!

(Courtesy of Rachel Ray)