Stuffed Chicken with Roast Peppers, Mozzarella and Basil

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

I’ve been away from my kitchen too long.   Recovery from knee replacement surgery is a slow process, one that must be taken seriously, if you expect to regain full use of the knee.  All that stretching, bending, walking, etc is hard work and very tiring.  I’m glad to report that I’m moving ahead at a steady pace, but in tiny steps.  During the past weeks, we’ve had some wonderful friends who stopped by with meals for us (they took pity on Mr. D.)  so we have enjoyed some great home cooking while I’m recuperating  but today I felt like getting my hands dirty in the kitchen.  So this is what I came up with.

Exploring my freezer, I found a package of boneless chicken breasts, and in my cupboard, a jar of roasted peppers.  What naturally came to mind to accompany these ingredients were mozzarella cheese and basil.  This meal is quick and easy-to-prep, just right for when you want to get out of the kitchen fast, but also elegant enough for a special meal. Keep the side dishes simple with a vegetable and a salad.

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Mr. D. loved it, commenting that it looks like pizza.   It really does because of the colors of peppers and cheese, plus the Italian seasoning.  It smells wonderful as it’s cooking also.  He said it’s become his new favorite way to have chicken.

This is my basic recipe, but it can certainly be changed or added to with some sautéed spinach, sliced fresh tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, etc.

STUFFED CHICKEN WITH ROAST PEPPERS, MOZZARELLA AND BASIL

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:IMG_9274

  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 slices
  • 1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, whole leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease a broiler-proof baking dish.

2.  Butterfly chicken breasts by cutting into the long side of the breast, stopping about 1/4-inch from the opposite side.  On your work surface, lay the chicken breasts opened up.  Sprinkle the exposed insides with 1/2 of the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

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3.  Stack the pepper, 1 slice mozzarella and basil on the bottom side of the chicken.  Fold the top flap of the chicken over, tucking in the contents as necessary.  Sprinkle with the remaining Italian seasoning.

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4.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (until chicken is no longer pink).  Take chicken out of the oven and turn on broiler.  Top each chicken piece with remaining slices mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

 

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Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes.

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Serve with vegetable and a salad.

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SOURCE:  Food Network

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Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Sometimes you want an easy and quick pasta recipe that tastes incredible. Well, this recipe for ravioli with sautéed asparagus is all of that and more.  It can be whipped up quickly and the addition of  parmesan cheese at the end makes it a culinary masterpiece.  I kid you not!

Fresh store bought ravioli is cooked, then tossed with asparagus that has been sautéed in a simple butter and lemon sauce.  A little bit of grated parmesan, and minced parsley  are added at the end–just give it a toss and you’re done.

I love asparagus, an early sign of spring around here, and I can’t resist buying it when I see it.  With asparagus you want a simple sauce to enhance it’s flavor and this light lemony, buttery sauce is just right.  All it consists of is butter, lemon juice and a dash of black pepper.  Not at all heavy or greasy, it just coats the ravioli and asparagus.

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A couple of notes:  The asparagus should be slightly damp when you sauté it.  This helps with the sauce.  So rinse your asparagus right before you chop it and add to the pan.

Also, you can use whatever fresh ravioli you like for this dish–cheese, mushroom, spinach would all be good choices.  I used a three-cheese ravioli for mine.

This is a dish that goes together very quickly so be sure to have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.  It takes no time to prepare the asparagus, chop the parsley and measure out the other ingredients, so this can be done while you’re waiting for the water to boil for the ravioli.

RAVIOLI WITH SAUTÉED ASPARAGUS 

Yield:  Serves 2

Ingredients:IMG_9309

  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh ravioli, filling of choice
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends removed, chopped into thirds
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • few twists, fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve at the table

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2.  Prepare asparagus by snapping off tough ends, then chopping into thirds, or smaller.  Mince parsley, squeeze lemon and measure out butter.

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3.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until frothy.  Add chopped asparagus to the pan, stir to coat asparagus with butter and cover with a lid.  (If asparagus is damp, steam created will hasten cooking.)  Cook for 4 – 5 minutes depending on thickness of asparagus.

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4.  Add ravioli to boiling water and cook as per package directions.  Drain when done and place in a bowl.  Keep warm.

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5.  When asparagus is done, add to bowl with ravioli with a slotted spoon.  Leave any browned butter in the pan.

6.  To the butter in the pan, add lemon juice, several twists fresh pepper, and bring to a boil.  Stir for 30 seconds.  Pour the butter-lemon sauce over the ravioli and asparagus.  This will just lightly coat them.

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7.  Add parsley and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese.  Toss to coat and combine.  Serve with more cheese at the table.

This is so good, I can’t wait to make it again.

 

SOURCE:  Adapted from Green Valley Kitchen

Garlic Roasted Vegetable Subs

Garlic Roasted Vegetable Sub

Garlic Roasted Vegetable Sub

Oven-roasting is an easy way to prepare vegetables and bring out the best of their natural flavor.  Any combination of vegetables will work in this hearty vegetarian sub sandwich.  I particularly like the combination I put together to create an Italian vibe.  I filled them with a medley of garlic-roasted eggplant, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms and tomatoes, then topped them with cheese and placed them in the oven for a light toasting.  This is an easy and delicious meal.

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The quantity of vegetables given in this recipe was more than I needed for just two of us, so I plan to use the extra ready-roasted  vegetables in another meal with pasta, sausage, and tomato sauce.  They would also be good on a pizza, I’m thinking!

Once roasted, they can be used in several ways.

Once roasted, they can be used in several ways.

GARLIC ROASTED VEGETABLE SUBS

Yield:  enough for 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubesIMG_9336
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium green or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, cut into 3 or 4 thick slices
  • 2 thick slices sweet onion, separated into rings
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, halved crosswise
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  •  salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 soft sub/hoagie rolls (about 6 inches)
  • 4 to 6 slices cheese ( mozzarella, muenster or provolone)

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Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F. and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment.

2.  Place eggplant cubes in a large bowl, drizzle with 1  1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread the cubes on one of the prepared baking sheets and set aside.

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3.  Add the peppers, tomato slices, onion rings, and mushrooms to the bowl.  Sprinkle with the chopped garlic, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.  Toss to combine and transfer to the other prepared baking sheet.

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4.  Roast the vegetables until tender and lightly caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheets and toss the vegetables about halfway through the cooking time for best results.

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5.  Split the rolls lengthwise and divide the vegetables between them.

Split rolls, add veggies.

Split rolls, add veggies.

Top with slices of cheese.

I used sliced mozzarella.

I used sliced mozzarella.

Place in the oven for  4 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the rolls are lightly toasted.  Serve with chips or fries.

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A delicious meal!

A delicious meal!

SOURCE:   My Gourmet Connection

Sauteed Mushrooms with Baked Eggs

Sautéed Mushrooms with Baked Eggs

Sautéed Mushrooms with Baked Eggs

Mushrooms and eggs are a classic combo, and with good reason–they compliment each other so well.  This vegetarian dinner stars beefy, juicy sautéed mushrooms along with baked eggs and toasty croutons.  If you enjoy mushrooms and eggs separately, you will certainly enjoy them when combined like this.IMG_9255

Toasted flatbreads such as pita or naan add some crunch to this dish and help round it into a full meal.  Add a green vegetable or salad, you’re ready to sit down to a meatless, but “meaty” entree.

Toasted flatbread adds crunch.

Toasted flatbread adds crunch. This is whole-wheat flour tortilla.

A variety of mushrooms may be used here.   Almost all mushrooms available at the supermarket are cultivated, not wild, and are available year round.  The most common ones are the white button, cremini, or earthy portobellos.  A combination of mushrooms adds variety and a more complex flavor, so if shiitake or oyster “shrooms” are available they can be added also.

Round out your meal with a salad.

Round out your meal with a salad.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Baked Eggs

Yield:  Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 6-inch whole-wheat flatbread, such as naan, pocketless pita, or whole-wheat tortilla
  • 3 Tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

    Sliced mushrooms--any kind will do.

    Sliced mushrooms–any kind will do.

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 small shallot, diced fine (optional)
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • coarse salt
  • red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Toast flatbread over the flame of a gas burner or under broiler.  Tear into 2-inch pieces; set aside.

2.  Heat oil and garlic in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, stirring, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute.

I added a little chopped shallot to mine.

I added a little chopped shallot to mine.

Increase heat to medium-high, add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms to skillet.

Add mushrooms to skillet.

Season with salt and red-pepper flakes, if using.  Add wine, scraping up browned bits.  Stir in flatbread and thyme;  remove from heat.

Add flatbread and thyme.

Add flatbread and thyme.

3.  Make 4 shallow depressions in mushroom mixture and crack 1 egg into each depression.

I used only 3 eggs.

I used only 3 eggs.

Transfer to oven and cook until egg whites have just set, about 4 minutes.  Season eggs with salt and pepper.

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Note:  Try to keep the egg yolks runny.  When broken, they become an instant sauce that coats the crisp-edged flatbread and mushrooms.

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I served it with a salad consisting of romaine, avocado, and orange sections with  a ginger-sesame dressing.

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SOURCE:   Martha Stewart Living

 

 

Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash

Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash

Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash

Talk about being predictable…..during December we bloggers were all writing about cookie swaps, peppermint flavored this or that, drinks to cheer the season, pine cones, Santa hats, and jungle bells.  Well, all that sugar and spice is nice but…..

Come January and we’re talking about salad, diets, smoothies and working out.  I don’t think we’re allowed to mention fudge in January at all.  In fact it may even be against the law. (Let’s save that for V-tine’s Day).

With this recipe I’m breaking out of the mold of predictability.  What I have to share with you today is a one-dish meal that is so comforting, you’ll swear it’s baked lasagna.  Only it’s not baked.  Lasagna cooked on the stovetop?  I can see you shaking your head in disbelief.  But it’s true.

Lasagna cooked in a skillet.

Lasagna cooked in a skillet.

Layered up with sauce, noodles, cheeses and butternut squash just like the real thing, because it IS the real thing, and dang, is it ever good!   Now, making lasagna is pretty close to rocket science, so I want you to pay close attention here.

Remember to cut the squash into small cubes, or if unsure about size, use a package of frozen squash that’s been thawed.

Marinara sauce does not contain meat, so this will be a meatless meal!!!!

 

Pretend you don't see meatballs here.  Mr. D. wanted them!!

Pretend you don’t see meatballs here. Mr. D. wanted them!!    🙂

 

SKILLET LASAGNA WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Yield:    Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1  (12-ounce) package frozen chopped butternut squash. thawed.  (I used fresh butternut, cubed, and precooked in the microwave to soften)IMG_8734
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan and /or pecorino romano cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh chopped rosemary
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups jarred marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella (about 8 oz.)

Directions:

1.  Combine the squash, ricotta, 3/4 cup parmesan, the rosemary and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

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In another bowl, combine the marinara sauce and basil.  I took a shortcut here by using a marinara sauce that included basil, and added a little more dried basil to it.

2.  Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara in a large nonstick skillet.  Cover with 2 lasagna noodles.  Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, then sprinkle with one-third of the mozzarella.  Add another layer of noodles the remaining ricotta mixture, 1 cup marinara and half of the remaining mozzarella.

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3.  Top with remaining marinara and mozzarella.  Sprinkle with the remaining  1/4 cup parmesan.

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4.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the pasta is tender and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.  (Check halfway through, if the edges seem dry, add up to 1/2 cup water.)  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine

Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos

Around here we take our nachos very seriously.  Very, very seriously.

What this means is that we really do love nachos, and both Mr. D. and I agree we like them loaded with as much stuff as I can get my hands on.

When making nachos, it’s a little like building a house.  First you start with a good foundation (tortilla chips), then you build up the structure, a tower of multi layers of  seasoned beef, beans, crisp waffle fries, and cheeses.  Then you top it all off with some pico de gallo, that you made yourself; savory, colorful, and so delish.

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When you look at the ingredient list for these nachos, it looks like a lot, but really it isn’t.  It all comes together when you experience that first perfect bite that contains a little bit of everything.  Yes, indeed!

I made these for New Year’s Eve.  They served as our supper, but you can serve them as an appetizer, or a snack.  (Think Super Bowl coming up.)  Once you start on them it’s hard to stop so take my advice and make a lot.

LOADED NACHOS

Yield:  Servings:  4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 lb.  ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, chili beans, or ranch style beans
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • tortilla chips
  • frozen waffle potato fries
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup Mexican Blend, Taco blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 – 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 whole jalapeño, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (or use parsley)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • sour cream, (optional)

Directions:

Start by cooking the waffle fries.  Follow package directions for oven temperature and length of time needed to get them  crispy on the edges.  Once cooked, remove from oven and set aside. If you prefer you may omit the waffle fries and use all tortilla chips throughout.  I prefer the fries because I like the texture contrasts in the finished nachos.

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Next, dice up half the onion….

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Heat up a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil….

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and add in the chopped onion.

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Cook the onions for a minute or two, then add in the ground beef.

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Break it up and let it cook until the meat is browned.  Drain off any fat that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan.

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Open the beans and add them to the pan along with the seasonings.    Stir it around to mix in the spices and blend the flavors.

Pour in the hot water to make it a little more saucy.  Reduce the heat to Low and let it simmer while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.

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Next, chop up the rest of the onion, making a fine dice.

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Next up,   chop up those tomatoes.  This is how I do it:  cut off the tops, then cut them into slices, then cut the slices into strips.  Now cross-cut the strips to dice them.  If you are using a jalapeño, use the same technique to dice it.

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Peel and seed the avocado, cut into strips, then crosscut into cubes.

Now, throw the onions, tomatoes, avocado and jalapeño into a bowl.  Tell them to get acquainted, you’ll be right back.

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Tear the leaves off half a bunch of cilantro (or parsley) and chop roughly.   Throw that into the bowl.

Cut a lime in half, and squeeze in the juice.  Add a little salt and pepper.

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And  stir it all together.  That’s your Pico de Gallo!!

We like it a little chunky, but if your family likes it more finely chopped, that’s great.  It will all taste the same.

Finely, the cheese 🙂  I grated a yellow cheddar and used a package of Taco Blend.  I did not mix them together.  You’ll see why in a minute.

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To assemble the nachos, make a single layer of chips on a platter or large plate.

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Scoop up a big ole spoonful of the beef/bean mixture and sprinkle it all over the chips.  Messy is good, so let it be!

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Sprinkle on a layer of cheddar,

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This is where the goodness-level jumps up a notch:  Put on a layer of waffle fries….

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And another layer of beef and beans…

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Then a nice layer of Taco blend, and another layer of waffle fries.

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Now use up the remainder of the beef/bean mixture to top it all,  and a final layer of Taco blend or cheddar (your choice).

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I put mine back into the still warm oven (turned off), and let the cheese melt.  Alternately, you could nuke the whole shebang for about 45  seconds until the cheese is perfectly melted.

AND THEN….

Spoon the Pico de Gallo on top of it all.   Why?   Because this is the roof on the house, or the flowers in the garden.   It’s the finishing touch that keeps you going back for more.   And it looks so pretty!

AND, because it’s all the veggies that makes this platter of nachos healthy.  I know for sure it’s what makes them so delicious!

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I hope you enjoy my approach to making nachos.  Try them real soon, and of course, you can add whatever extras you like:  sour cream, chopped black olives, chopped green onions–anything.  My favorite part are the chips on the bottom that start to soften under all the gooey ingredients, while the waffle fries stay crisp.  Divine!

SOURCE:   Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Leftover Turkey Dinner Baked Dish

 

Leftover Turkey Dinner Baked Dish

Leftover Turkey Dinner Baked Dish

 

Thanksgiving may be over, but there are more winter holidays ahead and that probably means there’s going to be more turkey on your table.  And that means more leftovers.    I have a few standard dishes that I make with leftover turkey beside the all-you-cram-into-it sandwich.  There’s turkey pot pie that we love, (see my chicken pot pie recipe) and turkey tetrazzini, another comforting favorite.  But sometimes you just want to make something new.

Every layer of this dish has something in it that you will love.

Every layer of this dish has something in it that you will love.

Here’s a recipe that is definitely new, because I just made it up.  It’s based on a number of recipes that I had seen for turkey pot-pie, but this is a mash-up that includes your stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy.  It’s like having the whole dinner again in a new form,  and it tastes fabulous all over again too.

LEFTOVER TURKEY DINNER BAKED DISH

Yield:  Makes approximately 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked stuffing
  • 3 -4 Tbsp chicken or turkey broth

    Get out all your bowls of leftovers.

    Get out all your bowls of leftovers.

  • 2 Tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup turkey gravy
  • 2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
  • 1 cup vegetables, such as peas, carrots, green beans, small white onions, mushrooms, etc.
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, swiss or cheddar is good
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk or half and half
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, same kind as above.

Directions:

1.  In a small bowl, combine stuffing and enough broth to reach desired moistness;  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch square baking dish, or deep dish pie pan.  Bake at 350*F for 10 – 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Make a bottom crust with stuffing.

Make a bottom crust with stuffing.

 

I had a few mushrooms to use up so I cooked them up with some onions.

I had a few mushrooms to use up so I cooked them up with some onions.

2.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and gravy until smooth.  Stir in the turkey, vegetables, grated cheese, salt and pepper.  Spoon over stuffing crust.

Mix vegetables into gravy.

Mix vegetables into gravy.

Stir in cut up turkey.

Stir in cut up turkey.

3.  In a small bowl, combine potatoes and cream to loosen the potatoes and make them spreadable.  Spread over the turkey filling mixture.

Drop mounds of mashed potato over the filling and spread it out.

Drop mounds of mashed potato over the filling and spread it out.

Drizzle with butter, if using;  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Drizzle with melted butter, if using, and shredded cheese.

Drizzle with melted butter, if using, and shredded cheese.

4..  Bake at 350*F.  for 25 – 30 minutes or until bubbly, heated through and browned.  Serve with additional gravy, that has been warmed.

Hot and bubbly out of the oven.

Hot and bubbly out of the oven.

Serve with additional gravy, if desired.

Serve with additional gravy, if desired.

SOURCE:    A Carolyn’s Original

 

Wiener- Kraut

Weiner-Kraut with Spatzele

Weiner-Kraut with Spatzele

I’m a little late getting this post up.   I made this dish several weeks ago with a nod to Octoberfest.  But what the heck, just call it Novemberfest.

What’s Oktoberfest if not an excuse to indulge–isn’t that why we co-oped the German holiday, after all?

This is an old Mennonite recipe, brought by those folks when they immigrated to this country.   I found it in a catalog from the Penzey’s Spice Company.  It’s relatively quick to prepare and perfect for a chilly fall day after working out in the yard.  It can be served over mashed potatoes, or egg noodles, but when I made it I used a package of Spaetzle and served it all with fresh green beans.  A cold glass of beer goes very well with this dish. Dirndles and lederhosen not required.

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WIENER-KRAUT

Yield:   Serves 6 – 8IMG_8467

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
  • 4  Polish or German-style sausages ( 1 1/2 – 2 pounds), sliced 1/4-inch thick.  (I used kielbasa.)
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper, 1 medium
  • 4 cups sliced or shredded cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp. Krakow Nights, or Tsardust Seasoning (from Penzey’s)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice ( in a pinch, use chicken broth)

Directions:

1.  In a large deep skillet, melt the butter  or vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the sausage slices and brown, about 4 minutes per side.  Add the onion and cook until tender 3 – 5 minutes, stirring often.

Browning the sausage with onions.

Browning the sausage with onions.

2.  Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, being sure to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the apples, bell peppers, cabbage, seasonings and apple juice or cider.

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Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender but not mushy.

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Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or spaetzle.

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SOURCE:  Penzey’s Catalog

BLT Pizza

BLT Pizza with White Sauce

BLT Pizza with White Sauce

All the world seems to love bacon.  Although I am not really a bacon fanatic, I do love a good BLT sandwich, so the thought of enjoying all the flavors of the classic sandwich in the form of a pizza seemed fantastic.  I wish I had thought of it myself.   I knew that I had an open package of bacon from our favorite meat shop in the fridge, and some fresh ripe tomatoes from our local farm stand.  I also had a package of arugula and baby greens intended for a salad, so the moment I saw this pizza, I knew it was meant to be.

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This turned out to be so good I thought about it for days afterwards.   Mr. D. says it’s the best pizza I’ve ever made.  All the components of your favorite sandwich are here including the mayonnaise.  By adding some oil to the mayo it makes a creamy sauce that is used to fully cover the dough and gives a richer taste to the pizza.   We both enjoyed this pizza so much that I know that I’ll be making this one again and again.   It’s a keeper!

BLT PIZZA WITH WHITE SAUCE

Yield:   1 10-inch pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, or green onions (tops only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated, or finely minced
  • 4 center-cut slices lean bacon
  • 1 pound fresh pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup baby arugula
Roast tomatoes, cook bacon, prepare sauce.

Roast tomatoes, cook bacon, prepare sauce.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Place a pizza stone in the oven to preheat.  (If you don’t have a pizza stone, use a round or flat baking sheet)

2.  Arrange tomato slices on a piece of parchment paper;  sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Place on a baking sheet or pizza stone, and bake for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are no longer wet.  Remove tomatoes and and allow to cool slightly while you make the sauce and prepare the dough.

3.  Combine mayonnaise, oil, chives, and garlic in a small bow.

4.  Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp;  drain on paper towels.  Break into pieces.

5.  Increase oven temperature to 450*F.  Using floured hands, pat dough into a 10-inch circle.  Place on the baking sheet or pizza stone that has been sprinkled with corn meal.  Pierce dough with a fork; transfer to preheated oven.  Bake at 450*F for 5 minutes.

6.  Carefully remove from the oven.  Brush mayonnaise mixture over crust, leaving a small border;   top with tomatoes.

Cover crust with mayo mixture then top with tomato slices.

Cover crust with mayo mixture then top with tomato slices.

Sprinkle with bacon and cheese; coat crust edges with cooking spray.

Add bacon and cheese next.

Add bacon and cheese next.

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7.  Bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts and crust browns.  Before serving top with arugula.  Cut into 8 wedges.

A BLT on a pizza--the best of both.

A BLT on a pizza–the best of both worlds.

 

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Keeping it Simple

You’re going without makeup, walking around barefoot and even actually reading hardcover books.  Midsummer is here.   That means life is easy, and you’re  enjoying the simple things.    I hope that extends to your meal planning.

Here’s where a good pasta recipe comes in.  And those tomatoes that are really starting to ripen up?   Make them the star of the dish.  Roast or sauté 3 -4 of them along with some garlic and pour over thin spaghetti cooked al dente..  Then, before serving, top with chopped fresh basil and grate some cheese on top.   Oh my!  All that goodness in one place—-I think I might swoon!

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

The kind of tomatoes you use for this dish can be any kind you have available.  I’m partial to roma/plum tomatoes because they are so meaty without a ton of seeds,  Sometimes I mix different kinds for some variation.  In the version I made here, I added some small meatballs to the sauce and let them simmer just to cook through, making it a little more hearty–the way Mr. D. likes it.  Lots of fresh basil cut up on top is a must, and let everyone grate on some Parmesan cheese.

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SPAGHETTI WITH FRESH TOMATOES AND CHEESE

Yield:  Makes 4 main-dish servingsIMG_7846

Ingredients:

  • 1  (8-oz.) package spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, use a good quality with a nice fruity aroma
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 – 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. fresh basil, torn
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • more bail for garnish
  • grated Parmesan cheese for serving (vegans, omit the cheese)

Directions:

1.  In a 6-quart saucepan, cook spaghetti as label directs.

2.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add mixed garlic and cook until tender, 1 – 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, 2 tsp. torn basil and salt;   heat through.    If adding meatballs, cover, and simmer on low to heat through, stirring occasionally.

3.  Drain spaghetti, and save 1/4 cup cooking liquid.    Pour into serving bowl,  pour tomato sauce over, and stir to coat.  Add cooking liquid a little at a time, if needed, to further loosen the sauce.  Sprinkle more chopped basil over the top and serve.  Pass the grated cheese.

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This is my idea of great summer eating;  pick those tomatoes while they’re still warm with sunshine, cut them up, cook briefly, and eat ASAP.  Sigh!

SOURCE:  Carolyn’s Originals