Category Archives: Parmesan cheese

Lightened Up Lasagna Soup

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TGIF!! It has been a long week here. Well, a long couple of weeks actually. This flu that is flooding the country found it’s way to my house and,even though I had the shot, I got hit hard by it. Kevin on the other hand, who didn’t get the shot, was fine. Although there was quite a bit of hand washing, Purell usage, and banishment to the sofa for a few days. It’s OK, I was as comfy as I could be considering the circumstances. A trip to the ER, IV fluids, and Tamiflu helped me to kick the worst of it. But the residual cough is a killer. My heart and prayers go out to everyone that has/is suffering from this! 
Now, on to the good stuff, the food! I was so happy when I was able to (and had the desire to) cook again. It seemed strange to be back in my little kitchen after so long away. But cooking is like riding a bike right? So I jumped back on and peddled away.
I had been eyeing a recipe by Paula Deen for Lasagna soup before my desire to eat anything more than jello and popsicles kicked in. So that was the first thing I wanted to make when I felt better. However, and I do so love Ms Paula, it was packed full of fat and calories! So I tackled the challenge of trying to remove a bit of both from the recipe. 
I am so very happy to announce that even though the fat and calories were reduced, the flavor was not. This is some seriously good soup guys! Even Mr “Soup is not a meal” raved about it and ended up finishing his bowl and part of mine. He was also very happy to package the leftovers in a freezer bag for a future meal. I was, as you cam imagine, very pleasantly surprised! 
I myself referred to this soup as a little bit of heaven in a bowl, so you know how I felt about it. Seriously though, give this soup a try, you will not regret it I promise!!
Lightened Up Lasagna Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used 1 teaspoon)
6 broken whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese, plus some for sprinkling

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large sauce pot  Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, approx 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the noodles, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with a little extra mozzarella cheese if wanted.

Spicy Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions

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The other night I made one of my favorite soups, Cream of Mushroom with Port Wine. It has been cold and rainy as usual here in the Pacific Northwest, so I was craving something creamy, rich, and warm. But, like I have said in the past, if I try to put soup on the table and call it dinner Kevin thinks I have lost my mind. So my new plan is, when I want to make soup (which will be a LOT this winter), I will make some kind of a sandwich for him. That way we can both be happy right?
Well I can tell you he was very happy when he found out that I was making Steak Sandwiches. It was not only meat, but it was nice thick cut beef. You would think I gave him a million dollars when I handed him this sandwich! Hhhmmm maybe that is the answer to what to give him for Christmas. Naaa I can’t wrap up steaks, they would go bad. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

He was actually happy with the soup as well. He loves mushrooms and with the port wine in the soup it has such a rich deep flavor it complimented the steak very very well. He even took a sandwich and soup for lunch the next day. I told him he would really appreciate that soup when he was cold at work and it was warm and creamy. I was right. Well why would he even doubt me?
I have to say that I blew it on the picture gang. Fist I am still having problems with my lighting so that is always an issue. But, and I will blame this on Kevin wanting his sandwich right away, this sandwich does not have the caramelized onions on it! UGH!! I didn’t realize my mess up until we had already started eating and he asked where his onions were. So you will have to take my word that they looked scrumptious!!
Also, I am very excited to announce I have been nominated for 2012 Best Food Blogger!! I can’t tell you how shocked I was when I received the notification. So if you could just do me a favor by clicking the little “love” button at the top right corner, or just click on the name of my blog in the same area, you will be able to give me a vote. Thank you all so much!!
Spicy Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. olive oil 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 1-1/4 lb. flank steak 
4 large sandwich rolls, split 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup light mayonnaise 
3 tablespoons horseradish 
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mixed greens  


Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat until hot, or heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onion slices and sautee the onions until they begin to brown lightly, approx 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Season the steak with salt and pepper and grill, flipping once, until cooked to your liking. Approx 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain
Toast the rolls cut side down on the hot grill pan until lightly browned.

Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, horseradish, and cayenne in a small bowl and spread it on the bottom halves of the rolls.

Divide the onion, steak, and greens among the rolls and serve.

ENJOY!!!

Italian Style Skillet Pie

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The other day I was watching Symon’s Suppers on The Cooking Channel. I adore Michael Symon! I love his sense of humor, his talent, how energetic and caring he is. WOW am I gushing? Ya, I think he is pretty sexy too, but that might just be a foodie thing.
Anyway, I love watching his show. I am always finding things I want to make as soon as possible. He always seems to mix up flavors and give you little surprises here and there. When I saw this dish on his show I liked the sound of it. I had made the potato/cauliflower mash he used for the topping of the pie before and loved it.  I loved the idea of cooking in my cast iron skillet, something I have been wanting to try more and more, and I also loved that it was a “One Pot” meal so I wouldn’t have a ton of dishes to do after dinner. Also, it is a bit of a twist on Shepherds Pie, which is a favorite here.

I have been trying to lighten things up a bit where I can. In this dish I try by using turkey sausage in place of ground beef. The potato/cauliflower mashed topping already did that for me, but if you wanted to sub all cauliflower for the mix of potato and cauliflower you could and that would save more carbs for you. I just prefer the mix as we aren’t big fans of the strong cauliflower taste. I do use butter in this but you just can’t sub anything else in my mind.
It was a fun dish to make for me. I was kind of winging it a bit and when it came out so good, and got Kevin’s stamp of approval, I was a happy camper. He even took it for lunch the next day and I ate the last of it yesterday for lunch, so no waste with this meal at all! 
Italian Style Skillet Pie
Adapted from Michael Symon’s Cast-Iron Ground Beef Pie
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 package Italian style ground turkey sausage (usually come in 1 1/3 package)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 head cauliflower, core removed and quartered
1 cup chopped celery, plus 1/2 cup celery leaves
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend 
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of red wine
1/2 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped (some reserved for topping if wanted)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons room temperature butter
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with cold water and add the potatoes, cauliflower and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes.

Pour the olive oil into a preheated 8-inch cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Allow the oil to heat up, and then add the turkey sausage, salt and pepper. Press the meat into the pan and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes, and then flip and caramelize the other side.

When the sausage is caramelized, remove it from the pan and set aside. Add the celery, celery leaves and onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Return the cooked sausage to the pan and stir in the parsley. Add a red wine. Remove from the heat and set aside. Adjust seasoning if needed.

When the potatoes and cauliflower are done cooking, drain and mash well. Stir in the Parmesan and butter until thoroughly combined.

Spread the potato mixture over the beef mixture in the pan, and smooth the top to seal in the sausage mixture.

Bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes. Top with chopped parsley leaves if desired. 

ENJOY!


Shared at the Lady 8 Home

Baked Spaghetti

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I know this isn’t the prettiest dish I have presented to you, but it sure was a tasty one! I had no plans whatsoever to make this dish. It came about because I have been trying to be a good girl and use up all of my leftovers. I had marinara sauce left over from making the Caprese Meatball Subs, and the Pizza Balls, and I wanted to use it up. So into my fridge I went, digging for some ingredients to cook up a meal that Kevin would enjoy. Out I came with Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese. I knew I could do something with that.
I had heard of baked spaghetti before but had never tried it. I do however love pasta carbonara and I figured I would go along those lines to try my spaghetti baking experiment errr experience. I wish there had been some parsley in my fridge, but it came out really good without it.

Again, I think Kevin was a bit skeptical when I told him what we were having. I think it was kind of like;
Kevin – What’s for dinner?
Me – Baked Spaghetti.
Kevin – What?
Me – Baked Spaghetti!
Kevin – What in the heck is that?
Me – It is spaghetti mixed with lots of ingredients and baked in an oven *annoyed look*
Kevin – Smart a……
Of course, as usual, he had to eat his words (pardon the pun) because he really liked it. In fact he liked it so much he took it to work the next day for lunch and took some extra so his boss could have some too. I love it when that happens!!
If you want to make this recipe a bit quicker you could use jarred marinara sauce, but my recipe is so easy and I just love the fresh flavor better. Either way though, I hope you give it a try!!
Baked Spaghetti
16 ounces (1 package) spaghetti noodles
1 pound Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
4 cups Marinara Sauce (see recipe below)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
For the Marinara Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Recommended San Marzano)
2 6 ounce cans of tomatoes paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in half of the minced garlic and cook one more minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomatoes paste, water, half of the chopped oregano, and the bay leaf. (Add more water if sauce seems too thick). Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer. Leftovers can be frozen if needed.

Meanwhile cook the spaghetti per package directions. 

Crumble Italian sausage into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until no pink remains. Drain fat if needed. Stir in Marinara sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs, Parmesan cheese, and butter together. Drain spaghetti and toss with the egg mixture. Spray the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish with  non stick spray. Place the spaghetti in the casserole dish. Top with meat sauce and sliced mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 5 minutes or until cheese gets bubbly.

ENJOY

Shared at The Lady 8 Home

Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Brussels Sprouts, and Apples

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I have been trying to come up with some new side dishes that include ingredients that you might not think about using together. I of course have a difficult time not using pasta or rice because, well I a just a huge pasta lover. Rice runs a close second. So I knew I wanted to start with one of those as a base. Pasta of course won the battle. Caramelized onions are another love of mine and I like to use them in many of my dishes. Shoot, sometimes I just caramelize a bunch of onions to have in the fridge so I can use them on sandwiches or in omelets.
Just over this past year or so I have discovered that I really enjoy Brussles sprouts. When I was a child I couldn’t stand them. Mostly because all my Mom did was steam them with no seasoning. I didn’t like that strong cabbage flavor, I didn’t like them hard, and I surely didn’t like the smell of them cooking! So when Kevin and I were looking through some food magazines before Thanksgiving last year, we ran across a recipe using Brussels sprouts and Kevin told me liked them and wondered why I had never made them, I decided I needed to let my childhood aversion of them go and give the little green guys another shot.
OK so now I have pasta, onions, Brussels sprout, but I knew I wanted another level of flavor. I decided with the bitterness of the Brussels sprouts, and the smokiness of caramelized onions, i wanted to add something sweet to balance it all out. What came to mind? Apples. I mean I do live in Washington and right now you have a difficult time going anywhere without tripping over an apple! OK I am exaggerating a bit, but there are a butt ton of apples available in Washington right now!!

I had the major players for the dish but now had to think about how I wanted to put it all together. I of course turned to my favorite liquid, wine! I don’t know which I do more of, cook with wine, or drink wine. I am a huge wino errr wine connoisseur and really enjoy trying different wines to boost the flavors in some of my day to day dishes. While I was cooking with Heather (my son’s girlfriend) last night she asked me what things she could do to pep up some of the less expensive dishes she might be making. I told her that a little splash of wine, fresh herbs, or even lemon juice, can give a dish a whole new life.
So now we are down to make this dish. When Kevin came home and asked what was on the menu I told about the dish I had come up with. He gave me a funny look. When I questioned him as to why the look. He said it sounded good but he would have never thought to put those things all together in a dish. He said he was still very excited to try the dish, especially when I told him I had decided to add bacon as well. Bacon makes everything better right? I just thought the saltiness would be a nice addition and remembered a dish I made last Christmas that had Brussels sprouts as well as bacon in it and they played very nicely together.
Now we are down to make this meal. I was making my Pesto and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts as well, so I had many dishes, pots, and ingredients all over my kitchen counters. OK remember I told you my new kitchen is small? I mean it is seriously small! Like so small you have to go outside to change your mind small!! Now that you know that, picture counters covered, and two people in the kitchen, one of which is on the verge of a panic attack! Why was I loosing my cool? Well again you have to remember I have never cooked on an electric stove. WOW who knew that it is sooooo different from gas and why did they not beat  this information into my head?
I prepared the chicken easy enough, minus the heart attack I damn near gave Kevin (see above linked recipe for my attempt on Kevin’s life), and had all of my veggies chopped and ready to go. I cooked the bacon and removed it to drain. Then place my little green buddies cut side down in the bacon dippings to get a nice browned edge on them and crisp them up a bit. Once they were browned I was going to add my onions and then cook them both down a bit to caramelize them. However my stove had another plan for the dish. After placing just a few of the sprouts in the pan I realized that they were going to burn before I could get the others in the pan to join them. Now I am trying to grab sprouts out of a hot pan and panicking trying to figure out how I am going to get them to cook evenly. Kevin calmly stepped in and took over. He removed the pan from the heat long enough for me to place all of the Brussels sprouts in it and then returned it to the heat. 
I know it seems simple, but at the time I was arguing because the pan should be hot to sear the Brussels sprouts and I was cooking it the way I always do. Mind you I was saying these things in the middle of bouncing around and muttering like a mad woman saying things like “wait..will that work” “but….I never do it that way” “God bless America this is going to burn” and (almost in tears) “I am going to ruin this dish”. Yes, not my coolest moment folks. But I allowed Kevin to take over for a bit, and he smoothly took me to a calmer place and I was able to step in and take over. Finishing the dish without another hitch, and feeling like a complete idiot for my previous freak out. He just smirked at me. Hey he owed me one right?
Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Brussels Sprouts, and Apples
6 slices of bacon, chopped
10 to 12 ounces of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and vertically halved
1 medium onion, sliced
3/4 cup chicken broth (can sub Vegetable stock for a vegetarian meal)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 apple (recommend Honeycrisp), cored and chopped
1/2 box of spaghetti noodles
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Cook bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, reserve.

 Increase heat to medium-high, place Brussels sprouts cut-side down in the pan and cook without stirring, until sprouts begin to crisp and brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and toss to combine with the sprouts, cooking and stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn a golden brown. Add the broth, wine, andapples, scraping up any fond from the bottom of the skillet, and bring to a fast simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium,  cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta per package directions, reserving ΒΌ cup of the cooking water. Transfer pasta to the skillet with the sprouts and liquid and toss continuously over medium-high heat for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add reserved cooking water a bit at a time if needed. Add the Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper and  top with reserved bacon.

ENJOY!!

This post also shared on Morsels of Life

Caprese Meatball Subs

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Pardon the in your face picture, but I think I was trying to eat this sandwich through the camera!! I have been having a love affair with anything “caprese” lately. I adore caprese salad and even turned it into a sandwich with my Open Face Chicken Caprese Sandwich! So the other night Subway was mentioned on my Facebook page as an alternative meal due to the fact that I had a major blond moment and forgot to thaw out the meat I needed for dinner that night. Well Kevin isn’t a big fan of Subway so that didn’t go over to well (plus I really needed to cook so you all would have a post to read). Luckily Kevin agreed to go to the store for me on his way home from work and the meal crisis was avoided. Yay!! But that did give me an idea. 
One of the sandwiches I loved at Subway was their meatball sub. I wanted to make a meatball sub, but add a twist to interest Kevin. If you have been with me for a while you know that he used to despise pesto until he tried my homemade pesto. Now he loves it and I have used it in several recipes. Anyway, I remembered seeing a recipe by Kelsey Nixon for Caprese Meatballs in the slow cooker, so I decided to take that idea and use it for my sandwiches. I didn’t do mine in the slow cooker though. I baked them and finished them in my homemade marinara sauce. 

It seems that I have been coming up with some messy sandwiches in the last couple of weeks. Yes, this is messy but the flavors are so good! The mix of the pesto, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and crunchy bread was over the top. I fill up pretty quickly, especially if I am eating bread, so I had half of my sandwich left and Kevin gobbled it right down. I think the only conversation I got out of him during the meal was mmmmmm and WOW this is really good. I was really glad he liked is since I pretty much made it for him!
The recipe is for 2 subs so if you are making more just double or triple it. But it makes 6 good sized meatballs which was perfect on the rolls I picked up from the bakery and with the cheese and sauce they are very filling. Plus they went really well with a nice glass of red wine!!
Caprese Meatball Subs 

1/2 pound lean ground turkey or chicken
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese, plus some for sprinkling
2 tablespoons egg beaters (or one small egg)
1/4 cup pesto (see recipe below)
1 thick slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 6 cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Marinara sauce (recipe below)
2 sub rolls


For the Pesto:
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, tossing occasionally to ensure even toasting, about 5 minutes. Combine all of the pesto ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse, drizzle in the olive oil slowly until well combined but still rough-textured (You may not use all of the oil or you made need a bit more to get to the desired consistency). Leftovers can be frozen if needed.

For the Marinara Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Recommended San Marzano)
2 6 ounce cans of tomatoes paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in half of the minced garlic and cook one more minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomatoes paste, water, half of the chopped oregano, and the bay leaf. (Add more water if sauce seems too thick). Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer. Leftovers can be frozen if needed.


For the Meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non stick spray

Combine the turkeybreadcrumbs, Parmesan, pesto, salt, pepper and egg in a large mixing bowl with your hands, taking care to not overwork the meat. Form golf ball-size meatballs and stuff each with 1 mozzarella cube. Evenly space the meatballs on the baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown, 15 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and place them in the simmering sauce, cover with the lid.

Split the sub rolls and open them slightly, place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until toasty, about 5 minutes.

Place 3 meatballs on each sub and smother with with the marinara sauce, top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

ENJOY!


Chicken Parmesan BLTs

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Hello to you fabulous foodies! Have you missed me? I sure have missed you!! I can’t believe this move has kept me away for 2 weeks! I can tell you that moving blows and I will never move again if I have anything to do with it. If we have to move, we will hire someone to do it next time instead of thinking we are 20 years younger and our backs, among other parts, were up to the task. My chiropractor asked me if I had been in a car crash!!! 

I am still trying to find places for all of my kitchen stuff, as this kitchen is waaaay smaller than my other one. It is proving to be quite difficult but I will prevail! I refuse to have my butt kicked by pantry items and pots and pans!! I am also having to learn how to cook on an electric stove, something I am not happy about I can tell you. Luckily Kevin had an electric stove before we met so he is helping me figure it out, but as soon as we can you can bet we will be installing a gas stove!!

Since I am organizing, and learning, I have not been able to cook any meals for the blog in my new home. I cooked our first real dinner in the new place last night. A simple pork loin with rosemary and garlic, mashed potatoes, and sauteed asparagus. After eating on the go for the last few weeks it was so nice to sit down to a nice quiet meal, just the two of us.

This sandwich was one of the last things I made in the old house. I am a bit obsessed with BLTs right now. I have been trying to turn everything into a BLT. Some are good, others not so much, but this was amazing, but a warning, is not a meal for those that don’t like mess. This is a great messy in your face sandwich. We loved it! I guess you could of course use a knife and fork if you want, but we didn’t and laughed at each other through yumms and mmms about how good it was. We have a few sammies on our list of ones to make again, and this is on it for sure! I hope you give it a try.

What is your favorite sandwich?

Chicken Parmesan BLTs
adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray

  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes (squish them in a bowl with your hands to break them up a bit)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper, thinly sliced with seeds (can sub 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

  • For the Chicken Parmesan Cutlets:
  • 1 chicken breasts, halved across, 2 cutlets total
  • Flour, for dredging, in shallow dish
  • 1 large eggs, beaten in shallow dish
  • cup Panko breadcrumbs or homemade coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt 
  • Coarse ground pepper
  • Olive oil for frying

  • For the BLT Topping:
  • 4 slicesthick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup light or fat free ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fat fee evaporated milk (can sub half-n-half)
  • A drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt 
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced to desired thickness
  • Lettuce, torn
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 2 crusty style hoagie rolls, toasted 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To prepare the sauce heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chilies, cook until fragrant and garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes. Season with salt and simmer over low heat partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pound chicken cutlets to about 1/8 inch. Season them with salt and pepper. Set up three dishes, one with the flour, one with the eggs and another with the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Coat chicken in flour, shaking off any excess then dip them in the egg and then in breadcrumb mixture. Fry in shallow oil over medium to medium- high heat until deeply golden. Keep cutlets warm in the oven on a rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet.

Combine the ricotta cheese in a bowl with thyme, lemon zest, olive oil, evaporated milk, and salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken from the oven and place rack at center of oven then switch on broiler. Toast the rolls and remove. Arrange chicken on roll bottoms in this order: cutlet, sauce, 2 slices mozzarella cheese. Broil until mozzarella is bubbly. Top with bacon, lettuce, tomato. Generously apply ricotta mixture to roll tops and set into place. Have lots of napkins!

ENJOY!!

2 servings

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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My son’s girlfriend brought over these huge zucchinis from her Mom and Dad’s garden. I love zucchini but these bad boys were big! I thought about frying them in slices and making some kind of spicy dipping sauce but I just hated to take those big beauties and fry them. Then I thought about the stuffed peppers I made and thought that the stuffing would work so well using the zucchini in place of the peppers. I mean the stuffing already has gated zucchini in it so I knew the flavors would be awesome. Plus it was taking a nice fresh veggie and keeping it on the healthy side. My stuffing uses turkey sausage and low fat cheese. 
When I ran the idea by the rest of my housemates everyone thought it sounded like a winner so that was enough for me, the decision was made. Then with Kevin’s father having to be placed in a nursing home, and us wanting to be there at mealtimes as much as possible so we can make sure he is eating, The ingredients just sat in my refrigerator. To be honest when I pulled them out last night was afraid that they wouldn’t be usable anymore and I would be making a trip to the store. But I wouldn’t be able to replace those big beautiful zucchinis. I crossed my fingers and pulled them out of the fridge. Yesssss they were fine, just like I first got them, thank you Lord!!! 

They came out better than I ever could have expected, they really did! I wish now I had made more. I just cooked the two large (extra large) zucchinis halved. So I had leftover stuffing. The original recipe was enough stuffing for 6 bell peppers so if you have 6 zucchinis it would be perfect. I also subbed yellow squash for the zucchini in my original recipe because I was already stuffing zucchini I wanted something else in the mix. 
Like I said, these came out so much better than I could have ever imagined. Kevin loves my stuffed peppers and he said he may just like these even more. Wow now I am in competition with myself! I love it!!
Turkey Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
6  large zucchinis
1 (28-ounce) can of Italian tomatoes
2 medium yellow squash, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup low fat mozzarella for the topping
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock, plus and extra cup for baking.
1 1/2 orzo (rice shaped pasta)
1 pound turkey sweet Italian sausage ( I used Jennie-O)
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Pour the tomatoes in a large bowl and break apart using your fingers or potato masher. Add the squash, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Bring the 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook to package instructions. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the vegetables, reserving the chicken stock. Stir to combine the orzo and veggies and pour the chicken stock into a 3 quart baking dish.

Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside of each zucchini, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh in each one. If zucchinis will not stand up use a knife to shave off a bit of the bottom to make it even. Set zucchinis into baking dish with all of the chicken stock. 

Mix 1 cup Pecorino Romano with the 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves. Set asaide.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, crumble and brown the turkey sausage until it is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and minced garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the orzo mixture and cook for about a minute to warm. Remove from the heat and spoon the mixture into the zucchinis. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle each zucchini boat with the cheese parsley mix. Return to oven and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and allow the zucchinis to cool about 5 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!!

Farfalle with Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce

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Funny little story. There once was a food blogger that jumped into blogging with both feet. She was so excited to find something that made her so happy, she really felt she had found her calling. She cooked many many meals making her family feel as though they might burst at the seams. She typed her little fingers off creating post after post that she hoped would not only entertain her readers (all 50 of them) with her words, but with her recipes as well. She had no method to her madness. Just cook, cook, cook, write, write, write, post, post, post. And then one day she decided to organize her photo files, you see she had become much more organized in her meal planning and posting, and felt it was past time for the photos to be organized as well. When what to her curious eyes appeared, but several photo’s of food she had cooked that she had never posted. ARRGGG she thought cursing at her computer screen, “How could I have missed posting these?”. Moral to the story? Be more organized and also, don’t talk to your computer screen because if someone hears you you might end up heavily medicated!

Yes my darling foodie friends, that crazy absent minded blogger is me, and the oh so lovely (that would be sarcasm my friends) photo is one of the very first photos I took for my blog. It is nice to see I have improved just a bit. The recipe though, it is still fresh and new, and just as good as it ever was. 
My friend Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls told me yesterday that I am the Queen of pasta. It made me giggle a bit. I don’t know if I am the Queen but I sure do love to eat it! I also love quick and easy recipes that your whole family will love. I think this one fits into that category quite nicely. I hope you agree!!
Farfalle with Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage (sold in bulk or links with casings removed)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can of whole Italian tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cup heavy cream (can sub fat free evaporated milk)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt
1 box farfalle (bow tie) pasta
Grated Parmesan for garnish

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the post.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until it is no longer pink. Add the onions, garlic, and crushed pepper flakes. Cook until the onion is soft, and sausage has browned. Add the tomatoes and using a potato masher smash them to break them up (or squeeze them in your hand, just be careful of squirting juice). Then add the cream and salt to taste.

Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta and continue to cook until the pasta is thoroughly heated through. Ladle into deep bowls, garnish with chopped parsley and grated cheese.

ENJOY!!



Lemon Basil Pasta

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Last week, for Food Star Friday, I made Giada De Laurentiis’s Shrimp Fra Diavolo. But I wanted to make a pasta to go with it (of course since I am a pastaholic). I knew I had  lemon and basil, and figured they would play well together along with the flavors of the shrimp. They really really did. As a matter of fact I loved the pasta so much I had leftovers that night and added some bacon to it topped with a fried egg (fried eggs are another new obsession). I seriously want to come up with more recipes using this pasta dish as a base, I really really love the freshness of the lemon and basil together. 
The family felt the same way. Kevin always tell me I make too much pasta (ha like there is such a thing), but this did not end up being too much after everyone had seconds. I was lucky I hid a little bit of it so I could enjoy my late night pasta dish!
If you are looking for a side dish for a fish or seafood recipe I would highly recommend this one!

Lemon Basil Pasta

  • 1 pound spaghetti 
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (a couple good handfuls)
  • 3 lemons, juiced and one zested
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup chopped, 1/4 cut into chiffonade for garnish 
  • Salt 
  • Cracked black pepper


  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions. Reserve a cup of the starchy pasta water to thin the sauce if necessary, drain pasta and return to the pot. While the pasta is cooking, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend. 

  • Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, add a 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water at a time as needed to moisten. Stir in the 1/4 cup chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and remaining basil. 

  • ENJOY!