Monday, April 2, 2018

Bolognese Sauce...the Italian way!

 Here are a few helpful tips when 
cooking bolognese that will make this a 
“truly tasty Italian meal”
    1. This is slow food. Do not skip, or rush
 through the ingredients or the process. 
          2. Allow your sauce to cook very gently for 
several hours to deepen the flavors.
      3. Use bacon,  because it truly enhances the flavor
   4. Use the combo of ground meats.
I  use 1 lb beef. and 
1/2 lb Italian sausage
  5. Make sure your ground meats are finely 
 broken up as you brown them.
   6Let the wine reduce by half
     6. Use Tagliatelle Noodles or fettuccine pasta- 
cook al dente- do not overcook
 7. The proper way to serve- is to toss 
the pasta with enough sauce to coat
then dish out and add more sauce to each serving. Sprinkle it with 
the cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
  8. Play a little Frank or Dino while cooking – 
with a big glass of Chianti of course!
10. Most of all,  enjoy the process. 
First, you'll need to get in the mood. Put on your bib
 apron because you're about to do some cooking!
Yes, and get out you Dean Martin CD or playlist.
Gather all the ingredients;
bacon  (or pancetta),
chopped and ready,
Have all the herbs and spices measured and
ready to add.
Use your large heavy pot. Cook the bacon and remove.
Saute the vegetables in the bacon drippings.
Add the garlic.
I'm using ground beef and Italian sausage.
Brown the meat well. Add the seasonings.
Add the tomato paste.
Add the wine.
Add the reserved bacon, crumbled.
Add the tomatoes.
Add the butter, parsley, and cream.
Keep warm until ready to serve.

Bolognese Sauce
1-½ lbs ground beef, 
or (½ lb each beef, veal, sausage)
4 slices of bacon
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, (1-½ C chopped) 
2 carrots (¾ C diced) 
2 celery stalks (¾ C diced)
2 garlic cloves (1T diced)
1 t salt
 ½ t pepper
2 bay leaves
½ t thyme
½ t oregano
½ t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
2 T tomato paste
1 C red wine
28 oz can diced tomatoes
14 oz can tomato sauce
1 C beef broth
½ C cream
2 t sugar
2 T butter
1 lb fettuccine  pasta
3 T chopped fresh parsley
1 C Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
Add bacon and cook until browned, 4-5 minutes.
Remove the bacon to a plate and add the onions, 
carrots, and celery to the drippings. Cook until 
soft4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and
nutmeg; stirring for 30 seconds to blend. Add
 the ground meat, breaking up to cook until 
browned, about 5  minutes. Add the tomato 
paste and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the
 wine, stirring to deglaze the pan and remove any 
browned bit from the bottom of the pan. Reduce
 by half, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes,
 tomato sauce, beef broth, and sugar. Bring to 
a boil then reduce heat to medium low and 
simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, 
about 1-½ hours. Stir in the cream, butter, 
and parsley. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the
 bay leaves, and adjust the seasoning to taste; add
 more salt if necessary. Remove from heat, cover pot 
and keep warm until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water 
to a boil and cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes. 
Serve with sauce and top with parmesan cheese 
and fresh parsley. 


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Green Bean Casserole

The humble green bean casserole has always 
been a popular Thanksgiving side dish.
Did you know that more than 40 million 
Americans will be making it this year?
Why just make it at Thanksgiving? There are
 so many other soft foods that day that I 
prefer a sauted green beans almondine 
or roasted brussels sprouts. 

I like it much better throughout the year
with a roasted chicken, pork roast,
or grilled steak. It's so easy and I can
make it ahead of time.

Green Bean Casserole
2 16oz cans green beans, drained, 4 C
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C milk
1/8 t pepper
1/8 t garlic powder
1 t soy sauce
1-2/3 C French's fried onions
Combine: beans, soup, milk, seasonings and
2/3 onion rings. Pour into a greased 1-1/2 qt
greased casserole. Bake @350º for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir to combine. Top with
remaining 2/3 C onions. Return to the oven  for
another 5  minutes.
Serves 6

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie

You don't need to wait for company to enjoy 
this appetizer treat.  It was the perfect
  little delicious snack to have with our 
Sunday afternoon tea.
This recipe adapts easily to different
flavors and is very similar to
my other baked brie recipe

Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie
1 can crescent rolls
1 8oz round brie cheese
¼ C pumpkin butter
¼ C pecans, plus additional for decorating
1 egg
1 T water

Roll out the dough and press the seams together
place the pecans in the center of the dough, top
with pumpkin butter. Place the cheese on top of
 the pumpkin butter and pecans. Wrap the dough 
around the cheese, pinch seams to seal. Whisk 
egg with water and brush over the top. Place 
seam side down on a baking sheet, brush the top 
with the egg wash and decorate with additional
pecans and cut scraps from the excess dough. 
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until golden.


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Crockpot French Onion Soup

Making French onion soup in the crockpot will
save you the trouble of watching and stirring
the onions while they carmelize on the stovetop. 
I've adapted my favorite recipe for 
French Onion Soup for the crock pot. 
Add the onion slices to the crockpot 
along with the seasonings. Cover and 
cook on high for 6 hours. 
 The important step is to let the onions cook
 until they are golden brown and caramelized.
This gives the soup depth of flavor that's lacking
if you just dump everything in the crock pot. 
 Now you add the beef broth, sherry, bay leaf, 
and Worcestershire sauce. 
Cover and let cook another hour. 
Toast some slices of French bread.
Laddle soup into oven-proof bowls; top
with bread slices, add a little more
soup, then top with cheese.
 Sprinkle a little paprika on top. 
Broil for several minutes until the
cheese melts, bubbles, and turns
golden brown. I love the crispy-gooey
pieces that stick to the sides of the bowl. 

Crock Pot French Onion Soup
5 onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 stick butter
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t sugar
1 t thyme
1 t paprika
3 cans condensed beef broth
2 cans water
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 C dry sherry
French Bread, toasted
8 slices cheese, provolone, Gruyere, 
  or mozzarella 

1. Place the onions, garlic, butter, sugar, salt, 
    pepper, thyme, and paprika in the bottom of
    the crock pot. Cover and cook for 6 hours 
    on high.
2. Add the beef broth, water, Worcestershire, 
     bay leaf,and sherry. Cover and cook on high 
     for another hour.
3. Ladle into ovenproof soup bowls, top with
    toasted bread and 1-2 slices of cheese. 
    Sprikle with paprika.
4. Broil until the cheese melt, is golden brown
     and bubbly


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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

 You can pretend that you're in a charming 
Bed & Breakfast in Vermont 
enjoying the splendor of Fall with
 this hearty pumpkin spiced breakfast.
Top it with cinnamon sprinkled whipped cream.
 Combine the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, salt, 
spices, and vanilla. 
* you can substitute all the spices with
1 t pumpkin spice mix. 
 Then whisk in the milk.
 Stir in oats and baking powder. 
Pour into 4 sprayed ramekins or custard cups. 
Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar. You could
also add some chopped nuts. 
 Bake until set and golden. You can unmold
these or just serve in the cups. Top with your 
choice of maple syrup, milk, cream, 
or whipped cream, and more cinnamon sugar
This is also good cold or reheated 
the next morning.

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
1 C  canned pumpkin  
1 egg
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1/8 t ginger
1/2 t vanilla
3/4 C milk
2-1/4 C oats
1/4 t baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 375º. Spray 4 ramekins.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together: pumpkin,
    eggs, sugar, salt, spices, and vanilla.
3. Then whisk in the milk.
4. Stir in the oats and baking powder.
6. Pour into prepared cups, Sprinkle the
   top with cinnamon sugar.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the center is
    no longer looks wet and the edges are
    lightly golden brown.
Serve with: additional cinnamon sugar, milk,
cream, maple syrup, or whipped cream.
4 servings.
Tip: can substitute the spices with 1 t pumpkin pie spice


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Monday, November 6, 2017

Asparagus & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

This fancy-looking chicken dinner is ready in 
under 30 minutes. It's cheesy, tender, juicy
deliciousness will make it a favorite dinner 
any night of the week. Plus it's impressive 
enough for entertaining. 
Start by butterfly-cutting the chicken breasts.
Give the chicken a spritz of lemon juice, then 
season well with salt and pepper.
 Lay the cheese and about 3-4 trimmed stalks 
of asparagus in the center of each breast. 
Fold over to enclose the filling. 
Generously season the outside of the chicken
 with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. 
Rub in the seasoning. 
Heat a large cast iron skillet, or any oven-proof
skillet over medium-high. Add 1 T olive oil to the
pan and swirl around to coat the bottom of the 
skillet. Carefully add the chicken and cook 3-5 
minutes until the chicken easily releases from 
the pan and the bottom is golden brown. 
Carefully turn and  brown the other 
side for 3-5 minutes. 
Cover the pan with foil and put into a 425º oven
for 15 minutes to finish cooking. Remove from 
pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Start the rice
 cooking when the chicken goes in the oven. 
You'll get some nice pan juices. Add a spritz of
lemon juice to the the pan and whisk to combine. 
Pour the juices over the chicken. 
I like to serve this on a bed of rice pilaf. 
 You could add a salad and crescent rolls for company.
 I love the combination of flavors and the
oozy-melty provolone cheese. 

Asparagus & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
2 chicken breasts, butterfly cut
2 slices provolone cheese
6-8 asparagus spears, ends snapped off
1 t salt
½ t pepper
1 t garlic powder
1 t paprika
2-4 lemon juice
1 T olive oil
Preheat oven to 425)
1. Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise.
Open the breast and pound if necessary for an
even thickness.
2. Give the chicken a spritz of lemon juice then
season well with salt and pepper.
3. Lay the cheese and about 3-4 trimmed stalks of
asparagus in the center of each breast.
Fold over to enclose the filling.
4. Season the outside of the chicken well with
salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.
Rub in the seasoning.
5. Heat a large cast iron skillet, or any oven-proof
skillet over medium-high. Add 1 T olive oil to the
pan and swirl around to coat the bottom.
6. Carefully add the chicken and cook 3-5 minutes
until golden brown on the bottom and the chicken
easily released from the pan. Carefully turn over
and brown the other side for 3-5 minutes.
7. Cover the pan with foil and put into a 425º oven
 for 15 minutes to finish cooking.
8. Remove chicken from the skillet and let rest for
5 minutes. Add a spritz of lemon juice to the
pan juices and whisk to combine. Pour the juices
over the chicken. Serve on a bed of rice pilaf.
2 servings


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