Sausage Cacciatore

I make this dish often and especially when I have guests over. Very easy and versatile. I often use different types of sausages with this dish to create a diversity. The prep time is simple. This is excellent with a simple green salad. Sometimes I use purple potatoes mixed with baby red potatoes. When using fresh ingredients, the flavors are incredible. 

Sausage Cacciatore
First made in October 2016

sausagecacciatore
Ingredients
1-pound sweet Italian sausage links, bulk or patties. If use fresh sausage, remove the meat from casing and break up into bite-size pieces. If using pre-cooked flavored sausages from brands like Applegate or Al Fresca already cooked, just cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces.
2-3 lbs. baby red potatoes cut into cubes. If small potatoes, just half them.
1/2-pound mushrooms, quartered or halved, depends on the size big or small. Can use either button or crimini, or both.
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 28-ounce can crush tomatoes with Italian herbs, or 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 bunch, flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet or 9 x 13 baking dish and cook, tossing occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Add the raw sausage and cook for another 10 minutes. (see notes). Toss the 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the tomatoes and/or pre-cooked sausage (see notes) to the vegetables and stir to coat.

Arrange the mixture in an even layer and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
Take out of oven and sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley (optional).

Notes
If using raw sausage from links, patties or bulk, break up meat and the cook time is 10 minutes (no olive oil, then add the tomatoes with the 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook for another 15 minutes.

If using pre-cooked sausages from brands like Applegate or Al Fresca, add the sausage with the halved tomatoes and 1 tablespoon olive oil and the cook time is not as long as the raw sausage time.

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Holy Sh*t Tacos

Well, summer is here and the taco road trucks are out. A friend who is a foodie like me was ranting and raving about a local taco truck and mentioned something about strips of beef and brown sauce in a flour tortilla and some onions. We were supposed to go one day for lunch but things popped up. I went ahead and did some research because my curiosity got the best of me. Lo and behold, found a recipe and I said to myself, hmmm. I think I will make this. I emailed my friend and waited one long week for results but none. I said “hmmpmh” and went and decided to do my own. “Holy Sh*t!” the tacos were just amazing! I am so convinced these are the best ever and Taco Bell is no more a place I will frequent ever. I am such a happy camper right now. I am just Taco’d crazy at the moment. Enjoy!

Holy Sh*t Tacos!
Created on 5/18/12

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1-1/2 pounds of beef (I used Rib eye Steak but you can use any meat you like)
3 large onions
Corn Tortillas
2 Avocados
2 Plum tomatoes
Ingredients for the Brown Sauce – recipe below
1 small can of Chipotle Peppers

The “Brown Sauce”
2 tablespoons of Chipotle Pepper sauce (directions below)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of paprika
¼ cup of brown sugar (I used light)
2 tablespoons of water
3 dashes of liquid smoke
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper

Caramelized Onions
2 medium onions cut into half moon shape
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Pomegranate vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt / Pepper to taste

In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat up the olive oil and put the onions in the pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions become a little shiny and kind of limp looking. Then add the brown sugar and Pomegranate vinegar and continue to cook over low heat and sauté until the onions become a very deep brown. Stir constantly so the onions do not burn. This will take about a good 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this ahead of time and store the caramelized onions in a canning jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. Just reheat the onions in a sauté pan for a few minutes or your microwave.

Chipotle Pepper Sauce
I pureed the Chipotle Peppers in a food processor with 1 tablespoon (not the olive oil for the sauce itself, this is additional) olive oil and water and 1 teaspoon of Adobo. This made a lot so I reserved the rest in a canning jar and stored in the refrigerator for another use. The flavor had a little bit of heat and very distinct smoky flavor, love the concept.

Taco Meat – prep
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In 9”x13” stoneware or baking dish, layer the bottom of the dish with one of the sliced half moon onions. Rub both sides of the meat with ½ of the Chipotle Pepper sauce mixture and lay on top of the onions. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 1-1/2 hours. Turn meat over and some of the sauce over the top of the meat, and then the rest of the sauce on the other side. Re-cover and cook for about another 1-1/2 hours. You want the meat to be fork tender so you can shred the meat with 2 forks. Remove meat from the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Then with 2 forks, shred the beef and put the shredded meat back into the sauce. Toss the meat with cooked sauced, cover and set aside.

Heat up corn tortillas and cut up some avocado and tomatoes. Fill the corn tortilla with some meat about 2 tablespoons, some onions, and sliced or diced avocado and tomatoes. You could add anything you want but I thought these tacos with avocado and tomatos were just amazing!

Cook’s note: I made another type of tacos with pork loin steaks, and loved that flavor also. Prepare the pork the same way as the beef. Awesome tacos!

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CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Peasant Soup

The weather has changed to cool fall weather. I have been doing a lot of research on different kinds of soups. I am slowly changing my diet to reflect more of a vegetarian way of eating because I am noticing that I am not as tired and do not have heartburn or digestive problems when I eat vegetarian. I still do love meat and cheese I hope that as I change more to a much healthier diet I will not crave meat, eggs and cheese so much. I think this will be a work in progress. I did some research on Peasant Soup and found meat, vegetarian, and vegan ways appealing so I combined many resources and created my own. I think with the research I did, I discovered that everyone has their own version of vegetables, meats and spices. I would like to say I have adapted a really good vegan recipe. Next time I will add carrots to the soup. The smells in the apartment were heavenly and the soup came out really hearty, loaded with flavor, and very filling. Enjoy!

Pam’s Peasant Soup
Created on November 2, 2011

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1 small bag 12 oz of Lentils rinsed and picked over well check for stones, twigs, etc.

2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can omit for those that do not use oil)

(2) 15 oz cans Muir Glenn diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon Caraway seed (I like the flavor – you can omit, decrease or increase)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil (I imagine fresh would be more potent and flavorful)

2 bay leaves

8 cups of water

3 teaspoons of “Better than Bouillon” Vegetable based, or if you have homemade vegetable stock use that

1 medium onion, chopped

1-1/2 cup of chopped celery (about 4 stalks)

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

(10) Oz package of organic baby spinach

5 small Yukon gold potatoes peeled and chopped

2 cups of finely sliced cabbage

Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

 In a stockpot, heat up the olive oil on medium high heat and add the chopped onions and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes till onions become soft and somewhat brown. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute or so. Do not let the garlic burn as it will make the recipe taste funny. Add the caraway seed, thyme, and basil to the onion/celery/garlic mixture.

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Cook for about another minute stirring often. Add the water, bouillon, bay leaves, tomatoes, lentils, and potatoes to the stockpot. Stir and let come to a boil. Then turn down to heat to simmer and cook for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft.  Add the cabbage the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and add the baby spinach. Cover and the steam will wilt the spinach after about a couple of minutes. Stir again and season with salt and pepper. 

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Serve with whole grain or rye crusty bread.

 Note: For the meat lovers, need to remove the Caraway Seed (optional) and add a type of sausage or cubed chicken breasts to the soup. Just remember if using linked sausage of any kind, remove the casing. I am sure the flavors will change when adding a protein to the soup. The results will probably be the same – delicious, filling and hearty.

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Tomato Sweet Onion Macaroni Salad

I was hired to cater a workshop event recently and wanted to make macaroni salad that would not spoil sitting out in a warm room. After a lot of researching, I decided to come up with something of my own using different ideas from recipes. I found this tomato relish on Recipezaar and just made minor adjustments to it. I added the tomato relish to the cooked elbow macaroni. It came out fantastic, I was surprised. I have become encouraged to come up with my own recipes because it shows I have really improved as an experimental/healthy/simple home cook in the last year or two. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Enjoy!

Tomato Sweet Onion Macaroni Salad
Serves 14 to 16 people ½ cup servings
Created on October 5, 2011

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1 Box of Whole Grain Elbow Macaroni
3 Stalks of Celery, chopped
1 quart of mini Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped (I used ¼ yellow, ¼ orange and ½ red tomatoes)
½ of a red onion finely minced
3 green onions, minced fine
½ cup of Fage Greek yogurt or Hellman’s mayonnaise (both ways is delicious)
2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
½ cup of freshly minced parsley
Salt/Pepper to taste

Prepare the tomato relish in the morning if you can. This way the tomatoes have time to marinate with all the other seasonings. Trust me it is worth the wait.

Cut the mini Heirloom tomatoes into quarters and put in a glass bowl. Finely mince the red onion. You can use green onions or shallots if you want a milder taste. Add the Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and marinate for about 3 to 4 hours. The juices from the tomatoes will develop and this will really flavor the macaroni salad.

Cook the elbow macaroni per the package directions. Rinse well and put in a bowl and set aside. Chop 3 stalks of celery and mince the green onions and parsley. Add to the cooked elbow macaroni. Add the tomato relish. Combine all the ingredients before adding the Greek yogurt or mayonnaise. Stir well. Serve with sandwiches or a fresh green salad.

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Late Saturday Night Pasta

I had a very busy day today and by the time I got home it was very late. I was starving but did not want to get take out. This recipe has all the healthy vegetables I love and I decided to do a fast broil and stir-fry. The whole dish took no longer than 30 minutes to cook. Love the fresh flavors and I am addicted to tomatoes broiled with melt cheese on top. A great recipe that is fast and healthy. Enjoy!

Late Saturday Night Pasta
Created on 09/24/11

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3 tomatoes sliced about ½” thick

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

½ pound of asparagus chopped into 1-1/2” pieces

10 ounces of button mushrooms (use any mushroom you like)

½ cup of fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated

1 pound of whole grain pasta, cooked according to the package directions

Salt / Pepper

 Prepare the pasta according to the package directions.

 Preheat Broiler on low heat to prepare for the “Broiled Tomatoes”. Click here to see the “Broiled Tomato” recipe used here.

 In a sauté pan over medium high heat, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes and add the chopped asparagus to the pan. Continue to sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes until asparagus is heated thoroughly. The asparagus should have some bite to it and not soft and soggy.

 On a plate, layer with pasta, 3 tomato slices, asparagus mushroom stir fry, 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and 3 more tomato slices on top.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Broiled Tomatoes

Tomato sauce does not always agree with me. For some reason spaghetti dishes often make me feel so full I am uncomfortable for a few hours. I had a bunch of tomatoes from my weekly grocery shopping so I thought I would try something different. I do not always have patience when it comes to roasting tomatoes. Roasted tomato recipes I have researched averages about one hour of roasting time at 200 degree heat. I was hungry could not wait for an hour so I decided to broil my tomatoes. Yum! What a great turnout. I will do this more often when I am in a hurry. Enjoy!

Mock Roasted Tomatoes
Created on 09/25/11

 

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2 tomatoes sliced about ½” thick

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated

Salt / Pepper

Preheat Broiler on low heat. I have an electric stove so I am able to control the broiler heat. For gas stoves, you will have to monitor and watch the tomatoes carefully as gas stoves tend to cook faster.

Slice tomatoes about ½” thick and lay on a cookie sheet or a stone. Lightly salt and pepper the slices. Sprinkle olive oil on tomatoes. Put tomatoes on 2nd rack in the oven so that the broiler can cook the tomatoes. The cooking time should not be more than 10 minutes for gas stoves cooking time may be less.

 Take cooking sheet out and sprinkle grated Parmesan Cheese on each slice of tomato and return back to the broiler. Increase to high heat and leave in oven long enough to have a golden color on the cheese.

 Remove from broiler and top over pasta, burgers or any dish you are preparing.

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Steamed Red Fingerling Potato Eggs Benedict

Well, this is the first recipe that starts off my Eggs Benedict kick. I realize I posted earlier the Portobello Eggs Benedict as one of the first recipes for the “Eggs Benedict Kick” but technically this is the first Eggs Benedict recipe that starts my quest for the perfect recipe. But who is counting? Not ME! I had some red fingerling potatoes on hand and decided to create a mock Hollandaise sauce with sour cream, dill, fresh lime juice and cracker pepper to give the recipe some texture. I really liked how the sauce turned out and the different flavors from the simple ingredients really complimented one another.

Steamed Red Fingerling Potato Eggs Benedict
Created on 09/14/11

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2 Large Red Fingerling Potatoes, scrubbed clean and sliced 1/8” thick
4 eggs (click here to see short tip on how to cook poached eggs)
2 medium tomatoes (you should get eight slices from the two tomatoes)
1 Avocado sliced (you should get four slices of Avocado per half)
½ cup sour cream
1 medium lime
1 tablespoon of fresh or dried dill (add more if you like the flavor of dill)
Salt / Pepper to taste

Place the sour cream in a bowl and squeeze the juice of one lime into the bowl. Add the dill and cracked pepper. Mix ingredients well, and set aside.

In a stock pot lined with a steamer, fill with approximately 3” of water. Slice the scrubbed potatoes 1/8” thick and lay in the steamer the sliced potatoes. Turn on burner to high heat to heat up the water so that the potatoes can steam cook. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender about 10 minutes; cooking time can be less depends on your stove. Season the potatoes lightly with salt.

In a 10” pan, fill up with water till about 1-1/2 inches from the top. Bring to a hard boil and then reduce the heat until the water is just simmering. In the pan with simmering water, add one teaspoon of vinegar. The vinegar will help keep each egg together (congeal) and not spread in the water. Cook the eggs in simmering water for approximately 4 to 5 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to collect any excess water from the egg. Remember, you can cook the eggs longer to your preference but you will want to have some yolk flavor the dish.

Slice the tomatoes. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Remove the avocado meat from the skin and slice.

To Assemble:
On a plate, place the steamed potatoes in a circular pattern. Lay four slices of avocado on top of potatoes, then four slices of tomato on top of the avocado. Spoon the sour cream mixture on top of the tomato slices and place two poached eggs on top of the sour cream. Season the poached eggs with salt and cracked pepper. Enjoy!

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