Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sausage, Asparagus, and Ziti

Sausage, Asparagus, Ziti
     This dish was inspiration in and of itself. It's not a family recipe; it's not one I found in some cookbook or on the internet, it is just one I came up with on the fly. I had some left over half pound Italian sausage in the fridge as well as some fresh asparagus.  I also typically always have some cream lying around in the back of the fridge that I like to use up. I had a small box of ziti in the cabinet that I wanted to get rid of so I quickly came up with this very delicious dish. Add in some fresh thyme and white wine and you have a wonderfully sharp and kind of light pasta dish. 

     Asparagus is one of my all time favorite vegetables.  I love it grilled, lightly oiled, sprinkled with a bit a sugar and you have a wonderful caramelized veg with a bite. I like it rolled in prosciutto, sautéed in some balsamic, and of course baked or cooked in things.  When I decided to come up with this dish I thought what better way than to cook it slightly in the pasta sauce and create a great summer dish.   I hope you enjoy my Sausage, Asparagus, and Ziti.

  • 1 small bundle of asparagus cut into threes
  • 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt/pepper
  • Ziti pasta
     In a large skillet over high heat brown your sausage and remove from the pan. In same skillet add a little olive oil and sauté your asparagus for a couple minutes. Pour in the white wine and scrape up the browned bits from the sausage. Pour in the cream and thyme sprigs. Stir back in the sausage and turn down the heat and sauté for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile cook the ziti in a large pot of salted boiling water.  Toss with the sausage mixture, add a little fresh shredded parmesan cheese, and voila! You have a delicious and quick evening meal. I was surprised by how good this was. As I mentioned I had to use up what was in my fridge. The combinations of ingredients really are common to be used together but in many different ways. Give this dish a try. Quick and easy. Serves 2-4.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

     It is Mediterranean month on my foodies+ community on Google+. I decided to invent my own dish based on some amazing ingredients you can find in the Mediterranean. Lemons are so popular in the southern part of Italy as well as in Greece. They use lemons for almost anything. Rosemary and fresh garden vegetables are also a big part of the cuisine. I included some white wine because wine is found in almost every meal. This dish was great. I was so proud that I put this together on a whim. I was sitting at work trying to figure out what to make for dinner on the weekend but knew my schedule might change due to my other job. I hurried to the store on a Thursday evening and prepped all the vegetables that night so as to put it all together early Friday morning for a wonderful start to my weekend. Hope you enjoy this Lemon Rosemary Chicken.

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • Zucchini
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 white onion
  • Cup white wine
  • Cup chicken stock
  • 1 lemon
  • Sprig fresh rosemary
  • Salt/pepper
     This is so easy and amazing I couldn't believe how good it was. Simply take your zucchini and squash and slice them. Take the onion and pepper and slice them into strips. Place half the vegetables in the bottom of a Dutch oven. Salt and pepper your chicken breasts and place them on top. Lay the sprig of rosemary along side the chicken. Slice the lemon into roughly about 4 slices and lay them on top of the chicken breasts. Take the rest of the vegetables and lay them on top of that. Pour the white wine and chicken stock into the pot. Cover and place in a 200-degree oven and let cook for roughly 3 1/2 - 4 hours. That simple. Once you remove the lid the aroma that fills the air is amazing. I placed mine in the oven before I went to work and when I came home for lunch it was finished. This dish is so fresh tasting, crisp from the lemons and full of flavors from the vegetables and rosemary. This recipe serves about 3-4 people. I love it and so will you.

What it will look like before and after you place in oven

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Poor Man's Potatoes

Poor Man's Potatoes
     A dish created by my paternal grandmother, at least according to my father.  A simple dish cooked down to create a warming meal packed full of flavor and goodness.  Not sure if it is Irish or American but this dish is definitely a favorite of my fathers. So much so that he used to make it all the time, however my mother never really liked it so it kind of died out at my parent’s house. My father always used green bell pepper. I used red bell pepper as it was what I had in the freezer. This is a guy’s guy meal. Simple, one pot stop, meat and potato kind of meal. Add some fresh bread or rolls and you have something to scoop up that juicy broth my father called "soogie". Whether a blue collar working man or white collar, this dish is down home good old boy kind of meal. Poor Man’s Potatoes

  • 3 russet potatoes peeled and sliced into coins or halves
  • 1/2 large white onion chopped
  • 1/2 lb bacon diced
  • 1/2 red or green bell pepper chopped
  • Salt/pepper

     In a large skillet cook your bacon just until it starts to turn brown. Toss in your chopped onion, pepper, and sliced potatoes. Cover with just enough water to barely cover the mixture. Salt and pepper a bit, cover with lid and let simmer over medium high heat for about 15 minutes.  Remove the lid and let simmer for another 15-20 minutes over low to medium heat.  At this point you can taste test the dish to make sure it has enough seasoning and the potatoes are cooked.  You will have some liquid left in the pan but this is the "soogie" part you will slurp up. Serve with a side of green beans, carrots, asparagus, or any type of vegetable you like. You can even serve this dish as a side to a wonderful meat entrée; however trust me it is just as good as the center piece of your meal. I actually took over a to-go container of this once I made it to my father. He stood there in the kitchen and ate the whole thing as if it was his last meal. Guess it compared to the original, huh? Serves 4-5 people.