Monday, September 18, 2017

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

Not bad for a Monday night. I prepped these meatloaf muffins yesterday. Chris just had to put them in the oven for 25 minutes. I even made the mashed potatoes yesterday. Brilliant! Nothing but compliments for this dinner.
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup ketchup, divided
1 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1/2 cup finely bread crumbs
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp horseradish sauce
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons ketchup
Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, and chopped carrot, sauté 4 minutes. Cool.

Combine onion mixture,  ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except for cooking spray and 2 tsp. ketchup, in a large bowl.

Spoon the meat mixture into 8 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Lets Bake Cookies!

Today I had a perfect Saturday morning. I baked 2 new cookie recipes.

The first recipe was for Sesame Seed Cookies. The recipe is from Cooking With Nonna. I love the way these came out. They look just like bakery cookies. Click here for the recipe. These are perfect for coffee in the morning. Or tea in the afternoon. Or when you are stuck in traffic on the way to work. Or when you are stuck in traffic on the way home from work. One note about the recipe - I made 1/2 of the recipe and ended up with 46 2 inch cookies!

The next cookie was a Confetti Biscotti. Wow! These will be on this year's Christmas cookie list. The dough was an amazing to work with. And the taste? A little salt on the top made these cookies over the top delicious. Click here for the recipe.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Linguine with Shrimp and Sausage

I opened the the freezer today and took out a 1/2 bag of frozen shrimp and a 1/2 package of al fresco Sweet Italian Style with Red and Green Peppers. Then I did some recipe searching and I found this recipe on

It was delicious. The lemon kept it light and I can not stress the importance of saving pasta water. I added quite a bit to keep the dish from becoming too dry. We both loved tonight's dinner.

This is my version of Linguine with Shrimp and Sausage-

1/2 Lb Linguine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2.5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 Lb shrimp peeled & deveined
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 rounds of thinly sliced lemon
a pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 al fresco Sweet Italian Style with Red and Green Peppers links sliced 1/4 inch

Cook Linguine. While the pasta is cooking saute sausage until heated through. Remove to plate. Add butter to pan with olive oil, add shrimp and saute for about 4-5 minutes, stir to cook through. Add salt and red pepper to pan with lemon juice, lemon slices and most of the parsley. Return cooked sausage to pan with cooked linguine to finish. Add a little pasta water if the pasta looks dry*. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.

* A splash of white wine could also be added. And maybe a knob of butter.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata

Prep work is what made this dinner possible. I found the recipe for Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata in the PowWow newsletter. I did all the sauteing and grilling of vegetables on Sunday. Tonight it was just about heating up and cooking the Gnocchi. I did add some of the pasta water into the saute pan after adding the Gnocchi. That help makes a nice smooth sauce. Delicious!
My version of Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata -


2 ears corn, shucked

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound store-bought gnocchi
1 small red onion, sliced
3 ounces arugula
Crushed red-pepper flakes, grated Parmesan cheese, burrata cheese and fresh basil leaves, for serving.

Preheat the grill or set a grill pan over high heat. Brush each ear of corn with ½ tablespoon melted butter. Grill the corn until charred and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cobs and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Sauté the tomatoes until charred and blistered, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface, 4 to 5 minutes; drain.

In the skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the cooked gnocchi, corn and tomatoes, and sauté about 2 minutes. Add small amounts of pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time. Sprinkle with some Parmesan. Stir until smooth. Add the arugula and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and top with red pepper flakes, Parmesan, burrata and basil. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Slow Cooker French Dip

When the chef from your favorite Italian restaurants has a new Pinterest board you take note. Chef Edward Varipapa of Leon's posted on his Pinterest page the recipe for the Ultimate Slow Cooker French Dip. I knew someone in our house would love this for dinner. So I was off to Ferraro's for a Chuck Roast. The only hands-on part of the recipe was searing the meat. Okay, I also had to chop an onion.  6 hours later we had an amazing dinner. Real au jus! You will not want to waste a drop.

Here is the recipe. I cut this in half for the 2 of us and we do have leftovers.
4-5 pounds chuck roast
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 can beer (I used Guinness)
1 yellow onion, diced
6 hoagie rolls
2 tablespoons butter
12 slices Provolone Cheese

In a large dutch oven, or if you have an aluminum insert for your slow cooker add the canola oil and heat on high.

Add the Kosher salt and pepper to your chuck roast. Brown on both sides aggressively (3-5 minutes on each side). Don’t move the beef before flipping (this lets the meat get a deep crust).

In a slow cooker add the meat, any meat juices from the pan, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, beer and onions.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

Remove the meat and slice thickly. To assemble, butter your hoagie rolls and toast. Top with provolone cheese. In a small bowl add a cup of the liquid from the slow cooker and dip the sandwich in the bowl.
For the side dish I made a pasta salad. I had some extra cooked pasta that I did not add to Friday night's dinner. Always nice to have some cooked pasta in the fridge. 

Cooked macaroni
1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 stalk thinly sliced celery
1 thinly sliced carrot
1/2 cup chopped black olives

Combine Mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon Mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in large bowl. Stir in macaroni, celery, carrots, and olives. Serve chilled.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Pasta Martinelli

Why Martinelli? That is my sister's last name. She and her husband, Ralph, gave us the Zucchini, Tomatoes and Green Beans from their garden. This pasta dish came together very easily. I started by sauteing the sliced zucchini in butter and olive oil. When they were tender I added the green beans. There were some leftover peppers and onions from the Sausage and Peppers we had earlier in the week. Of course, they were added to the pan. Next, I diced the tomatoes that Lenore and Ralph gave us. When they started to break down I added some olives. When the pasta was almost done I saved about a cup of the water. The pasta was added to the saute pan to finish cooking. I added Parmesan Cheese and some the of pasta water until there was enough of each to make a nice sauce. Then I added some diced fresh Mozzarella. What I was actually doing with this recipe was cleaning out all the bits and pieces of things in the fridge. The result was an amazing pasta dish. It was seasoned simply with salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Chicken Alfredo

A simple recipe with delicious results. The chicken breast was cut into strips and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Then sauteed in olive oil until browned on both sides. The chicken was removed from the pan and I added 5 tablespoons of butter and let that melt. Meanwhile, I was cooking the pasta in a pot of salted water. Towards the end of the cooking time, I removed about a cup and a half of the water. The cooked pasta was added to the saute pan with the butter. Parmesan cheese was added, a 1/4 of a cup at a time, along with some of the pasta water. Stirring to melt the cheese and mix it with the water to make a sauce. A total of 3/4 cups of cheese and a cup of water was used. The chicken was added back to the pan and coated with the sauce.

It was difficult not to go back for seconds or thirds...