Take me out to the....

Oh wait I didn't go to the ball game. Chris and my brother-in-law, Ralph, went to see the Yankees vs. the Mets tonight. I took advantage of the of the situation and did a little shopping and picked up a sandwich from Bradley and Wall. I got the Avocado Wrap – Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Tomato, Romaine, Bacon and Parmesan Cheese.Yum! Also got a little Tomato and Mozzarella Salad. And I got the cutest top at the Loft! And those jeans from J. Jill!

Bread and Vegetable “Lasagna”

I found this recipe on Living the Gourmet blog. Gosh I wish I lived in the same town as Catherine. Her recipes always are excellent. This one was very easy and really delicious. And Chris like it. The toasted bread made a perfect crust for this "Lasagna." I can see adding any type of vegetable but we are fans of Zucchini and Onions!

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Lives On...

I witnessed the cutest thing today. My nephew was visiting from California with his wife and his son, Luca, who turned one in April. The first time Luca had chocolate was on his birthday. I have seen the video. It was love at first bite. I emailed the parents to find out if they thought he might be able to have some cookies. The Chocolate Chip Cookies. I sent them the recipe in case there were any allergy issues. The response was all clear!

Now when I walked in today and and said to Luca that I had cookies for him, he did not know what I was talking about. After dinner, my nephew brought him into the kitchen and opened the bag of cookies without the Rice Krispies. I had made a batch without the Rice Krispies and one batch with them.  He let Luca taste it and it was all over. My nephew had to hold the cookie so Luca would only take small bites. He was hooked. But he was okay with the one cookie.

Later I was getting ready to leave. I had brought over some dishes for a dip I had made and I put them back in my shopping bag, which the cookies had been in, and put the bag near the door. I was saying my good-byes and I said good-bye to Luca and he looked at the bag. He stopped and headed into the kitchen. He wanted to see if the cookies were still there. My sister had moved them to another bag which he discovered and seemed noticeably relieved.

Pasta Pie


  A what? And what is the crust? Ground Beef!



 I wish I had a photo of Chris's face when he saw this. Pure joy.

 I had seen this recipe on the The Italian Dish site. It was described as a meal good for a wintery night. Well today it was maybe 45 degrees out. It was rainy and damp so this was a perfect meal.
  It was crazy to cut into it like a pie. It was like a mile high pasta pie!

Roasted Tilapia, Potatoes, and Lemons

Yum! What did we have tonight? A perfect dinner. One pan and one pot, okay there was the steamer too. I found this recipe on RealSimple.com. The flavors were perfect. The lemon was spot on, not overwhelming at all. The thyme was just noticeable. I just loved this. It was not a heavy meal at all. And clean up was not bad either!

Ingredients -
1 pound baby potatoes (about 12), halved
1 lemon, thinly sliced
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Method -

Heat oven to 400° F.
On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes, lemon, thyme, 2 tablespoons oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. Roast, tossing once, until the potatoes begin to soften, about 20 minutes.
Toss the olives with the potato mixture; nestle the fish in it. Drizzle the fish with the remaining oil and season with paprika and ¼ teaspoon each salt Continue to roast until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp and the fish is opaque throughout, 12 to 15 minutes.

Oven-Fried Chicken By The Bucket

Yum. There is Nothing better then fried chicken. Actually I have never made "fried" chicken. And I actually just found out that Chris likes fried chicken.
Do you want to try this? Click here for the Food and Wine recipe.
I used the Salt and Pepper Kettle Chips.

Parmesan Polenta and Spicy Sausage Sauce


This recipe had me at Parmesan Polenta. I found this on MyRecipe.com. I prepared the Sausage portion of this on Sunday. Tonight when I got home tonight I made the polenta. I love instant polenta! This recipe was originally from Cooking Light, that makes it even better.

Parmesan Polenta and Spicy Sausage Sauce,  from MyRecipe.com
Ingredients -
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces (2 links) sun-dried tomato chicken sausage (such as Al Fresco), sliced
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
3/4 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Method - 
Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add sausage; sauté for 3 minutes or until browned. Add onion; sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add oregano, pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup basil to pan; cook 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Combine broth and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add polenta; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently with a whisk. Stir in half of cheese. Place 2/3 cup polenta in each of 4 bowls; top with about 3/4 cup sauce. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon basil and 1 tablespoon cheese.


As you all know there was a devastating tornado that touched down in Oklahoma yesterday. If you can help these people who now have nothing here is a link a for Midwest Tornado Relief Fund. 100% of your donation goes to the victims.





 And anyone who follows of this blog knows I have a soft spot for animals. 
This is such a touching video of a woman who finds her dog during an interview. 
As she is speaking take a look around at the destruction that is surrounding her.

Bullfighter's Beef

I have had this recipe saved on Pepperplate since February. Today it was a rainy and damp day. Perfect for Bullfighters Beef. I put the meat in around 2:30 and wow the house smelled delicious. I picked up some fresh peas and made mashed potatoes as sides. The recipe was fun to follow. Okay I had some wine when I added it to the pan... the recipe said to! Chris was delighted with this meal. And it was so darn easy. Some work in the beginning and a bit at the end but you have 3 hours to kill while dinner is in the oven. Do you want the recipe? Click Here!

Chicken Piccata

  
Tonight we had a family favorite. Chicken Piccata. The recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis. It is fast and fool-proof.

For side dishes we had a vegetable saute. Broccolini, red pepper and zucchini. Love Broccolini!

And we tried something new. Accents Sprouted Quinoa Trio. This was a nice change from rice. It was very light and had a little bit of a nutty flavor.
 

The Best Chicken Cutlet Recipe

Bold statement? Perhaps if you have never made this recipe. It is my mom's recipe which I got from my sister. The cutlets were so perfectly cooked and the breading is light and fluffy. Fluffy? Yes fluffy. The secret to this recipe is separating the eggs you use for dipping. You beat the egg whites until frothy and then add the yolks. Try it. Trust me....

Did you notice there is a new button on the right side. Follow me on Bloglovin. It is a service that will deliver the latest blog posts directly to you email. I know you hate missing any of our exciting dinner adventures! Try it and please let me know if you like it. If not I can always remove it.


The Best Chicken Cutlet Recipe -

Have 2 dishes set out. In one put bread crumbs. In the second put in the eggs but first separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites then mix in the yolks. Dredge the cutlet in bread crumbs, then dip in to the eggs. (I added fresh chopped parsley to the egg wash) Let as much egg drip as off possible before adding to the hot oil. Do not touch the cutlet until it looks like the eggs is set. You will be tempted to move it around but do not!

Once the egg is set flip the cutlet to cook the other side. Drain fried cutlets on paper towels and put in 350˚ oven for about 15 to 20 minutes to finish cooking.

These freeze beautifully so make a big batch!

Not a Meatless Monday

First steak on the grill of the summer season. Okay it is not warm out tonight but the grill is officially open. We started out this season with my favorite cut of meat. The Porterhouse. Anyone who knows me and has eaten out with me knows I usually opt for veggies. I love veggies and I think it is important to eat more of them. But this was a Porterhouse steak. On the grill. Cooked perfectly between Medium Rare and Medium. So good. So very good.
Side note to self- get out summer trays!

Side dishes were a salad with spring greens, roasted beets, feta cheese, hot cherry peppers, olives, tomatoes and I had some fried onions in the pantry so they went in the salad.


And we had another of my favorite summer foods. Grilled baguette. It was the bread left over from last night's dinner.

Not bad for a Monday!

Tuscan Roast Pork in A Baguette & Quiona Tabbouleh Salad

Tuscan Roast Pork in a Baguette is from The Italian Dish blog. I am sure I have mentioned this blog before. If you have not visited there do so now. Now really click on the link in the first line and check it out. Don't worry if you click on that link, it will open in a new window so you can get back here. I am not even putting the recipe on my blog. You will find it here.

So how was this? Really amazing. The house smelled so good. The meat was cooked perfectly. The bread was crunch on the top and soft on the bottom from the meat juices and olive oil. Yum!

Our side dish was also a hit. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad. The recipe is from TasteFood. This will certainly be made again.

Ingredients -
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed

Salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced

1 large carrot, peeled, finely grated

1 medium sweet red pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced

1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Method -
Place quinoa, 2 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until water is absorbed and the grains release their germ, about 15 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl. Add oil and stir to coat. Cool to room temperature.
Stir the remaining ingredients except the fresh herbs into the quinoa. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired. (Tabbouleh may be prepared in advance to this point. Cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours). Before serving, fold in the fresh herbs. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Ravioli with Bacon, Chorizo, Red Peppers, Lentils & Kale

Hey didn't we have Chorizo, Lentils and Kale last night?

Ravioli with Bacon and Red Peppers is something I have been making for a long time. It is an easy meal for nights when you don't have a lot of time. I had the leftovers from last night's dinner and decided that they might be a nice addition to the recipe. Score!* Fantastic addition. 

Ravioli with Bacon, Chorizo, Red Peppers, Lentils and Kale

Ingredients -
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 bacon slices, chopped
1 7 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained, sliced
1/4 cup canned chicken broth
Leftover Chorizo, Lentils and Kale
freshly grated Parmesan

Method -
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bacon and cook until onion is tender and bacon is cooked, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Stir in peppers and broth and simmer for one minute. Add the leftover Chorizo, Lentils and Kale and stir until heated.
Prepare the ravioli according to the package.  Reserve about a cup of the pasta water. Add the cooked ravioli to the saute pan and toss well. Add some pasta water if the dish is too dry. Season with salt and pepper and top with grated Parmesan cheese.


* I sound like someone who has been listening to hockey the last few nights!


Lentils with Chorizo and Kale

But we had sausage last night! This recipe is a variation on a Food & Wine recipe, Lentils with Smoked Sausage and Carrots. I had the carrots but I also had kale.

We both of enjoyed this. The kale was not overpowering and the Chorizo added almost enough spice to the dish. I also added a Parmesan rind to the pot, couldn't hurt!

Lentils with Chorizo and Kale

Ingredients -
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces
1 pound lentils (about 2 1/3 cups)
1 quart water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
1 piece of Parmesan rind
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound Chorizo cut diagonally into 3/4-inch slices
1 head of Kale, rinsed and removed from the stem and roughly cut
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Method -
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, water, salt, bay leaf, Parmesan rind and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are almost tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Stir in the Chorizo, kale and parsley. Cook until the lentils are just tender but not falling apart and the Chorizo is warm, about 15 minutes longer.

Radiatori with Chicken Sausage and Escarole & November 25, 1996

I found the recipe for Orecchietti with Sausage and Chicory on the Food and Wine site. I decided to use fully cooked al fresco chicken sausage in place of the Italian sausage. And Orecchiette? I suppose I will have to speak to the manager at Stop and Shop again. Their pasta selection for lack of a better word, sucks. Their selection is so generic. I could have gotten the Orecchiette pasta at the Big Y but I did not what to drive to Guilford. (Not too long ago I spoke to the manager at Stop and Shop about King Arthur's Bread Flour. All they sold where these stupid little 1 pound bags. I told the manager that I could go to Big Y and shop or they could start carrying the 5 pound bags. The next week guess what was on the shelves!). Anyway I used Radiatori pasta. A fine substitute pasta. The choice of the Escarole over the Chicory was easy. I like Escarole!

Yes this was delicious. And using the chicken sausage made it a super quick mid-week supper.

Radiatori with Chicken Sausage and Escarole
Adapted from Food and Wine Orecchiette with Sausage and Chicory

Ingredients
1 pound radiatori
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Chicken Sausage
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound escarole, coarsely chopped and washed
Kosher salt
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 cup grated pecorino, plus more for serving

Method -
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat,  until browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate.

Add the crushed red pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the escarole with any water clinging to the leaves and season with salt. Cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook until the escarole is tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes longer.

Add the pasta to the skillet along with the sausage, chicken stock and pecorino and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is slightly reduced and creamy, about 3 minutes. Serve right away, passing extra cheese at the table.


November 25, 1996

Today I took a half day at work. I wanted to go over to my parent's house to pick up some things. I sorted through some boxes and I came upon a notebook that my Mother had started. It was like a journal. She would write down what she did on that day including what she made for dinner. It struck me funny because we would discuss what we each had for dinner every night when we spoke on the phone.

It was a nice stroll down memory lane until I came to the entry dated Monday, November 25, 1996. She wrote, "I can't remember." I cursed, closed the book and poured a glass of wine. My Mom had Alzheimer's Disease. My sister and I often wonder if she knew what was happening. At the time both my sister and I knew something was not right with her. We assumed it was just old age. It was not until 2000 that the doctors told us that she had Dementia and the start of Alzheimer's.

I opened the book again and skimmed ahead. Noticing her beautiful penmanship becoming not so perfect. I closed the book. I suppose I will continue to read it. Just not tonight.

I also found my Mom's 1934 class photo. Oh my God she looked just like me! Or I look just like her! It reminded of a the ending of The Shining where Jack Nicholson appears in the old photo...

Spaghetti with Capicola, Olives and Bread Crumbs

This is the second time I have made this for dinner. The recipe is from La Cucina Italiana. It calls for Speck which I hope someday to find at the deli counter. Again I used Capicola. Sweet and hot this time. I picked up some olives from the salad bar to add to the dish. The only thing the recipe does not mention is to save some of the pasta water before you drain it. You will need it so the dish is not too dry. And just like the last time I will be using the leftovers for a frittatta later in the week.



Ingredients -
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 ounces Sweet Capicola, cut into small cubes
2 ounces Hot Capicola, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped (I used dried)
6 tablespoons fine plain bread crumbs
1/2 pound spaghetti
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method -
In a large skillet, heat half of the butter and oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add speck and marjoram:  cook, stirring, 3 minutes more.
Transfer onion mixture to a plate. In the same skillet, lightly brown bread crumbs in the remaining butter; add onion mixture and stir to combine. Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook to al dente, reserve some of the pasta water; drain. Transfer spaghetti to skillet with onion mixture, toss to combine, adding some pasta water if necessary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

End of the Week Wrap-Up

I have no idea where this past week has gone. We ate dinner. I took photos of those dinners. Did I post anything? No. By the time blog posting came around I turned off the lights and got some much needed sleep. Enough excuse and on with the posts -


Monday - 
April 29, 2013

Roasted Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Potatoes.
Easy prep. Just roasted all the ingredients after they were 
tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and crushed red pepper. 
I heated up the sub rolls and we added Provolone and fresh Mozzarella Cheese.


Tuesday -
April 30, 2013

Bacon and Onion Calzones
So good. The crust was the Jim Lahey recipe. I filled them with 
sauteed onions, bacon and Ricotta and Mozzarella Cheeses. 
I had some Marinara sauce in the freezer.
Delicious!


Wednesday -
May 1, 2013

Chorizo and Butter Beans
I found this recipe on the Food and Wine site
This has been in the cue for some time but 
never seems to get made. Tonight I finally made
this and it was a hit! Only change I made 
was to add a red pepper that I had in the fridge.

Ingredients -
One 14-ounce can butter beans with their liquid
1/2 pound chorizo, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Method -
In a small saucepan, heat the butter beans in their liquid. 
In a large skillet, cook the chorizo over high heat until
it is lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered, about 2 minutes.

In a medium serving bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar. 
Stir in the tomatoes, onion and parsley. 
Drain the beans and chorizo and add them to the bowl. 
Season with salt and pepper and toss. 
Serve warm.


Thursday -
May 2, 2013

A Hamburger!
We headed up to the Infinity Hall to see The English Beat. What a excellent show!
For dinner I had a hamburger. It seems like it has been awhile since I have had one and this was
delicious. It even looks delicious in this photo! I opted for the Smashed Potato Salad instead of fries.

And if you can't remember the The English Beat this will help -