Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gnocchi, Sausage, Peppers and Spinach

Exhausted from this weekend's activities. I made this recipe back in 2013. It was as delicious as the first time.

I had yellow peppers and spinach. I had the gnocchi in the pantry. I picked up some sweet Italian sausage yesterday.

I sliced the sausage and cooked it in a large skillet. I added the thinly sliced peppers. When the peppers were tender I added some white wine and let that cook down and scraped up little bits of sausage from the pan. Then the spinach went into the pan and that cooked until it was almost wilted. I seasoned everything with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and oregano.  I added the cooked gnocchi and a little of the pasta water.

Last night we went to New Jersey to a Benefit. This past February a friend of ours lost his wife to Pancreatic Cancer. Jim Babjak, the guitarist for the Smithereens. You know them, our favorite band. The proceeds benefited the Babjak Family and The Betty Babjak Memorial Fund to establish a scholarship for Rutgers students who have lost a parent to pancreatic cancer.
All four original band members played together for the first time in over a decade. To be in a room with so many people who had so much love for one family. It was an evening filled with friends, food and amazing music.
There was a number of drawings for all sorts of prize packs. I was trying for the Grey Goose Vodka. Chris won a drawing for a White Castle Prize Pack. A certificate for 30 White Castle Hamburgers. A Cookbook (!!!!), coffee, 2 traveling coffee mugs, playing cards, a candle, notepad and this apron! I love it.

We were only gone one night but the cats were so happy to see us.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Chicken Breasts With Tomatoes and Capers

I found this recipe on one of my Pinterest Boards. 30 Minute Meals. I made a couple of little changes. Not a bad recipe. Nice flavors and heck it came together in less than 30 minutes.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/4 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons finely chopped onions
4 teaspoons of parsley, rosemary, and thyme
8 ripe plum tomatoes cut into small cubes (or one 28-ounce can of tomatoes, drained and chopped)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup drained capers
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottom skillet. Add the chicken breasts and saute over medium-high heat, turning the pieces often until lightly browned about 5 minutes.

Add the onions and garlic around the chicken. Cook briefly; add the parsley, rosemary, and thyme, tomatoes, vinegar, capers, wine, and tomato paste. Stir to dissolve the brown particles adhering to the bottom of the skillet.

Blend well, bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer for 9 minutes.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

In my Facebook feed, I saw a post from Mark Bittman. Rosemary Olive Oil Bread: give it a shot!
I had to make it.
I started the dough last night and magically it snowed today. Yeah not sure if you remember but when it snows I feel I have to make bread. This dough was perfect. The texture and the aroma were over the moon good. And the finished product ...
Let's just say this bread will be in a regular rotation in our kitchen. Can't wait for toast tomorrow for breakfast!!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Simple Soup

Chicken Broth, Sausage, Escarole, Beans. That's it. Flavors were a perfect blend of heat and comfort.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Company For Dinner

Thank you, Lenore for checking in on Archie and Lucy while we were away last week. We had Lenore and Ralph over for dinner tonight. I saw a video for this recipe, Hasselback Pork Tenderloin, on Facebook and was intrigued. It was a slow cooker recipe. It might be just me but I was not nuts about the dish. Everyone went back for seconds but I just had more wine.

Now the appetizers where another story. I made Cheddar Olives, always good, and Frizzeles. The Frizzeles were my Mom's recipe. You can not eat just one.

Dessert was the Apple Crostata that I made last night. The perfect autumn dessert. And top it with Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Forgettaboutit!

Friday, October 21, 2016

How I Unwind On A Friday Night

I needed a dessert for tomorrow night. I had some Pate Brise in the freezer and I found this amazing recipe. Apple Crostata. The recipe was from Ina Garter.  The house smells so good! It was such a crazy week. The pie making process was so relaxing. Rolling out the dough. Peeling and cutting the apples. Cutting the hearts out of the extra dough. It was very therapeutic.

Pate Brise
1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Finally Chicken Cutlets My Way

This is a recipe that has bits of my Mom's recipe and a lot of what turned out to be one of my personal favorite recipes, Frank Pinello's Nonna's recipe.

Simple and delicious.

Put the chicken breasts in a bowl with beaten eggs and stir to coat. Dredge the chicken in bread crumbs mixed with flour, oregano, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and parsley. The chicken was placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with Pam. A little olive oil was drizzled on the chicken and they went into a 375˚ oven for 10 minutes. The chicken was flipped and baked for another 10 minutes.

It was moist and the breading was crispy. I was happy. Chris was happy.

And most importantly, Archie was happy.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Baked Macaroni x 3

x 3? Yes. Three kinds of pasta and three kinds of cheese. The pasta was pre-cooked in the freezer. I had Ravioli, Ditalini, and Ziti. I had boiled too much pasta more than once and decided to freeze it instead of having too many carbs for lunch. Wise decision. This was the easiest Baked Macaroni I have ever made. The pasta was thawed and layered in the baking dish with American, Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese. Actually, it would have been a Four Cheese Baked Macaroni because the Ravioli was filled with Ricotta. However many kinds of cheese there were we both agreed it was delicious.

Here is the base recipe for my Mom's Baked Macaroni. You can take this recipe and add whatever you like, cheese, pasta, even vegetables... hmmm vegetables...

Mom's Baked Macaroni -
Grease Pyrex glass loaf dish.
Cook 1/2 box of pasta elbows.
In the baking dish put a layer of cooked pasta. Top with some American Cheese and then add more pasta. Continue layering until you end with a pasta layer. You should have 3 layers of pasta. Beat 2 eggs and pour over the pasta. Fill the baking dish with milk. Fill until the milk almost reaches the top of the dish. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs, parsley and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Cover the top with foil if it starts to burn.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Chicken Pot Pie

Yes, there was lots of chicken leftover from last night. So tonight we had Chicken Pot Pie. I even added the leftover potatoes! Oh, it was delicious. I used my usual Pate Brise recipe and my go-to Chicken Pot Pie recipe from Real Simple.

Pate Brise
Ingredients -
1-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch granulated sugar

5-1/2 Tbsp (2/3 stick) sweet butter, chilled

3 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup ice water

Method -
Sift the flour, salt and sugar together into a bowl; add butter and shortening and cut them into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is like coarse meal.
Sprinkle on and blend in enough of the ice water to make a workable dough, mixing water in lightly with a fork.
Turn dough out onto you work surface and, using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape up the smeared dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Chicken Pot Pie from
Ingredients -
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups 1 percent milk
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 9-inch store-bought pie crust, thawed if frozen

Method -

Heat oven to 400° F.
Cook the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stir-ring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Transfer to a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.
Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Best Cat Sitter Award Goes To -

The Best Cat Sitter Award Goes to - my sister, Lenore! Not only did she visit the kitties every day while we were away, she sent photos of the cats every day. And she got us dinner for tonight. She picked  up a Rotisserie Chicken which just happens to be Archie's favorite food. Potatoes and a Three Bean Salad were the sides. It was purrfect!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Stone Crabs!

Thank you, Mary Lucia and Bruce, for this delicious Anniversary gift! On Tuesday night they gave us a cooler with ice and a bag of Stone Crabs. All we had to do was crack and enjoy. And did we ever! A little lemon juice and some cocktail sauce. We ate so many, well okay I did eat a couple more than Chris. Of course, we also had sliders that Chris made on the grill. Love vacation dinners!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

And We Are Gone Again!

25th Wedding Anniversary on Wednesday! 
 We are taking a short trip and I will not be able to do blog posts. 
But I will be posting to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
We will catch up very soon.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

And We Are Back!

Yes, I took a short break. A super crazy weeks. But it is all behind us now. Tonight we dined on Porterhouse Steaks and Tomato Bruschetta.