Sunday, February 27, 2011

We love a good pasta dish here in my house so this one has always been a standby for days when I don't have much time to be in the kitchen.

I'm in the middle of unpacking our last box and being able to sigh a sigh of relief and be done, so while I was doing that, I threw this quick meal together.

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Trust me, you probably have all the ingredients already on hand and before you know it, you can serve up a dish that will have everyone smacking their lips.

Let me tell you, my kids are not fans of peppers of any kind, yellow, green or red, orange, doesn't matter, if they see it in their food they crinkle their noses, they remove every last piece and if I'm lucky they'll still eat it.  This dish has red pepper and they don't say ONE word, they devour it and tell me it's delicious.

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Credit: Johnsonville

1 pkg. (19.76 oz.) Johnsonville® Italian Mild Sausage Links
1 pkg. (1 lb.) rigatoni pasta
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lg. sweet red pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
1 jar (26 oz.) of your favorite pasta sauce
Shredded cheese, your choice (this is optional, I add it but you don't have to )

Slice sausage links into 1 inch chunks.

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

  Slice and dice the red peppers

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

and onions.  Add Sausage, red pepper, onions and garlic to the skillet.  Drizzle the olive oil over and stir well.

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Cook rigatoni according to package directions, drain and set aside. 

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

I'm using my new Pasta Boat, decided to give it a try and really like it.

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Cook for a few minutes until vegetables are tender and sausage is browned.  Stir in pasta sauce; heat through.

Pour rigatoni into a casserole dish, pour the meat sauce over and stir well to combine.  Cover with shredded cheese and pop in the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese. 

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Serve immediately.

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Italian Sausage Rigatoni
Alright, after a full week of winging it and eating out, we're back to routine and back to my menu plan.

I tell you, I'm so used to it that I feel completely lost when I don't have a plan to follow.  So here is the menu for this week, lots of new recipes to try and I'll be posting them as I make them :)


Monday 28th
Spaghetti Bolognese

Tuesday 1st
Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Onion Rings and Curried Aioli

Wednesday 2nd
Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Bake

Thursday 3rd
Baked Beef Ravioli

Friday 4th
Hot Tamale Pie

Saturday 5th
Chicken Pot Pie in Puff Pastry

Sunday 6th
Italian Sausage Pie

Friday, February 25, 2011

Easy meals that I can throw together while getting this house back to normal.

French Dip Sandwiches.  I know you've heard about them and I'm sure even tried them before, but usually to make them the traditional way you would have to cook the meat for a long long time, but I honestly don't have time for that and I also like using shortcuts.

So here is my version of this great sandwich, it's delicious, it's filling and it's very quick to put together.

Easy French Dip Sandwiches

French Dip Sandwich

4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup whiskey (you can also brandy or sherry)
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 pounds deli sliced roast beef
salt and pepper
6 sandwich rolls, split
provolone cheese

In a large skillet melt butter. Add diced onion and saute for a few minutes until the onion is cooked through.  Add the flour and whisk,

then add in the whiskey and the beef broth, whisking constantly until smooth.  Simmer over a low heat for a few minutes. 

Add the roast beef to the skillet and heat through.  I like to separate the slices instead of just dropping the big chunk in there. 

Pile the roast beef onto rolls, top with provolone cheese

and then pop into the broiler so it melts and gets all toasty and gooeye.

Scoop the remaining sauce into ramekins and serve with sandwiches, for dipping.


Easy French Dip Sandwiches

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I've been going non stop for a whole week now.  This move has proven to be overwhelming in more ways than one so I'm tired, I'm mentally and physically drained and I'm in serious cooking withdrawals.

One of the worst things for me is not being able to get into my kitchen and cook.

One week of moving, one week of yucky take out food.  I have burgers and fries coming out my ears and do NOT want to see another greasy meal for a very long time.

Crispy Onion Chicken

Tonight, I finally got to finish getting my kitchen organized and packed and the first thing I did was put together a quick homemade meal.  Even my kiddos licked their lips and declared it the best meal they've had in a week.

It's nothing special, nothing difficult to prepare, just a quick meal using pantry staples but it's comforting.  The house may be a shambles, there may be boxes covering every inch of the floors, but our tummies are full with home cooked food and THAT is better than anything else.

BTW, I got this recipe many years ago and can't even remember where from but it's on our list of favorites :)

Crispy Onion Chicken

Crispy Onion Chicken

* 1/2 cup butter, melted
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 teaspoon ground mustard
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1 can (6 ounces) cheddar or original french-fried onions, crushed
* 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves


In a shallow bowl, combine the butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, add 1/2 cup-fried onions. Dip chicken in the butter mixture, then coat with onions.

Crispy Onion Chicken

Place in a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Top with remaining onions; drizzle with any remaining butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Yield: 4 servings.

Crispy Onion Chicken

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Turkey Parmigiana Sliders

Holy cow were these phenomenal.

I love sliders, I think mostly because I love the versatility of making whatever I want in a little bite, or two, sized burger.

In my attempt to find new Slider versions, I ended up finding this recipe over at What's Cookin, Chicago.  I've tried a few of her recipes and they are delicious so I knew this one would be too, but boy was I in for a surprise.

Turkey Parmigiana Sliders

Super tender with all these great italian flavors, yummy melted cheese and a kick from the spaghetti sauce, pair it all up with some sweet Hawaiian rolls and you'll be sighing.

Turkey Parmigiana Sliders

Turkey Parmigiana Sliders
Credit: What's Cookin, Chicago

1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
4 slices mozzarella cheese, each slice cut into quarters
1/4 cup pasta sauce - homemade or store bought
1/2 cup shredded romaine lettuce
12 dinner rolls, split and toasted (I used Whole Wheat Hawaiian rolls, nice and sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl combine the ground turkey, all the spices, cheese and salt & pepper. Form large meatballs and flatten to create small patties.

Turkey Parmigiana Sliders

Brown each patty on both sides in a skillet with a little oil and transfer the patties to a baking sheet.

Top all browned patties with a teaspoon of pasta sauce and a couple slices of cheese.

Turkey Parmigiana Sliders

Bake in the preheated oven for a few minutes until cheese begins to melt.

While the patties are baking, spread a teaspoon of pasta sauce on the bottoms of the split dinner rolls.

Turkey Parmigiana Sliders

Transfer each patty onto the bottoms of the rolls and top the burgers with shredded lettuce and the tops of the dinner rolls. Serve immediately.

Turkey Parmigiana Sliders

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Chicken a la King

I have to say that this was one of the first dishes I learned to prepare when I was a teenager.

Most of my love for cooking has come from watching the women in my family in the kitchen, mostly my greatgrandmother, grandmother and stepmom.  They love cooking and they love preparing dishes for their family, and when I say family I don't mean just a small family of 4 or so, we were a big Portuguese family, sitting around a huge table filled with some of the most delicious food you'll ever taste.

Chicken a la King for me means comfort, means home, means a happy childhood and everytime I eat it, I am immediately taken back in time.

Chicken a la King

There are quite a few variations and recipes for it, but this is how I learned how to make it, it's simple, it's quick enough to make on a busy weekday and it's very filling.

Chicken a la King

Chicken a la King

1 lb shredded chicken ( I buy the big bags of Tasty Bird drumsticks or thighs and then shred them)
 olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
Mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
Heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf

In a big stock pot, fill halfway with water and add the chicken thighs or drumsticks.  Boil until chicken is cooked through, once done, remove chicken to a bowl, let cool down and then shred.  Don't throw out the stock, we'll be using it.

Chicken a la King

Now I like serving my chicken a la king with rice, so in a microwave rice cooker, I add 3 cups of the chicken stock, a little bit of salt and 1 1/2 cups of rice.  Cook it on HIGH for 6 minutes, then cook for another 15 minutes on MEDIUM.  Gives you nice clumpy steamed rice.

Back to the chicken.  In a cast iron pan or a skillet (I prefer my cast iron though), add a little bit of olive oil to the bottom.  Add the onion and garlic and cook stirring frequently until onion is transparent, using a ladle, add a little of the stock and stir well.

Add the rest of the veggies....the mushrooms, green pepper and carrots.  Season with salt and pepper and the bay leaf, stir well and add a little more chicken stock.  Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the veggies are cooked, remember to keep checking and adding a little stock at a time, you don't want it to burn and you don't want it to dry out either.

Chicken a la King

Once the veggies are done, add the shredded chicken. 

Chicken a la King

Cook for another 5 minutes, then add about 2 cups of heavy cream, turn the heat down and simmer for just a few minutes for it to thicken. 

Chicken a la King

I like making mine a little thicker, so I save a bit of the heavy cream, pour it into a small bowl, add about a tablespoon or 2 of flour, whisk well then add to the pot and stir well until it's as thick as I want it.

Chicken a la King

Remove the bay leave and serve over the rice.  Enjoy!

Chicken a la King