Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Roasted Vegetables!

Well, I haven't been on for a while, it's been so busy here!  We had a four day weekend, Winter Break for my kids, love it when my kids are home....I can sleep past 6AM for once. 

I feel Spring in the air for the first time this morning.  The birds were up early singing, and it is lighter out when I drove Becca to the bus stop at 6:45 AM.  Usually it's dark at that time in the morning, and driving Becca in my p.j.'s really was no big deal, because no one saw me, today it was a different story! Easter will be here before we all know it, OK, so I will say it....bring on Spring!

I love Roasted Veggies, I make them often.  Usually whatever veggie I have hanging around, gets thrown in the oven to roast.  Brussels Sprouts are great in the oven too, I never boil them!  Here's a great and EASY recipe, just chop all the veggies up, and put in the oven to roast!  So YUMMO! 

Roasted Veggies

3 large potatoes, red or regular
2 large sweet potatoes
1 large onion
2 large carrots
1 head cauliflower or broccoli (whatever you have)
1 tsp Rosemary
2 TBS Canola oil
2 tsp salt and pepper

Chop all the veggies up, into pieces, not too small, but not too large. Put them on a greased cookie sheet, and add the oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper, toss with your hands making sure all is coated with the oil and spices.  Put into a preheated 375 oven for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, or until cooked through and caramelized.  So YUMMO!

This is a great dish for a large crowd, like an EASTER DINNER!  Coming in March, recipes for a most delicious EASTER dinner!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Belated Valentine's Day......Pasta Primavera with Sausage!

We had a wonderful Valentine's Day, sorry I didn't post a romantic recipe, or something like that, but I was so busy preparing.  What a treat for me, my Hubby was home and we went to breakfast, and got to spend some of the day together.  My little boy Davey's 2nd Grade class had a party, so I was busy preparing and helping with that, it was fun!

I made a most delicious dinner last night, Chicken Cordon Blue, the Easy Way, with Rice Pilaf, and green beans.  The best part of the whole dinner were the Chocolate Covered Strawberries, they were so delicious, and everyone loved them.....I ate six of them, too many, cause today I'm in sugar overload!  I'll post that recipe soon.

Today I am sharing a recipe I made over the weekend, Pasta Primavera with Sausage!  This recipe was so easy, and delicious. Try it, you will love it!

Pasta Primavera with Sausage

Italian Sausage, about 6 links (or whatever sausage you like)
2 TBS Butter
2 TBS Canola Oil or Olive Oil
1 large Onion chopped up
2 Red peppers cut up into thin short pieces
1 Red pepper cut up into thin short pieces
8 fresh Mushrooms, wiped cleaned and cut up
1 TBS fresh garlic minced
1/2 head of Broccoli florets cut up
2 hot cups of water
2 packets of chicken bouillon
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb Pasta (whatever kind you want)

Preheat the oven to 375.  Put the sausages on a cookie sheet and cook for 20 minutes until done.  In a large skillet, on medium to heat heat, melt the butter and add 2 TBS oil.  Add the onion, peppers, and garlic, salt and pepper, and saute until soft, lower heat.  Then add the broccoli and mushrooms. Add the white wine. Mix the water with the chicken bouillon, and add to the veggies, and let it cook uncovered on low for about 10 - 13 minutes until the sauce thickens just a little. Now at this point you should taste it, what does it need, more salt, and pepper?  The sausage should be done cooking in the oven, take it out and cut it up, add to the veggie mixture. 

Cook the pasta you want to go with this, drain it good. To serve, spoon the veggies and sausage mixture over the pasta, sprinkle with Parm YUMMO!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Snowing..... Smothered Chicken with Homemade Rice Pilaf!

What a wonderful way to wake up on a Saturday morning.....with snow coming down outside!  Everything looks so beautiful, we don't have that much, so far just a dusting, but it's so pretty!

I am reposting a great recipe, "Smothered Chicken", this recipe is one of our favorites here at my house.  My little boy Davey loves it, his whole dish is just about "licked clean" when he's finished.  I'm also posting a new recipe, "Homemade Rice Pilaf."  I've never made "Homemade Rice Pilaf" before, and it's so easy, so perhaps I won't buy those easy rice mixes anymore?  We'll see.....try these recipes, you will love them, so comforting, and of course so easy!  YUMMO!

         Smothered Chicken

6 -8 chicken cutlets sliced thin (or pounded whatever you prefer)
2 TBS canola oil
1 cup flour for dredging
2 cups water
2 TBS chicken bouillon
1 tsp. powdered garlic
2 tsp. fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried
1 cup White Wine, or if you prefer Cooking Wine
1 TBS lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 small Jar with 2 tsp flour and 1/2 cup cold water (to thicken the GRAVY)

Slice the cutlets thin or pound them out, whatever you prefer. Heat a skillet, or if your lucky like me, a Cast Iron Skillet, with the 2 TBS Canola Oil. Dredge the chicken in the flour shake off any existing flour, put in the hot oiled pan, and cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown, do not let them burn....salt and pepper each side. Continue frying all the cutlets, you may have to do this in batches, and add more oil to the pan after each batch. You are just browning the cutlets, they will still be pink inside. Put the cutlets on a dish, and now make your GRAVY!!!!

To the hot pan add the 2 cups water with chicken bouillon, and whisk, add the WINE, and whisk really well, add the garlic powder and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, for 1 minute. Lower heat to med-low and put the chicken back into the pan making sure the gravy is covering each cutlet and cover, cook for 1/2 hour on med-low.

Now to thicken the GRAVY, just like I always thicken my gravy's, in a jar with a lid, put 2 tsp flour in the jar and 1/2 cup cold water, shake, and slowly add to the gravy, you may want to take the cutlets out to do this, to really whisk the gravy and get it all thick and delicious! You don't want it too thick, just thick enough to coat the chicken. Put the cutlets back in and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Top with minced parsley, and SERVE over rice, egg noodles, or even mashed potatoes! YUMMO!!!

Homemade Rice Pilaf


1 small onion minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Orzo Pasta
3/4 cup white rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
2 tsp. Fresh minced Parsley (optional but gives such a fresh taste)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

ORZO....looks like RICE

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat add the minced onion, salt and pepper and saute until soft
Add Orzo and rice and brown for 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth or water, salt and pepper, and bring liquid to a full boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer and cook rice 18 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add minced parsley, and serve.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

No Cooking for Me Tonight....Yes, it's My Birthday!

Well, today is my birthday!  I woke up to a beautiful dusting of snow on the ground.  It was a wonderful Birthday gift from the Lord!  I don't really care for my birthday, it's awkward when you grow up and become a Mom...I enjoy giving and doing for everyone else, but my family loves on me so much, and I soak it all up. 

When my little boy, Davey woke up this morning,  his first words were, "Happy Birthday Mommy!"  I couldn't believe he remembered!  He's been so excited to give me his gifts and card for days, he made me something, I'll find out later on what it is. 

My Mom always made my birthday special when I was a little girl.  She would make my bed on this special day, and what a joy that was for me!  You see, when I was a little girl, I had to make my bed every single day....I know, right, what a chore!  No really, I'm glad my Mom instilled this chore.  To this day I never get in an unmade bed.  Just wish my daughter Rebecca would learn this chore!  A nice breakfast would be made in my honor, even though we were a busy family, and always on the go, she would make me something delicious! At dinnertime Mom would make my favorite meal, and over the years my favorite meal would changed, but I think I chose "Baked Ziti" a lot as my favorite., and a Birthday Cake, never store-bought, always homemade!  Thanks Mom!

So tonight, we won't go out, because it's busy, and my Hubby has to go to work.  We'll order in my favorite....Chinese Food, open presents, read homemade cards, which I LOVE, and have a piece of Birthday Cake, and NO, I didn't make the CAKE!  YUMMO!

Here's some pictures of my Birthday from last year....Enjoy!
The kids and ME!

Vera Bradley my favorite....sure hope I get another one today! :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pork Roast with Sauerkraut & Apples!

Tonight I am making a Pork Roast with Sauerkraut &Apples for dinner, it's easy, and really delicious.  I bought a whole Loin of Pork about a month ago, it was on sale for .99 a pound, how cheap is that!  I cut it up into three big pieces, and just put them in the freezer, I will use them later on. So today it's cold outside, and a nice Pork Roast would be great for dinner!

Pork and apples go together perfectly!  My Mom use to make Pork Roast with Sauerkraut for us, but only on occasion.  It was always delicious, and she would make her homemade apple sauce to go along with it. 

I always brown my meat in about 1TBS canola oil, this really helps when you make a gravy, all those tiny bits that are left behind make a most wonderful yummy gravy.  Even if I put a roast in the crock pot, I still brown the roast first.  It's easy, and really comforting, and Winter is all about comforting meals. 

Pork Roast

1 3lb Pork Roast (loin of pork)
1 large onion chopped into small size pieces
3 TBS or cubes of Beef Bouillon
1 cup water
1 TBS canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large can of Sauerkraut
3 large Apples cored and cut up into chunks

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large roasting pan, heat and add the canola oil.  Brown the meat on all sides until a nice brown.  While browning, salt and pepper all the sides of the roast. Add the onions, beef bouillon, sauerkraut, apples, and water to the pan. Roast in the oven for about 1 hour.  I like my pork tender, until no longer pink, and until a knife goes through very easily.

To make the GRAVY

A Jar with a lid with 1 cup of water in it
2 TBS flour
2 cups of extra water

When the roast is done, take it out of the pan and onto a cutting board, cover with foil.  With a slotted spoon, take out as much of the sauerkraut and apples as you can, and put them in a bowl, and cover with foil. On the stove top, add the 2 cups of water to the roaster pan drippings, and heat on high, until it comes to a boil.  Make sure to scrape all the "goodness" off the sides and bottom of the roasting pan, and whisk, you will see tiny bits of goodness, along with the cooked onions.

 To a Jar, add 2 TBS flour, with 1 cup water, cover and shake.  Add to the pan of drippings, and whisk immediately on high heat, bring to a boil, this will help if there's any lumps.  When all incorporated, turn flame to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Taste it, what does it need, more salt, or pepper....The gravy should be a nice thick consistency, but not too thick, if it's too thick, add some extra water.

Serve with the Sauerkraut and Apples, along with mashed potatoes, or oven roasted sweet potatoes, and don't forget a veggie! So YUMMO.. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie.....Perfect for a Winter Dinner!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, and had a fun-filled Superbowl party.  We sure did, went to friends, and really had a wonderful time, the game was exciting, and the food delicious.  I made my Stromboli, Mac & Cheese, and Mexican Caviar for the party! 

Tonight I am making my Chicken Pot Pie, I posted the recipe back in September, but wanted to share it again.  It's homemade, and delicious.  I make my own pie crust, and it's so easy, but if you want, buy the Pillsbury Pie Crust, But I encourage you to make your own pie crust one day. 

This meal is my daughter Becca's favorite....she asked me to make it for her on her AUGUST.  Yes, it was a hot day for Chicken Pot Pie, but she loved it.  I haven't made it in a while, and she's been asking for tonight Becca will be so happy to hear that Chicken Pot Pie is for dinner!

Pie Crust for one pie
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vinegar

In a large bowl put the flour and salt, and shortening, then using a pastry cutter or 2 knives cut the shortening into the flour and salt. Using a liquid measuring cup, break one egg into it, and then fill it to the 1/2 cup line with ice cold water, and add 1 tsp vinegar.....YES will be fine you'll see. Mix it with a fork, then add it to the flour/shortening mixture and mix together with with a fork, then get your hands in there and gather the dough together don't be afraid, this pie dough recipe you can work the dough and it will still be flaky! Form into a round disk, if it's too wet, add a little more flour, too dry, add very little will be sticky, but not overly sticky.....all depends on the day and humidity.......wrap in plastic wrap and put in the frig for about 1/2 hour, or you can even leave it in there for 2 days, or freeze it for whatever pie you want :)
About 2 cups COOKED shredded chicken (if you don't know how to cook it, cut them up in small pieces, and put a little canola oil in a frying pan, and cook until lightly brown)
2 cups milk, 2% or whole
4 TBS cornstarch
2 cups chicken stock or 2 cups water with 2 TBS chicken bouillon added (I use the water with bouillon)
4 TBS butter (don't worry you're not gonna eat the whole pie, well maybe you will)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups mixed frozen veggies (corn, peas, carrots, whatever)
In a large pot, add the milk, cornstarch, add the water with the bouillon mixed, or chicken stock, salt, pepper, butter,.whisk constantly, but watch it, keep whisking, you don't want it to will start to bubble and become thickened, take off heat and add cheese, stir let it melt, and then add the COOKED chicken, and veggies.. stir.....COOL... now the pie crust
The filling, so YUMMO!
Take the pie dough out of the frig, and on a well floured surface, cut the dough disk in half, take one of the halves and roll out, this is the bottom of the pie. Make sure you have a dusting of flour on the bottom and top of the dough before rolling, and on your rolling pin...roll out to a rectangle since you will use a 9x13 dish, or a round dish if you want to use a deep round casserole dish. Keep rolling take your time if it sticks add a little more flour, moving the dough so it doesn't stick, move it around after each roll with the pin.
Rolling out the pie dough/crust....EASY, you can do it!
Put it on the bottom of a 9x13 dish, then add the cooled filling, and roll out the top pie crust the same way, lay it carefully over the filling, seal the edges, and cut three holes in the top crust for vent holes. Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes until you see it bubbling and light brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before servings......SO YUMMO!!!!.
Done and ready for the oven!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Food for the Big Game!

So who is your favorite team in the Superbowl this year?  Well, even though we live in New Jersey, and from New York City, my Hubby doesn't like the Giants, so he won't be routing for them.  I know, how could he!  But that doesn't mean we won't WATCH the game, and have delicious food. 

We are going to a friends house this year to celebrate the game, and it will be a fun-fill "food party". There will be a lot of food at this party, and I am looking forward to it, but I've been on this diet, ugh, I know, so it will be a hard one for me!  But I am STILL making my Stromboli for the party. 

I love making Stromboli, it's easy, and if you know how to make your own Pizza Dough, then it's so easy!  I am also bringing Mexican Caviar, you can find the recipe HERE, it's easy, fresh, low CARB, and low CAL, and delicious.  What are you all making for the Superbowl?  I'm sure something YUMMO!

Stromboli - makes 2

Cheese (any kind you like, I use Provolone, Mozzarella, and Swiss and just enough to cover the center of the dough
Pepperoni - just enough to cover the center of the dough
Ham - just enough to cover the center of the dough
Salomi - Just enough to cover the center of the dough
1 Green Pepper chopped
1 Red Pepper chopped
1 large Onion chopped
1 lb of Ground Italian Sausage Sweet or Hot, whatever you like
1 egg and 1 TBS water for egg wash
Recipe for my Pizza Dough you can find here!

In a skillet over med heat, brown the ground up sausage, I don't use links in this recipe. At the store you can find ground up Italian Sausage right by the Links of Sausage.  So brown up the sausage until no longer pink, then DRAIN ALL THE FAT!   Put back in the skillet, and the onions, and peppers. Saute until the veggies are soft. Let this cool, or do it the day before and keep in the frig.

Ok, so you just read how to make the Pizza Dough for the Stromboli, easy right?  Or if you don't want to make it homemade, then just buy 2 loaves of pizza dough, let them sit at room temp for about 1 hour on a floured cutting board, this will make them elastic, and so easy to roll out with YOUR HANDS!!!  I never use a rolling pin. 

with all the fixings!

With your HANDS form the dough into a rectangle, in the center of the dough start layering all the meats and cheese, and cooked, but COOLED, sausage, onions, and peppers.  Starting at the longest side of the dough start rolling the dough up, this is called a Jelly Roll, be careful you don't want the meats and cheeses to squeeze out. 
All rolled up and ready for the oven!
Pinch the seams together, and carefully transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Sometimes I form mine into a U-SHAPE, just easier to transfer that way.  Let rise for 20 minutes, and brush with egg wash.  Put into preheated 400 degree oven, and cook for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack, cut with a serrated knife.  Serve with your favorite Tomato Sauce, or Honey YUMMO!

Cooling right out of the oven!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup, with Matzo Balls......YUMMO!

I made this most delicious soup last night, Italian Wedding Soup, but with Matzo Balls! Italian Wedding Soup has little meatballs, and since my little boy loves my meatballs, I knew he would love this soup.  I also put Orzo in the soup, to make it a hearty dinner for us all.  It was easy, and only took like 2 hours to cook from start to finish.  Make this soup, it was a real HIT!!!!

Italian Wedding Soup with Matzo Balls

2 TBS Canola oil
1 large onion diced
3 carrots peeled and cut like coins
3 stalks celery diced
2 Chicken Breasts diced uncooked
8 Cups water
3 packets of chicken bouillon or more to taste
2 tsp or more to taste salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
2 TBS fresh parsley
1 cup of cooked Orzo Pasta or whatever little pasta you have in your pantry
1 envelope of Matzo Ball Mix
About 20 mini meatballs

Recipe for my Meatballs

1pounds chop meat (85% lean would do)
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
4 TBS milk
2 TBS fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1  tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 TBS Parm cheese

Mix together with your HANDS......YES... you need to do this with your hands!!! Roll into tiny balls.  

Making the Soup
In a large stockpot over medium - high heat add the canola oil, and let the oil heat up, then add the onions, carrots celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender.  Add the uncooked chicken, and cook until no longer pink.  Add the water, and packets of bouillon, garlic powder, basil,  fresh parsley and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, then add the UNCOOKED TINY MEATBALLS, yes you don't have to prebaked them, just drop them into the soup.  Cover and cook on med-low for about 1 hour.  Taste it, what does it need, is it well seasoned, you want a well seasoned soup!  I usually add more salt at this point, nothing like a unseasoned soup!  Cook the Orzo, and add to the soup, stir well, and simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes.

Matzo Balls - I buy the box of Matzo Ball Mix, so easy, follow the directions on the back, after preparing the mix which is so easy, it has to be chilled for 20 minutes in the frig, so plan for this, and the Matzo Balls have to boil in water for 15 minutes, before adding them to the soup.  After boiling them in water, simply add them to the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes.  ENJOY!

This what I use, so easy!
Matzo Balls cooking in water before adding them to the soup!
Helpful Hint - I made up a batch of regular meatballs last week with my sauce, and knew I was going to make to make Italian Wedding Soup this week. I just rolled some tiny meatballs and put them on a cookie sheet, put them into the freezer for about 2 hours, took them out, then into a plastic baggie, and right back into the freezer awaiting to be cooked!  SIMPLE, and thinking ahead!