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This past weekend we did the “pick-your-own” at a farm in NJ. Not only was it so much fun to pick apples, red & yellow raspberries, blackberries, peppers, tomatos (of all varieties) and eggplant…but it’s even more fun to come home and eat them! Check out some pictures of what we picked…it was just delicious!

So we went to the farm over the weekend and did the pick-your-own fruits and veggies thing. So much fun! And I’m glad stuffed peppers won because we picked a lot of yummy peppers. Here’s out to make them. Thanks again to everyone who voted!

Ingredients…

1 lb lean ground beef (80% / 20%)

3 inches of day old baguette (crumbled) – you could also use 2 slices of white bread or a handful of breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons of chopped red onion

1 handful of parsley

1/2 cup of grated pecorino cheese

1 egg lightly beaten

dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

splash of milk (whatever you have on hand is fine)

salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil

Directions…

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl — use your hands, it’s fun! Cut 2 green peppers in half. Remove the seed and ribs. Place cut side up in a baking dish with sides, season with salt and pepper. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Stuff the mixture inside each pepper — it’s okay if it mounds up on top a little bit. Pour left over tomato basil sauce over the top — pick up the recipe from my Pizza Topped with Arugula and Prosciutto post. Sauce should come about 1/4 way up the pepper. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink. Cover for the first 30 minutes with a piece of tin foil. Serve over brown or white rice and top with grated pecorino cheese. Enjoy!

Tip…

This makes a great crock pot meal too. The prep is exactly the same, just make sure you put sauce down first, so the peppers don’t directly touch the bottom of the crock pot. Set on low for 8 hours and dinner is ready when you come home from work.

Yum! I will post the recipe tomorrow. Thanks to all who voted 🙂

This recipe is for what I consider the best chili….ever. I’ve received rave reviews on this and everyone is asking for the recipe, so here it is! Honestly I have been so excited for Fall to arrive so I can start to make this again. I went through severe withdrawls over the summer. Anyway, check out how to make this Turkey and Sausage Chili…it’s my version of an Emeril recipe. Get ready to want to snuggle up with a big, hot bowl of chili!

Ingredients…

1 pound of ground turkey

1 package (6 links) of hot Italian sausage (remove it from the casing)

1 large white onion chopped

1 large green pepper chopped

3 chipolte peppers in adobe chopped (adjust accordingly for more or less heat — I found this is the perfect amount for my taste….great heat and warmth, but not hot)

A few dashes of hot sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper

1 lager beer (like Yuengling or Amstel)

1 large can of whole San Marzano tomatoes

1 can of pinto beans (rinsed)

1 giant handful of fresh cilantro

Directions…

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, sausage and salt/pepper. Cook, breaking up the chunks, until no longer pink. Add the onions and peppers, cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, chipolte, oregano and paprika – cook for a minute. Add the beer – cook for 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, beans and half of the cilantro – mix to combine all the ingredients together. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure to stir it every once in a while – you don’t want the yummy-ness to stick to the bottom.

Add the remaining cilartro to the chili right before serving. Enjoy with blue corn torilla chips topped with melted cheddar or jack cheese.

Tip: Since this does take about an hour to make – cook up a double batch and freeze it. Or have it as left overs during the week — It tastes even better the next day.

photo(2)I love to take comforting foods and switch them up a bit and make them more interesting. This is my version of Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese.

This recipe makes enough for two people with some soup left over. The leftovers make a delicious lunch the next day!

For the Soup…

Slice 2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon into chunks. Saute in a dry pan until the bacon is crispy and brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain. Set aside. Saute 3 sliced shallots in the bacon grease until tender. Add 3/4 cup of white wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let the alcohol burn off – about 5 minutes. Add 1 large can of whole San Marzano tomatos, a handful of torn basil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, salt, pepper, a few dashes of chipolte hot sauce (or you can use regular hot sauce), tablespoon sugar. Let boil for about 15 minutes. Use an immersion hand blender (like this one) and puree the soup until it’s smooth. Stir in about 1/3 cup of cream. Reduce to simmer until you are ready to use.

For the Grilled Cheese…

The key to making a grilled cheese great, is having quality bread and good cheese. My sandwiches always start with Balthazar bread. Slice whole grain bread into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Place a thin layer of Dijon mustard on one side of the bread. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, then thinly sliced tomato and watercress. Next place shredded Gruyere cheese on the sandwich and top with the other slice of bread. In a pan heat up a little bit of butter. Place sandwiches in the melted butter. While they are browning on one side, smear some butter on the side of the bread that is not in the skillet — This way when you flip the sandwiches you don’t need to put more butter in the pan. Flip sandwiches and cook until golden brown on the other side.

Slice sandwiches in half. Serve with tomato soup topped with the reserved crumbled bacon and torn fresh basil. Enjoy!


Friday Breakfast….A Sigma tradition.

At my office, each Friday someone brings in breakfast for the entire office. We rotate, so you only have to supply breakfast about once a year. This year I took it as a challenge to spend as little money as possible (recession special) but still put together a really nice breakfast for everyone to enjoy!

On the menu:

  • Egg casserole with turkey sausage, peppers, onions and potatoes
  • Egg casserole with spinach, feta and tomato
  • Egg casserole with cheddar cheese
  • French Toast (made with Balthazar Bread…of course!)
  • Apple & Cinnamon Compote to go on top of the French Toast
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries / Blueberries
  • Greek Yogurt and Granola
  • Brownies
  • Orange Juice

It’s hard to believe, but by “shopping the sale rack” at the grocery store, I was able to feed 50 hungry employees for only $85! Eggs on sale for 99 cents / dozen…Cantaloupe 2/$3…Apples for 99 cents / lb. – the list goes on! I formulated my menu around what was on sale – and it worked!

Take the survey and let me know what new recipe I should post next week!

http://bit.ly/1Jdvuo

Dinner tonight came from the need to eat something healthy, cheap and easy. Here is my answer to that. Dinner cost less then $6 for 2 people! I had most of the ingredients in my pantry / refrigerator….all I bought was a leek, parsley and tilapia. Everything else are staples that I keep on hand.

Here’s how to do it….Layer two pieces of foil in an X on a cookie sheet with sides. Place 2 pieces of tilapia on the overlapped part. Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper. Top with halved cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, sliced leeks (see trick how to clean them below), chopped parsley, capers, drizzle of olive oil and a 1/2 cup of white wine. Before sealing up, top with a pad of butter cut into small pieces. Fold the foil and overlap until you have a fully sealed pouch. The fish steams inside the pouch…which means super healthy and even more importantly no clean up! Cook in a 375 degree oven for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the fish is white all the way through. (Note: when you open the pouch all of the steam will escape, so be careful not to burn yourself!) Serve over pasta or mashed potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!

Tip for cleaning leeks: They are usually really dirty, and this is the easiest way I have found to clean them. Slice them first. Place them in a bowl of cold water and separate the rings. Run them through your fingers a few times. Let them sit for about 5 minutes. All of the dirt will settle to the bottom of the bowl, so scoop the cut leeks out and dry.

NewYorkGiantsI went to watch the NY Giants season opener Sunday. And that means — Tailgating! I was asked to make something sweet, and there is no bigger crowd pleaser than brownies. Check out these delicious brownies – made from scratch. Try it just once, and you will be amazed at how much more yummy they are then the boxed variety.

Ingredients:

1 cup of butter

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (like Hersheys)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 generous handful of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs. Whisk until blended well. Sugar should melt / dissolve mostly. Do not let it boil – you will get scrambled eggs – (simmering is okay).

Measure out flour, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Stir in butter and sugar mixture to combine. Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Pour into a 13 by 9-inch pan sprayed with PAM. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. Cut into triangles. Enjoy!

Tonight’s dinner had two inspirations….the smell of fall in the air and a need to begin cleaning out the fridge / freezer / pantry. This meal is an easy way to use left over veggies and chicken.

Here is how to make the version I had tonight, but switch it up with whatever you have on hand.

2 carrots

2 shallots

1 large red potato

2 handfuls of frozen peas

1 cup skim milk

1 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons of flour

2 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 cooked chicken breasts shredded

1 sheet puff pastry (defrosted)

salt, pepper, olive oil, herbs de provence, parmesan cheese and parsley

For the sauce: Melt the butter in a small sauce pot on medium heat. Mix in the flour. Let bubble and cook for 3-4 minutes, mixing constantly. (This is called a roux, for this recipe it should be a golden color.) Once it has reached that color, whisk in the chicken stock and milk. This mixture will need to come to a rolling boil, whisk frequently. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon, mix in the dijon mustard, and salt / pepper to taste.

For the filling: If your veggies and chicken are already cooked all you need to do is cut them into bite size pieces. Mine were not cooked, so I sauteed the shallots, carrots and potatoes in a little bit of olive oil with salt and pepper and herbs de provence. Do not cook them all the way, only cook them about half way (it will cook the rest of the way in the oven)

Mix all of your components for the filling (shredded chicken, shallots, carrots, potatoes, peas, chopped parsley) with the thickened sauce. Poor mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish. Top with puff pastry. Make sure the edges are sealed to the dish. Brush the top with olive oil and top with shredded parmesan cheese. Cut four slits in the top for the heat to escape. Cook at 375 for about 15 minutes or until the top has puffed and is golden brown. (Tip: To eliminate having to clean the oven…put the casserole dish on top of a cookie sheet to catch any overflow)

Scoop and serve in bowls.

Note: You can use a rotisserie chicken from the store or left overs. Other veggie options could include asparagus, green beans, corn, pearl onions – really anything you have on hand will work.

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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