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I had a request for a super easy, minimal ingredient dinner. This is for you Pat!

Aside from salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar…these are staples most people have in their kitchen…this is super easy and yummy…AND only 5 ingredients to buy at the store.

1. Whole wheat penne pasta

2. Cherry tomatoes

3. Basil

4. Fresh mozzarella

5. Grated parmesan cheese

Cook whole wheat penne pasta in a pot of salted boiling water. Drain. When pasta is still warm toss with halved cherry tomatoes, torn basil, bite size pieces of fresh mozzarella, olive oil, salt, pepper and vinegar (red wine or balsamic), top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Nothing adds warmth to a snow day like a big pot of chili. I found a way to make it even better today! Add a 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and allspice…plus a heaping tablespoon of granulated brown sugar. It adds a warmth and spice that compliments the spicy heat of the chili…try it next time! Delish!

In a pinch to make a quick dinner? Serve an easy arugula salad over chicken cutlets. You can make the cutlets or buy them in the store. Top with baby arugula mixed with chopped fresh mozzarella, sliced roasted red peppers, cubed tomato, torn basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss with salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Super simple. Super delicious.

Enjoy!

I am moving to a new place in a few weeks so I am on a mission to clean out my fridge / freezer / pantry. The more stuff I use, the less I have to move….and the cheaper the grocery bill will be over the next few weeks. So this dish was developed based on this adventure! I just threw it together and didn’t measure, so here are the approximate directions.

For the pork chops:

Marinate for about 10 minutes in chipotle in adobo, orange juice, olive oil, paprika, chili powder and cumin. Sear on both sides (about 4 min per side) in a hot skillet with melted butter and olive oil. Cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For the sauce:

Saute finely chopped onion in olive oil with salt and pepper until tender. Pour in about 1 glass of red wine (I used cabernet) and a splash of orange juice. Let reduce by half. Add in lots of cracked pepper, salt, 2 tbsp  honey and a cup of blackberries. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until the blackberries start to break up and the sauce thickens.

Serve the sauce over the pork chops. Round out the meal with some cous cous and green beans.

Here are some great ways to use up your leftovers….

  • Turn your veggies and turkey into a turkey pot pie or turkey and veggie soup
  • Use leftover biscuits to make egg sandwich sliders for a yummy breakfast
  • Turn mashed potatoes into potato croquets by mixing with chopped parsley and shredded mozzarella, rolling into a ball, dip in breadcrumbs and fry.
  • Scoop the inside out of a pecan pie and warm, top with caramelized bananas (saute with brown sugar until brown)
  • For a side dish, put candied yams in a food processor and blend to make whipped yams to serve along side chicken or fish
  • Use stuffing to stuff a pork tenderloin or chicken breasts to make another dinner

 

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is rapidly approaching which means busy times and plenty of food to go around!

I have found that Bon Appetit has the best Thanksgiving guide around. Check it out here – They have everything from the best turkey recipes to sides and appetizers. Highly recommend this site.

What are all of you making for Thanksgiving? What are your favorites? Feel free to post some winners here!

My favorite is my grandmothers Sausage Stuffing…but sorry, it’s a family secret!

photo-1For a chilly Sunday night beef stew was the perfect meal. I have a yummy cookbook that I never get to cook out of because everything takes too long or requires a million ingredients. Not so friendly for a weeknight. But here is an easy one that was oh so yummy thanks to Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris — with my special added touchs of course.

Added bonus…it tastes better the second day!

Ingredients…

Olive Oil

4 ounces bacon, diced

1 1/4 lbs beef chuck cut into 1 inch cubes

salt / pepper

1/2 lb carrots sliced into 1 inch chunks

1 onion sliced

1/2 bottle good red wine, like a burgundy or cabernet

1 1/4 cups boxed beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon herbs de provence

3 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 lb frozen peal onions

1/2 lb mushrooms thickly sliced (any kind you like)

1/4 lb frozen peas

handful chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup cream

How to make it….

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon is slightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Dry cubes of beef and season liberally with salt and pepper. In batches sear the meat in hot oil on each side, total about 3-5 minutes. Removed the beef and add to the plate with the bacon.

Place the carrots, onions, salt and pepper in the pot and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the onions are lightly browned add the meat and bacon back into the pot with any juices from the plate. Add the wine and beef broth. Mix in the tomato paste, thyme and herbs de provence. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn heat to low and cook for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and carrots are tender. (Resist the urge to open the lid – all of the heat will escape).

Mix 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the pearl onions. In a separate pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add them to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add peas, parsley and the cream. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve over buttered egg noodles and top with extra chopped parsley.

photo-1

Lobster was on sale for half price at the supermarket….$4.99 / lb — A Steal! Here’s my recipe for what turned out to be delicious lobster rolls. Serves 2. ENJOY!

Ingredients

2 – 1 1/2 lb. lobsters

2 tbsps mayo

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 ribs celery chopped small

1/4 cup cucumber, seeds removed, chopped small

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

sprinkle of dried dill (or fresh if you have)

squeeze of lemon

splash of red wine vinegar

salt / pepper

hot dog rolls

teaspoon butter

Directions

For the lobsters: Bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the 2 lobsters, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 – 22 minutes. Let cool. Crack and remove meat. Cut into chunks.

Mix together the mayo, mustard, lemon, tarragon, dill, vinegar and salt / pepper. Add in lobster, celery and cucumber. Mix to combine.

Melt butter in a pan. Toast up hot dog rolls on the inside and outside. Spoon lobster salad into toasted rolls. Serve with a simple salad and kettle cooked chips.

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.

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.

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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