Pasta with Italian Sausage & Broccoli

Sometimes it’s a gamble trying out a new recipe & sometimes it’s a success. Happy to report, the above was a success & what I tried most recently was not; therefore, will be omitted from this site. 😃

Ingredients:

1 large head of broccoli trimmed & cut into florets

16 oz pasta (I used shells)

4 tbsp, olive oil, divided, more as needed

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 lb Italian sausage (I used 1 lb hot & 1 lb mild)

3/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, more for topping

1 1/2 cups pasta water reserved, divided

Salt & freshly cracked pepper

Red pepper flakes, as desired

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil & add 2 tbsp of salt. Add broccoli florets to water & boil for 4 minutes. Without removing pot of water from heat, transfer broccoli to a colander, while leaving water in pot. Run cold water over broccoli to stop cooking. Drain well & cut into smaller pieces.

Add pasta to boiling water in pot & cook 1 minute shy of al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water before draining.

While pasta is boiling, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil & crumble Italian sausage until cooked completely. Add garlic in the last few minutes of browning the sausage.

Once sausage is cooked thoroughly, pour 1 cup of pasta water into the sausage & simmer for a minute & water has reduced. Incorporate al dente pasta in with the sausage & cook for 2 more minutes.

Drizzle in remaining 2 tbsps olive oil, sprinkle in crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Toss in broccoli, stirring lightly. Season with salt & freshly cracked pepper, per taste. Add in remaining 1/2 cup of pasta water, if needed. Drizzle more olive oil, if desired. Top servings with more grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Adapted slightly from: https://www.cookingclassy.com/orecchiette-with-sausage-broccoli-recipe/

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Ice Cream Sandwiches

I was excited when I first came upon this recipe & knew in an instant I would try my hand at it. Ice cream sandwiches are synonymous with summer. I loved them as a kid & I love them as an adult. My family, skeptics as they are, were like, “It’s ice cream sandwiches, you can just buy those.”

My sequential thoughts unfolded like so: Pssh. Naysayers. Have I taught them nothing? Shouldn’t they know better by now? I’ll show them. Homemade is always better. (With the exception of brownies – Ghirardelli boxed brownies is where it’s at! I’ve yet to try a homemade brownie recipe that has swayed me. I’ve tried. Many times.)

Now after having made these twice this summer, my husband straight up told me, “These are so good. You should quit your job & make these all day.” I’ll take that as a victory. And, no, I’m still gainfully employed.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsps milk

1 egg white

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder (* see notes)

2 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream (or more if you like a thicker sandwich)

Preparation:

Make the cookie:

Heat oven to 325 degrees F & line a 9 x13 pan with parchment paper that extends up the two short sides of the pan. Coat the exposed sides with butter or nonstick spray.

If butter is not at room temperature, melt halfway & whisk until fully melted. Whisk in the sugar, salt, & milk. Whisk in the egg white & vanilla, ensuring the egg white is fully mixed in. Stir in the cocoa powder & baking powder; thoroughly mix. Lastly, add flour & stir until no white streaks are present.

Spoon mixture into prepared pan & spread into an even layer.

Bake for 15 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Dock all over with a skewer. Let cool completely or place in freezer for 15 minutes. Remove ice cream at the same time & allow to soften for these 15 minutes.

Assemble the sandwiches:

Once cold to the touch, run a knife around the pan & use the parchment paper to slide it out of the pan. Cut in half width wise. Return the parchment paper to the pan to help shape the sandwiches. Return the first cookie half back to the pan, placing upside down over the parchment paper, & press up against the edge. Scoop the ice cream & spread it evenly over. Press the second cookie half, right side up, onto the ice cream. Use the sides of the pan& parchment paper to help the ice cream keep its shape in the cookie & place the pan in the freezer. Freeze for a minimum of 5 hours, but preferably overnight.

Once ice cream is fully solid again, transfer to a cutting board, remove parchment paper, & cut into rectangles. Eat immediately or store in airtight container in freezer.

Notes:

Use 2 tbsps regular cocoa powder & 2 tbsps black cocoa powder, if you have it.

This recipe is easily doubled.

I’ve found it’s almost easier to spread the cookie mixture onto the parchment paper outside of the pan so I get more of a visual that it’s even. In the picture above, I doubled the recipe & spread the top layer in the pan & when I made the bottom layer, I spread it outside of the pan & then inserted it into the pan. The bottom layer was more even.

Source: https://smittenkitchen.com/2021/06/chocolate-ice-cream-sandwiches/

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Ciabatta Breakfast Sandwich

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped off at the store to buy some rolls for the French Dip sandwiches we were having for dinner that night. I was unsuccessful in finding what I wanted: not a hoagie, but something sturdier, with a good chewy crust to it; something that wouldn’t disintegrate once immersed into the au jus, but also not hard & laborious to eat. That’s when I came across the Ciabatta Rolls. They worked perfectly!

We had a few leftover which worked just as well for a quick, flavorful breakfast sandwich.

Ingredients:

Ciabatta rolls

Eggs

Oil

Butter

Fresh cracked S & P

Cooked bacon

Cheese slices

Preparation:

Over medium high heat, add just a bit, (2-3 tsps) of oil (I used avocado oil) to a small skillet, add egg(s), season with S & P and cook until desired doneness: cook less if you want your eggs to be more runny, or cook longer for a firmer, but still soft yolk.

Heat another pan also over medium high heat. While the eggs are cooking, pull apart the rolls & spread butter evenly on both sides, & grill until nice golden brown.

Heat up slices of already cooked bacon in the microwave for 45 – 60 seconds on defrost. Using defrost heats it without cooking it more & making it rubbery. If you don’t have cooked bacon at the ready, prepare your bacon first, allowing enough time for it to cook before cooking the eggs & grilling the bread. Or skip the bacon altogether, it’s good without it, but for the full effect, go for the bacon.

Assemble your sandwich. Top the bottom of each grilled roll with egg, bacon, & slice of cheese, per preference (I used Swiss), & top with upper grilled part of the roll. Enjoy!

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Georgia Peach Pound Cake

The best & truest time to use a fruit is when it’s in its seasonal prime. Depending on your region, now is the sweetest & ripest moment of the year to enjoy peaches alone, in baked goods, or both.

Behold peach pound cake. This proved to be a soft, not overly sweet, moist cake. Fresh peaches are one of my favorite fruits, but even those who aren’t crazy about peaches were surprised how much they enjoyed this cake.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 reserved

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups (7 – 8 peaches), pitted, skins removed, & chopped

Preparation:

Peel, pit, & chop the peaches placing chopped peaches in a bowl. Sprinkle with a 1/4 cup of flour; stir & set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10” Bundt pan & sprinkle with granulated sugar.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.

Sprinkle the baking powder & salt evenly over the batter. Stir to incorporate. Add 2 & 3/4 cups of flour & stir until no streaks of flour show. Fold the peaches into batter. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes before removing. Transfer cake to cooling rack to cool completely.

Source: A friend had shared this recipe on Facebook & I screenshot the recipe. Check out Everyday Eileen on Facebook or http://www.everydayeileen.com

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Chocolate Chip Mug Cookie

If you like chocolate chip cookies, chances are, in a pinch (aka craving), you’ve tried your hand at a mug cookie & found it utterly lackluster. While nothing beats a true batch of homemade cookies, sometimes I don’t want the temptation of a whole batch calling my name. Say no more to disappointing mug cookies, this one is a keeper.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 -2 pinches of salt

1 tbsp whisked egg

1/8 tsp of baking soda

1/3 cup flour

3 tbsp chocolate chips

Preparation:

Spray the inside of a large mug with nonstick spray. Heat the butter until softened; not fully melted, about 20 seconds. Stir in the sugars. Add the vanilla extract & salt. In a small dish, whisk the egg, measure out 1 tbsp of whisked egg & add to mixture; stir to combine. Sprinkle in baking soda & flour, blend until no more visible flour. Stir in 2 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips & sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.

Cooke for 1 minute in the microwave.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Parmesan

This is another one of those dishes where you don’t need precise amounts of seasoning. Instead, lead by your eyes & mostly your nose! You can also easily adjust the amount of ingredients based on how many people are eating and/ or how many leftovers you want.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

1 egg + 2 tbsp water, whisked

Fine bread crumbs

Italian seasoning

Garlic powder

S & P

Olive oil

Provolone/ Mozzarella cheese slices

Spaghetti

Marinara sauce

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Add S & P to both sides of chicken breasts; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the egg & water; set aside. In another bowl, combine together bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, & garlic powder.

Dip each salted & peppered chicken breast into the egg wash, letting the excess drip off, & then transfer to seasoned bread crumbs & coat well. Transfer to a plate or tray.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & cook desired amount of spaghetti, per package instructions.

In a medium size saucepan, warm the marinara sauce.

Meanwhile, heat an electric skillet to medium – medium/ high heat. Add 1 – 2 tbsps olive oil. Once heated, transfer each prepped chicken breast to the skillet & cook 4-6 minutes on each side, or until cooked thoroughly & no longer pink when cut into the thickest part of the chicken breast.

Once the chicken is cooked, place a slice of provolone or mozzarella on each chicken breast. Drain the spaghetti. Add a serving of spaghetti to a plate, top with marinara, place chicken breast on top, add another spoonful of marinara sauce & top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Note: Once the bread crumb mixture is combined, you can use a bit at a time so that if you have leftover mixture, it’s not all contaminated because you’ve gotten egg mixture & raw chicken juices all over & you can save it for another time safely sealed & stored away in the pantry.

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Homemade Sloppy Joe’s

Do you ever only like something if made from a particular recipe? When it comes to certain food, that’s me, hands down. Sloppy Joe’s are a prime example. I have only ever liked my grandma’s recipe. My grandma was a farmer’s wife & her cooking was top notch. If she made something & it didn’t turn out as expected, she’d call it a flop while the rest of us gobbled it up. I was excited to learn my aunts had this recipe, like so many, they were lost when she passed.

Be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of sauce. A lot! Keep this in mind & adjust accordingly or do as I did, make the whole thing as is, use what you need, & freeze (or can) the rest knowing a huge potluck is in your future.

Ingredients:

14 lbs. of beefsteak tomatoes

1 lb. of celery

4 cups diced onions

3 green peppers

1/4 cup salt

1/2 tbsp ground cloves

2 tbsp ground mustard

2 sticks cinnamon

1 2 lb bag of brown sugar

1 quart apple cider vinegar

Yields: 18 cups

Preparation:

Chop the celery, onions, & green peppers; set aside in a large bowl.

Scald & peel tomatoes. Fill a large stock pot with water & heat until boiling. Make an x on the underside of each tomato, place several tomatoes in boiling water for 45-60 seconds, or until skin of tomatoes start to peel back. Remove from boiling water & transfer to an ice bath for a few minutes. Peel skin & quarter each tomato. When finished with all tomatoes, drain stock pot of water, reduce heat to medium-high & cook for 20-25 minutes. Drain any liquid. Add chopped vegetables & salt to pot, stir, reduce heat & simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the brown sugar & apple cider vinegar. In the center of a cheesecloth or large tea towel, add the ground cloves, ground mustard, & cinnamon sticks. Tie up the cheesecloth/ tea towel & immerse into tomato mixture & simmer another 1 1/2 hours. Remove spices & freeze in 1 or 2 cup packages.

To make sloppy Joe’s, brown 1 or 2 lbs of hamburger meat. Drain grease & add 1 or 2 cups of sauce (1 cup per 1 lb of meat). Add 1-2 tbsp of mustard & ketchup, per liking.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup peanut butter

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsps baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned)

For the frosting:

4 tbsp butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp milk or cream

1 tsp vanilla

Preparation:

Beat together butter & shortening for 2 minutes, scraping sides & bottom.

Add brown sugar & granulated sugar. Beat for 2 minutes, until light & fluffy, scraping the sides & bottom. Add 1 cup peanut butter & beat until incorporated. Add eggs & vanilla extract, beat well.

Add flour, baking soda, & salt, stir together until mostly combined. Add oats & stir until combined, scraping bottom & sides, & careful not to over mix. Cover the bowl & chill for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out 1 or 2 inch, depending on preferred size. Bake for 8-10 minutes, ensuring middle is cooked, but careful not to over bake. Allow to cool on sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Prepare the frosting. Beat butter & peanut butter together until smooth & creamy. Add powdered sugar & beat until well incorporated. Add milk, cream, & vanilla extract. Add more milk/ cream, if desired.

Spread frosting on bottom of cookie & sandwich with another.

Source: https://thefoodcharlatan.com/peanut-butter-sandwich-cookies/

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Lemon Green Bean Chicken Pasta

Sometimes my husband surprises me with recipes that I would never have thought he’d be interested in trying and/ or liking. He brought this recipe to my attention, and while the original recipe calls for asparagus, and I cooked it once that way, both of us feel pretty meh about it so I now swap it out with green beans. The lemon in this dish makes it perfect for this time of year.

Ingredients:

1 lb. linguine

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 boneless/ skinless chicken breasts

Freshly cracked S & P

Italian seasoning

2 tbsp. butter

1 smalll red onion, chopped

1 lb. fresh green beans (or asparagus), ends trimmed

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan

Preparation:

Fill a large pot of salted water and allow to heat to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, al dente. Boil pasta while the chicken is cooking. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, add olive oil to to a large skillet and bring to medium heat. Season chicken breasts with S&P and Italian seasoning. Cook until golden, about 8 minutes on each side, until no longer pink in the middle. Transfer to a plate to rest, then thinly slice.

Melt butter, in skillet, over medium heat. Add red onion and green beans (or asparagus) & season with S&P. Cook until tender, approximately 5 minutes, then add heavy cream, chicken broth, lemon zest & juice, and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese and cook until melted. Serve over linguine.

Source: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a52782/lemon-asparagus-chicken-pasta-recipe/

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White Cupcakes with White, Chocolate, or Twist Frosting

My birthday was last month, & like every year, I look forward to making my own birthday cake. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered an appreciation for vanilla & have found, if given an option, I lean towards vanilla. Of course, I still enjoy chocolate, as well. Perhaps this is why I couldn’t decide on the frosting. That, and I really wanted to try the twist frosting.

It all made for a yummy celebration.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract, I used clear

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (to be used later)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 – 3 tbsp milk, half & half, or cream

Preparation:

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, Crisco, & sugar until light & fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition, being careful not to over beat.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, & salt. In a large measuring cup, add the milk, buttermilk, & vanilla extract & stir together.

Beginning & ending with flour mixture, alternate adding flour mix & milk mixture to the creamed mixture. Stir after each addition, scraping the sides & bottom.

Distribute batter into muffin tins. Bake for 17 – 18 minutes.

Remove from oven. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter for 4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time. After each addition has been incorporated, mix on high speed for 10 seconds.

Add vanilla extract & pinch of salt.

Add the milk, half & half, or cream until desired consistency is reached.

Since I wanted to have some cupcakes with white frosting & some with chocolate, after the frosting was made, I removed about half of it to another bowl. With the remaining amount, I added unsweetened cocoa powder & adjusted with milk/ cream for consistency.

For the twist frosting, in a gallon size bag, add white frosting to one side of the bag & chocolate to the other.

Notes: As you can see, the cupcakes weren’t stark white & that’s due to the whole eggs used in this recipe. It’s definitely more flavorful than just egg whites, but in the future, I might play around with it & use 3 whole eggs & 2 egg whites.

Source: https://addapinch.com/the-best-white-cake-recipe/

Source: https://addapinch.com/classic-vanilla-buttercream-frosting-recipe/

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