Pork and Pancetta Pasta

Pork and Pancetta Pasta

Pork and Pancetta Pasta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Pasta is a staple of traditional Italian cuisine with the first reference dating to 1154 in Sicily so it’s no wonder there are more ways to prepare it than one can shake a stick at but what I have found over the years is that Italian restaurants really only do a tomato sauce or cream sauce with the pasta dishes they put out all the while ignoring other ways of serving it. So with that in mind I decided to do this pasta dish “naked” ( no not me… the pasta) meaning I didn’t use a sauce and it was a huge hit.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1 large package Compliments™ All Natural Fettucini
  • 2 pounds boneless Pork Loin – cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 12 ounces diced  Pancetta
  • 3 large Shallots – diced
  • 1 large Yellow pepper – diced
  • 1 large Red pepper – diced
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach
  • 3 Garlic cloves – fine dice
  • 2 Shallots – diced
  • 2 medium Tomatoes – diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried Basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

Putting it all together:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the Pancetta until just brown.
  2. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and add the pork to the same pan and brown all over.
  3. Add back the pancetta and remaining ingredients, cover and simmer until the pork is tender.
  4. While the pork is simmering bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the fettuccine. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the pasta, plate and top with the pork and pancetta.

Cooks note: Fresh pasta cooks incredibly fast so keep an eye on it otherwise it will go mushy. 

There you have it another “Simple bust tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time…….

                            Bon Appetit

Sausage and Peppers Sandwich

Sausage and Pepper Sandwich

Sausage and Peppers Sandwich

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Quick and easy lunches and dinners can sometimes be elusive simply because we don’t have that much time to think about it. This particular recipe comes in very handy for just those occasions as there are not that many ingredients and the time from start to finish is short.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 package of six Italian sausage
  • 6 slices Provolone cheese
  • 6 Panini buns
  • 2 medium Red Pepper – sliced
  • 2 medium Green pepper – sliced
  • 2 medium yellow Onions – sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dried  Oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried Basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. In a large pot of water par boil the sausage until just firm.
  2. In a large saute pan saute the peppers and onions until just soft and add the herbs and salt and pepper
  3. Slice the peppers down the middle and flatten.
  4. Place the peppers in a large frying pan and top with some of the onion and pepper mix. Top with the Provolone and cover with a pot lid until the cheese has melted.
  5. While the cheese is melting lightly toast the panini buns.
  6. Place the sausage and peppers in the bun, slice on the bias and enjoy.

Cooks note:  Par boiling the sausage will make it easier to slice them down the middle and will stop them from falling apart.

There you have it another “Simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time……..

                           Bon Appetit

Jambalaya

Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

Jambalaya

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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It’s no secret that I have a bit of a love affair with Cajun/Creole cooking. I mean what’s not to love? The depths of seasoning, the seafood, different vegetable combinations and various meats used in this cuisine open up a whole world of possibilities. The only thing is—— What took me so long to post this recipe??

Now this particular Jambalaya is a marriage of the “King of  Bam” ( Emeril Lagasse) and mine with most of the credit going to Chef Emeril.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping List:

  • 3 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 6 cups Vegetable stock or Water
  • 1 28 ounce can Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 cups Uncle Ben’s™ 5 Minute Rice
  • 1 bag 31 – 40 Shrimp – peeled, cleaned and tail off
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage – sliced on the diagonal and bite sized
  • 2 cups chopped Red Onion
  • 1 cup chopped Celery
  • 1 cup chopped Bell Pepper
  • 3 chopped Garlic cloves
  • 1 cup chopped Green Onions for garnish
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 3 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • 3 tablespoons Chipotle powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried Thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Seasoned Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. In a large dutch oven heat the oil and brown the sausage in batches removing to a holding bowl.
  3. In the same pot add the onion, celery, peppers and seasonings mixing well. Cook for about 3 minutes
  4. Add the tomatoes, stock and sausage. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and put in the oven for about 35 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and shrimp and turn off the heat for another 5 minutes.
  6. Plate and garnish with the green onions if desired.
  7. Enjoy.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time……….

                           Bon Appetit 

Pasta Salad

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Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 10 - 15
  • Difficulty: Easy
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We had a BBQ for family and friends this past weekend and along with the typical burgers, sausage and pulled pork I decided to do a side dish that I don’t normally think of doing but decided to for this occasion because although it can be found at almost every BBQ get together it is pretty much never found at mine….. Pasta Salad.

Now everybody and I do mean everybody has there own version of a pasta salad. Some like it with Farfale or Penne while others prefer a creamy dressing and still others want less veggies….. I even know someone who once put red wine in theirs.

The hardest part for me was coming up with a dressing that was suited to the other ingredients however after a little searching I managed to come up with one.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 box Tri Coloured Fusili (or your pasta of choice)
  • 1 English Cucumber – chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes – deseaded and chopped
  • 1 large Red pepper – rough chopped
  • 1 Large Yellow pepper – rough chopped
  • 4 Green onions – chopped
  • 1 bag Shredded Old cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Grainy Mustard
  • Fresh chopped Basil and Oregano – about 3 tablespoons each
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. In a large pot of salted water cook the pasta per the package instructions.
  2. In a non reactive container mix together the Olive oil, Red wine vinegar, Granulated garlic, Grainy mustard, herbs, salt and pepper. Seal and set aside.
  3. When the pasta has cooked and cooled add the vegetables and cheese and blend well.
  4. Shake the dressing well and pour over the salad. Mix thoroughly and top with more cheese.
  5. Enjoy.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time………

Bon Appetit 

Pan fried Basa with cheesy grits and sauce Piquant

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Pan fried Basa with cheesy grits and sauce Piquant

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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It’s no secret that I love Southern food— BBQ, Smoked, Etouffe and Gumbo to name a few—- so coming up with this “dinner winner” was easy as pie and although it may appear to be a bit time consuming in the making it is definitely worth the effort.

When I first started out to make this one I had every intention to use Catfish because it is such a staple of Southern cooking however I soon found out that my local grocery store (we don’t have an easily accessible fish monger) does not sell it anymore because it is so expensive to get in and no one buys it so I did the next best thing—- Basa and since Basa is Vietnamese Catfish it fit into the recipe quite well.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 medium Basa or Catfish filets
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Canola plus 2 tablespoons oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned Grits
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 3/4 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • 3 Garlic cloves – chopped and divided 1 for Grits 2 for Piquant
  • 1/2 cup Corn flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped yellow onions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped green onion for garnish.

Putting it all together:

For the Sauce Piquant…..

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, 1 1/2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, red pepper and stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Transfer to a food processor or blender, and puree on high speed. With the motor running, add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil through the feed tube and process until smooth. Serve warm.

For the Grits…..

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine broth and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Slowly stir in grits; reduce heat to low, and cook until grits are tender, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and butter.

For the Fish…..

  1. Mix the Corn flour with 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  2. Coat the fish in the seasoned flour
  3. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pan and fry the fish until golden brown, about 10 minutes
  4. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels

To plate the fish simply spoon some grits onto the center of a plate, place the fish on top and spoon some sauce Piquant over the fish. Garnish with some green onion and enjoy.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time………

                            Bon Appetit

 

 

 

 

Chicken and Tomato casserole

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Chicken and Tomato casserole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe comes from my Diabetes cookbook and with some embellishments from me (because I can’t help myself) it turned out to be one of the best, and healthiest,  casseroles I think I have ever made. I will most certainly be making this one again.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • Eight bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • One 10 ounce tin black beans
  • One 16 ounce tin diced tomatoes
  • Three tablespoons dried Oregano
  • Three tablespoons granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 cup sliced pimento stuffed olives
  • Two cups Long Grain Rice
  • Four tablespoons Canola oil
  • Chicken dry rub (see Dry Rubs and Marinades)
  • Parsley for garnish (optional)

Putting it all together:

  1. Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
  2. Lightly season the chicken thighs with the dry rub
  3. In a large non reactive bowl mix together all the other ingredients and pour into a large casserole dish
  4. Heat the oil in a large saute pan and brown the chicken on both sides
  5. Place the chicken on top of the tomato mixture and put in the oven for approximately 35 minutes or until the chicken hits 165 degrees internal.
  6. Garnish with Parsley and serve.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time……………..

                       Bon Appetit

 

 

All purpose Dry Rub

  • Servings: ”Approx.
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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All purpose dry rub

They say that “Necessity is the mother of Invention” and so I can only imagine that this was the thought going through the mind of whomever first came up with the idea of using a Dry Rub to flavour their food. Now I know that, historically, salting  and drying different types of foods has been around for centuries and has been very successful in its use but the origin of the dry rub will leave me scratching my head for some time to come.

This particular rub is my go to for beef and pork since I have a slightly different one for chicken and by adding a few other ingredients this one can be used as a Blackening spice, Mexican style spice etc.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 3 Tablespoons Seasoned salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulate Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons Dry Parsley flakes
  • 3 Teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin 

Putting it all together:

  1. Put all ingredients in a non reactive bowl and mix until well incorporated
  2. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid

You can use this dry rub for grilled meats, oven baked meats, stews or whatever you can dream up.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time………

                       Bon Appetit

 

Cheesy Italian Chicken Pot Pie

  • Servings: ”4-6″
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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Cheesy Italian Chicken Pot Pie Facebook

I belong to a Facebook group called International Food Bloggers and the members are constantly posting various and sundry recipes. Some of the recipes are submitted by professional Chefs while most are from like minded people who just simply love to cook and share recipes.

I was surfing through the group postings yesterday when I came across this particular recipe and it intrigued me to the degree that I had to take a further look at it. I followed the link and found myself at www.auntbeesrecipes.com where this particular recipe can be found. I read through the ingredients list and instructions and decided that since I had 95% of the ingredients in the house and I was looking for a “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond” that I would give this one a whirl….. I am so happy that I did. This recipe is just plain awesome!!

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce— I didn’t have any so I used some Marinara that I had made.
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Putting it all together:

  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Chop the chicken into bite sized chunks
  3. In a large skillet saute the chicken with the dry spices until cooked.
  4. Add the tomato sauce to the chicken and mix well
  5. Add the Parmesan and Mozzarella and mix well
  6. Pour the chicken mix into a greased pie pan or deep dish
  7. In a separate bowl mix the Bisquick, milk, pepper and eggs until well blended
  8. Pour over the chicken mixture and bake for 35 minutes
  9. Sprinkle with the remaining Mozzarella and bake for an additional 5 minutes
  10. Allow to settle/rest for about ten minutes before cutting.

This recipe can be served on its own or as the main part of the meal accompanied by some veggie sides.

There you have it…. another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time.

                       Bon Appetit

Marinara sauce

Marinara sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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When I was a neophyte (like that word eh?) to the culinary world and I heard the word Marinara it would conjure up an image of a mysterious sauce that was very difficult to make let alone master. Well over the years I have made this sauce many many times and while I won’t go so far as to say I have mastered it I have become very comfortable in making it.

This particular spin on Marinara has kind of morphed over time from what was a very simple basic sauce to the one I like to make and my family loves to devour.

I would also like to mention that this sauce freezes very well for use in future recipes.

Here’s how we do this one…………

Shopping List:

  • 1 large can San Marzano crushed tomatoes (if you can’t find San Marzano then use a good quality crushed tomato)
  • 12 to 15 medium Roma tomatoes- cored and halved
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves- finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons each dried Oregano and Basil
  • 5 fresh Basil leaves- Chiffonade the leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiana
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place the Roma tomatoes on a sheet tray (cut side up) and drizzle with Olive oil. Dust the tomatoes with the Salt, Pepper, Oregano and Basil
  3. Pop the tomatoes in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are tender
  4. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan
  5. Add the garlic and saute until tender- about three minutes
  6. Pour in the San Marzano tomatoes and mix well
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes
  8. Add the roasted tomatoes
  9. Using an Immersion blender or regular blender * mix the sauce until smooth
  10. Incorporate the Parmigiana and the basil leaves and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  11. Serve with your favourite pasta.

* If using a regular blender, blend the sauce in batches.

There you have it…. another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”.

Until next time……….

                      Bon Apettite

 

Revitalize rather than toss (part one)

 

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This post is going to be a little bit different than anything else to date because it does not have a recipe attached nor is it something that just anybody can do and I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s simply that this post won’t appeal to you if you don’t have an old BBQ sitting around gathering rust.

The BBQ pictured on the left is one of the first charcoal BBQ’s I ever purchased and although it was useful in the beginning it simply didn’t really fill my need and so it was eventually replaced and wound up being relegated to the side of the house where it started collecting rust.

Fast forward a couple of years and what was once my vegetable garden has now become my better half’s domain with plants and bushes and trees”—– Oh My!  So I decided to revitalize my old BBQ and turn it into a Herb garden…. that’s half the finished product on the right which happens to be the bottom part of the “cue”. This kind of project is easy and does not take long as it is a simple matter of clean out the dirt, scrape off the rust and paint it with a colorful Rust Preventative paint. As I said this is the easy part.

If you’re a cook like me choosing the right herb to plant is the hard part and you do need to put some thought into it or you will wind up with a bunch of stuff you can’t use and you have then wasted your money.

When I picked the ones that I wanted I took a look at the things I like to cook and then designed the herb garden to compliment my recipes. I now have things like Pineapple Sage, which is excellent with poultry, Vietnamese Cilantro— Why?— Why Not?, Greek Oregano, Habaneros and Jalapenos—- Okay those last two are not herbs but I like to use hot peppers in some of my dishes and sauces. I have two types of Basil-one for spaghetti sauce and one for pesto and something I have never cooked with in my life but I am ssssssooooooo looking forward to using it—— Tomatillos—- otherwise known as Mexican Tomatoes and I only wound up with these because the lady at the garden center has them growing wild in her garden. Tomatillos make an excellent Salsa Verde (green chili sauce) for which I can use the hot peppers and Cilantro I am growing and then include it in things like Chicken Enchiladas, Green Chicken Tacos or simply as a dipping sauce for homemade Nachos and this is why it is important to match your cooking style with what you grow.

So as you can see Revitalizing something like an old BBQ can open up a whole world of new projects and can make your favorite dishes sing with flavor.

I still have to finish what was the top part of the BBQ and that will be part two of this post so please stay tuned and until next time……..

 

Bon Appetite