Tag Archives: onions

Best Baked Beans! – Show 101

Best Baked Beans! – Show 101

Every time there’s a get together in my neighborhood the first thing that comes to mind, “I hope Linda brings her baked beans!” That’s how good these baked beans are! My friend and neighbor, Linda, graciously offered up her recipe so that I may share it with all of you. Linda titles the recipe “Sue’s Baked Beans” because she got the recipe from her sister Sue who got the recipe from their mom! No matter what the title it’s one great family recipe.

Just the thought of bacon, sauteéd onions and creamy beans and you’ve got my attention. These are a few of the ingredients that go into this Best Baked Beans recipe. Other key ingredients are brown sugar, honey mustard, garlic granules, and to balance out the whole dish  apple cider vinegar, of course.

It’s really fairly simple especially since the recipe calls for canned beans. Shhhh …no one has to know that, lol! These beans, in my opinion, taste like they are made from scratch. Our time is very valuable and if you can make baked beans that taste like this you’re one step ahead of the game. These best beaked beans are creamy, flavorful, and a wonderful balance between sweet and tangy making a great addition to grilled fish, chicken, pulled pork or sausages. These will become your go to baked bean recipe once you taste them!

For some other fun BBQ ideas, Homemade BBQ Sauce, Grilled-Marinated Steak on Skewers, Seared Sea Scallops or Stout Braised Pulled Beef Short Ribs and don’t forget to end the meal with some Homemade Hersheys Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake topped with GHOST Peeps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Bush Beans – Vegetarian (large can undrained)
  • Black beans- 15 oz. can (drained and rinsed)
  • Kidney beans – 15 oz. can (drained and rinsed)
  • Butter beans – 15 oz. can (drained and rinsed)
  • Cannelloni beans – 15 oz. can (drained and rinsed)
  • Bacon – 8 slices Boars Head
  • 2 to 3 onions (chopped)
  • ½ cup cider vinegar (add more if you like tangy vs. sweet)
  • 2 to 3 tbls. honey mustard
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • Ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the 5 cans of beans to a large mixing bowl
  2. Cook bacon in skillet until crisp, drain on paper towels and then crumble into small pieces–save 2 tbls grease
  3. In the same skillet cook chopped onions in the 2 tbls bacon grease until soft
  4. Then add in the crumbled bacon, cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey mustard, garlic powder, and ground pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes
  5. Pour this mixture over beans and mix well.
  6. Pour into baking crock or dish and bake at 350 degrees for one hour….delicious!

 

 

 

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce

When the aroma from your fresh garden tomato sauce smells exactly like a tomato plucked right out of your garden on a sultry summer day you know you have the right recipe! With all the beautiful weather we have had this summer everyone has an abundance of produce coming out of their garden’s. What a better way to dive right in and try your hand at making your very own tomato sauce. And when you taste how delicious the puréed tomatoes are as a raw sauce you may just stop right there. After that first taste of the raw tomato sauce there might not be any left over to go to the next simmering step!

I was very excited when some friend’s of mine, Becky and Mike, offered up a large bag of their fresh garden plum tomatoes. I knew I wanted to make fresh garden tomato sauce with them right off the bat. This is a bit nastalgic for me because it reminds me of when my mother used to make fresh garden tomato sauce for us when I was young.

It’s really an easy process of peeling, seeding and then puréeing the tomatoes with some sautéed onions and garlic. The more tomatoes you have the longer it well take but it’s so worth it. The fact that you can freeze the sauce for a later date makes it all worth while! What I love about making this fresh garden tomato sauce, other then the fact that it smells utterly amazing, is it’s just as delicious eating it raw as cooked. In fact, when I make this I can’t decide which I like better so I continue on to make both cause it’s so darn simple to do that once you are in the process.

Once you see how easy to make your own sauce it may become a new family staple for you. You just might get inspired to make it a family affair having everyone join in to make homemade gnocchi or zucchini pasta too. Don’t forget the gourmet Caesar salad and then of course there’s an amazing ricotta pie or go for the death by chocolate meringue pie!

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Ingredients:

  • 91 fresh garden tomatoes OR as many as you have
  • 1 tbsp sea salt, LESS if you have a smaller amount of plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground pepper
  • 5 lg fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lg dried bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine – for the simmered sauce
  • 1 tsp finely ground Italian seasoning
  • 1 small Vadalia onion finely chopped
  • 4 extra lg OR 6 medium size garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine to de-glaze the sautéed onions and garlic

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil adding in 1 tbsp of salt
  2. Core the stem side of all your tomatoes
  3. Get a large bowl of ice water ready to put the tomatoes in after you blanch them
  4. Add plum tomatoes to boiling water, 25-30 at a time and blanch for 30-45 seconds, it’s totally fine if it goes past 45 seconds cause it’s going to take you a minute or two to scoop the tomatoes out
  5. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and submerse into the ice water
  6. Repeat until you have gone thru all your tomatoes
  7. Begin to remove the loosened skins from the tomatoes then placing into another bowl as you go
  8. Cut or tear tomatoes in half with your hands and remove most of the seeds putting pulp in one bowl and tomato flesh in another
  9. Spoon off any excess water that rises to the top of the bowl with all the tomato flesh
  10. Sauté chopped onion and garlic cloves til tranlucent
  11. De-glaze onions and garlic with 1/4 cup white wine
  12. Let the alcohol burn off and reduce slightly
  13. Begin to purée tomatoes and sauteed onions in the food processor in batches
  14. Add the puréed tomatoes/onions back into the large pan that you blanched the tomatoes in as you go along
  15. When done puréeing add salt and pepper to taste and voilà there is your raw sauce
  16. FOR RAW SAUCE: top pasta with raw sauce and sprinkle some fresh julienned basil, Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  17. FOR COOKED SAUCE: Put the pot of puréed tomatoes/onion back on the stove and add in the 5 extra lg fresh basil leaves, bay leaf, sugar, Italian spices, red wine and simmer for 1-2 hours…mangia mangia!!

Salsa 101


Salsa 101

When you learn to make my basic salsa 101 there will be no stopping you! It’s packed with flavor from the juicy summer tomatoes, sweet Georgia Vidalia onions, add in some fresh squeezed limes, chopped cilantro and jalapeño and you have yourself a fiesta!

When you know how to make a basic salsa the world your oyster! No food pun intended here, but seriously! From this salsa 101 recipe you can totally make it yours by adding in 1/2 cup of avocado, mango, pineapple or even cucumbers. Don’t be afraid to try adding your favorite’s to the basic recipe because that is how you learn to create, to taste different flavors. You can even try adding 1 cup of black beans to the salsa! YUM! Have fun and enjoy:)

Adding in the extra virgin olive oil and “seasoned” rice wine vinegar with the fresh squeezed limes keeps my salsa delicately balanced where one flavor isn’t over powering another. I love using the Georgia Vidalia onions because they are so sweet! If you are not a big onion fan these will surprise you for sure. You could also cut back on the amount of chopped onions even though I believe it’s a perfect amount in my salsa 101 when “finely” chopped. The beautiful thing about the salsa 101 recipe is you can use what ever tomatoes you want from heirlooms, to grape, to cherry, tiger tomatoes …what ever your little heart fancies!

You should try  Pulled Beef Taco’s to go with my salsa 101, or Zucchini Spaghetti, Roasted Garlic Bean Dip, or even Homemade BBQ Sauce on chicken wings and then end it with Drunk Blondies & a Bourbon Caramel Sauce and you will be The Belle of the Ball at your party!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping cups – (12 Compari tomatoes-these are a med/small size, can use Heirloom tomatoes, cherry, grape …your favorite tomato!  finely chopped
  • 1 packed cup – 1/2 of extra large Vidalia onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp – 1/2 lg jalapeño extra finely chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice – 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • OPTIONAL: dash of Siracha Hot Sauce or Franks or Tabasco

Directions:

  1. Finely chop tomatoes, Vidalia onion, jalapeño and cilantro
  2. Add to a large bowl
  3. Roll lime to get the juices flowing and squeeze over chopped veggie’s
  4. Add s & p, olive oil and seasoned rice wine vinegar
  5. Toss and serve with chips, chicken, fish, beef or pork!
  6. NOTE: Now that you have an incredible tasting basic salsa be creative and add 1/2 cup of chopped avocado, mango, pineapple, black beans, or cucumbers…Mangia Mangia!

Homemade Pan Pizza

Homemade Pan Pizza

Homemade pan pizza made with different themed toppings from clams casino, to Hawaiian and Greek make for perfect party hors d’ oeuvres! Everyone seems to find their favorite flavors. When the sizzling pan pizza comes out of the oven heads turn especially when the aromas from the garlic, clams, bacon, onions and peppers fill the air!

The wonderful thing about all the different themed toppings for your pan pizza is you don’t need much in terms of quantity. The dough you make the day before, but if you forgot or didn’t have time it will still work if you make it the same day. If you make the dough the same day you don’t put it into the frig but let it proof for an hour and a half in a warm spot to develop some of that texture and flavor. The whole idea behind the “proofing in the refrigerator” is it let’s you do other things while the dough slowly rises developing a killer texture and flavor like in my delicious “Icebox Dinner Rolls”. So take advantage of this refrigerator method, you will be happy you did. 

As for my pizza sauce, it couldn’t get any easier because it’s puréed only, not cooked. If you go into a pizza place and inquire about their sauce the majority will tell you the tomato sauce is raw. I know because I have done just this, but they don’t always like to give away their pizza secrets so easily. To the raw, whole peeled tomatoes I add a garlic clove that I put thru the press, salt, pepper and some Italian seasonings and then it’s puréed. Keeping the tomatoes raw really compliments all those other strong flavors from the toppings yet not seeping into the background still being a pertinent player in the pizza game!

Have some fun with these pizza’s and customize those toppings on your homemade pan pizza! My favorite is the clams casino pizza because you have the best of both world’s, flavor’s and crispy, chewy edges. You can’t beat the garlic, clams, bacon and pepper combo. Drizzling on the extra clam juice not only makes it taste that much better but it let’s the crust get a little crispy while keeping the toppings moist enough so not to burn. With that in mind make sure to pour on any of the extra juices from what ever you are cutting up as when you are slicing up the cherry tomatoes. Another very important tip is to keep all the toppings, including the sauce and mozzarella, in the cold refrigerator until the last minute. This helps the toppings to cook properly giving the crust time to crisp up.

Enjoy the show and definitely think about some appetizer’s to go with these sizzling homemade pan pizza’s like my Caesar Salad, Crab Cakes, Baked Asparagus wrapped in Proscuitto, Spanakopita or my Roasted Chic Peas. All will bring a smile to your face I promise! 🙂

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Ingredients for 1 Sheet Pan Pizza Dough – 12.5″ x 17.5″ x 1″ tray:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water 105º-110º
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet yeast or 2 1/4 tsp – not rapid rise
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for the pizza dough
  • 1/3 extra virgin olive oil for the sheet pan
  • Plus more olive oil to drizzle on top of the pizza’s before baking

My Pizza Sauce – Enough for 2 Sheet Pan Pizza’s:

  • 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes (drained if the pulp is watery) pureed with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 finely ground Italian seasonings, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1 lg garlic clove put thru garlic press

Ingredients For The Toppings From The Show for 2 Trays of Pizza:

  • Clams Casino Pizza – (for 1/2 the pizza) 1-2 cans 1 cup of Snows canned clams drained except 3 tbsp of clam juice per can to drizzle over pizza,  1/4 cup of chopped peppers, 3/4 cup sliced thick cut bacon, 1 garlic clove thru press, 1 tsp chopped sweet onions
  • Greek Pizza – 3/4 cup sliced cheery tomatoes, 3/4 cup sheep’s milk feta, 1/4 cup sliced sweet onion, 1/2 cup sliced kalmata or canned black olives, 1/3 cup chiffonade basil
  • Bacon Pizza – 1 cup thick sliced bacon (for 1/2 of the pizza)
  • Hawaiian Pizza – 1 cup sliced ham, 1/2 cup chopped pineapple, 1/2 cup sliced green onions with whites too

Directions – (Pre-heat the oven to 450º right before the pizza dough has it’s final proof and make sure the rack is in the lowest possible position):

  1. Warm the stainless steel mixing bowl with warm water for 5 minutes
  2. Empty out warm water and add packet of yeast to mixing bowl
  3. Add in 1 1/2 cups of water at 105º-110º to the yeast
  4. Add in 1/2 tsp sugar and let the yeast proof for 10 nminutes
  5. Tour on knead hook and begin to add in 3 tbsp olive oil, flour and salt
  6. Keep mixing and knead with hook after it forms a dough ball for 10 minutes
  7. Take dough off of hook and onto a floured counter
  8. Knead by hand for 2 minutes and place into a large oiled bowl
  9. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 18-24 hrs.
  10. When you are ready to make the pizza make sure to take out of the frig and let the cold dough sit for approx. 2 hrs. – this will make it easier to work with
  11. When the dough has sat for 2 hrs. turn out onto floured surface and begin to roll out and stretch to the size of the cookie tray
  12. Pour 1/3 cup of olive oil onto cookie tray and place the rolled out pizza dough onto olive oil
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes
  14. Remove plastic wrap and stretch the dough if needed to the edges of the pan and using your thumb press the egde of the dough into the edges of the cookie tray to form a crust – this will become a crispy and chewy egde that you will love! 
  15. Spoon pureed tomatoes onto the dough and sprinkle mozzarella
  16. Add you desired topping and give a drizzle of olive oil across the top of the pizza and put into a 450º oven for 16-20 minutes.
  17. Definitely check at the 15 minute mark as all oven are different
  18. You want  the edges dark golden and the middle is sizzling
  19. Take out and let sit for 5 minutes
  20. Using a large spatula remove the pizza in one piece to a large cutting board and slice, or slice in the cookie tray

Zucchini Spaghetti at Jaynee’s

Zucchini Spaghetti at Jaynee’s

Wow! Zucchini spaghetti…who would have ever thought? A gluten free dish full of nutrients that taste’s amazing and looks as gorgeous as does is the perfect path to healthy eating! Bringing you this zucchini spaghetti simmering with tomato, basil and red wine at Jaynee’s has inspired me to put together future recipes and shows like this one.

Jaynee and I cook the zucchini spaghetti in this recipe so that it’s al dente. For those of you who might not know what Al dente means it’s an Italian term meaning to have some tooth or bite to it where the texture isn’t too soft. This is kind of ironic because that’s exactly how I like to cook my wheat pasta. I can’t think of anything worse than pasta that is fully cooked to a soft texture.

It is really exciting all the different things you can do with these creative veggie noodles! From Thai themes where raw zucchini noodles are dressed with a citrus dressing made from puréed mangoes, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and avocado’s to tahini sauce puréed with green onions, coconut meat, ginger and fresh lemons. Not only are these dressings packed with anti-oxidants and exotic flavors but the citrus partially cooks the zucchini getting results similar to ceviche. The citrus actually softens the texture of the vegetable giving you a softer mouth feel crunch rather than a harsh raw bite.

It couldn’t get any easier to make these spiral veggie noodles with the new-fangled devices available out there. I purchased my Spiralizer at William Sonoma Outlet in Westbrook on a 30% off sale with an additional 20% off if I gave them my email. Can’t go wrong there. Here is the Spiralizer Amazon link offering a great deal too! Can’t wait for you to venture off into veggie noodle land. You will be amazed how fun and delicious it is to make this recipe. Hope you enjoy the show and keep a look out for future veggie noodle recipes 🙂

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Ingredients: Need “Spiralizer” or similar to make zucchini spaghetti

  • 4 med/lg zucchini
  • 1 small vadalia (sweet) onion chopped
  • OPTIONAL: 2 finely chopped garlic cloves – If you love garlic as I do
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes flavored with onion, garlic, celery and or green peppers OR your favorite can of peeled tomatoes in your cabinet (just need to add in 1/4 cup chopped peppers in addition to the onion/garlic above – chop up the whole peeled tomatoes as well to add in after you sauté veggies)
  • NOTE: If you use “whole peeled” tomatoes DO NOT use the juice too, tomatoes only, because the zucchini renders out a lot of water all on its own.
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsn olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • S & P to taste
  • OPTIONAL: 1 small container of fresh ricotta to garnish at the end with the Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Spiralize all 4 zucchini and place in a lg bowl
  2. Add chopped onion to 3 tbsp olive oil in a large fry pan on medium heat
  3. Sauté for 5 minutes til soft
  4. Add in Spiralized zucchini with 1/2 tsp salt and sauté 5 minutes on med/high heat- Make sure to stir a couple of times to help it from not sticking.  Sautéing on med/high will help to evaporate some of that liquid rendering out of the zucchini while sautéing– (If you saute on low it will just simmer in all the water, you will then have to drain a little of the water out of the pan)
  5. Add in tomatoes, red wine, s & p to taste and simmer 5 more minutes
  6. Plate up and top with your favorite grated Parmesan cheese
  7. OPTIONAL: Top with dollops of fresh ricotta and grated Parmesan

Bolognese Sauce Easy Gourmet

Bolognese Sauce Easy Gourmet RECIPE

025This homemade gourmet bolognese Sauce is like no other that I have ever had. Over the years I have worked hard to perfect this recipe to match a dish I used to have in Urbino, Italy. So all the hard work is done for you and now all you have to do is follow my recipe and savour over the most amazing and unique Bolognese sauce you’ll ever have.

During my college years I had the opportunity to go school in Urbino, Italy for a summer and fall semester. Urbino is a little Renaissance town located in the Marche region of Italy. It was two hours East of Florence (near the town of Pesaro on the east coast). It’s where black and white truffles are prevalent. The picture above is of Urbino, The Palazzo Ducale which now houses part of The Marche National Gallery. This renaissance town of Urbino is also where the great artist Raffaello was born in 1483. I had the opportunity to study renaissance art, restoration and language in Italy at the University of Urbino …being an art major and all I was in heaven living here!

Urbino was a magnificent place to be for all those months (which never seemed long enough) allowing me to fall in love with their art, their culture and the people there in Italy and what it’s really all about …big kinds hearts with a passion for enjoying life, and an amazing culinary appreciation!

The tender Prosciutto di Parma to mouth watering homemade pasta dishes found most places in Italy is to die for but there’s one bolognese dish in particular that I had in a restaurant in Urbino made with “strozzapreti” pasta which really stood out for me. The sauce was made with sautéed ground veal, ground pork, veal stock, heavy cream, red wine and fresh rosemary where the aromas alone will knock your socks off!  This is the dish, the bolognese sauce, in which I have derived my recipe from and the one in which I wish to share with you.  You should note that homemade gourmet bolognese recipe is NOT to be made with BEEF because it completely changes the flavors and does not taste at all like the oringinal bolognese recipe from Urbino.

I recently found this uniquely shaped pasta that they served the bolognese sauce with in Urbino called “StrozzaPreti” at one of my favorite local specialty shops, a gourmet cheese shop called Fromage right here in Old Saybrook, CT.  See, you can make my bolognese sauce and have it with the original pasta it was meant to be with. And while you are there you should pick up some white truffle oil to drizzle over the pasta sauce.

If you want this recipe to be gluten free you could always substitute out the pasta or gnocchi with a rice noodle and if you can’t have heavy cream you can substitute that with coconut cream and it would be just as delicious.

A marriage made in heaven is this bolognese sauce on my light and fluffy homemade potato gnocchi! Or try it on your own homemade pasta, and don’t forget a Caesar Salad! Last but not least you will need to tame that sweet tooth with a dessert like Pavlova, or Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie! Enjoy! 🙂

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INGREDIENTS: Serves 10-12 people or more if for appetizers.    

NOTE: THIS SAUCE FREEZES AMAZINGLY WELL so if you have sauce left over freeze in a container right away and all the hard work is DONE!

  • NOTE: DO NOT USE BEEF …this recipe will NOT have the right flavors if you use beef
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/3  cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup grated celery
  • 1 cup grated Vadalia Onion
  • 2 extra lg garlic cloves
  • 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes and juice
  • 2 slices applewood smoked or plain bacon cooked and finely chopped (approx 3 Tbsp finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups good red wine
  • 2 cups heavy cream (or 2 cups coconut cream)
  • approx. 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Reggiano Parmesano cheese and more to finish
  • 1  tsp  and 1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • White Truffle Oil (Optional)
  • 1 lb. dried Egg fettuccine or Strozzapreti pasta found at Fromage

Directions:

  1. Add 3 tbsp olive oil to lg pan on medium/low
  2. Add grated carrots, celery, onion and smashed garlic cloves to olive oil and sauté for 12 minutes til light golden and soft
  3. Deglaze by adding 1/4 cup red wine, stir, add 1/2 tsp salt and continue to sauté until wine evaporates
  4. Add these cooked veggies to food processor with 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes and juice
  5. Pureé and set aside
  6. Add 3 tbsp olive oil to same pan and bring to med/high temp and then add 1 lb. only of veal/pork (1/2 veal, 1/2 pork)
  7. Keep on med/high temp and brown meat
  8. Deglaze first batch of meat with 1/4 cup red wine, stir, reduce and set aside in a med bowl
  9. Add 3 tbsp more olive oil back to same pan to brown next 1 lb. of ground veal/pork
  10. Repeating steps 6-9
  11. Put all browned meat back into pan and add in 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, pureed tomato/veggie mixture, and 1/4 cup red wine, 3 tbsp finely chopped crispy bacon, and 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  12. Cover (leave small opening for steam to evaporate) and simmer for 1 1/2 hrs. stirring every 20 minutes making sure to let steam from inside cover drain out of pan when you lift it off to stir
  13. Add in 2 cups heavy cream, 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, 1/2 cup red wine and s&p to taste and simmer for 5-8 minutes …just need to warm thru
  14. Boil 1 lb. pasta and add to bolognese sauce …mangia mangia!

Pasta Sauce-Tomato Basil

Pasta Sauce-Tomato Basil

Homemade gourmet pasta sauce isn’t quick and easy when you spend hours sautéing sausages and simmering for 3 hours. We don’t always have the time for that especially around the busy holidays. Yet, you always seem to have unexpected family or friends dropping in. So here is a quick and easy homemade tomato-basil pasta sauce that you are going to love! Yes, a tomato basil pasta sauce that only takes about 30 minutes to make and stills fills your kitchen with those comforting aromas of tomatoes, garlic and basil that make you want to rip off a piece of crusty bread and dunk it right in.

The whole point of this recipe is quick and delicious…no chopping, just grating and only using one pan. We are still getting layers of gourmet flavors with the carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, dried and fresh herbs! This sauce also comes out with a thick consistency.  If you want a chunkier sauce you would just puree the first can with the sauteed vegetables until smooth, and with the other can of tomatoes you would pulse only a couple of times in the food processor keeping the tomatoes chunky then adding into the pan. Make it this way also if you like a chunkier VODKA SAUCE!  If you are using it for making pizza just puree everything and you are ready to go… you don’t even need to simmer the sauce at all just spread the raw sauce onto the raw dough and into the oven (the carrots, onions, and garlic were sauteed of course before you pureed them with the tomatoes. This homemade gourmet tomato basil pasta sauce will definitely help make your life a little easier while getting you rave reviews! Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 – 28.oz cans whole peeled tomatoes – NOTE: If you want a chunkier sauce puree til smooth ONLY 1 can with the sauteed vegetables and then other can pulse only a couple of times. Make It this way also if you like a chunkier VODKA SAUCE!
  • 1 carrot peeled
  • 1/2 lg onion grated
  • 2 lg garlic cloves thru garlic press
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground Italian seasonings
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4-6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup of red wine, cabernet, pinot noir what ever you are drinking 🙂

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel and the grated 1 carrot in sauce pan
  2. Cut lg onion in 1/2 peel and grate into same sauce pan
  3. Smash 2 lg clove of garlic and put thru garlic press and into same sauce pan
  4. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and put on med./low heat and begin to sauté
  5. Sauté for about 10 minutes on med/low til soften (you don’t want it to brown or burn)
  6. Deglaze by adding in 1/4 cup red wine (or white if you don’t have red)
  7. Simmer for 2 minutes and then add to food processor with 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  8. Puree til a smooth consistency and then add to same pan.
  9. Puree the other can of whole peeled and add to pan as well…..NOTE: If you want a chunkier sauce puree til smooth ONLY 1 can with the sauteed vegetables and then other can pulse only a couple of times. Make It this way also if you like a chunkier VODKA SAUCE!
  10. Add 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp finely ground Italian seasonings, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste and 5 fresh basil leaves
  11. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve with you favorite pasta, or chicken cutlet or ciabatta bread and sprinkle with some freshly grated Reggiano Parmeseano or Pecorino Romano and mangia!

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Usually I make these stuffed peppers with beef but a good friend has me converting to turkey and I am really loving it. I don’t even wish for the flavor of beef in the stuffing because the turkey hold its own!  These peppers are juicy, tender and sweet made with sautéed mushrooms, onions, fresh chopped parsley, rice, grated Reggiano Parmesan, pinot noir and a porcini red sauce.  My porcini sauce gives this recipe a really nice flavor but if you don’t have time for it you shouldn’t let that stop you from making these savory stuffed peppers.  You can buy a favorite store sauce for convenience or use one of your own.  I have you slice the mushrooms paper thin here and then cut those in 1/2 and that keeps the flavor delicate and the mushrooms very tender not chewy …. they almost melt into the stuffing when baking. The onions are finely chopped so I love to use my vegetablehand chopper because it saves a ton of time when you are doing all this prep work unless you have a sous chef that is. Now you of course can use any color pepper you like. I like using the green ones because I like the strong flavor they render, but here I went with the pretty colors and the peppers are a little sweeter when you go to the reds, oranges, and yellows.  I don’t believe in using “instant rice” ever because it doesn’t have a great texture. Making rice is a simple process …see “TIP” below.    These stuffed peppers are a few step process so it’s a good idea to get some of the work done the day before like making the porcini red sauce and the rice.  This dish  is so worth the effort …. It just may become your go to Sunday dinner and you can even end this delicious dinner with a bang making a quick and easy German pancake recipe or chocolate-avocado mousse!

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Ingredients: For Porcini Red Sauce:

  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes (I use Sclafani)
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup water for the porcini mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup pinot noir wine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Directions: 

  1. Put the dried porcini mushrooms in 1/4 cup water and let sit for 1/2 hour.
  2. Sauté 4 large garlic cloves in 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium sauce pan until golden.
  3. Add whole tomatoes and golden garlic cloves to food processor and purée for 1 minute.
  4. Add this back to the pan.
  5. Take the soaked, softened porcini’s out of the water and coarsely chop.
  6. Add the porcini’s and their juice to the sauce pan along with 1/4 cup pinot, salt, pepper and sugar.
  7. Bring to a simmer, lower heat and keep simmering for 1/2 hour.
  8. Remove from the stove and cool.

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Ingredients – For Stuffed Peppers – Serves 6 people:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 6 large bell peppers, 2 red, 2 orange, 2 yellow
  • 2 1/4 cups porcini red sauce (1 c. in the stuffing, 2 1/4 c. in the bottom of baking dish)
  • 1 cup cooked Basmati or Jasmine long grain rice
  • 1 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 8oz. pkg of baby bella brown mushrooms (finely sliced)
  • 1 large spanish onion FINELY chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup pinot noir (1/4 c. for mushroom/onion mixture, 1 c. for baking dish)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp live oil (for sautéing)

Directions: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º.
  2. Cut 1″ off of the top of the peppers, pull out the centers with your hands and clean out the inside white part of the pepper.
  3. Place into baking dish.
  4. Clean your mushrooms with either a damp paper towel or a mushroom brush … you should NEVER wash your mushrooms or submerse them in water because mushrooms are porous.
  5. Pop out the mushroom stem and finely slice them and then slice that pile in 1/2…don’t need to be neat about it.
  6. Finely chop a large spanish onion…I’m all for using one of those choppers for this!
  7. Add onion and mushrooms to 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes…add 1/4 cup pinot, let evaporate.
  8. Remove from the stove and let cool.
  9. Add Turkey, grated cheese, 1 cup cooled sauce, 1/3 cup pasley, and all of cooled mushroom/onion mixture to a large bowl and gently mix.
  10. Fill the peppers gently with the stuffing, don’t pack it down.
  11. Add the rest of the porcini sauce (approx. 2 1/4 cups), 1 cup pinot, and 1/2 cup boiling water to the bottom of the baking dish.
  12. NOTE:  If the porcini sauce was refrigerated you should warm it a little to room temperature so it doesn’t prolong the cooking process of the stuffed peppers.
  13. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan, cover with foil and bake at 350º for 1 hr.
  14. Remove the foil after 1 hour and continue for another 15 minutes at 350º (check the tenderness of the pepper… You don’t want them mushy just tender).
  15. Then up the heat to 400º for another 20 minutes uncovered
  16. Keep an eye on it at this point so the tops don’t blacken too much (everyone’s oven is a little different)
  17. Total cooking time approx. 1 hour/ 35 minutes
  18. Take the peppers out of the oven, cover back up with foil and let them sit for 10 minutes.

TIP:  RICE- To make Basmati or Jasmine rice measure 1 cup rice and put into medium pan. Run cold water over rice and drain using your hand to hold back the rice.  Then add 2 cups water (1:2 ratio or water level is 1 knuckle over rice), cover and bring to a boil, turn down heat IMMEDIATELY to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and keep covered letting it sit for another 10 minutes and voilà.  Fluff with a fork