Dinner, Pasta

Italian Sausage and Shells Dinner

Quick Dinner idea! Do you have pasta, sausage and diced tomatoes on hand? Heavy cream as well? Then this would be a great weeknight dinner that comes together really quickly. This made a really great meal paired with a salad for Eric, Emily and I last week when she was here for dinner between calls.. Emily was going to take the leftovers home for her boyfriend’s dinner but forgot! So lucky me – great lunch today!

  • 8 ounces uncooked medium shells
  • 1 lb. Italian sausages (spicy or mild) crumbled
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can finely chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil, torn to taste (optional)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
  1. Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook the shells al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion and take the sausages out of their casings and crumble it into a skillet. Sauté the onion and sausage over medium-high heat for 7 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Drain the fat from the pan.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes to the pan. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cream, basil, and season the sauce with salt & pepper as needed. Cook for another minute or two and then toss with the drained pasta.

Dinner, soups

Quick and Spicy Tomato soup

Lunch time at the office

We were away this past weekend visiting our friends in North Carolina and our flight home arrived just before 5 on Monday.  After eating great food all weekend and traveling we wanted something that was easy to make and also light. This recipe from our favorite Italian chef Giada fit the bill. Within a half hour we had a hot and hearty soup on the table.

As we move into the fall season we start to crave hearty comfort foods. For the reason we try to keep our pantry stocked with basic essentials.  The less trips to the store the better.  This recipe had all of the essentials and made enough to bring into work for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 26 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Chicken, Dinner

Roasted Lemon Chicken Thighs and Potatoes

I have subscribed to many cooking magazines over the years. I had a long time subscription to Cooking Light. I tried Food and Wine, Southern Living, Food Network Magazine, Paula Deen and Bon Appetit. Each one I found a recipe that has been one that we have come back to again and again. My favorite and the only one I currently subscribe to is Fine Cooking. This magazine was where we found our son’s favorite meal of all time – Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Lemon and Sage. https://diningwithadinergirl.com/2012/05/09/picky-eaters-favorite-dinner/ . In fact I made it last night because he came home for the weekend from school. The page in the magazine is stained many times over from having near by when I make it. I now refer to my blog post when I make it even though I know most of the steps by heart.

In the last issue there was a Roasted Chicken Dish that looked so good. I thought that we could make it one night after work but after really reading the recipe it was definitely a weekend dinner. So last Sunday night I finally made it. Now for one thing, I haven’t been doing a majority of the cooking lately. I have turned the kitchen over to Eric. And not only did I make dinner, I made a dessert too. (will post that one later – it was delicious!) This turned out great. The aroma was wonderful while it was cooking and the flavor was outstanding. We will definitely make this one again and again. So I had to blog it.

So my blog post have become my way to preserve my favorite recipes. If I am out shopping and know that I am going to make something from it for dinner or dessert, I can easily look up the ingredients. I can share favorite recipes from here and look back and see why we made something and what we thought

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil; more as needed
3 medium lemons, washed, ends trimmed, and halved crosswise (about 1 lb.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp. granulated garlic
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lb.)
4 to 5 medium Yukon Gold or red-skin potatoes, each cut into 6 wedges (about 2 lb.)
2 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano, plus sprigs for garnish

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 450°F.


Lightly brush a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet with oil. Arrange the lemon halves close together flesh side up in the center of the prepared pan. Brush the tops with 2 tsp. of the oil. Roast until just beginning to brown on the edges and the foil under the lemons turns dark brown and syrupy, 25 to 27 minutes.


Turn the lemon halves over with tongs, and rub the flesh over the dark spots on the foil to loosen the caramelized bits (the lemon flesh will turn brown). Transfer to a rimmed plate with any accumulated juices from the pan, and cool completely. Reserve the baking sheet.

Lower the oven temperature to 425°F. When the lemons are cool, squeeze 4 halves (including the pulp) into a large bowl. Add the accumulated juices from the plate (the juice will be thick and syrupy). Whisk in 1-1/2 tsp. salt, 1-1/2 tsp. granulated garlic, 1 tsp. oil, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add the chicken to the bowl, and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Put the chicken on the reserved baking sheet in a single layer skin side up. Rub any remaining marinade from the bowl evenly over the chicken.


Add the potatoes to the same bowl with the remaining 3 Tbs. oil, 1-1/2 tsp. granulated garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Toss to coat. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the pan with the chicken.


Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F in the thickest part of the thighs, and the potatoes are light golden-brown, tossing the potatoes halfway through cooking time, about 40 minutes.


Meanwhile, squeeze the remaining 2 lemon halves, including the pulp, into a small bowl (the juice will be thick and syrupy). Mince the peel of 1 of the remaining lemon halves (discard the other), and add to the bowl along with the honey and oregano, mixing well to combine. Brush the lemon-honey glaze evenly onto the chicken thighs. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and tent with foil.


Turn the broiler to high, and broil until the potatoes are golden, turning the pan halfway through broiling time, 2 to 3 minutes more. Arrange the chicken and potatoes on a large platter, garnish with oregano sprigs, and serve.

Beef, Dinner, one pot meals

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Okay, so we made stuffed peppers in the crockpot and they came out great. Now we have a one pot casserole based off the stuffed pepper that is just as good. As the weather is starting to turn colder, this is a hot and hearty one pot dinner.

I guess you could call it a deconstructed stuff pepper when you look at all the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1-2 cups Colby Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions

  • In high sided pan combine ground beef, peppers, onion, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.
  • Add in garlic and cook about 1 minutes.
  • Add beef broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar, stir to combine then bring to a boil.
  • Add rice and stir to combine, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender and juices are mainly soaked up.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheese.
  • Top with remaining cheese and place cover back on to melt.
  • Serve with chopped parsley if desired.

Enjoy!

Dinner, Pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

A yummy weeknight dinner that doesn’t disappoint! This is how I would decribe this recipe. I found this on on the site Salt and Lavendar. This is a new site that we follow and this recipe jumped out to my hubby. In my opinion it is like a lighter version of alfredo.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 7 ounces mushrooms sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 dashes Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley chopped, to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions. 
  • Meanwhile, add the butter and oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms release most of their water and it’s cooked off. Take the mushrooms out of the pan and set aside.
  • Add the wine, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, flour, and Dijon mustard to the pan. Stir until it becomes a smooth paste.  Stir in the cream and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms back into the pan. Reduce the heat and cook for a few more minutes until the sauce has thickened up a bit. Season sauce with salt & pepper as needed.
  • Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce along with the parsley and parmesan if using. 
Beef, Dinner

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

Hubby made a easy classic dish in the crockpot last week – Stuffed Peppers. We generally make them at this time of year when we can harvest the peppers we have grown in our little garden.  This year was not a good pepper year for us. Jalapeno peppers thrived while bell peppers did not take. They blossomed but then nothing. So now is a good time to pick up some peppers at.the farm market and give this recipe a try. This recipe was adapted from I Wash You Dry post.

  • 5 large bell peppers (you can use a mix of red, yellow and orange too)
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (ground turkey works well too)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp A1 steak sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 cup cooked brown and wild rice mix (any type of cooked rice will work)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • Cut the tops of the peppers off and discard the seeds and stems, but save the pepper portion of the tops and dice. Reserve 1/2 cup for the filling.
  • Combine the diced peppers, ground beef, onion, steak sauce, tomato sauce and rice in a large bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff each pepper with the ground beef mixture and place in the crock pot.
  • Pour about 1/4 cup of water into the bottom of the crock pot and cover. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Just before serving top with the shredded cheese and cover until melted. Enjoy!

The bottom of the slow cooker will have quite a bit of water after cooking from the peppers releasing their water. Use a slotted spoon to pick up the peppers and let drain before plating.