Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sausage & Fennel Sandwiches

             Oh, sandwiches, how I love you so! The thought of fresh bread, juicy meat and some sort of oozy cheese just makes me smile. Maybe it’s the bread & cheese combo that gets me or maybe it’s that you can fit all the food groups in one item. Well whatever it is, I adore them.

            The problem is I usually fall into a food funk with them. Over and over again, I make some sort of chicken sandwich. Chicken with BBQ sauce, chicken with pesto, chicken with provolone……yada yada yada……this chicken thing is getting a bit dated in our home.

            To the rescue, sausage! Now I know slamming sausage between 2 slices isn’t revolutionary, but for this gal it is! I pretty much place sausage in 3 categories: at the boardwalk, in my pasta & on my pizza. Respectively, the pork fits well there. But on my sandwich, hhmmmm......

            BINGO, here is a super sandwich….no more clucking around here! Yes, it may be heavier than your usual chicken variety, but I say it’s worth the calories in flavor, satisfaction and exceptionalityJ Enjoy…

Sausage & Fennel Sandwiches
Makes: 2

OBJ: TCW be able to serve a sandwich with something other than chicken on it!

2 sausage links, cut into thirds
2 TBS oil
1 head of fennel, thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
S & P (salt and pepper)
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2, 4 inch Italian rolls

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Drizzle oil on large rimmed baking sheet
3. Add all ingredients except rolls, toss well
4. Roast for 25- 30 minutes
5. When there is 3 minutes left, add bread to warm in the oven
6. Arrange sandwiches, serve warm

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Banana Oat & Raspberry Muffins

             Overripe bananas, you know them well. One day, all you see are some specks. The next thing you know, you have bananas on the verge of disaster & fruit flies. Eeeeeewww, not so pretty.
                I don’t know about you, but I hate when I have bananas ripening at too fast a pace. I feel inclined to add them to everything, push them on everyone, and bake them in something.
                So after having banana-infused yogurt everyday this week and Hubby telling me he now has a banana “reserve” in his desk, I had to find some sort of creation to use for the last of my bunch.
                Have no fear, banana bread recipes probably outnumber umbrellas in Seattle. Seriously, there are so freakin’ many, how do you decipher? Well for me, I take inventory of what I have on hand and go from there. And as you can see, my pantry had oats and jam. I was hoping to find some walnuts but no luck there. Oh well, the most important thing is the bananas are gone and my potassium levels are through the roof! Enjoy…

Banana Oat & Raspberry Muffins
Makes: 12 muffins
Adapted from: Pillsbury
OBJ: TCW be able to use up her over-ripened bananas


Muffins -
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 C sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 C (2 medium) mashed ripe bananas
1/2 C heavy cream
3 TBS oil
1 egg
¼ C raspberry jam

Topping -
1 TBS sugar
1/8  tsp cinnamon
1 TBS old fashioned oats

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray bottoms only of 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners
2. In large bowl, combine flour, oats, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, ½ tsp cinnamon and nutmeg- mix well
3.  In small bowl, combine bananas, cream, oil and egg-whisk well
4. Add wet mixture to flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened
5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full
6. Drop 1 teaspoon of jam over each muffin, swirl with knife
7.  In another small bowl, combine topping ingredients-mix well. Sprinkle evenly over batter in cups
8.  Bake at 400°F for 18- 19 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute; remove from pan. Serve warm


Thursday, January 17, 2013

White Wine Pasta with Bacon & Parmesan


              Okay this recipe may throw a crinkle in your cooking, as it did in mine. Nothing major, don’t fear my friends. The curveball is just in the pasta part. You see, like you, I’m used to cooking pasta in water.  Plain and simple- boil water, salt it, cook pasta, drain, serve. I can practically do it in my sleep (not recommended). But this here recipe is quite the rebel….

                So you start out all plain and simple- boil water, cook pasta, la dee da….But wait, you then drain it before it is done! Yes, that is right- you remove the slightly softened noodles right from their boiling boat. Next, you let them finish cooking in wine!

                Yes, the pasta cooks in wine! What an idea. Now relax, the wine simmers and cooks out so I don’t think you’re getting anyone tipsy here. What are left are these ridiculously tasty pastas. I would actually put them on the sweet side, which pairs nicely with the nutty Parmesan and salty bacon. Yup: wine-cooked pasta, cheese, bacon and cream. Needless to say, there will be no leftovers. Enjoy…

White Wine Pasta with Bacon & Parmesan
Serves: 2-3
Adapted from: Framed Cooks

OBJ: TCW be able to cook pasta in something other than boiling water

4 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (for last step)
½ bottle  of dry white wine ( ½ of a 750 ml)
2 tsp sugar
½ lb (8 ounces) radiatore pasta, or any other non-hollow shaped pasta (preferably spaghetti)
¼ C heavy cream
¼ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for shaving garnish
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
S & P: salt and pepper

1. Heat oil over medium flame in a large skillet, cook bacon pieces until crisp
2. Using slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate
3.  Leave bacon and oil grease in skillet, let cool 3 minutes. Add ¾ cup of wine to skillet, use wooden spoon to scrape up bacon bits, turn flame to high, bring wine to boil, then turn flame to low and let simmer for 10 minutes- it will reduce to about ½ cup
4. Stir in sugar over low flame
5. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water for about 6-8 minutes. Reserve 1 Cup of pasta water and then drain pasta.
6.  Add 1 cup of reserved water, pasta and 1 cup of wine to skillet. Keep flame on low-medium and allow mixture to come up to a low boil
7.  Cook pasta in wine/water for about 8 – 10 minutes or until done, tossing frequently
8.  When pasta is done, turn flame to medium and add cream, grated cheese, both sets of bacon (except a handful) and S & P to your tasting. Toss well over the flame for about  1-2 minutes
9. Transfer to serving bowls, use a cheese grater to shave large pieces of Parmesan over top and then sprinkle with bacon!



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Wontons


       Okay, since this is my first “real” post in 2013, I must wish you all a Happy New Year!
 I hope you are well. I don’t know about you, but I have a few resolutions, one of which is to start cooking what I’ve been “Pinning”. For those of you non-Pinners: I’m referring to Pinterest- the online bulletin board site where you find things online then “pin” them to specific boards. Check it out, it’s amazing:)
                Anyway, so yes I pin and pin and pin and then I hardly cook any of it! I can’t keep up with my pinning; it is like trying to keep up with my frizzies on a humid day! Luckily, I can’t say I’ve been a complete fail here, I have made a few of my Pins. The Sesame Crusted Cod, Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken, and 3 Ingredient Nutella Doughnuts are all on my checked off list. BTW, they were all great and I have happy memories thinking about each one!

                And so here is another checked off Pinterest item…..and like the others, it brought smiles and full bellies. The recipe itself is so simple; it is a cinch to do. The tedious part is the stuffing and folding. I had a helper though and he was just perfect at keeping me company and folding over! The frying took mere minutes and before we knew it we were popping these Poppers like it was our job! And since I consider blogging my second job, I proudly popped! Enjoy…
Jalapeno Popper Wontons
Makes 24
Source: Cassie Craves

OBJ: TCW be able to take 3 of her Hubby’s favorite things and cook them in his favorite method of cookingJ

½  package refrigerated square wonton wrappers (24)
4 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 ½  jalapenos, finely chopped (seeds and ribs removed if you prefer more mild)
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese or finely chopped from a block
S and P, salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Coarse salt

1. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, jalapenos, cheddar cheese and a healthy pinch of S & P
2. Arrange wontons in a single layer
3. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling to the center of each wonton
4.  Dip your fingers in a bowl of water and run your wet fingers around all edges of each wonton. Fold the wontons over the filling, pinching the edges to seal to make a triangle and removing any air bubbles (if you have air, its fine – they just fry up really poufy!)
5. Fry wontons in batches in hot oil until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with coarse salt
6. Serve warm


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Easy Meals

Easy Meals

                Okay, this may be the lamest post yet. I’m sorry for my lack of recipe or review for today. With the Holidays and such I somehow fell behind on my blogging duties and, sniffle sniffle, have nothing new to share this week.

                But even though things are going a gazillion miles an hour here, I still have to eat! And by that I mean, Hubby and I have to find some sort of nourishment to keep us on the move. Alas, here are some ideas that we have survived on and I think are worthy of a mention:

1. Canned Chicken Noodle Soup with anything of the vegetable sort thrown in prior to microwaving. My fav additions are broccoli, zucchini, and mushrooms. You just toss them in, give the soup a swirl with some extra water, nuke for 4 minutes, top with grated cheese and S & P! Serve with crackers

2. Salad greens tossed with any kind of pasta leftovers. Something about cold pasta and salad just makes me smile. Maybe it is just that I love pasta, or that I love pasta salad, or that I sometimes have nothing else to add to the lettuce. Anyway, I just make a big bowl of salad, toss with some grape tomatoes, carrots and about ½ C of cold pasta and if I’m lucky some cubed cheese too. Drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle with S & P.

3. Freezer Frenzy- Matt’s favorite! Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil. Search through your freezer for whatever you have lurking and hope for the best! Our favs: French fries, soft pretzels, chicken strips, and chicken taquitos. Serve with some honey mustard, ketchup, or if you are feeling cheesy- sprinkle shredded cheddar right after the sheet comes out of oven.

4.  BLTs- need I say more? Well because it is my blog, I will…. Matt hates mayo and I love it, so my BLT has extra mayo and his gets more bacon. I like tomatoes thick cut, he prefers thin so I cut them both ways and we assemble ourselves. As for lettuce, no surprise here- I add extra and love when I have some baby spinach available and he prefers a BLT, no L! I serve this with any types of chips we have in the cabinet and want to use up. Extra tip- If you have regular potato chips- sprinkle with S & P and they are 100 times betterJ

5. Cheese and crackers and maybe some Italian meats we have yet to devour. Pair this with some hummus and pita and you are all set for a light dinner. Translation= big dessert! A bowl of ice cream does count for getting your calcium in, right?

6. I am out of ideas so if these don’t help you, order out!