Tag Archives: easy

Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers

A dinner of “stuffed peppers” often gets a bad rap.  My friends and family either love it…or hate it.  My guess on the nay-sayer’s is due to the peppers that I have devoured in my life have just been, well..bland.  Ground beef or turkey, rice, maybe some chopped veggies.  Did I mention they’re often dry too??  Well my Italian version is anything but!

The simple garlic, onion and tomato sauce (plus sneaking in that zucchini) keeps it from turning dry and I always choose the ‘hot’ Italian sausage for the slight extra kick!  Do you have kids?  Well still get the ‘hot’, trust me, it’s not that spicy, just flavor!  Last, but definitely not least, that layer of fresh mozzarella cheese puts the average pizza slice to shame!!

Now you can these eat on their own or perhaps with a side salad or even that dry rice, BUT..since we’re cooking with those Italian flavors, why not place your finished product atop perfectly al dente pasta!  Garlic bread too, perhaps?….

The Starting Lineup

  • 3-4 bell peppers, seeded and halved
  • 1 package Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 14oz Italian finely chopped tomatoes (I prefer Cirio Italian with basil)
  • Mozzarella cheese slices (Fresh)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper 

Garnish/Side (optional)

  • Pasta noodles, cooked al dente
  • Reserved leftover sauce from the meat mixture
  • Chopped basil
  • Shredded parmesan

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees while bringing the olive oil in a large skillet to medium heat,  *Spray a 9×13 oven proof baking dish with nonstick spray.

In your hot skillet, add in the sausage (out of its casing) and cook completely through while chopping up with the back of your spoon.  Once cooked, remove the sausage and drain all but 1 tbsp of the oil/grease.

Now add in the diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes, followed by the zucchini for 2 minutes and finally the garlic for 1 minute.  To the sautéed vegetables, pour in the finely chopped Italian tomatoes (careful for splatter!) and add the cooked sausage back in.

Your filling is done!  Spoon equal amounts into your halved and seeded bell peppers and place into the 9×13 baking dish.  Top each with a healthy amount of cheese.  PLEASE do not scrimp on this!  *If I purchased the larger package of mozzarella, I have been known to place a slice in the bottom of each pepper before I fill, followed by more on the top!  Yes!!

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Cover the baking dish and peppers with foil and pop in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.  Uncover and let the cheese bubble for another 5 minutes, remove from the oven and let rest.  *My husband loves his mozz topping to be on the browned side, so I will place our right under the broiler for mere 2-3 minutes.

If desired, while the peppers are in the oven, prepare the pasta noodle side and dress in any reserved sauce from the meat mixture.  *I make sure to keep those juices exactly for this reason!

Garnish your plate with a bit of extra chopped basil, perhaps grated parmesan, and you have certainly elevated those hum-drum stuffed peppers!!

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Autumn Chopped Salad w/ Roasted Pork Tenderloin & Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Yesterday we had quite the breeze..which resulted in a few (ok, many) of leaves falling onto our back porch and yard, much to my husbands dismay..ugh yard work .  Meanwhile, I happily watched it from my kitchen window while wondering what to cook up for dinner.  If nothing else, the view makes doing the dishes that much better. 

Now since the weather wasn’t really chilly but in the mid-80’s, and it was indeed Fall, what could I come up with??  Well below you will find a crisp flavorFALL (<< see what I did there) salad and a ridiculously juicy and warm pork tenderloin.  Oh and lets not forget that Vinaigrette!!  This will now be a staple in our home come Fall..May we also suggest serving with a nice cider?!  Apple cider for the lil’s of course.

*If you have a cast-iron pan, you can transfer the seared pork directly to the oven in this vesssel.  I did not only because my cast iron wasn’t large enough for both my tenderloins.

**Make sure to taste your vinaigrette as you go.  Remember, this is YOURS and if you like it sweeter then add more maple.  Thicker?  Then more pumpkin.  How about tangier?  Well, then you simply add more cider vinegar or dijon!  It’s up to YOU! 🙂 

The Starting Lineup
Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette

  • 4 Tbsp maple syrup (real maple..no fake stuff here!)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (non sweetened)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp thyme, fresh
  • 1 Tbsp water

Autumn Chopped Salad

  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 2 apples, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (candied optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 pckg pork tenderloin, usually comes with two
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp rosemary (sounds weird with chili powder..just go with it)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable/ or canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette…yes, I totally forgot to grab the dijon for the picture, oops! Make sure to use it though, it’s a great emulsifier.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Autumn Chopped Salad


Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and lining a sheet tray with foil.  Place the lined sheet tray into the oven while it preheats.  You’ll also want to start heating up a skillet(medium/medium-high heat) *I prefer my cast iron here, which is why I start to heat it up now, takes a few minutes..and then remove the pork tenderloins from the refridgerator to come to temp.

Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic and the salt and pepper.  Then slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil into the mix *slowly as not to “seperate” the dressing.  Finally stir in the fresh thyme (and 1 Tbsp water if you’d like it a bit thinner).  Cover and store in the refridgerator.

Open the package of pork, pat dry with paper towels, and rub on the seasoning blend.  In the now hot pan, add in the oil and the butter.  Then place in the pork (I had to do 1 at a time) and sear all sides till a deep golden brown.  That brown sugar will caramelize and create a ‘crust’, so dont worry as it’s not burnt.  This should take you about 10 minutes for both. 

Once the pork has been seared, place onto the lined sheet pan in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through (till internal temperature reaches 140 degrees).  Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While the tenderloins are roasting, start chopping up the rinsed lettuce and pat dry.  On a large (and of course pretty) serving platter lay out the chopped lettuce.  Then follow with the apple slices, pecans, dried cranberries and bleu cheese crumbles.  

Once the pork is rested (so the juices do not run out) slice it up!  Lay the slices (pretty again) across the prepared salad and drizzle a good amount of your homemade Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette…oh lordy, enjoy!! 

Simple Ground Beef Stroganoff

One pot!  Yep, again, here is a family-filling meal that can be made all in just one pot!  Easy cleanup is always an incentive to cook a homemade meal for your family..or at least to me it is.

Now this may not be your traditional Russian ‘Beef Stroganov’ made with strips of beef, brandy etc., BUT it’s pretty darn tasty, quick and good on your pocketbook!  With a family that is paramount for me.  Also, since it uses a lot of fresh ingredients, you can feel good about serving it to your loved ones. 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 8oz package mushrooms, sliced/quartered
  • 1/2 diced onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 3 cups beef broth (low-sodium)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8oz pasta noodles
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley garnish, optional

Begin by rinsing and prepping your veggies!

Next in a large pan (remember it’s a one pot meal!), heat 1 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil to medium heat.  Add in the mushrooms and sauté for 4-5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.


To that same pot, heat another tbsp of oil and add in the onions and sauté for 5 minutes (till translucent) followed by the garlic for another minute.  Now goes in the ground beef, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Cook completely through; taste for more seasoning if needed.


If you used a lean ground beef, you likely won’t need to drain excess grease.  However, if you used an 80/20 blend (which is perfectly fine) you may need to drain some of that grease out (also perfectly fine).

To the cooked beef, add the beef broth and noodles.  Gently stir together and bring to a boil.  Cover and lower heat to a simmer for 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remember to cover friends! I didn’t think taking a picture of a pan with a lid on was too interesting…


Finally, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and mushrooms.  Top with fresh parsley and dig in!  Enjoy!!

Baked Peaches a La Mode

My father-in-law came in to town to help us with a major home project….Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!   As most of y’all know we live on a lake (amazing), but as our lil boys get older and have outgrown playing on the gated back porch, it poses a safety concern.  So we are finally adding the fence that we have wanted since we moved in, and considering we have a good size sloped yard, it’s not an easy project.

Anywaayy, besides the amazing help he has been, another great, like-minded fact about him, he REALLY loves peaches.  So after a long day of hard work, I figured a homemade dessert was the best way I could show my appreciation.  

This literally took just minutes to make, was fresh, and every plate was basically licked clean!  If you have 20 minutes to spare, I highly advise serving this summertime dessert at your next gathering!

*If you live in Texas and are close to an HEB or Central Market grocery store, I highly advise the below flavored of ice cream with this!  I used a scoop of each and a drizzle of honey alongside the baked peaches.  Ridiculous!

The Starting Lineup

  • Peaches, halved and pitts removed (I used 4 peaches for 8 servings)
  • Butter, sliced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2-3 Tbsps Brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Honey (optional)

Sooo stinkin’ easy!!  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit.  Place each peach halve, skin side down, onto a baking sheet or oven safe pan.

Next add a small piece of butter to the middle of each piece.  

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Sprinkle an even amount over each peach halve.

Place into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove and immediately serve (you want it warm!!) with a scoop of ice cream and possibly a drizzle of honey!  Enjoy!!!  *Feel free to also scoop up any of that caramelized pan drippings and spoon overtop as well!

Pierogi Pea Salad w/ Grilled Kielbasa

Here you have it… A simple, hearty meal that you can prep, cook, enjoy and clean up within an hour!  Hey, what’s not to enjoy about that??  Perfect for a weeknight family dinner!

It’s honestly a very nice pairing and balance of flavors too.  The rich sausage and onions are offset by the bright freshness with the dill, chives and bit of sour cream.  Plus the warm potatoey-cheddar filling against the cool dressing is an added bonus!  Again, what’s not to love about that?!

The Starting Lineup

  • 16oz pckg pierogis (I used frozen potato-cheddar filled)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 Tbsp mayonaisse
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp chives, fresh and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dill, fresh and chopped
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • kielbasa sausage, quartered (I used two packages)
  • 1 yellow onion, thick sliced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter    

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, chopped chives and dill and the dijon mustard.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. 

 Next bring a large stockpot of water to a boil, while you sauté the sliced onion in the extra virgin olive oil and butter over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.  Add in the quartered kielbasa sausage and sear to warm through.  Turn down to low to keep warm while you finish up the pierogi salad. 

   Cook the pierogi’s to the package directions (boil for 4-5 minutes) and then add the cup of frozen peas to that same boiling pot for the last minute.

Drain the peas and pierogis, rinse and pat dry.  Add both to the dressing you made earlier and gently toss to coat. 

   Serve with the kielbasa, onions and a side of spicy mustard, enjoy! 

 

Frozen Blueberry Buttermilk 

Wait, no ice cream maker needed you say??  Yes, it’s true!  This summer hybrid of ice cream & frozen yogurt (that tastes just like cheesecake!!) can be made with just the help of your mixer!

It’s fantastic for these hot & humid summertime months..especially as a great memory making activity you can enjoy with your family!  Think about upcoming 4th of July, simply add some strawberries to the mix and there’s your red, white & blue dessert!!  You’ll be everyone’s favorite guest!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Let’s begin!  In a saucepan over medium-heat, bring the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer and allow the sugar to melt and berries to slightly break down (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and cool.

 Onto the base of it all!  In a stand mixer or with your hand mixer, combine the buttermilk, heavy cream and pinch of salt to a bowl.  Beat together on high speed just till medium stiff peaks form.  Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk and the Greek yogurt till combined.

Pour half of the cream mixture into a loaf pan.  Next, pour in half of the cooled blueberry compote and create a swirl effect with a spoon, etc.  Repeat with the remaining half of cream & blueberries, again, slightly swirling together.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours…enjoy!!

Coconut ‘Fried’ Chicken

This is the perfect weeknight dinner!!  It’s flavorful, fun, and on the table in under 30 minutes…did I mention it’s healthy too??!!  A definite win-win friends!

Now I like to marinate the chicken (2 simple ingredients!) for 6-8 hours..before you head in to work.  However, if you’re worried you’ll forget to quickly prepare this in the busy AM, then you can do this the night before!  So now you just wake up & go!!…After work you can pop in the oven and have dinner in minutes!

This lean chicken has a great savory crunch to it with the added hint of sweetness.  Kids LOVE it!!  …and parents don’t have to feel guilty 😉

*Can be prepared Gluten-Free as well 

*Dipping Sauce:  I make by eye considering the persons taste buds.  Sweeter (more honey), Hotter (more sriracha), etc..  But a basic recipe is below.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs chicken tenders (or Breasts cut into strips)
  • 1 cup honey mustard
  • 1 cup mayonaisse 
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs (or Gluten Free bread crumbs)
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • Pinch of kosher salt & pepper

Dipping Sauce (optional)

  • Honey mustard (1/4 cup)
  • Honey (1 tbsp)
  • Sriracha (1-2 tsp)
  • Rice wine vinegar (SMALL splash)

Garnish (optional)

  • Shredded sweetened coconut
  • Cilantro, chopped  

Easy!!!  The night before OR before you head out for work, marinate the chicken in the cup of honey mustard and cup of mayonnaise mixture.  Cover and place in the fridge.

Now let us imagine that you’re already home and ready for dinner!!  So here you’ll simply preheat your oven to 425 degrees and take the chicken out of the refridgerator.  Prepare a baking sheet with either foil or a silpat sheet and if you’d like, you can add a grate atop.  *Remember to spray the grate and/or foil with non-stick spray, however, the silpat liner will be fine with out spray. 

 Have a shallow dish prepared with the panko (or gluten free breadcrumbs), coconut and salt & pepper.  Next, one-by-one, coat the honey mustard/mayo’d chicken into the coconut-bread crumbs and lay onto the baking sheet.  Repeat until finished. 

   Pop the tray into the preheated oven for 25 minutes and then remove to rest and cool for a couple of minutes.  It’s hot!!!…

I like to serve this healthy and easy meal topped with a bit of extra shredded coconut & cilantro along with a side of rice and dipping sauce!  Enjoy!! 

 

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