Tag Archives: railroadwife

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

peppers1

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!!

peppers2

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!!

peppers3

Brown Sugar & Dijon Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry-Serrano Sauce

Through all trial and no error, I am fairly certain I have just created a new holiday tradition in my home..We will be eating my new recipe of “Brown Sugar & Dijon Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry-Serrano Sauce” for Christmas from here on out!   Slightly sweet, a slight bit o’ heat, slighty tangy and a touch of classic savory, this one hit all of the notes in just the right way.  Plus, given that pork tenderloin is an inexpensive cut and just a few other handy ingredients are needed, one can make this festive meal quickly while saving a bit more for extra stocking stuffers!

Through great luck (and all of that “hard work of being a food blogger” ;) I have been fortunate enough to be a recipient of a large package of perfect Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries on my doorstep!  This box addressed to me, “Railroad Wife in Texas”, on frozen ice and all, was just screaming to NOT be made into your average pie, relish or smoothie..but into a savory entree!  When one thinks of cranberries their mind often goes to that bowl at the end of the table that all too often gets neglected…not here my friend!  This is front and center and oh so delicious!

To pick up your very own bag of Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries, you can go online to http://www.CapeCodSelect.com to order online/find your location or head to my favorite local pick up at:

Central Market

4651 West Freeway

Fort Worth, Texas 76107

Follow my friends Cape Cod Select at:

https://www.facebook.com/capecodselect/          

https://twitter.com/CapeCodSelect

https://plus.google.com/b/112667579999356431188/+CapeCodSelectEdgewoodBogsCarver/about/p/pub

https://www.pinterest.com/capecodselect     

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp2g4eev6wgHxzYHUFhEMzg

                                                                                                                                             
*If you want an extra kick of spiciness, you can keep all of the seeds and pith in the serrano or hey, even add two of them to the sauce!!  I’m partial to the extra heat, but when my littles enjoy it I will keep it mellow.  The sacrifices I make as a momma….


The Starting Lineup

Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin (about always comes in two pieces)
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Sage
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil

Cranberry-Serrano Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries (divided)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 serrano, minced (I seeded only half)
  • 1 2″ piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 lime, zest
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped  

Let us begin!  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees WITH a cast-iron pan INSIDE the oven.  (You can also use a glass or ceramic baking dish, i.e. Pyrex casserole dish.  You just want it hot!!) 

While the oven (and pan) is preheating, coat the pork with a mixture of the brown sugar, Dijon mustard, thyme, sage, salt & pepper.  (The coated pork can stay out and go straight into oven or place in a bag and marinate for 2+ hours).

When the oven is hot and ready, carefully (with an oven-mitt) remove the cast-iron pan/casserole dish and drizzle in the canola oil, followed immediately with the pork tenderloin(s).  It WILL sizzle, drizzle with a bit more oil and place back into the oven.

Roast for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 400 degrees and roast for another 10-15 minutes (internal temperature of 145 degrees).  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, slice and serve with your favorite sides.

Meanwhile…..that most delicious Cranberry-Serrano Sauce!!…

 

In a large sausepan over medium-high heat, saute the diced red onion in 1 tablespoon canola oil until soft.  Next, stir in 1 peeled and grated 2-inch piece of ginger along with 1 diced serrano chile (seed if needed and/or add two depending on heat level) and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar; cook until the sugar dissolves.  Once thickened and “syrupy”, add in 1 cup of the cranberries and cook until the berries pop and the sauce thickens (10 minutes).  Finally pour in the remaining cranberries and cook for 1-2 minute.  Transfer the sausapan off of the heat, stir in the honey, the grated lime zest, salt and pepper. Let cool a bit, then stir in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

Once your pork has rested, sliced and placed onto a serving platter, drizzle the Cranberry-Serrano Sauce overtop and accompany with delicious homemade mashed potatoes and a flavorful roasted vegetable.

Ancho and Coffee Crusted Steak Tacos w/ Spicy Corn Salsa

I’m not sure if it’s because I lived in Arizona, California and Texas, but I’m pretty sure that tacos are a way of life for ‘us people’.  They range in flavors and toppings galore as you have Sonoran, Baja, Texmex, standard beef and cheese, shredded chicken..I could go on and on and on.  So I will!

I tried to break out of that standard taco fare box and make it a little more refined, perhaps bigger and brighter flavors, and boy did that work out for me!  Hey, I had OVER a pound and a half of steak, plus toppings and my family of two (apparently starving) adults and two lil ones and we ate it ALL.  I won’t even bother you with the details of me just standing haphazardly at the butcher block shoving steak slices in..damn good!

*I also mentioned below, please cook to your desired preference..However, we may or may no longer speak if you choose well-done, but…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs flat iron steak
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp ground coffee
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp canola and 1 Tbsp butter, for the pan) 

Spicy Corn Salsa

  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (I left seeds in, but remove to cut the heat if desired)
  • Juice of 1 ripe lime
  • pinch kosher salt

Garnish

  • Corn tortillas, grilled and warmed
  • Lime wedges
  • Salty cheese (cotija, feta, parmesan)
  • Jalapeños, thinly sliced. 

Lets marinate this steak!  2-3 hours prior to grilling up, you’ll want to begin this.  You could do a longer marinade time, however, marinades can break down the meat too much and it just won’t be quite as good, texture wise.

In a small dish, whisk together all of the spices listed above for the steak.  While using your fingers, coat the steak evenly with the spice blend, cover and place in your refridgerator until ready to grill.  

Next we can prepare that super easy spicy corn salsa!  As always instructed ;), start by rinsing and chopping and dicing the veggies needed.  

In a microwave safe medium-size bowl, pour in the 2 cups of frozen corn.  Pop into your microwave for just about 30 seconds tops.  You do NOT want hot, mushy corn.  On to the other easy part, to that corn add in the prepared red onion, halved tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and diced jalapeños.  Give a good squeeze of fresh lime juice and a hefty pinch of salt.  Toss to coat, cover and like the steak, refridgerate till needed.  

Ok friends..now here come your options and the “blah-blah-blah” of how to cook a steak.  Please follow along.

You can absolutely grill this (quite delish), you can sear in an oven proof pan and pop in the oven to finish or even vice versa, you can place it under the broiler..do what makes your heart sing.  However, if you want it how I made it, then here it goes:

Remove the marinated, dry-rubbed steak from the refridgerator 20 minutes prior to cooking.  I brought my cast iron skillet up to medium/medium-high heat and then added in the 1 Tbsp canola oil and 1 Tbsp butter (never margarine people).

Once the skillet was just slightly smoking, knowing it was hot and ready, I layed the steak into the hot oil and butter.  WALK AWAY.

Let that steak sear and do its thing.  It will of course have a dark outer-edge due to the sugar, coffee and spices creating that great “crust”.  You so, so want that.

I prefer my steak a perfect medium-rare, so for my weight of meat I let each side sear for about 8 minutes on each side…then place on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.  PLEASE let rest!!  During that time you can get out your choice of salty cheese, the spicy corn salsa AND start to quickly warm and slightly char the corn tortillas!  

*If you have a smaller cut of steak, cook anywhere from 3-5 minutes per side (for medium-rare,  internal temperature of 135 degrees).  Of course you can eat the steak to your liking, so cook it longer if you so desire.

*If you follow the medium-rare advice, but someone in your family is “weird” about that ;), simply take a few of the slices and return back to the pan for just a few seconds.  It WILL cook fast!

Once the steak has had its rest period (keep those juices IN!), slice thinly against the grain..this is sooooo tender and just melts with that fantastic crust.  Drooling….again.  (You can also dice up the slices for small mouths..aka my kiddos).

The time has arrived..assembly time!  Simply take a warm and charred corn tortilla and lay a couple of slices of that beautiful steak on top.  Garnish with a spoonful of the Spicy Corn Salsa, a bit of salty cheese and a few lime wedges..enjoy!!  

Morel and Asparagus Parmesan Penne

Hello to my ‘fancy friends’!  This grown-up, earthy, flavorful, umami recipe is SURE to satisfy your significant others tastebuds come date night!  *Well it better as morels are not cheap, nor is asparagus and darn it, this is just good eats!

We had a good friend recently return here to Texas from a trip to his home state of Montana.  Well… when he returned, I was delighted with the gift of real deal morel mushrooms (and huckleberries!!) so I hope he gets to revisit soon!  Thank you Dennis!

Now that I had aquired such a highly sought after ingredient, I could NOT let them go to waste.  Pity the thought!  So to get ALL the flavor I simply cooked the pasta IN the rehydrating liquid and boom…magic was served!  

*I should of charged $47 a plate though! 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • About 8 dried morel mushrooms
  • 1pckg/lb penne pasta
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch Asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  •  1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
  • Pinch of dried tarragon
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest 
  • Kosher Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flake, to taste (optional)

Boil 8 cups of water (I simply did so in a microwave safe bowl), and then add in the dried morel mushrooms to the hot water.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit/rehydrate for about 25-30 minutes.  ***Do NOT discard this water

Transfer the now rehydrated mushrooms to a cutting board and quarter each, set aside.

Next, pour the morel-flavored water into a large stockpot (add more water if needed).  Bring this to a boil, salt and then add the pasta noodles.  Cook 1-2 minutes less than package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium high heat.  Toss in the shallots, cook for 3 minutes, followed by the garlic for one minute. 

Next, to the same skillet, add in the asparagus, morels and the chicken stock.  Bring to a low boil, cover, and let cook for 4-5 minutes.  Remove the lid and pour in the heavy cream. Let cook down and reduce for about 3-4 minutes. 

Finally!!  Remove the skillet from heat source and add in the al dente pasta noodles, lemon juice and zest, tarragon, salt and pepper and the parmesan cheese!  Toss together and top with more parmesan (and red pepper flake) if desired!  Enjoy love birds!! 

Simple Cheeseburger Pizza

Pizza?  Burger?  Pizza?  Burger??  How about both!!  Yep, this is such a fun take on everyone’s top two favorites!  

So my boys were ‘arguing’ over what to have for dinner the other night.  In true Parker fashion, he wanted pizza (hey it’s better than his other favorite, PB&J!) and just like I knew Brooks would, he voted for cheeseburgers.  Momma moment!! Let’s combine the two and have a happy family all around..and again, no PB&J sandwiches.

How easy is this you ask…For one, it’s done in under 30 minutes.  Two, both kids and adults love it.  Three, you likely have the majority of the ingredients on hand already!!  Please give it a try this week!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 large pizza crust, prebaked (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2-1lb ground beef, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • Tomato, diced
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle slices, rough chop
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup mustard 
  • 1 Tbsp dill pickle juice, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Bacon, cooked & crumbled (optional)

In a small bowl combine the ketchup,  mayo,  mustard, onion powder and dill pickle juice.  Whisk together till smooth, taste and tweak to your liking.  Cover and set aside.  Also make sure to bake the pizza crust according to package directions.  *I typically undercook the crust just a couple minutes, you will be placing this back into the oven.

Next, simply brown the ground beef, season simply with salt, pepper and maybe a couple dashes of Worcestershire.  

While the ground beef is browning, you can shred the cheese and prep the toppings! (tomatoes, onions, pickles

Now for the fun part!  Take the ‘dressing’ you made earlier and spread it out all over the pizza crust, this acts as your pizza sauce!  Yummmm….Follow that with the cooked ground beef and shredded cheddar.  

Place back into the oven until warmed though and cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven and top with the tomatoes,  onions, pickles and an extra drizzle of that tangy dressing!!   Dig in!  

Braised Short Rib Poutine

This may have a hoighty-toighty, fancy name but it’s just a big ol bowl of delicious cheesy, brown gravy fries!  This comfort food is soooo good on a cold day, while watching a fantastic football game or even after a late night.  The Dutch oven does most of the work for you, and if you’re not into it, go ahead and buy a bag of frozen fries.  I won’t tell 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs Short Ribs (1/2 boneless, 1/2 bone in)
  • Potatoes, french fry cut and soaked a couple hours to overnight
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp  
  •  1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2-3 cups beef broth/stock (to cover about 3/4th way up the short ribs), water can also be substituted 
  • 1/2 stout beer (drink the rest 😉)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • Cheese curds (Wisconsin’s finest 😉 
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil (for ribs)
  • Canola oil (for potatoes)
  • Parsely garnish (optional)   

Begin this recipe for scrubbing the potatoes and carefully cutting into strips a la French Fry!  Put the cut up fries into a large bowl of cold water.  Once you have finished cutting all of the potatoes, I like to carefully pour out that starchy water (hold on to those potatoes now) and refill.  Cover and refridgerate for at least an hour or two or even overnight.  This helps to pull out the starch resulting in a crispier fry!  Mmmm….. 

   On to the short ribs.  Season the ribs liberally with kosher salt and pepper and have a large pot/dutch oven warming a couple of Tbsp’s of extra virgin olive oil to medium-high heat.  Place 3-4 short ribs at a time into the hot pot and sear each side.  Set the seared ribs aside once finished. 

     In that same pot that you seared the short ribs in (now turn down to medium), add in the onion & shallot and sauté till translucent (about 5 minutes).  Next add in the minced garlic, worcestershire and the tomato paste (cook for just about a minute, till fragrant). 

  

  


 Now we’ll pour in half of the beer (make sure to finish the rest, “waste not, want not”..or something like that).  When the beer is added you’ll hear quite the sizzle sound, and with a wooden spoon scrape up any brown bits on the bottom on the pot from the seared and sautéed ingredients.

Next, pour in the beef stock/or water along with a hefty pinch of salt & pepper.  Turn the heat down to low and add back in the seared short ribs and any juices that the short ribs gave off in their set aside dish.  Cover the dutch oven and let it do its thing for about 3 hours.  Those ribs will be fall apart tender and falling off the bone, literally. 

 

Once the time has come, remove the short ribs again and set aside.

Here you’ll also bring a seperate saute pan to medium to melt the butter.  Once melted, slowly add in the flour while constantly whisking to make a roux.  Once that flour taste has cooked out, whisk the roux directly into the ribs braising liquid (dutch oven), until it thickens to a gravy, whisking occasionally.  It’ll happen, just give it a few minutes. 

       By now the short ribs should have cooled down enough to handle.  Pull off the bones, remove as much fat as possible and shred.  Add the now shredded meat directly into the dutch oven gravy.  Lord have mercy! 

   While those flavors are melding together and the gravy is thickening up, we’ll finish the French fries.

Take the soaking potatoes out of the ‘fridge and drain that starch water.  Place the cut up fries onto a towel and pat dry as much as possible.  Water drenched foods and hot oil do NOT mix. Never ever.

Bring the canola oil up to heat 375 degrees (I used my deep fryer), and add the fries in batches cooking for about 4-5 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and turn up the heat to 425 degrees.  Again, in small batches add the fries to cook for another 3-4 minutes and transfer to a large bowl and toss with a pinch of salt. 

 Assembly time!!  Your stomach is growling isn’t it??  Place a good amount of those hot, crisp fries onto a plate and ladle that hot, short rib gravy right over top.  Sprinkle on a handful of those delightful, squeaky cheese curds and grab a fork, dinner is served!! 

 

Loaded Breakfast Potato Skins

So I was making loaded potato skins for a gathering last night and thought, “Hey, these have potatoes (check), cheese (check), bacon (check)…why not just add the missing component of eggs and make this into a breakfast??!”  Genius I tell ya!!

A great thing about the breakfast potato skin is that you can change up the flavors everytime you prepare them!  How about a chorizo & green chili with sour cream & salsa?  Or perhaps use a sweet potato, egg whites, spinach and feta!  Yes to both of those for me!  Hey, if you’re a fan of runny yolks, why not top with an over-easy egg??  Being creative has suddenly made me hungry all over again!

…and much to my husband’s happiness, I served this with a side of cream gravy to complete this most perfect brunch….

*The ingredients below do not have specific amounts due to the number of people being served.  Any questions, please ask 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • Potatoes, baked, scooped & halved
  • Bacon, cooked & chopped
  • Breakfast sausage, cooked
  • Eggs, scrambled
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Green onion, chopped

Extras (optional)

  • Extra virgin olive oil & kosher salt (potato skins)
  • Butter, milk, salt & pepper (scrambled eggs)
  • Flour, milk, salt & pepper (cream gravy)
  • Salt, pepper, chili flake (breakfast sausage)
  • Sour cream  

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Meanwhile, cover a baking sheet in foil and place on the bottom rack of the oven *to catch any drippings from the potatoes. Now scrub the potatoes, prick a few times with a fork and coat in extra virgin olive oil and a decent amount of kosher salt.  Set the potatoes DIRECTLY on the top rack, over the baking sheet.  Allow to bake for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is soft but the skins are crisp. 

 While the potatoes are baking away, you can fry up the bacon.  Once it’s cooked till crispy, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. 

 In that same pan, now add in the breakfast sausage and cook through.  *Here I like to add in some seasonings if needed.  Like the bacon, once finished transfer to a dish and set aside. 

   Ok….if you’re feeling ambitious you now can use the grease from the sausage and create the cream gravy!  Add in a 1/4 cup of flour and whisk in the grease to create a rue.  Follow that with 2 cups of milk while constantly whisking to incorporate the rue.  Season to taste. 

 Around now the potatoes should be finished baking.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool just slightly.

Egg time!  Crack the eggs into a bowl with a splash of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Whisk together and pour into a buttered sauté pan and scramble away! 

   While the eggs are doing their thing, cut each potato in half lengthwise.  CAREFULLY scoop out a bit of the inner flesh of each halve.  Make sure to leave enough of the flesh/skin on the outer edges so that it doesn’t fall apart on you.  *Depending on how hot the potatoes still are, you may need to wear an oven mitt to handle them.  Once scooped, place each onto a foil lined baking sheet (I just use the same sheet from when we baked the potatoes earlier). 

 Follow this up by first spooning in a good amount of the cooked breakfast sausage into the potato shells.  Top that with scrambled egg and then a heaping helping of shredded cheddar cheese. 

  

    

  
Place these bad boys BACK into the oven (top rack) under the broiler setting.  Watch closely as it only takes about a minute or two for the cheese to melt.

Remove from the oven and top with the cooked, crumbled bacon and green onions.  Serve with either gravy, hot sauce, sour cream or salsa alongside..enjoy!! 

 

%d bloggers like this: