Tag Archives: simple

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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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! 

 

Chewy Lemon Curd Cookie Bars

I’m a HUGE junkie for lemon anything…some of my fondest memories are from when we’d eat at Marie Callendars restaurant as a child (when they were still everywhere) and my parents would let me order a big slice of Lemon Meringue pie…or even their Sour Cream Lemon (drooling!!) after my dinner.   I could also eat it all and not gain an ounce, not THATS a great memory in itself!

Anyway.  On the other side is my husband and he is a cookie fanatic..similar to the Cookie Monster if you will (I mean that in the nicest of ways 😉  So with this quick to assemble recipe I was thinking of both of us…and we both loved it indeed!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted (1/2 cup)
  • 10oz jar lemon curd
  • Powdered sugar, garnish  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave (30 second increments).  Next remove the bowl of melted butter and whisk in the granulated and light brown sugar till just combined. 

 Now stir in the flour to finish off the crust and crumble topping (*reserve about 1 cup for the “crumble”). 

 Grease roughly a 9×9 greased baking dish and spoon in the crust mixture while pressing it evenly into the dish with your fingers. 

 Next simply pour the lemon curd overtop of your pressed in crust (*use a rubber spatula or back of a spoon to gently spread).  Sprinkle the remaining dough overtop of the crust in that crumble fashion 😉 

    Pop the now filled baking dish into the oven for 35-40 minutes (uncovered) and then allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Place in the refridgerator for about 45-60 minutes to fully cool (here is where you eat dinner to pass the time ;)).

Cut into bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  These slighty crunchy, super chewy, sweet & tart delights will go fast! 

 

Poor Mans Pickle Burgers

Don’t let the title fool you…even you rich folks can and will enjoy this simple meal!  It’s easy to prepare, a meal can be had in under 30 minutes and you likely have these ingredients already in your refridgerator!

My family can’t stop requesting them, which is fine by me!  To best describe them is a mix of a diner patty melt, loose meat sandwich and a Freddy’s Steak Burger all in one!  Also, not having to shape hamburger patties out makes this both quick AND stretches it farther.  ..and trust me, you won’t even miss the normal ketchup & mustard here..just try it my way.  Please…..

The Starting Lineup (makes 4 good size burgers)

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced, divided 1:1
  • 4-6 slices American cheese
  • Dill pickle slices, thick cut or lots of them
  • 8 slices bread (I prefer sourdough, but generic wheat or white works!  It’s a “poor-mans” after all!)
  • Mayonaisse (the real deal, not Miracle Whip)
  • A pinch each of salt, pepper & season salt 
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional for grilling the sandwich)   

Preheat a saute pan to medium heat and add in the ground beef and 1/2 of the minced onions, salt, pepper & season salt.  Cook till meat is browned and onions translucent.

 While the meat is cooking, slather the mayonaisse on both sides of the bread…I mean from corner to corner here!  Also, heat up another pan to “grill” the sandwich.

 After the meat has finished it’s assembly time!  With the cooked ground beef divided evenly, add a layer onto one slice of the bread.  Top with a bit more minced onions, LOADS of pickle slices and then top it off with a slice or two of the melty American cheese.  *make sure to cover all the toppings with the cheese, this REALLY helps hold it all together!  Finally, add on that remaining slice of bread and transfer to the heated pan.

     Grill each side of the poor mans burger for about a minute, till crisp.  Cut on the diagonal and serve with some good ol fries or chips!!  Enjoy!

Prosciutto & Herbed Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

This impressive looking side dish is actually very simple to prepare and is a great addition to a family dinner, holiday meal or an elegant dinner party!  

What’s also fun about this flavorful vegetable is you can add in the spices and herbs of your choice to really add depth ….or, sshhh…, there are MANY flavored cream cheeses out there now that can make this just that much easier!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-2 large bunch asparagus spears, rinsed and tough ends chopped off
  • 1 package dry cured prosciutto slices, cut each in half vertically
  • 6oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parsley, chopped (optional)  

After your asparagus spears have been cleaned, tough woody ends removed and patted dry, begin the cream cheese spread.

In a small bowl, combine the finely minced garlic to the softened cream cheese  and add in the salt & pepper to taste. (*Parsley here if using) 

   Next, smear about a Tbsp of the garlicky cream cheese down the 2″ wide vertical strips of prosciutto.  *This is actually quite easy if the spread is softened enough. 

I then, depending on the asparagus spear size, take a good 3-5 spears and carefully wrap the cheesey prosciutto around each bunch.  The cheese helps for the prosciutto to stick to the vegetables so toothpicks aren’t needed.

Once each ‘bundle’ has been created, place into a wire rack lined baking sheet.  *You can even lay a sheet of foil or parchment under the rack for super easy cleanup! 

 Now you can either loosely wrap the bundle filled sheet tray in foil and store in the refridgerator until dinner time or cook now!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the sheet tray of prosciutto wrapped asparagus UNCOVERED (you want that prosciutto to crisp slightly) onto the middle rack and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately, enjoy! 

 

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