Cheer Ya Up Cheddar & Beer Soup

Recently I cam across a killer recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network’s site. I of course had to make my own adjustments to the recipe. This is the perfect dish for a cold night during the holiday season. It’s also a great dish for only 2 people since no other food is needed, it’s sooo filling. Although, some nice sour dough bread would have been great with it. Next time I will def try it in a sour dough bread bowl.

Here’s the dish:

1/2 lb. kielbasa sausage, finely chopped and crumbled

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onion

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 bay leaves

3 tbsp. garlic, minced

8 tbsp. flour

6 cups chicken stock

2 cups lager beer (preferably amber)

Dash of thyme

4 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used 1 1/2 pkgs. of 8 oz. shredded cheddar)

Cook the kielbasa in olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat until golden brown. Add the onions, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook until onions are slightly carmelized (12-15 mins). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant about a minute. SPrinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the stock and beer. Add the thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Add the cheese a little at a time, stirring until nearly completely melted after each addition. Remove from heat, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Enjoy!

Perfect Penne Gorgonzola with Chicken

The hubs and I are a little partial to alfredo, especially my roasted garlic alfredo. However, we both love gorgonzola, so I thought let’s try something new. This dish is “off the hook” or ridiculously good.

 

Here’s the dish:

 

What’cha need:

1 pkg. penne pasta

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 large garlic clove minced

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup chicken broth

5 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (optional)

 

Cook pasta according to package. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in the olive oil. Once browned a bit, add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Add the broth and loosen up any brown bits. Add cream. Cook til sauce is slightly thickened (it doesn’t get that thick) and chicken is fully cooked. Stir in the gorgonzola cheese, salt and pepper. Cook til cheese just melts.

 

Drain pasta. Put pasta in a dish, pour some tasty sauce over it. Add some parmigiano-reggiano if you want and dig in.

 

This dish is super easy and super tasty. It’s definitely a repeat meal.

 

ps. The hubs loved it too!

It’s Not Just Texas Chili

After years of experimenting with a wide array of chili recipes from books, websites and word of mouth, I am proud to say my search for the perfect chili has ended. All thanks to a little wedding gift I received called “Bride & Groom: First and Forever Cookbook” by Mary Corpening Barber & Sara Corpening Whiteford. I’ve been talking it up for a while now, so I figured I should pass along this killer recipe to all my friends.

If you are like me and prefer a more soupy chili rather than one that’s totally chunky and has no sauce… you’re search too has ended. This chili recipe is so unbelievably flavorful and feeds an army. Ok maybe not an army but it will totally feed a Boy Scout troop, no doubt.

I typically make my chili in the morning or early afternoon and let it sit so that the flavors develop even more. Before I’m going to serve it, I just heat it up for a few.

Here’s the dish on Texas Chili:

Whatcha Need:

1 Tbs. Bacon Grease or Vegetable Oil

2 Medium Yellow Onions, chopped

3 Tbs. Chopped Garlic

3 Tbs. Chili Powder

2 Tbs. Paprika

1 Tbs. Cumin

2 Tsp. Dried Oregano

1 lb. Ground Beef Chuck

1 lb. Italian Sausage Links, removed from casings and crumbled

2 Tsp. Kosher Salt, plus more as needed

2 cans (28 oz, each) Crushed Tomato Puree

1 can (15 oz.) Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 oz.) BBQ Baked Beans, drained

1 Tbs. Minced Canned Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce, plus more as needed

Heat the bacon grease (or vegetable oil) in an 8 quart heavy bottomed stockpot over medium heat. (I always use vegetable oil.) Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano and stir until the spices are well combined. Add the ground chuck, sausage and 1 tsp. of the kosher salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the meat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Adjust the seasonings with more kosher salt or chipotle chiles if necessary (I add a bit more of the chiles).

Serve the chili with some of these fixin’s:

Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Chopped Green Onion

Sour Cream

Crumbled Corn Chips/Tortilla Chips

Red Pepper Flakes

Chopped Jalapeno Chiles

Cornbread

This recipe is so tasty that you really don’t need any fixin’s at all, but it does make a lot. So if your not making this for a big crowd, you will have tons of leftovers and might want to switch things up a bit by adding some of the fixin’s for your leftovers.

I like it best with some shredded cheddar (my hubby prefers no fixins) and we either dip tortilla chips in it or eat it with some cornbread.

This is a great dish to bring to a World Series Party, Superbowl Party or to a Potluck Dinner. We like to have it on a cold rainy “stay inside” weekend while watching shows we DVR’d during the week, movies or re-runs of our fave 80’s shows.

 

Enjoy and let me know what you think. I’m certain that your search for the “perfect” chili has now ended.

 

Do you follow me on Twitter? @kdevito

I’m a Mrs. G’s VIB!

I'm a VIB!

I’m a Mrs. G.’s VIB (Very Important Blogger… but of course)! Today I attended the first of many of the Mrs. G.’s VIB Blogger Series at the Mrs. G.’s store on Route 1 in Lawrenceville, NJ.

My mom has shopped at Mrs. G.’s for a number of years and this was the first time I was able to experience their incredible showroom. The event was an opportunity to meet fellow bloggers and network with them, as well as take a tour of the Mrs. G.’s facility and watch some demos.

Their sales people are so knowledgeable about all of their products and extremely helpful. I fell in love with the front loading Electrolux washer and dryer (I want it in red), as well as a few tv’s.

Kelly Ripa has one. So should I! I guess I should have checked them out sooner so we could watch the World Series (Go Yankees) tonight on one of them. Hey Santa…are you listening?

One of the many great tv's at Mrs. G.'s

We participated in a demo featuring an Electrolux kitchen and ate tomato bisque soup, salmon, brussel sprouts with pancetta, apple cider and fondue! How cool is that? I even placed my hands on the stove and didn’t get burnt. Since there isn’t a flame and its all magnetic, it’s the perfect option for families with small children.

Cooking things up!Paper towel and my hand on stove. Not burning!End result... Delish!

Ok, so about that tv… they have some amazing sets to choose from. Did you know there are 3D capable tv’s? If you have a 3D capable tv you can plug it into a media server that can show 3D content and Voila! (The server comes with the 3D glasses, not the tv.) I was able to test it out watching “Coraline” the movie. Incredible!

Mrs. G.’s #1 Priority as they proudly display on large signs throughout the store is… drum roll please… CUSTOMER SERVICE. How many places can say that? In a day and age where customer service is seriously lacking (especially with the larger corporations, ahem Verizon), Mrs. G.’s knows whats important. As a third generation family owned company, Debbie Schaeffer is doing a phenomenal job following in her family’s footsteps, staying true to the company and their mission and providing the best products at the BEST prices.

Santa? You still there?

 

Event sponsored by:

ElectroluxMrs. G.'s

Pepperoni Marinara Sauce

Everyone has their own spin on a marinara sauce. It’s all about what your preference is. I prefer pepperoni in mine. It adds a nice spicy kick to the sauce plus the pepperoni is just tasty. My recipe is based loosely off my mother-in-law’s recipe.

Here’s the dish:

olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves

28 oz. tomato puree (I prefer Tuttorosso)

pepperoni stick

Italian seasoning to taste

oregano to taste

crushed red pepper flakes to taste

salt & pepper to taste

I start off with a hot pan and drizzle some olive oil in it. I then mince the garlic and let it brown a bit in the pan. I cut up the pepperoni stick in chunks and add it to the pan. Let the pepperoni brown up but be careful not to burn the garlic. Add your tomato puree and seasonings and stir. Cook on low heat for at least 2 hours.

Before your ready to eat, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box.

Nick is making me mention this:

I always keep the can of tomato puree near the stove filled halfway with water and keep my spoon in it. Nick’s mother does this, his nana did it, everyone has done it. Neither one of us has any idea what the reasoning behind it is. However, I will continue to do it. If you know the reason, let me know.

Enjoy!

Julie, Julia & Katie

I’m inspired!

Last night Nick and I went to see Julie & Julia and might I say what a movie. As you may know, my birthday just passed (August 14th) and Nick mentioned around that time that Julia Child and I share a birthday. Jokingly I said “that explains a lot”. But it really does. Sitting in the theatre with my popcorn and various candies of sorts I realized, my life really mimics that of both Julie & Julia in the film. Everything from the love of cooking to the relationship with my husband.

I walked away from the theatre thinking 2 things. 1 – I should wear pearls more often. They are so classy. And 2 – I should write a cook book. I can’t share everything with you, because then nothing would be a surprise, but I have lots of ideas already. I even emailed a few publishers today. So if you know anyone in the industry, let me know. Or if you have any recipes you’d like to share with me, please feel free to contact me.

I’m so excited about my new venture. Not only is it something I’m passionate about, but it will keep me occupied until I find full time employment. (Sidebar: I have a promising interview next week.)

Beef Brisket with BBQ Sauce

I thought for sure I had blogged about this before but apparently I haven’t. I absolutely love my Better Homes & Garden Cookbook!

This is not the first nor will it be the last time I make the Beef Brisket recipe from this book. Not only is it so easy, it is very tasty. Plus, it tastes even better the next day. You can make this dish and pair it with a side or we like to put it on potato rolls and eat it as a sandwich.

I follow everything in this recipe to a tee except for the cayenne pepper. Who doesn’t love a crock pot? Enjoy!

http://www.bhg.com/recipe/beef/beef-brisket-with-barbecue-sauce/

Puttanesca Pasta

Recently I bought Luigi Vitelli Tomato Puree and there was a recipe on the side for Puttanesca Pasta. So I made it last night for the first time and it was a success. Both Nick and I really enjoyed this meal and I paired it with Pillsbury Garlic Rolls. You can use any type of pasta you would like, I happened to use Rigatoni since that is what I had in my cupboard.

Here’s the dish on how to make it:

Serves 4

3 or 4 Garlic Cloves (smashed)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 can (28oz.) Luigi Vitelli Tomato Puree

2 Tblsp Capers

4 Tblsp Black coarsely chopped (Gaeta or Kalamata type preferred)

10 sprigs fresh parsley (minced)

salt to taste

crushed red pepper to taste

Saute garlic in olive oil until golden brown. Remove garlic. Add capers and black olives and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, parsley, salt and crushed red pepper and cook over a high flame for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I used 4 garlic cloves and used a jar of inexpensive kalamata olives. Don’t forget to remove the pits from the olives before you chop them. This is a very easy meal to make and very tasty. Enjoy!

In Love With Gnocchi Alfredo

Not only is this dish delightful on your pocket it is so incredibly delicious and easy to make. Tonight I made Gnocchi Alfredo for dinner. A recipe I got from the magazine Taste of Home. The magazine is filled with tons of great recipes, many of which are very affordable.

Both Nick and I loved this meal. Nick says its up there with my Garlic Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken Cutlets. So I know it’s good.  I will say it is very filling so make sure you have lots of room in your belly.

Here’s the dish:

Prep Time: 20 mins.

Makes 5 servings

2 lbs. frozen potato gnocchi

3 Tbsps. butter

1 Tbsp., plus 1 1/2 tsp. flour

1 – 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Dash ground nutmeg

1/2 lb. sliced baby portabello mushrooms

Minced fresh parsley, optional

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp. butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cool and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the stir in cheese and nutmeg until blended. Keep warm.

Drain gnocchi. In a large heavy skillet, cook remaining butter over medium heat until golden brown (do not burn). Add mushrooms and gnocchi. Cook and stir 4-5 minutes or until gnocchi are lightly browned and mushrooms are tender. Serve with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Some addendum’s I made to the recipe… I used heavy cream instead of milk. Since we are not big fan of mushrooms, I did not use them. I also did not use parsley on the top of the pasta. I typically grate some extra cheese to put on top of the plated pasta. It did need a bit of salt and pepper as well as some extra cheese. I would leave that up to the individual because it is personal taste.

Let me know if you make this meal, I would love to hear your feedback.

Sausage and Peppers and Onions Oh My!

Tonight’s dinner is Nick’s moms recipe for sausage, peppers and onions. It was so easy to make and very tasty. Needless to say we ate ALL of it.

Ingredients:

Italian Sausage

1 Onion

1 Green Pepper

Olive Oil

Good Seasons Zesty Italian dry seasoning packet

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 (or 400 depending on your oven). In one casserole dish place your sausages and fill it up about half way with water. I used Italian Chicken Sausages. Slice the onion and green pepper. In another casserole dish combine the onion and green pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and half a packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian dry seasoning. Cook  side by side for 45 minutes.

When timer goes off take both dishes out. Place sausages on a plate and let cool for a few minutes. Add about half of the water that was in the sausage to the dish with the peppers and onions. Once the sausages are cool enough to touch, cut them into pieces. Put the pieces of sausage and the remainder of the Italian seasoning packet in with the peppers and onion. Stir it all up, making sure to scrap up any pieces stuck to the bottom of the dish. Put back in oven for another 30 minutes. Grab a Kaiser or Italian roll and ENJOY!

Unfortunately I did not make enough for any leftovers. Next time I will plan on using 2 packages of sausages, 2 peppers and 2 onions. This is also a great dish to make and carry in either a crock-pot or casserole dish and bring to a party. Who doesn’t love sausage, peppers and onions?