Simple Sausage and Peppers

Are you ready to get your Italian on?

20140318-081627.jpgI’ve had this food blog for almost a year and I really haven’t shared many Italian recipes. For SHAME. But today I am fixing this with a simple, savory, meaty and veggie dish: My Simple Sausage and Peppers

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I like this recipe because it is easy, quick and delicious! And look how colorful it is! This was definitely one of my favorite dishes to photograph! Such a beauty!

20140313-223046.jpgBecause I usually cook for myself and a 6’4″ man with a super fast metabolism (Love you, taller half!), I usually make this sausage and peppers with pasta. But if you aren’t cooking to feed a small village you could use this as a pizza topping or just eat it alone with some fresh bread (or not-so-fresh bread) to sop up all the juices. Mmmm

20140313-223056.jpgThe main ingredients you need:

  1. Onion
  2. Garlic
  3. Sausage (pork, chicken or turkey)
  4. Bell Peppers
  5. Diced tomatoes
  6. Dried spices (oregano, parsley, basil)

You can use any sausage you like, but this dish ALWAYS tastes better with the non-precooked sausage.  I recommend Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage or any other sausage that is not precooked. The dish will have more flavor if you start with uncooked sausage.

20140313-223121.jpgStart by slicing the peppers while the sausage cooks in the skillet.

20140313-223138.jpgAfter the sausage is cooked, add the peppers.

20140313-223148.jpgThen add the diced tomatoes and the spices. Stir to combine and then cover and cook on low-medium heat until the peppers are the desired softness (I cook for about 5-8 minutes)

Toss with some cooked pasta or enjoy with some fresh bread.

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Mangia!

Recipe: Simple Sausage and Peppers

Yield: 4-6 servings (when made with pasta)

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4-6 hot Italian sausages (1lb), casing removed and chopped (Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian turkey sausage is my favorite – but you can use your favorite)**
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced (I used 1 green and 1 red)
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes with the juice (not drained)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet add the onion, garlic and oil.  Cook on medium heat until the onions start to soften 5 minutes.  Then add the chopped sausage to the pan (if you are using very lean chicken sausage you may need to add a little more oil).  Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent and sausage is fully cooked.
  2. Add the sliced bell peppers and diced tomatoes with the juice to the pan.  Add all the spices and stir to combine everything.  Cover the skillet and cook on low-medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until the peppers are a little tender (or a lot tender – depending how you like it)
  3. If you are pouring over pasta – Add the entire pan of sausage and peppers to the pot of drained pasta -stir to coat the pasta. (I make 3/4 -1lb of pasta)
  4. Serve with shredded Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Mangia!

** If you use precooked chicken sausage (or any sausage with a very low fat content), you will need to add some extra oil to the pan to cook the sausages. For full pork sausage, you may need to drain some of the fat that cooks off.  I usually use uncooked turkey sausage (Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian) and I do not drain any fat that cooks off – because there is very little.

Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke Dip

What are you eating on Super Bowl Sunday?  My answer is (usually) a lot.

20140131-194900.jpgLet’s get a little more specific. How about something warm, cheesy and spicy and still have some healthy stuff in it?  Then you will LOVE this Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke dip!

20140131-194828.jpgI’m not the biggest football fan, but I do LOVE an excuse to eat snacks and hang out with friends! Bring on the football!

20140131-194847.jpgThis recipe is a spinoff of your typical spinach artichoke dip, but it has a few extras in it that really make it special.  Lets go over the major players in our game:

  1. Spinach
  2. Broccoli
  3. Canned artichoke hearts
  4. Cream cheese (sounds unusual, but totally delicious)
  5. Greek yogurt (adds that extra creaminess!)
  6. Mozzarella
  7. Parmesan
  8. Garlic (because everything is better with it)

It is easy to assemble (all in one bowl), pop it in the oven and you have your warm and creamy dip in 25 minutes!  I know cream cheese sounds a little unusual but you won’t taste any cream cheese flavor (I promise!); it will just add creaminess.

20140131-231211.jpgThis dip will fit nicely in an 8×8 or 9×9 but I got a really awesome Le Creuset stoneware dish (1.75 qt) for Christmas that I really really really wanted to bake something in. It’s a really pretty blue color so it looks nice (it really does!) and it is heavy so it keeps food hot longer.   It’s amazing and I love it! – thanks Ro and Nancy! 

20140131-194934.jpgSprinkling some extra cheese on top – Mmmmm melty cheese!

20140131-194945.jpgDid I mention I snuck extra veggies in this dip? You get spinach, artichoke AND broccoli!

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What a beaut, right? Most of my kitchen stuff is hand-me-down or picked up at garage sales – so I really wanted to flaunt my fancy new baking dish! 🙂

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But most importantly is the warm, cheesy, creamy and veggie-filled dip that was made in the pretty dish!  Just another delicious way to get more vegetables in your diet!

Happy Snacking!

Recipe: Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke Dip

Yield: About 3 and 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 8oz of cream cheese, softened*
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 package (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup of broccoli, chopped small
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan- reserve a handful to melt on top
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided –  ¼ cup reserved to sprinkle and melt on top
  • salt, to taste
  • sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl stir the softened cream cheese and Greek yogurt together until smooth.  Then add in the remaining ingredients and mix together. Spoon into 8×8 or 9 inch pie plate or oven safe dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Remove and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top and bake for another 2-3 minutes just until cheese is melted.

Serve warm with pita chips, pretzels, crackers or veggies.

*If you want to soften the cream cheese quickly, place the fully unwrapped cream cheese in a microwave safe dish and microwave it for ~15 seconds.

Half Meat Half Veggie Chili

Looking for a delicious, easy and good-for-your recipe that will feed 20 gazillion people at your Super Bowl party? Look no further my hungry friends.

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Make some chili. Specifically THIS chili. I call this my half-and-half chili. Half meat, half veggies! This is the perfect winter meal. It is hearty AND healthy. It will warm AND fill you up without filling you out. 🙂 And it will feed a hoard of people.

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Along with ground beef this chili has an assortment of vegetables including hearty mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, meaty potatoes, zucchini, carrots and tasty corn. This recipe makes a TON. So you will have many meals and can even freeze some. You can use the same veggies or use your a mixture of favorites!

20140112-184935.jpgMy Taller Half LOVES this chili so much he is always happy to help chop all the vegetables. Even if you’re not that into veggies, try this, I think your relationship with them will change.

20140112-185000.jpgNow, I realize the amount of ingredients in this recipe totally goes against my mantra of “around 5-ish” ingredients. But it is done in 5 easy steps. And this is a “cook once, eat for a whole week” meal.

The chili should simmer for a few hours to let the flavors fully develop (although you can dig into it after only 30 minutes). I usually make it the night before and think about dinner ALL day.

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How could you not think about this all day???

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and then I eat it for leftovers for a week.

OR be a good person a share: Have a Super Bowl party for 20 people and serve this!

Plus, with all these veggies, you can top this with extra cheese and eat some extra chips and not feel guilty. You earned it by eating your vegetables.

20140112-185116.jpgYUM! Look at that close up! Meat, veggies and CHEESE!?! I’m in heaven.

20140112-185240.jpgRecipe: Half Meat Half Veggie Chili

Yield: A ton. (~32 cups)

Ingredients:

Step 1 – sauté the aromatics

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

Step 2 – add the meat

  • ~1 lb ground beef (use any meat you like- turkey, pork, buffalo)

Step 3 – add the veggies

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 potato (sweet or russet), scrubbed clean and chopped (I usually leave the russet unpeeled – but I will always peel the sweet potato)
  • 8oz of mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bella)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped

Step 4 – add the canned/frozen stuff

  • 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 15 oz cans of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (you can mix it up with black beans if you like)
  • 1 cup of frozen corn

Step 5 – add the spices

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Cheddar cheese, sour cream and chips for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a very large pot (~8-12 quarts) add step 1 ingredients and sauté on medium heat until onions are soft – about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef (step 2) and cook until no longer pink
  3. Add all the veggies (step 3) and canned/frozen (step 4). Then add the spices (step 5) and stir to mix everything well. Simmer the chili for at least 30 minutes, but 1-2 hours lets the flavors develop. Tip: I usually make this the day before and simmer for 1-2 hours and then let the large pot cool before I place it in the fridge. The next day I take it right out of the fridge and let the pot come to room temp and then simmer to warm it up and then serve. This is a great make ahead meal.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and enjoy with chips or corn bread!

Chili can be stored in airtight container the refrigerator for 1 week or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is Easy 5 Step Chili

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Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Piquante Pepper Frittata

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About a year ago, I become addicted to frittatas. Like, really obsessed. I’d have friends over for brunch once a week and they would bring different things like pancakes, scones or muffins and I would ALWAYS make a frittata. Sure, I love eggs scrambled, fried and poached. But nothing is as versatile and as easy as the amazing frittata. One of my favorite reasons for loving the frittata is that you can put almost ANYTHING in it and it will taste great! Leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner you don’t want? Throw it in the frittata. Have some extra onion you need to use up? Throw it in the frittata. Do you have a little salsa left that is not enough for all those chips? Go ahead, it will taste GREAT in a frittata with some cheese! Ok, I hope I’ve sold you on the versatility and simpleness of a frittata. So keep reading. If I haven’t sold you yet, keep reading anyway. I bet you will be convinced by the end.

One of my best friends from grad school came to visit this past weekend. She was around for my frittata phase – that has clearly persisted – and so I made us a frittata for breakfast, you know, for old times sake. *I promise I won’t post frittata recipes too often, but here is the first one.

One of the best things about this frittata recipe is that 2 of the ingredients I have in the freezer pretty much at all times – bacon and spinach. The sweet piquante peppers (shown below) are jarred and DELICIOUS! They are slightly sweet, a little crunchy (even though they are jarred) and have a spicy kick to them. They are great in eggs, sandwiches and salads or just right out of the jar. I buy Peppadew peppers and keep them stocked in my fridge. Most people have pickles stocked in their fridge. I have peppers.

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*If you don’t have these peppers, you can always substitute jarred jalapenos. They are not as sweet, but have a similar spicy kick.

Oh yeah, and then there are the eggs. Of course I have eggs (well, most of the time). So a BONUS about this recipe is that I always have the ingredients on hand! And you can too!

The bacon I keep in the freezer and cut across the strips.

ImageThis way my eggs get a ton of flavor from the bacon, but not too much fat. You only need a little bacon to flavor your eggs. (I got this frozen tip from one of Melissa d’Arabian’s cooking shows) This tip changed my life with buying bacon.

Usually, I would buy bacon, and only use a few pieces and then it would go bad in my fridge. Now, I buy bacon, and whatever I have leftover that I haven’t cooked, I put in the freezer and save for eggs, chilli or whatever else needs a little bit of bacon. Well, I guess you’re probably saying right now, what couldn’t use a little bit of bacon, or a lot. : )

Ok, I digress, back to the almighty frittata!

First cut up the bacon, I used probably about 1/8 cup. But you can use more or less depending on your love of bacon. Fry up the bacon in a oven safe pan. I used a cast iron pan. While the bacon is frying on medium heat, thaw the spinach in the microwave. Spinach cooks down A LOT. I used about ½ to ¾ cup of thawed and drained spinach. When the bacon is just about crisp (or however you like your bacon). Add the spinach and stir. Next add the jarred piquante peppers – halved. Stir these.

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Your pan size, will dictate the amount of eggs you use in your frittata. My pan was about 6 and ½ inches and I used 4 eggs. If your pan is bigger, you probably need to use more eggs. If you increase your pan size and don’t use more eggs, your frittata will come out thinner (which is fine) but you will need to reduce the cooking time – about 6-10 min in the oven.

Add eggs and cook over medium heat until sides touching pan start to firm.

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At his point, place the pan in the oven at 400F and cook for about 10-15 min. until egg is fully cooked. Your kitchen will smell like bacon and delicious peppers. MmmmMMmm

If you like cheese, this is the point you can sprinkle some cheese on top and put it back in the oven for about 1-2 min. to melt Watch this! You don’t want your cheese to burn! I grated fresh pecorino romano cheese on top, but you can also you cheddar, parmesan or mozzarella – or really any hard cheese that you like!

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Let it cool for a few minutes and cut in 4 slices and enjoy!!

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Besides being super flavorful with bacon and sweet peppers with a spicy kick, did I mention this is actually good for you? Look at all those veggies you’re getting! And it’s only brunch. Now that you’ve had this, you can totally have that doughnut, muffin or scone!

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RecipeImage

Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Piquante Pepper Frittata

Serving size: 2

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup of bacon, sliced (or more, depending on how much you like bacon!)
  • ½- ¾ cup of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 6 Sweet piquante peppers, halved (Peppadew Brand peppers) –you can substitute jarred jalapenos
  • ¼ – ½ cup of shredded pecorino romano cheese (you can use really any cheese – cheddar, mozzarella or parmesan. Or even better – all three!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F

2. Cook bacon in a small (around 6-7 inch) oven-safe pan or skillet on med to med-high heat until almost crispy (about 5 min) – if bacon is frozen start at the lower heat setting and slowly warm up to prevent burning bacon.

3. Sauté spinach and peppers with cooked bacon for 1-2 min – just to warm up the components

4. Scramble 4 eggs well and add to pan. Stir so all the ingredients are spread evenly through the eggs

5. Cook on the stove top till eggs cook along the outer edges.

6. Transfer pan to the oven and bake at 400F for 10-15min, until firm in the middle. (gently shake pan and egg should not wiggle)

7. Remove pan, add shredded cheese and place back in the oven, just for 1 or 2 min till cheese in melted.

8. Let frittata cool for about 5 min. Run a knife around the outer edge to loosen egg away from side of the pan. Slice in quarters and serve

If you have any leftovers, store in a sealed container in the fridge. Leftover frittata makes a great lunch!

* If you are only using turkey bacon and/or are using a pan that sticks a lot, you may need to add a tbsp or 2 of oil (olive, canola, or vegetable) to prevent the egg from sticking.

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com