Easy Weeknight One-Pot Sausage, Peppers and Pasta

I remember those Autumn weeknights where there was a crisp chill in the air and we would look forward to a warm hearty dinner after a long day at work or school. I would get dinner going as the kids would be doing homework at the dining room table. Later we would gather around the same table, enjoy a delicious meal and catch up on everyone’s day.

Those days haven’t changed too much, parents are are still working, kids are still doing home work and after school activities. Life is busier than ever before. I hope this recipe will give you some help on those busy days at dinnertime.

One-Pot Sausage, Peppers and Pasta

Ingredients

1 lb. your favorite short pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

6-8 sweet Italian sausages or a combination of sweet and hot is delicious!

1 red bell pepper, large, diced

1 green bell pepper, large, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, large, diced

1 small to medium onion, sliced (yellow or white)

3 cloves garlic, sliced

28 oz. can of diced tomato

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black ground pepper

Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt, cook until not quite al dente. (You want the pasta a bit underdone as it will finish cooking when the dish is put together)

2. Strain pasta and set aside. Toss it with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking

3. In the same pot or large skillet if your prefer, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil and fry the sausages, working batches as needed, until well browned on all sides.

4. Remove sausages, slice into pieces (about 5 pieces per link), and set aside.

5. Sauté all of the bell peppers, onion, and garlic for about 2 minutes.

6. Add the canned tomatoes, all the spices, and the sausage slices to the pot.

7. Simmer about 10 minutes.

8. Add the pasta back to the pot and stir gently until all the ingredients are coated in the sauce. Continue to simmer until pasta is al dente.

9. Serve with grated parmesan.

10. Mangia Bene!

Pumpkin Season – Waffles and Pancakes

Pumpkin spice season has arrived!

I just love Autumn, it’s my favorite time of year. You still can get a mix of warm summer days and the nights are becoming much cooler. Then the closer we get to Halloween and then Thanksgiving the sweatshirts and hooded jackets start to come out of the closet here in the Northeast and the aroma of soups, stews and spices fill the kitchen once more. Pumpkin waffles and pumpkin pancakes are a favorite in our house for a relaxing Fall breakfast. The waffles are a little bit of work but the payoff is big in flavor and brings lots of smiles around the breakfast table. Don’t forget the whipped cream!

Homemade Pumpkins Waffles for my honey for Samhain brunch. The best pumpkin waffle recipe ever!

Pumpkin Waffles

INGREDIENTS

Makes 4 large round “Belgian” style waffles

• 1/4 cup light brown sugar
• 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
• 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
• 2 tsp. ginger
• 1/4 tsp. cloves
• 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
• 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm
*Grated and lightly packed into the spoon, use 1/2 tsp.  If you use pre-grated, dried nutmeg, use 1/4 tsp.

DIRECTIONS

1. Lightly oil the waffle iron with vegetable oil, and set it to the desired temperature.
2. Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk together to break apart the cornstarch. Add the remaining dry ingredients, and whisk to blend.
3. Separate eggs: yolks go in a medium-sized bowl and whites get set aside in a smaller bowl.
4. Add pumpkin and milk to the egg yolks. Whisk to blend and set aside.
5. Whip egg whites with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form – about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Set aside.
6. Pour melted butter into the yolk/milk/pumpkin mixture. As you pour, whisk to combine.
7. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix them together until just combined. A little lumpiness is fine. That will smooth out when the egg whites are added.
8. Slide the whipped egg whites out of the bowl and onto the mixture you just prepared. Gently fold them in until no white bits are obvious.
9. Once the waffle iron is heated, you’re ready to pour the batter! cook time is about 2-3 minutes for Belgian size waffles. Less if you are using a smaller waffle iron.

Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes

            Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe

These little beauties are a beautiful color and will keep you full for hours after eating just one serving.

16 min | 10 min prep

SERVES 4

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch clove
1 cup milk (can be any kind)
6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg

1.Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl whisk together milk, pumpkin, melted butter, and egg.
3. Fold mixture into dry ingredients.
4. Spray or grease a skillet and heat over medium heat: pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.
5.Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side. Serve with butter and syrup.
6.Makes about six 6-inch pancakes.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Skillet

Well, the temperatures have been a bit cooler here in the northeast so I’m looking forward to digging out some recipes and doing some cooking. As you know I’m not one to make many long involved complicated meals, I’ll leave those dishes to the experts. I like to think if you have a good recipe with a handful of ingredients, cooking can be a breeze. My version of unstuffed cabbage rolls made in a skillet is one of those types of dishes. You have all the flavor of the traditional recipe but takes considerably less time to prepare. I hope you will give it a try.

Skillet Unstuffed Cabbage1

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Skillet

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 large Onion (diced)

1 Green or Red Bell pepper (diced)

2 cloves of Garlic (minced)

2 Tablespoons Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (or 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley)

1 Small Head of Cabbage (shredded or chopped)

2 cans (14.5 ounces) Diced Tomatoes

1 can (8 oz.) Tomato sauce

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cooked White or Brown Rice

  1. Heat a large, deep skillet or sauté pan (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then add the ground beef. Break up the beef with a spoon and cook, stirring, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the diced onion, green pepper, parsley, and garlic and continue cooking, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent and the green pepper has just begun to soften.
  2. Add the chopped cabbage to the ground beef mixture along with the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, simmer about 15-20 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Adjust any salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.
  4. Serve over cooked white or brown rice

 

skillet unstuffed cabbage 4

 

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Summer Seafood – Linguine & Clams

As Labor Day approaches there is still time left to enjoy the fruits of the sea here on the East Coast. By this time I had my fill of BBQ meals so I thought I would share one of our favorites when getting together with friends and family, Linguine & Clams. No matter what the season is this meal is good anytime.

It’s simple to make and feeds a crowd. A fresh loaf of Italian bread, a delicious green salad, some white wine, and Parmesan cheese and you have a Summer feast.

linguine and clams

Linguine with Clams

1 pound dried linguine

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots, thinly sliced

5 to 7 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed clean and sand purged

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup dry white wine (I prefer using Pinot Grigio when making seafood)

2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, zested, for garnish

In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water.

Add linguine, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking together.

Cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. When almost smoking, add shallots and garlic and saute until soft and translucent,

about 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the clams and wine. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the clams have opened.

Add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Whisk in butter to thicken sauce slightly.

Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse pasta with water – this will remove the pasta’s natural starches.

Pour linguine into a large serving bowl or large platter – arrange clams over linguine and pour the sauce overall.

Garnish with remaining parsley and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Skillet Potatoes and Smoked Sausage

I prefer to cook at home as often as I can. We usually only eat out in restaurants or have Take-Out when we really need a night off or a date night. There are many easy to make recipes that only take about 30-45 mins from start to finish and when you think about it that much time will usually pass while driving to the place, waiting for a table or your order, then the drive back home.

One easy comfort food dinner we like is simple Skillet Potatoes and Smoked Sausage. This was a recipe that I grew up on. My mother would often use Italian sausage which I sometimes do as well. This recipe can be easily doubled.

If you give this a try I hope you enjoy it!

Skillet Potatoes and Smoked Sausage

Serves 2-4 depending on portion size

2 large russet potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes…

14 oz. smoked sausage, thinly sliced (You can use Kielbasa, or links of Italian Sausage cooked whole then sliced.)

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 c. chopped bell pepper (red or green)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 c. chicken stock

1 1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

1/4 tsp. dried parsley

2 tbsps. veg. Oil

In a large skillet heat oil…add in the smoked sausage and cook, turning often till browned on edges. Remove meat from skillet and add in the potatoes and cook over med. high heat till they begin to brown and become tender. Add in the Onions, Bell Pepper and Garlic cooking for about 5 minutes then add in the chicken stock and cover. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and check potatoes for doneness. Add the spices, stir and add in the smoked sausage.

skillet potatoes and Kielbasa

 

 

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Easy Weeknight Chicken Croquettes with Gravy

I love to make a nice plump roasted chicken on a Sunday for dinner then I can have leftovers for another meal during the week. This past week I made a roasted chicken by just stuffing the cavity with a quartered lemon and a handful of rosemary from the garden, oh so flavorful. There was still plenty of chicken leftover for another meal so all I had to do was decide which recipe to make. I use this croquette recipe in several ways, it’s super easy for a weeknight dinner after a long workday. You can easily swap out the chicken for cooked salmon, tuna, ham, turkey or anything you like really, just adjust the portions of meat to stuffing to your liking.

IMG_2502

Easy Weeknight Chicken Croquettes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Stove Top Stuffing (6 0z box)
  • Leftover roast chicken shredded approximately 3-4 cups, not tightly packed down
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. Grease a baking sheet and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Also, have an ice cream scoop handy.
  2. Pull and shred by hand the leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken
  3. Prepare the stuffing according to box directions
  4. Add the shredded chicken to the stuffing and add the beaten egg.
  5. Mix all the ingredients well
  6. Using the ice cream scoop portion out the croquettes on to the greased baking sheet. (The ice cream scoop I have makes 9 croquettes)
  7. Put into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes
  8. While croquettes are baking prepare the chicken gravy.
  9. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Simple Chicken Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan.
  2. Add flour and blend thoroughly.
  3. Slowly add in the broth, mixing with a whisk,
  4. Add salt, and pepper and Poultry Seasoning.
  5. Allow to simmer and continue to mix with the mix until mixture thickens.
  6. Serve!

I hope you will enjoy this dish and thank you for visiting my blog. Please Like and Comment, I love hearing from you. Also, share this site with family and friends and ask them to join Sundays in a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be.

 

Baked Parmesan Tilapia in the Instant Pot Vortex Oven with Basil Penne on the side.

I had been away a bit longer than I had planned. Since the beginning of Summer, my weekend time where I usually enjoy writing about my cooking adventures has been filled with vacation time, house projects, and several milestone birthday parties that needed planning, all great times but it means time away from my computer. So I am trying to pull back the reins to get back on track which can be difficult when you are an easily distracted person like myself.

One of the most exciting things I purchased while on vacation was an Instant Pot Vortex Oven. It is just what I needed now that we are empty nesters and don’t necessarily need to use our larger oven for smaller weeknight meals. Years back I had one of those Showtime Rotisseries which I loved using, but unfortunately during a kitchen renovation when we put it in storage the oven was damaged and became unusable. I enjoyed having a rotisserie for roasting chickens and roasts. While the IP Vortex is a bit smaller than the Showtime Rotisserie it will still do the job perfectly. So I have been having fun making dishes this hot Summer while avoiding heating up the house which is a plus.

Here is a photo of my first time cooking in the IP Vortex making chicken wings in the rotisserie basket and I also made home cut fries that turned out great.

One hot night this past week, I made an easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia in the IP Vortex oven. You can easily adapt this recipe to be made in any oven.

Baked Parmesan Tilapia

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two large pieces of Tilapia fish fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning for rubbing on to the fish
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • coarse ground black pepper to taste

On a plate or small cutting board sprinkle the Old Bay seasoning on both sides of the fish. Mix the mayonnaise, parmesan cheese and garlic powder in a small bowl. With the fish still on the plate apply the mayonnaise mixture to the top of the fish. Transfer the fish to the baking tray. I set the oven to bake then baked these two lovely pieces of fish at 380 degrees for 12 minutes. They came out golden brown, moist and delicious. I served the fish with a few lemon slices and a side dish of penne pasta tossed with pesto made with fresh basil from our garden.

Basil Pesto Sauce

3 cups fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts walnuts, almonds, pignoli (pine) nuts or pecans
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt and pepper. Toss over warm pasta. (Note: You may want to reserve a cup of the pasta water to thin the pesto sauce should you feel it is a bit too thick)

Enjoy, and thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you will share it with family and friends.

Savory Meat & Spinach Pie

“What should I make for dinner?” This usually happens when I know I have made the rounds in recent weeks that seems to cover all the bases. One of my go to recipes when this happens is I like to take any meat I may have leftover and turn it in to a savory meat and spinach pie. This often happens after making a Virginia Ham but you really can use any favorite meat of your choice. This recipe can be easily modified to not only use ham but also ground meat, cooked chicken or sausage instead.

Riviera Egg Pie

 

Savory Meat and Spinach Pie

8 servings

Ingredients
3 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 (9-inch) refrigerated, unbaked pie crusts (a 15-ounce package) or freshly made pie crusts
3/4 pound of your favorite ham, diced * You may want to substitute 1 lb of ground meat, cooked chicken or Italian sausage (a mix of sweet & hot sausage is great!)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1 cup grated Parmesan  ** You may want to add another of your favorite cheeses in place of the Parmesan like mozzarella or cheddar, I usually add 11/2-2 cups of shredded cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 eggs, plus 1 yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent and just golden, about 8 minutes. *If you are planning to use fresh ground beef or sausage this would be the time to cook that meat as well. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl, draining off any excess oil and allow to cool while preparing crust.

Remove 1 of the prepared pie crusts from the refrigerator, and place in an ungreased, 9-inch pie plate. Shape the crust to fit the form of the pan with about 1/2-inch overlap around the edge.

To the onion mixture, add the ham*, spinach, cheeses**, 4 eggs plus 1 yolk, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Spread mixture into prepared crust. Cover with remaining pie crust; crimp edges and score to vent. Brush with egg white and bake until golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand at least 15 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve with a Tossed Green Salad and you have a wonderful meal.

Old School Dinners – Salisbury Steak

Cooking dinners have evolved over the years with modern day appliances like the Slow Cooker, the Air Fryer and the Instant Pot to name a few. The one thing that seems to carry on is some of those old school dinner recipes that continue to evolve with the times. The kind of recipes you not only remember your mom making but maybe your grandma as well. I love to see the new ways people are adjusting the cooking of these dishes for today’s popular appliances. Salisbury Steak is one of those meals that has been around since the late 1800’s and people continue to make to this day. There is even a version for the Instant Pot.

This dish takes me back to when I was growing up and my mom would make Salisbury Steak in her large copper bottom Revereware skillet. It would be served with creamy mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and a vegetable.

It’s a meal that can be served in any season and is easy enough to prepare on a weeknight for a hungry family. Hope you will enjoy this recipe.

Salisbury Steak

 

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy

1 egg
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) condensed French onion soup (undiluted, divided)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, sliced
8 oz Fresh Mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water or Beef Broth (I use Better than Bullion)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
6 cups hot cooked egg noodles

In a large bowl, beat egg. Stir in 1/3 cup of soup, bread crumbs, salt and
pepper. Add beef, mix gently. Shape into six oval patties. Brown in a
skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove and set
aside.
Sauté the sliced onions and mushrooms. Until soft and cooked, remove and set aside.
In the skillet, combine flour and water or broth until smooth: add ketchup,
Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and remaining soup. Bring to a boil.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Return patties to skillet. Then add the sautéed onions and mushrooms.
Cover and turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
Serve patties and gravy over your favorite noodles, pasta, rice or mashed potatoes.

IMG_1943

Rainy Day Comfort Food – Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Mac and Cheese Casserole

Even though the calendar says it’s Spring there still may be a bit of a chill in the air and right now we have hit several weeks of on again off again rain.  So it’s still a bit early for starting to make those lighter warm-weather dishes and my old stand-by comfort foods still have a chance to be made once again. So why not make a dish of my homemade baked macaroni & cheese. I know there are many preferences on how people enjoy their mac & cheese, anywhere from the “blue-box” to a thick creamy sauce stirred with pasta and sometimes baked or served as is. I have made and enjoyed them with my family so you won’t get any arguments from me.

While I was growing up my mother made a baked macaroni and cheese casserole that we loved and I pretty much make it the same way. Over the years I made a slight revision to my mother’s recipe to make it just a bit richer by adding two eggs to the milk so it has a more custard-like consistency. I also on occasion add other cheeses to the shredded cheddar like Mozzarella or Fontina when I have it on hand to vary the taste and creaminess.

classic make and cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

You will need: A deep casserole dish or pan

1 lb Elbow macaroni (sometimes I use shells or Cavatappi)

Block of a good quality Sharp or Mild cheddar cheese (about 4 cups shredded) I have on occasion mixed other cheeses to the cheddar like adding Mozzarella or Fontina when I had some left over.

1 Quart (4 cups) Whole Milk

2 Eggs,  beaten

1 Stick of Butter

Ground Black Pepper (as desired)

Directions:

Boil pasta according to the package in salted water, al dente works perfectly.

Drain.

Butter a deep casserole dish

Add the two beaten eggs to the quart of milk and mix well

Place a layer of macaroni (about 1/3), enough to cover the bottom, of the casserole dish. Dot with some butter.

Add a layer of the shredded cheese covering the macaroni.

Repeat these layers until you are out of pasta – the top layer is cheese. Don’t push down on the macaroni or it will make it too dense.

Slowly pour milk/egg mixture over the casserole until the milk almost reaches the top of the casserole dish.

Dot top layer of cheese with butter and ground pepper

Bake uncovered for about 50-60 minutes in a 350-degree oven depending on how crisp you like the top, just make sure the milk mixture has turned to a custard-like consistency when a knife is inserted into the casserole.

You’ll know it is finished cooking when the milk is no longer liquid and is custard-like.

Serves 6 – Cook time and servings are approximate.

A secret to switching up this recipe: If you want to push this recipe over the top my daughter sometimes adds BBQ pulled pork in between the layers when building the casserole. It’s fantastic!