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Drunken Pasta

December 31, 2013 2 comments
Drunken Pasta

Drunken Pasta

Once again the end of a year is upon us.  Time to say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014. But before I usher in the new year, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect, like most others do this time of year.

Let me state that while 2013 had its share of bad moments (life is full of ups and downs),  I’m strictly going to focus on the positives (which was actually one of my resolutions for 2013).

  • I’m the healthiest I’ve been since my Navy days.  I’m doing a much better job of watching what I eat and have committed to an overall healthier lifestyle including exercising regularly.
  • I took up running back in April, and was able to run two 5-K races this past year, the second of which I ran in under 30 minutes.
  • My step-son was accepted to college and recently finished his first semester with a 3.40 grade point average.
  • My good friends Chuck and Josh finalized the adoption of a wonderful, precious boy, Thatcher.  He recently had his 1st birthday and boy does this kid light up a room.
  • My wife and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.
  • I completed my 18th year with the same company.  In this day and age of uncertainty with employment,  I’m extremely happy for that.

I’m sure there were plenty more good moments, but those were a few that stood out.

So time to change the calendar and welcome in 2014.  I’ll do that with a few good friends, a couple bottles of wine, and a wonderful meal (Standing Rib Roast and Crab Legs in case you’re wondering).  Only one thing that remains missing….but I’ll save that for another day.

Hope you all had a wonderful 2013 and an even better New Year.

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For my last post of 2013, what better way to go than with a meal with “drunken” in the name. Like many recipes I try, I found this one on Pinterest.

At first I assumed it was named Drunken Pasta because its made with wine.   However, after reading further, I realized the author stated it was a play on the Thai dish “Drunken Noodles.” Or maybe its because her last name is Beer?

Since I like wine a lot, I’m sticking to my version and blaming the name on the wine.  Enjoy!

Source: Ingrid Beer.  The Cozy Apron – Italian Drunken Noodles, modified slightly

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Sweet Italian Sausage Links, removed from casing
  • 2 Large Hot Italian Sausage Links, removed from casing
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienne
  • 1 package of large, wide pasta noodles (Pappardelle)

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until just browned.
  3. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.
  4. Add onion to pan with the sausage drippings and cook until just browned (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning, stir to combine
  6. Add peppers and saute with the onions for about 5 minutes, or until just slightly tender
  7. Add garlic and wine, cook to reduce.
  8. Add tomatoes and juice from can.
  9. Add the cooked sausage and fold to combine.
  10. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  11. Add parsley and 1/2 of the basil.
  12. While sauce is simmering, prepare the noodles according to directions.
  13. When noodles are completely cooked, drain, and toss gently with the sauce.
  14. Serve equal portions and top with a drizzle of olive oil and some of the remaining chopped basil.
Pasta and Wine - Always a great combo

Pasta and Wine – Always a great combo

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Tuscan Beef Stew

December 15, 2013 1 comment
Tuscan Beef Stew

Tuscan Beef Stew

When I first started blogging I would write two, sometimes three entries a week.  If you follow, you know that its no where near that pace these days.  It’s got to the point where people ask why I don’t blog more often.  It’s a legit question and one I really don’t have an answer for.

So let me dive in to it a bit more and see what I can come up with.

1.  Its no longer my ‘flavor of the month’? My wife says that anytime I do something new, I obsess over it.  Sadly, she’s right (as most significant others are).  She can easily site numerous examples and I can’t disagree with any of them.

2. I haven’t been cooking anything good?  This isn’t entirely accurate. But for the most part I’m in a bit of a rut.  I’ve been cooking things I’m comfortable with instead of branching out.  Even though I’ve found a ton of recipes I want to try, I just haven’t made them as often as I would like.

3.  Work has been a bit demanding as of late?  Business has picked up lately that’s for sure and when I’m at work doing what it is I do there, one of the last things I want to do is write. I think I’d rather catch up on TV.

4.  My food photos look like garbage?  Garbage? I think they look like crap.  We eat with our eyes so the last thing a blog about food needs is unappealing photos of said food.

5.  There’s nothing to write about?  I can’t argue with this at all.  I mean, I just wrote a list detailing why I’m not writing.  If that doesn’t reek of uninteresting, I don’t know what does.

So there you go…..5 reasons why I’m not blogging nearly as much as you (mainly me) would like.

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This stew recipe is from the Cooking TV channel show Extra Virgin starring Ari Gold’s secretary (Entourage reference in case you’ve never seen the show) and her Italian (Tuscany region) husband.  If you’ve never watched, its on often so check it out while you’re making the stew….because while the recipe is simple and uses simple ingredients, you will have a couple hours to kill while its cooking.  The show has been my new favorite cooking show.

This flavorful stew is rich and hearty and has quickly become my new go-to stew recipe.  The slow braise makes the beef fork tender but the the veggies don’t turn to mush.  Make sure you serve it with a nice hunk of crusty bread so you can savor all of the juices.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red or yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 3 large peeled carrots cut in to 1/2 inch thick medallions
  • 3 stalks of celery, rough chopped
  • 2-3 lbs of stew meat – 1 inch cubes (to save money, buy a chuck roast and cut it yourself)
  • 2 1/2 cups dry red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme (wrapped in a bundle if possible)
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion, carrot and celery.  Saute about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until just browned.
  3. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides.
  4. Add wine and thyme. Stir to combine.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.
  7. Lower heat to medium-low and cover.
  8. Cook for approximately 2 to hours or until beef is tender.
Big old Pot of Stew

Big old Pot of Stew

Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

December 1, 2013 1 comment
Thanksgiving Sandwich

Thanksgiving Sandwich

Thanksgiving Twenty-Thirteen has come and gone.  Unfortunately, the added pounds and leftovers did not go with the change of the calendar.  However, I’m here to help you with one of those problems. Sadly, you’ll have to deal with the pounds yourself.

Last year, I blogged about the Thanksgiving Burrito. That monster is a good way to rid yourself of those Thanksgiving goodies.

The Thanksgiving sandwich, for all intents and purposes, is the same as the burrito, only in sandwich form.  And for my money, its my personal favorite way to eat the Thanksgiving leftovers.

For one, fresh baked bread (homemade or from your local bakery) out weighs a tortilla any day of the week (unless of course you’re eating a mexican style burrito which would be extremely difficult to eat between two slices of bread.  Then again…..hmmmm….).

A burrito might be easier to eat, but I believe that a properly constructed sandwich allows all of the ingredients to meld together and I don’t think you can get the same thing when its rolled up.

And lastly, its grilled.  With butter!!!

Winner by majority decision, the sandwich. (although you can’t go wrong with either).

While I am providing a detailed recipe, please use it very loosely, but I do think the order you assemble it is important.

Also, if you don’t like cranberry sauce, feel free to omit, but it really is, in my opinion, the essence of this sandwich.

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 slices of freshly baked bread (homestyle or sour dough work well
  • 2 teaspoons cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup stuffing/dressing
  • 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
  • A few slices of turkey (thinner is better) (white or dark – your preference)
  • 2 teaspoons turkey gravy

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a cast iron (or non-stick skillet) over medium-low heat
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread
  3. Spread 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce on each slice of bread (the non-buttered side)
  4. Add 2 slices of turkey and top with a teaspoon of gravy (on top of the cranberry sauced piece of bread)
  5. Next, layer the stuffing and potatoes (I spread it as best I can)
  6. Top with the remaining teaspoon of gravy
  7. Top with the remaining turkey
  8. Top with the 2nd piece of bread (which should be already spread with cranberry sauce)
  9. Heat in cast iron pan until all ingredients are warmed through and bread is grilled to your liking
This is another sandwich, but wanted to show the cast iron)

This is another sandwich, but wanted to show the cast iron pan