SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

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Sausage and Peppers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sausage & Peppers2 lbs sausages (sweet, hot and/or chicken)
1 large onion, sliced
1 pepper, sliced
olive oil

1. Oven 350 degrees.
2. In a 9 x 13 pan, drizzle olive oil on bottom of pan, sparingly. Add sliced onions and peppers. Lastly, arrange sausages on top of peppers and onions. Cover pan and bake for 30 minutes.
3. Remove cover from pan and with a fork, poke the sausage to allow the steam to come out. Continue baking in oven for another 20 minutes with the cover off.
4. Check on the sausages, they should be starting to brown. Turn sausages over to brown the other side. If the pan seems dry, (no juices) add a couple of tablespoons of water. Continue to bake for another 20 minutes, or until the topside of sausages are browned.
5. Optional – Serve on semolina Italian bread with melted provolone or mozzarella cheese if you like. Otherwise serve over pasta. Serves 4 to 6.
ENJOY – It’s a sandwich or it’s a meal, either way what a deal!

 ©  This recipe courtesy of Somebodys-Mom.com 

Oh boy, what a summer I had! Talk about bad timing, the first day of my vacation I slipped and fractured my ankle. The next three weeks were spent on my couch staying off my foot. I wasn’t able to climb stairs or drive a car for at least 5 weeks since my foot was encased in an awkward cast that was starting to grate on my last nerve. Cooking became a bit of a challenge as I couldn’t stand on my foot too long. Preparing dishes that were easy to prep while sitting at the kitchen table was fine, and cutting, slicing, and dicing veggies and salads was also manageable. But let’s face it dear readers, sometimes cooking is work even in the best of times! However, this sausage and peppers recipe isn’t.

Many years ago, my mom told me to fry the sausages on the stove in a large frying pan, which I did in my early years of marriage. But, I like to change things up a little and not take too many unnecessary steps while cooking. Preparing many dishes at once is a welcomed challenge, so I try to take shortcuts that will give me more time to make several dishes simultaneously. So, I improvised by baking the sausage and peppers in the oven. They are just as delicious as if prepared on the stove. Sometimes, I add potatoes and bigger chunks of peppers to create a heartier meal. Either way, oven cooking is often better time wise and taste wise than stove top cooking for some recipes. One example is bacon. I bake it in the oven on a rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet. The bacon is crispier and less greasy. I also bake “fried” eggplant and meatballs in the oven on lightly olive oiled cookie sheets. I turn often so the eggplant is browned evenly on both sides. It’s delicious, doesn’t have to be monitored so closely, and the stovetop stays a whole lot cleaner!

Baking is better, and no one can seem to tell the difference anyway. So, let’s keep this between us!

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Biscuit Sandwiches

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1 pkg Pillsbury Grands biscuit

spinach, sauteed

chicken, cooked and sliced

mozzarella cheese, sliced

salt and pepper, optional

1.  Oven 350 degrees.

2.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminun foil.

3.  Open biscuit container.  Take one bisquit at a time out and gently press it with your fingers to shape it into a small pizza that can fit in the palm of your hand.

4.  Place the flattened biscuit on the aluminum covered cookie sheet.  Add spinach and with a fork, spread it evenly over the biscuit.  Next place your chicken over the spinach.  Lastly add two thin slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken.

5.  Take another biscuit, flatten it out the same way.  Place the second biscuit over the cheese slices, pressing the edges together all around the two biscuits to seal.

6.  1 package will make 4 biscuit sandwiches or slice the biscuits in half to get eight smaller sandwiches or appetizers

7.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until biscuits are evenly browned.  After taking the biscuits out of oven, with a spatula gently loosen the biscuits from the aluminum foil while still they are still hot to prevent them from sticking.  Leave on cookie sheet till ready to eat to keep them warm.

8.  Enjoy –  Bread sandwiches; not when I can have a biscuit sandwich!

Not too long ago, I experienced the meaning of that great little proverb; necessity is the mother of invention.  It happened one night when two hungry people, me and hubby Tom, arrived home late from a long, hard day’s work to find nothing ready to eat. 

After several minutes of staring at Tom’s back in anticipation as he searched the refrigerator for something that resembled dinner, he came up for air cradling leftover cooked sliced steak, sautéed spinach, and cheddar cheese.  Tucked under his arm was our real ace in the hole, a tube of refrigerator biscuit dough.  Honestly, the man never looked so good!

When I volunteered to help in the kitchen, he shooed me away so he could create his now legendary biscuit sandwiches as a surprise.  They were so good, I made them again the next week, using leftover roasted chicken, mozzarella, and sautéed spinach.  Both combinations in the biscuits were delicious.   The filling options are endless, and I look forward to coming up with new ones.

Want something delicious, satisfying, and quick?  Try Tom’s biscuit sandwiches as your new go-to dinner.  You’ll be happy you did! 

STROMBOLI

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2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dry yeast

OR Buy a ready made pizza dough

Olive oil

1 egg, beaten
1 / 2 cup of parmesan cheese
8 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 / 4 pound of pepperoni or sopressata slices, quartered

another egg, beaten

1. In a bowl place flour, then salt. Mix with your hands. In a cup dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let it sit for a minute. Add the olive oil. Make a well with the flour mixture then pour in the water mixture. Mix together to form a dough. Knead until dough becomes shiny and smooth. (If you are using a bread machine, make sure you use only the dough setting.)

2. In a clean bowl, rub a little olive oil to cover the inside of the bowl. Place the dough in and let it rise at least for 1 hour. Take the dough out punch it down and let it rise again for another hour. The longer it rises the better the dough. (If you are using a store bought dough, place it on the kitchen counter till it is room temperature. The dough will be very sticky, so be generous when flouring the dough.)

3. When you are ready to cook your stromboli preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and pepperoni. Toss together until everything is coated.

5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle shape. Fill the dough with the cheese mixture evenly, covering the entire dough, then roll into a jelly roll, lengthwise. Grease a cookie sheet with a little olive oil or cover the cookie sheet with Reynolds wrap release foil. Place the Stromboli onto the cookie sheet. Brush the entire Stromboli with a beaten egg.

6. Bake in the over on middle rack for 35 to 45 minutes (depending on your oven) or until crust is golden brown. When removing from oven, let it sit for 15 minutes to cool down a little before slicing.

7. Optional recipe for Stromboli without meat. In a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, saute 1/2 red pepper strips, 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, 1/2 bunch scallions, chopped and 3 garlic cloves, chopped. After everything is tender, cool down and add to beaten egg, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and follow directions the same.

7. ENJOY- Who wants a regular slice of pizza, not me, I want a slice of stromboli!

This recipe works well with homemade or store bought pizza dough. I have also made Stromboli using a white bread dough. You can put anything in your Stromboli. I use grated Romano cheese more than Parmesan cheese in mine because I like the sharper taste. Spinach and broccoli added also make for a good Stomboli. Word of caution, do not over load on the fillings, because it will become too heavy and then the dough may break open. I made two Strombolis, for this posting, one with meat and one with vegestables, because one is never enough for my family.

My recipe for Stromboli is an old one too. I actually had forgotten about it until my daughter, Marisa, asked me for it. I finally located my withered, typewritten (yep, from one of those ancient typewriters), stromboli recipe. As I read it to her over the phone, I made a decision to prepare and serve it the following evening for a gathering of friends at my house. It was a huge hit. Some recipes are always popular and this leads the pack.

Stomboli is easy to make, especially if you have a bread machine. My bread machine was a gift from my friend, Kazue, who so generously gave me hers when she went home to Japan after several years and many meals together. It’s a small machine and fits tidily on my kitchen counter, and there it will remain even if my husband wants it out of the way. It’s not going to be “out of sight, out of mind” as I use it frequently to prepare dough. I really do not like to bake bread in the machine; I don’t like the shape of that small, high bread loaf. This sweet little machine has become a time saver for me. I place all the ingredients in the machine, and it does the mixing and kneading of the dough and some of the rising. The bread machine allows me free time to work on other dishes, especially if I am entertaining that day. Along with my dishwasher, it has become a staple in my kitchen.

Have you considered getting a bread machine for your next dough recipe, perhaps making this stromboli recipe the very first thing you create with it? You may “knead” it more than you know!

ITALIAN VEGGIE WEDGE

1 loaf Italian Semolina Bread
1 cup shredded lettuce
Roasted peppers
Marinated articokes
Fresh mozzarella
Fried breaded eggplant, sliced lengthwise
Italian Balsamic dressing

1. Cut the loaf of bread in half at the middle. With the half of loaf,
slice it lengthwise.
Then, scoop out some of the inside bread of the top piece and
discard.
2. Warm the breaded eggplant. Slice the mozzarella.
3. Put the wedge together in this order:
Bottom half of cut Bread
Drizzle Italian Balsamic Dressing on bread – then
Layer 2 slices fried eggplant – then
Layer 3 or 4 slices of fresh mozzarella – then
Layer roasted peppers to cover mozzarella – then
Layer marinated articokes – then
Add shredded lettuce
Drizzle Italian Balsamic Dressing over the lettuce
Cover with the scooped out top half of bread
4. Cut finished wedge in half with a serrated knife. This wedge
serves two!
ENJOY – The best veggie wedge you will ever have!

Sometimes meat just doesn’t do it for me……and when that time arrives, I make a beeline to one of my favorite Italian delis in Westchester, Cosmo and Alex’s in Mamaroneck. My creativity in high gear, I request the unparalleled combo of fried eggplant, mozzarella, red peppers and lettuce. Their fresh, homemade mozzarella is divine, and their grated Romano cheese is on my “must buy at least twice a month” list. It is a very welcoming place, and I enjoy seeing familiar faces behind the counter. My antipasto platter is always featured front and center on my dining table when my kids sit down for a meal at home, made of course with ingredients purchased at Cosmo and Alex’s deli.

As much as I love to buy sandwiches at delis, I really prefer making everything myself, and the featured is my ultimate sandwich. I buy a few semolina Italian breads in Rockland and freeze them in tightly wrapped plastic bags as soon as I come home so I can have them handy anytime I need them. I marinate the artichokes myself (check out the recipe at “Somebody’s Mom”). Good Seasons Italian dressing is my go-to dressing, and is always at the ready. While I use the same amount of vinegar the recipe calls for, I combine red wine vinegar with equal amounts of balsamic for a unique flavor. Naturally, go for the best olive oil you can afford – it’s so worth it.

Go ahead…. bite into my Italian Veggie Wedge. I bet you won’t even remember that it’s missing the meat! Mangi e goda di! (Eat and Enjoy!)

Cosmo & Alex Pisano Bros
252 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck, NY 10543, (914) 381-4402