Sausage, Peppers and Onions

Sausage, Peppers and onions is a dish, or sandwich, that can be found on just about every block and in every strip mall in any area that has even the slightest hint or history of an Italian presence. Growing up in New Jersey, well, I can’t make it, eat it or even smell it without enjoying some memories. Gammy, that Texas country girl, even has become a fan of it and even has some suggestions for some changes to it! Can you imagine?

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First get a frying pan on the stove at medium heat. Just a little splash of oil or really none at all is ok. The sausages are going to leak some fat out as they cook. Put in the sausages and poke a few holes into two opposite sides. Brown them upturning and rotating them around the pan as they cook. They will take 10-15 min. When the fat is coming out of the poked holes and it is clear let them have another couple of minutes. As soon as the sausage is poked and heating up put another pan on the stove medium high. Add about 2 tbsp. of olive oil.

IMG_1984Seed and trim the peppers.

IMG_1985Cut up the onions in bigger pieces than you usually do. Put the peppers and the onions in the pan. Give them a minute and add the chopped garlic. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt and black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a splash of red wine..

 

 

IMG_1988We had some leftover zucchini and broccoli in the fridge so as per Gammy’s suggestion we added them when the real ones were almost done.

IMG_1989

They’re not in the pic but there are a few rolls made from Poppop’s Eeeeasy homemade bread dough. Also bottle (or two) of some nice red wine.

 

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Sausage and peppers and onions.
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15-20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15-20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Instructions
  1. Sausage, Peppers and Onions are easy and good. If you never have had them before you will become a fan or maybe an addict. First get a frying pan on the stove at medium heat. Just a little splash of oil or really none at all is ok. The sausages are going to leak some fat out as they cook. Put in the sausages and poke a few holes into two opposite sides. Brown them upturning and rotating them around the pan as they cook. They will take 10-15 min. When the fat is coming out of the poked holes and it is clear let them have another couple of minutes. As soon as the sausage is poked and heating up put another larger pan on the stove medium high. Add about 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
  2. Add the cleaned, skinned, and cut up pepper and onion to the big pan. Sprinkle in the salt, black pepper and the red pepper flakes. Watch the sausages. Turn them when needed. Lower the temp. if they are trying to get too crusty. When the peppers and onions are softened up a little push them to the outside edge of the pan and put the chopped garlic in the middle. add a splash of the red wine to the garlic and let it cook for a minute or so. Then toss all the veggies and cook em 'til they are as crisp or as soft as you want them.
  3. The sausage should be done by now. Serve up the Sausage Peppers and Onions and enjoy the rest of that wine.
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Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant Lasagna? Did you ever wonder what no noodle, veggie, lasagna tasted like? Did you even care? I didn’t either. When I was a little kid our neighbor, Mrs. Paparella, used to mind me while my mom was at work. I would watch her cook. I loved everything she made, but, her lasagna was the best. I never would have imagined, in my wildest dreams, that I would ever eat and like it without those wide lasagna noodles in it. 

Gammy,  learned to love lasagna too. From the first time I took her to an Italian restaurant and she stole some off my plate. Well a few years ago she learned she had to go gluten free and I would make her a batch with those gluten free rice lasagnas and a separate traditional batch for me. She didn’t like the rice noodles. I googled lasagna gluten free and saw a recipe where noodles were replaced with  eggplant. We tried it and I stole some off her plate.  Wow, I liked it and that became the only way I make now. I still make it the way that Mrs. Paparella showed me. The meat, the cheeses, (she said, “Ya gotta use at least 4 different cheeses”) the sauce, how to bake it properly, etc. But eggplant instead of pasta lasagna noodles. 

Here goes.

IMG_2288First let’s chop a medium sized onion and 6-8 cloves of garlic. Put the biggest frying pan you own on the stove at medium high. Add 2 tbsp. (or eyeball it) of olive oil. Add the onions and let them just begin to get translucent then add the garlic. Put the chopped beef in and break it up with a spatula or pancake flipper. 

IMG_2290You could cut the sausage into slices.

IMG_2291or slit the skin lengthwise and peel the skins off the meat. We like it that way because it winds up being easier to spread out as a layer in the lasagna.

IMG_2292About a tsp. of salt,  a tsp. of black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Continue to break up the meat and sausage chunks so you have a kinda “chunckless” mixture browning up in the pan. Keep turning occasionally as it browns. Pre heat the oven to 500deg.

IMG_2285

 

Cut the ends off the eggplants and slice them into about 3/8″ slices.

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Preheat the oven to 500F. Spray some olive oil on 2 cookie sheets. Lay the eggplant slices out on the sheets and spray them with the olive oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Turn them over and do the other side.

IMG_2287

Take them out when they start to get brown and reduce the oven to 350.

IMG_2297Spread a very shallow layer of sauce over the bottom of the baking pan and add a layer of the eggplant slices.

IMG_2296Add a layer of that super meat mixture. You’ve been keeping it stirred up, right?

IMG_2298Put a layer of one of the cheeses on top of the meat layer. We went with provolone.

IMG_2299Another layer of sauce, eggplant, meat and cheese. We went with ricotta cheese for this layer.

 

IMG_2336Then finish up with another layer of everything and top it off with Mozzarella. Moisten the top of the mozzarella with a very thin coating of sauce to keep it from browning. You want it soft and creamy. Drizzle with a very little bit of olive oil. Give it a good coat of grated parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with some dried basil and oregano.

IMG_2339Cover it with aluminum foil with the foil tightly wrapped around the edges of the pan. Bake it for a half an hour and remove the foil then bake it for about another 15 minutes or until the top is looking like you want it to. Hey, you’re the cook so you decide how you want it. Serve it up! With a good chianti or valpollicello or maybe some barolo, mmm, and some hot outa the oven homemade bread

Now ya got a lot of lasagna left. Put it in the fridge overnight.

IMG_2342

 

The next day cut it into whatever size portions you want and put them in zip lock bags in the freezer.

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Talk about a great quick and easy weeknight dinner. Just heat up the servings in the microwave with a little sauce and grated parm on them.

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Eggplant Lasagna is a great glutton free alternative to traditional Lasagna.
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Rate this recipe!
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Instructions
  1. First let's chop a medium sized onion and 6-8 cloves of garlic. Put the biggest frying pan you own on the stove at medium high. Add 2 tbsp. (or eyeball it) of olive oil. Add the onions and let them just begin to get translucent then add the garlic. Put the chopped beef and the sausage in and break it up with a spatula or pancake flipper. Add the salt and peppers. Keep stirring it up occasionally while you get the eggplant ready.
  2. Pre heat the oven to 500 deg. rinse and dry the eggplants. Slice them crossways into 3/8" thick slices. Spray some olive oil on 2 cookie sheets. Lay the eggplant slices out on the sheets and spray them with the olive oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Turn them over and do the other sides. Put the pans in the oven and keep an eye on them. As soon as the eggplant starts to get brown take the pans out and lower the oven temperature to 350 deg.
  3. Spread a very shallow layer of sauce over the bottom of the baking pan and add a layer of the eggplant slices. Add a layer of that super meat mixture. You've been keeping it stirred up, right?Put a layer of one of the cheeses on top of the meat layer. We went with provolone. Another layer of sauce, eggplant, meat and cheese. We went with ricotta cheese for this layer. Then finish up with another layer of everything and top it off with Mozzarella. Moisten the top of the mozzarella with a very thin coating of sauce to keep it from browning. You want it soft and creamy. Drizzle with a very little bit of olive oil. Give it a good coat of grated parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with some dried basil and oregano.
  4. Cover it with aluminum foil with the foil tightly wrapped around the edges of the pan. Bake it for a half an hour and remove the foil then bake it for about another 15 minutes or or until the top is looking like you want it to. Hey, you're the cook so you decide how you want it. Serve it up! With a good chianti or valpollicello or maybe some barolo, mmm, and some hot outa the oven homemade bread. Cover it with aluminum foil with the foil tightly wrapped around the edges of the pan. Bake it for a half an hour and remove the foil then bake it for about another 15 minutes or until the top is looking like you want it to. Hey, you're the cook so you decide how you want it. Serve it up! With a good chianti or valpollicello or maybe some barolo, mmm, and some hot outa the oven homemade bread.
  5. Now ya got a lot of lasagna left. Put it in the fridge overnight. The next day cut it into whatever size portions you want and put them in zip lock bags in the freezer.Talk about a great quick and easy weeknight dinner. Just heat up the servings in the microwave with a little sauce and grated parm on them.
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Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore will always be a favorite at your house. “I guarantee it.” Translated from the Italian Cacciatore means hunter. It originated as something that hunters would make while out on a quest. I’ve read that it was first done with rabbit that was nabbed while on the hunt. Then as time passed it started to be done with chickens.

Get 2 chicken breasts, whole with the bones and skin still on. Cut the breasts in half if you want to. Just lay them bone side down on a cutting board, cut down to the bone then force the knife through  the bones. A chef knife and tap it with the heel of your palm to get it through the bone works good. 4 thighs with the bone and skin left on or 2 legs cut in half so you would have 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks. Or, you could just go with some chicken tenders for a quickie version. Put a skillet with about 2 tbsp. of olive oil on med high.

IMG_2249Sprinkle the skin side with salt and pepper.

IMG_2250Put the chicken in the pan with the skin side down and salt and pepper the up side.

Now you will start on the veggies.IMG_2252

Cut a red, or green, pepper in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds and the white stuff.

IMG_2253Chop it up the size you want. Not too small, you’ll want it to be  to be “rustic” like a we’re on a hunt. Ya know?

IMG_2256Now the onion. Cut the ends off then in half. Peel the skin and the first layer off each half.    Cut into it vertical but not completely end to end. Leave the stem end holding it together. Did I say that right?

IMG_2257Now horizontal. The space between all these cuts is going to determine the size of the chopped pieces.

IMG_2258 Then chop it cross ways for the finish!

IMG_2254Check on the chicken. When it is browned and crispy turn it over.

IMG_2259Lay you knife sideways on a garlic clove and smash it with the heel of your hand. Smash them all, one at a time.

IMG_2260Peel the skins off the cloves.

IMG_2262Cut the brown little stem things off.

IMG_2263Chop them up.

IMG_2255The chicken should be crispy on both sides by now. Take it out and put aside in a bowl that will catch the drippings.

IMG_2265

Add the veggies to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon scraping the good stuff off the bottom of the pan so it can mix in with the veggies. About a tsp., or more each, of salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. When the onions and garlic start to turn translucent add the tomatoes and the capers. Don’t strain the water off the tomatoes put the water from the can right in the mix.

IMG_2267Put the chicken and the drippings in with the veggies. Mix up the chicken with the sauce and turn the pieces so they get coated on all sides. Turn the chicken over and stir things up every 5 minutes or so. You can leave the heat up and have it ready to serve in about 20 minutes or you can lower it to a simmer and let it go slower. Fast won’t get the flavor in as deep as simmer will but it’ll still work fine. While it’s getting good go ahead and cook up about 1/2 lb. of pasta. But you already thought of that didn’t you. If you feel that the sauce starts to get a little too thick add a little of the pasta water.

IMG_2279

 

So serve it up! With some chianti and some of Poppop’s ,,er,,your homemade bread.

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Chicken Cacciatore is real good and it's easier to make than you think.
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 min.
Cook Time 20-40 min
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 min.
Cook Time 20-40 min
Servings
people
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Add to Meal Plan:
This recipe has been added to your Meal Plan
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Instructions
  1. Get 2 chicken breasts, whole with the bones and skin still on. Cut the breasts in half if you want to. Just lay them bone side down on a cutting board, cut down to the bone then force the knife through the bones. A chef knife and tap it with the heel of your palm to get it through the bone works good. 4 thighs with the bone and skin or 2 legs cut in half so you would have 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks. Or, you could just go with some chicken tenders for a quickie version. Put a skillet with about 2 tbsp. of olive oil on med high.
  2. Lay the pieces of chicken with the skin side up and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Put the pieces in the frying pan skin side down and salt and pepper the up side.
  3. While the chicken is getting browned chop up the veggies. When the chicken is browned on the skin side turn it over and when the other side is done remove it to a bowl that will catch the drippings.
  4. Add the veggies to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon scraping the good stuff off the bottom of the pan so it can mix in with the veggies. About a tsp., or more each, of salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. When the onions and garlic start to turn translucent add the tomatoes and the capers. Don't strain the water off the tomatoes, put the water from the can right in the mix.
  5. Put the chicken and the drippings in with the veggies. Mix up the chicken with the sauce and turn the pieces so they get coated on all sides. Turn the chicken over and stir things up every 5 minutes or so. You can leave the heat up and have it ready to serve in about 20 minutes or you can lower it to a simmer and let it go slower. Fast won't get the flavor in as deep as simmer will but it'll still work fine. While it's getting good go ahead and cook up about 1/2 lb. of pasta. But you already thought of that didn't you. If you feel that the sauce starts to get a little too thick add a little of the pasta water.
  6. So serve it up! With some chianti and some of Poppop's ,,er,,your homemade bread.
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