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April 2020

Recipes

Italian Sausage & White Bean Soup

This was one of the many inspirations I had seen on Food Network, just about the time of “The Great Quarantine Days” (so I call them). I spent my weekends finding ways to come up with make-ahead meals that would be easy for not only myself for lunch, but also quick dinners for the family if the days became long and exhausting.

This recipe I made is absolutely delicious! And exactly what I needed on this long Monday. Totally quick. Totally easy. And Totally comforting.  All I needed to do was bring it from freezer to fridge the night before, get home, heat it up and add freshly shaved Parmesan and fresh chopped Parsely.  Of course, had to also broil some garlicky-Parmesan bread to sop up all that juicy yumminess.  Or you can totally eat as is and it’s still perfectly scrumptious!! YES! This was one of my favorite make-ahead ever!

Easy for any busy mom or dad to do ahead (when you get a chance), then enjoy with just a few fresh items and a chilled glass of Rosé! Enjoy!

Italian Sausage & White Bean Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 45 min

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs Italian Sausage (sweet, mild, spicy, whatever you like!)
  • 1 Cup Jarred sliced Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Oregano, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • (Or any a couple of tsp of any Italian dried herbs you have on hand)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Large Onion, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 Cups low-sodium Chicken stock (or broth)
  • 2 (15.5 oz) cans Cannellini Beans (white kidney beans)
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups Chopped Kale
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Instructions

1

Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom stock pot over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, about 10 minutes, breaking into bite size pieces then remove to paper towel to dry. (Leave all the oil in pan!)

2

Add onions, peppers, oregano, rosemary, garlic to the hot oil and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth, beans and tomatoes, stir to combine. Return the sausage, bring to boil then reduce to simmer on low, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

3

Stir in the kale, heavy cream and cider vinegar.

4

Taste and adjust salt, pepper and red pepper flakes as desired.

5

Serve immediately with some shaved Parmesan.

6

To freeze: Transfer to freezer safe containers, leaving some room at time for expansion. Allow to cool to room temperature, cover and label and enjoy over the next 6 months!

Recipes

Three Bean Salad

This Three Bean Salad is exactly what I need after a long day at work. No fuss.  No cooking. But super tasty and super filling, and I feel so much better knowing I’m feeding myself some good, clean food! I try to keep some fresh ingredients on hand all the time, such as parsley, lemons, celery, but I didn’t have all the fresh ingredients I needed, so I just used dried herbs I still had in my pantry.  (I had to dig around but I found them!)  (Fresh herbs are definitely NOT essential during times like this, so skip the grocery store and make the best of what you have!)

The beans I used happen to be some that I always have in my pantry, but you can substitute with whatever beans you have. Same with the herbs, I happen to have Za’atar (because I love this spice blend) but any blends can be used, such as Jamaican spice, Southwestern spice, whatever your tastebuds desire.

Although this is a main dish to ME, it can definitely be a great side to any amazing protein you bake, grill or fry.  Enjoy!

Three Bean Salad

Print Recipe
Serves: 3-4 Cooking Time: 20

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans (white kidneys beans)
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 (15 oz) black beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp za’atar
  • Kosher salt (good pinch or two) and freshly ground pepper
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 Tbsp dried mint (3 Tbsp fresh, chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp dried tarragon (3 Tbsp fresh, chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, finely diced (including leaves)
  • 1/2 red onion or 1 large shallot, finely diced

Instructions

1

Drain and rinse all the beans, let dry as much as possible

2

In large bowl, grate the garlic then whisk in the honey, Dijon, vinagar, olive oil, zaatar, salt and pepper, lemon juice, dried herbs and 1 Tbsp of the fresh Parsley. Add the celery, onion and beans and toss well. Add the rest of the parsley and toss. Add more salt and pepper (or za’atar!Serve immediately or store in airtight container for 2-3 day.

Notes

*For the herbs, if you have fresh mint and tarragon, do the same as I described with parsley - chop 3 Tbsp each, add 1 Tbsp to base, then toss the rest in at the end after the beans have been added.

Recipes

Homemade Pizza Sauce (easy, no-cook!)

I think this is probably the easiest pizza sauce I have ever made.  And one of the tastiest! Now, ideally, I’d love to have fresh basil and oregano to use, and yes, I have made the kind that takes some long cooking times, which was always very tasty! Unfortunately, staying “safer at home” in these unsure times really does mean that. So, I do.  Everything I used I found right in my pantry and herb cabinet. I just used dried herbs and added some balsamic vinegar to balance out the flavors and give it a great depth of flavor. You can also add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for a little heat if you like.  Best part is, there is NO COOKING involved! You can use it immediately for your pizza or pop it in the freezer for later use. Either way the taste is wonderful and perfect.

This recipe makes quite a bit sauce so I’ve found that I can freeze this into perfect serving portions and take out whenever needed. Just ladle it into a muffin tin and place in freezer for about 30 min (or until solid). Then place into large freezer bag for storing up to 3 months. (This is my own perfect portion for my pizzas, you make your serving size to your liking!) Use it for pizza, bread sticks (Recipe can be found on this site), or serve over meatball sandwiches, ravioli, or for whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!

Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce (no-cook)

Print Recipe
Serves: 10-12 Cooking Time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole, diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried herbs, such as Italian Blend or Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp dried or ground oregano

Instructions

1

Place whole garlic cloves into a food processor (or blender) and chop to fine bits.

2

Add all the other ingredients and purée to desired consistency. Taste and add more salt, pepper or balsamic vinegar as needed. Use immediately or freeze for later.

3

To freeze, ladle into muffin tin. Place tin in freezer for about 30 minutes or until frozen

4

Use sharp knife to release each portion from tin. Place in freezer bag and label.

Notes

Any canned whole or crushed tomato will work, but I do have to say that I like using San Marzano tomatoes whenever possible. Their flavor is just another level up, but they can be hard to come by in my rural little town so I use regular ones as well, which is just fine!

Recipes

Quick Pizza Dough

I learned how to make this quick and easy pizza dough watching Bobby Flay some time ago. I love how easy and quick it is. PLUS, I just recently learned that I can freeze it! (For up to 3 months!) Yay! So with all that is going on right now…shortage of basic supplies, more home time with always-hungry kids and unpredictable work hours at the clinic, I decided to go ahead and make several batches to be ready any time we need a quick meal.  One batch will make two (14-inch) pizza pies.  You can, of course, quarter each half into individually sized pizzas.  If you decide to freeze, just be sure to let it thaw in fridge over night, then let sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to shaping into your desired shape (round or rectangle).

Once shaped I like to brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with some California Garlic Salt. Bake the crust for about 5-7 min before adding toppings to make it a bit sturdier (in my opinion), it should be light and golden, not browned yet.  Finish it in the oven until crust is golden brown and cheese is gooey, bubbly and toppings are cooked to your taste.  For even more added flavor I melt butter with garlic powder and brush the edges at it comes out of the oven. Also, instead of flour on my baking sheet I use cornmeal, it give it much better texture. It’s delicious! The varieties of pizza are endless.  I’ve included some pictures of pizzas I have made using this dough in the past.  I’ll post about that at a later time. I hope this will at least give you a great start to make your own homemade pizzas with your loved ones now and later!

Quick Pizza Dough

Print Recipe
Serves: 6-8 Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 min

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2-4 Cups Bread Flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Envelope Instant Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Cups water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, plus 2 tsp

Instructions

1

In a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt yeast on low until blended. While mixer is running, add the water and 2 Tbsp olive oil, mixing until dough form into a ball (if too sticky, add a little more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time). Dough should come together in uniform but just slightly tacky to the touch. Turn out onto floured surface and knead slightly until smooth, firm ball is formed.

2

Grease large bowl with the remaining olive oil, add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in warm area until it doubles in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto flour surface, divide into 2 equal pieces. If cooking now, cover each with a clean kitchen towel and let rest 10 min.

3

If you want to freeze, go ahead and brush the ball with a little olive oil and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in freezer for 15 min (called “flash freezing”). Then place dough into plastic bag in freezer until ready to use.

Notes

You can use All Purpose flour, by all means. I like Bread Flour because it has a higher gluten content, which yields a much crispier crust. The AP flour will be a more chewier crust. Either flour is just fine!