Thursday, January 14, 2010


I cook up big batches of sweet onions until translucent, let them cool and portion into ice cube trays. When hardened, I pop them out into a zip top bag and store in the freezer. When a recipe calls for cooking onions, I zap a cube or two on high in the microwave for a minute. I save myself LOTS of time every week chopping and sweating onions! (I also freeze chopped red or green peppers the same way for the same reason.)


When ground beef is on sale, I buy several pounds of it (3-6) and brown ALL of it in a huge pot. I skim out the fat with a turkey baster as it cooks,then I let it cool and package it in one pound increments in individual zip top bags. Then, I lay them FLAT in the freezer to harden. Laying them flat allows for efficient space utilization in the freezer and SPEEDY thawing! They thaw in no time (in warm water or in the microwave). I then have quick access to cooked hamburger for: tacos, chili, Tamale pie, stuffed peppers, spaghetti sauce, etc. MAJOR time saver!

Zupa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Toscana Soup (Better than Olive Garden!)

Serves 6 - 8
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
¼ of a bunch of kale, cho...pped

Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, scoop into a bowl, and set aside.
In the same pot, sauté bacon until crispy. Set bacon aside and drain most of the bacon grease from the pot.
Next, inside that same pot, sauté onions until tender. Add garlic for the last minute or so of cooking the onions.
Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions and garlic. Add bacon. Cook until boiling. Add potatoes and cook until tender.
Add heavy cream and sausage and cook on low until thoroughly heated.
Add kale just before serving.

submitted by Pam Pierce

Tortellini al Vodka

Kathy’s Tortellini Al Vodka
1 package tortellini
½ lb Italian sausage, crumbled and browned
2 tablespoons butter
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 cup sliced portabella mushrooms
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups tomato or pasta sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small Roma tomato, chopped
½ cup frozen leaf spinach
Salt and pepper to taste.

Brown sausage in sautee pan over medium-high heat. Set aside until ready to use.
Lower heat in sautee pan to medium and melt butter. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are softened. Salt and pepper mixture.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions.
Add vodka to sautee pan and stir until it is reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato, tomato/pasta sauce, and spinach. Cook for 3-4 minutes until spinach is thawed. Add cream and stir. Add sausage. Simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes for flavors to marry.
Add drained tortellini to sauce mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Note: the sausage, onions, mushrooms, vodka and fresh tomato are all optional. To leave them out will make a lovely Tortellini al fredo rose'.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

BBQ Chicken Burgers with spicy slaw

makes 8 burgers

2 lbs ground chicken
1 red onion (1/2 chopped 1/2 sliced)
3 garlic cloves
1 cup tomato sauce
4 cups slaw mix
3 tablespoons lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon
5 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons hot sauce

put butter in pan
sautee chopped onions & garlic 3 minutes
add tomato sauce simme...r 3 minutes
transfer to bowl and cool for 5 minutes
add ground chicken
make patties
cook on stove top until done

in a bowl add:
lemon juice
hot sauce
sliced onions
MIX & let sit 5 minutes

Serve the burgers with slaw on top on a hamburger bun

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kathy's Beef Stew

Kathy’s Beef Stew

1 lb (or more) of 2 inch cubed, stew beef
½ cup flour
1 tsp garlic powder, some salt & pepper

1 chopped onion
1 chopped garlic clove
3 carrots, peeled & sliced into coins
3 celery stalks, sliced
Water or beef stock
1 small can V-8 juice (optional SECRET INGREDIENT)
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ cup Marsala wine (SECRET INGREDIENT)
Some dried or fresh rosemary leaves wrapped in cheesecloth or a tea infuser.
2 medium potatoes OR ½ cup pearl barley, rinsed.

1. Put flour into a gallon sized ziplock bag with garlic powder, salt and pepper & shake to mix. Drop pieces of cubed beef into the flour and shake to cover all sides. (The meat should not be too wet before going into the bag.) With hand in bag, pick up a handful of meat and shake off excess flour.

2. In a heavy-bottomed stew pot, add some olive oil to coat bottom of pan and heat to medium-high. Drop dredged beef into pan and brown on all sides. Adjust heat if necessary to avoid smoking and burning of flour. Don’t over-crowd the pan or stack the beef on top of each other. Brown in batches if necessary. Add more oil if necessary. When browned, add onions and cook for a few minutes.

3. Add enough water or beef stock (either or both) to cover the meat. (Essentially use as much liquid as the amount of stew you’d like to make). Adjust salt and pepper seasonings to taste. Tie bag of cheesecloth or tea infuser w/ rosemary in it to edge of pan for ease of retrieval before serving.

3. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE POTATOES & BARLEY!

4. Bring to an easy boil and then reduce heat to low for several hours (the longer the better, but a minimum of one hour). IF using BARLEY: in the last 40 minutes before serving, and add the rinsed barley if using barley. IF USING POTATOES: in the last 15 minutes before serving, add the potatoes.

Dirty Rice- EASY Leftovers Dish!

Every ingredient is OPTIONAL, except the rice!

Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
onions, diced
Red peppers, diced
Leftover meats, diced (ie: hot turkey sausage, ground turkey, ground beef, kielbasa, pork, andouille, chourico, Italian sausage, etc.)
1 cup white wine
1 ½ cups chicken broth
Salt & pepper
garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, cumin, celery salt, paprika, etc.
a dash of Gravy Master
a dash of Soy sauce
a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon stir fry sauce

3 cups cooked rice

2 scrambled eggs

Coat bottom of big saute pan with some olive oil. Heat to medium heat. Saute the garlic, onions & peppers until soft.

Add all the diced meats and spices.
Cook meats until heated through if using pre-cooked meats, or until cooked through if raw.
Add the wine & chicken broth. Mixture should be fairly soupy (definitely more mixture than moisture). Let flavors combine for 5-10 minutes.
Add rice to the meat/veggie/liquid mixture. Cook for another 5-10 minutes so the rice soaks up the juice & serve!

I serve these with ripe plantains, double-fried and they are a nice compliment to the dish.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kathy's Chicken Scallopini with White Wine & Caper Sauce

Thin sliced chicken breasts (or regular sized ones, cut in half and pounded thinly and the same thickness as the others)

Beat some eggs w/ a little milk or water (in shallow dish for dipping)... See More

Dip chicken in egg mixture, then dredge on both sides in a plate of seasoned flour (salt, pepper and some garlic powder). Set aside until all chicken is coated.

Add about 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a sauté pan over medium high heat (NOT too high or the fats will burn and you’ll smoke up your whole house!). Sauté one or two pieces of chicken at a time, adding more oil and butter if pan gets dry. (Only sauté one or two at a time, don’t crowd pan.)

Remove chicken from pan when browned on both sides.

(Optional: Lower heat to medium and add some baby Bella mushrooms to the pan and sauté until soft before adding the wine).

Add some white wine to deglaze the pan (3/4 cup or so).

Add about ½ cup chicken broth (or water).

Add as many capers as you like (a couple tablespoons full). Salt and pepper to taste.

Add chicken back into sauce and heat through (be sure not to overcook the chicken at this point, but make sure it’s cooked completely).

Serve over orzo or rice or pasta or egg noodles

Kathy Shea Mormino