Saturday, April 16, 2016

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Soup for Two

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Soup for Two 
serves 2 to 4
                                                                                         prep time:  0
                                                                                         cook time: 5 hours
                                                                                         total time: 5 hours

1 boneless, skinless whole chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 10-ounce can whole or diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 10-ounce can corn, drained
5-ounces diced tomatoes with green chilies
4 teaspoons tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo (you may add 2 to 3 if you like)
juice of 1/2 lime

toppings: avocado, sour cream, grated cheese, crushed tortilla chips, fresh cilantro leaves and 2 lime cut in quarters


Place the chicken breast in your crockpot.

Sprinkle the chili powder, cumin and some salt and pepper unto the breast.

Add the diced tomatoes and juices, chicken broth, corn, the diced tomatoes with chilies, tomato paste,
chopped onion, the chopped red and yellow peppers, and the chipotle pepper; stir to distribute.

Place the lid on the crock-pot and cook for 5 hours on high.

shred the chicken:

After 5 hours remove the chicken breasts to a plate and use 2 forks to shred it finely. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, stir in the juice of ½ lime, taste and correct seasoning if necessary.


Serve piping hot in individual bowls with avocado, sour cream, grated cheese, crushed tortilla chips and cilantro leaves on the side as a topping!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Crockpot Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef
Serves 4-6
                                                                             Prep Time: 10 minutes
                                                                             Cook Time:  4 Hours
                                                                             Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

1- 2½ pound flatiron or flank steak
¼ Cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons  olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
¼ teaspoon chili flake
¾ cup soy sauce
¾ cup water
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup carrot, grated
3 or 4 green onions sliced diagonally into 1-inch lengths for garnish

sesame seeds for garnish

cut the steak:

Place the steak in front of you and, with a sharp knife held at a 45-degree angle, slice the meat against the grain into thin (about 1/4-inch) strips.

create cooking sauce:

Combine the olive oil, garlic, ginger, chili flake, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar in your slow cooker.

prepare the steak:

Cut flank steak into thin strips, cutting across the grain. Put steak into a Ziploc bag with the cornstarch and shake to coat.

bring it all together:

Add the coated beef to the crockpot, stir to combine and ensure the all the beef with sauce.

cook the beef:

Cover the crock-pot with its lid and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low 4-5 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender.

About 30 minutes before done stir in the grated carrots.


Serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagna Bolognese
serves 6
                                                                                                                                                                                                     prep time:  15 minutes
                                                                       sauce cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
                                                                       Lasagna bake time:  35 minutes
                                                                       total time: 3 hours 20 minutes


Bolognese sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, 1/4 –inch chop
1 carrot, ¼-inch dice
1 celery stalk, ¼-inch dice
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into small cubes
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 pound ground beef
1 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk

Besciamella sauce:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste
dash freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons butter, quartered, to butter the baking dish
uncooked Lasagna noodles

prepare the Bolognese sauce:

Create a soffritto by sauteing the onion, carrots, and celery in the olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat until soft.  Add the raw bacon to the soffritto and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the meat; breaking it up well with a wooden spoon and stirring until all the ground meat is browned.  

Add the red pepper flakes and the parsley and cook for just 1 minute.

Drain off excess oil from the cooked meat.

Return the pot to the flame and add the wine, continue cooking until the alcohol is evaporated and the pot has been deglazed by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.

If you like your tomato sauce smooth pulse the tomatoes smooth in a food processor but remember true Italians prefer their sauce slightly chunky.

Add the tomatoes to the meat, season generously with salt and pepper and cook the sauce, over a medium flame partially covered for about 2 ½  hours, stirring occasionally. 

After 2 ½ hours finish the sauce by adding the whole milk, stir well and set aside, to cool off.

prepare the Besciamella sauce:

In a small pot, warm the 2 cups of milk.

In an appropriately sized pot over medium heat melt the butter 

Create a blonde roux by stirring the flour into the butter with a wooden spoon.  The roux is done when it loses all its flour taste.

Gradually ladle the warm milk into the pot with the butter/flour mixture, whisking constantly while bringing the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, stirring constantly until it is thoroughly incorporated. 

Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and additional Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

bring it all together:

Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish well with the tablespoon of butter and add a very thin layer of the Bolognese sauce.

Add the first layer of lasagna noodles and in order, evenly distribute some of the Bolognese sauce, about 3 ladles Besciamella, and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 

Repeat the process until you to create 3 layers. 

Top the lasagna with a final ladle of meat sauce and the remaining Besciamella, dot with a few squares of butter and finish with some additional shredded Parmesan.

bake the Lasagna:

Place the lasagna in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
Crisp the top of your lasagna by turning the oven to broil and broil the lasagna for about 5 minutes.


Allow the lasagna to set for about 15 minutes, slice into 6 servings and serve accompanied by grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, crusty Italian bread and a side salad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole
servings 8

                                                                            prep time:   5 minutes
                                                                            cook time:  3 hours 10 minutes
                                                                             total time:  3 hours  15 minutes


Creole seasoning:

1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

Creole sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (14-ounces) can tomatoes, hand crushed
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
½ tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Creole seasoning
2 bay leaves

the shrimp:

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp


Green onions, for garnish


Preheat crock pot on high.

sauté the vegetables:

In sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil to the ripple stage.

Add the green peppers, the onions, the garlic and the celery and sauté until the onions are translucent and softened.

Add the chili powder and sauté until the vegetables are coated and caramelized.

create the Creole sauce:

Remove the vegetable from heat and pour them into the crock pot. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, the red wine, the hot sauce, the Worcestershire, the sugars, and the salt and pepper.

Stir in the Creole seasoning add the bay leaves, place the cover on your crock pot and cook, covered, for 3 hours.

bring it all together:

Add the shrimp and continue cooking for about 3 minutes.


Serve over cooked  white rice. Top with chopped green onions.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Fungo Bolognese

Fungo Bolognese
(Mushroom Bolognese)
Makes 6 servings

                                                                                Prep time:  10 minutes
                                                                                Pasta Cook time: 10 minutes
                                                                                Sauce Cook time:  43 minutes
                                                                               Total time: 63 minutes


 1 pound pasta of choice, cooked al dente

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces of white and brown mushrooms
3/4 cup yellow onions, cut into ¼-inch dice
1/4 cup carrots, cut into ¼-inch dice
1/4 cup celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup Chianti wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
1 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

Pecorino Romano, shaved with a vegetable peeler


prepare the sauce:

1.  In a large, high sided sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. 

2.  Add the Chianti and cook until reduced, about 3 minutes. 

3.  Add the tomato paste, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

4.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. 

5.  Add the herbs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste. 

bring it all together:

Add the cooked pasta  to the sauce over low heat and toss to coat. Place in a large serving bowl, or divide among individual pasta bowls. Shave pecorino over the pasta.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Braciole for two or more

Braciole for two or more
(serves 2 or more)
                                                              prep time:15 minutes
                                                              cook time: up to 3 hours
                                                              total time:  up to 3 hours 15 minutes


2  ¼ pound beef cutlets , (beef top round sliced thin (1/4-inch) into cutlets)
the stuffing (for 2 Bracioli):
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons bacon grease
sauce (for 2 Braciole):
extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup Chianti wine
2 cups San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
5 bay leaves

prepare the cutlets:

Pound the beef cutlets with the tenderizer side of a meat hammer and set aside.

prepare the stuffing:

In an appropriately sized bowl combine the stuffing ingredients tossing to insure even distribution.

stuff the braciole:

Divide the stuffing mixture evenly over each cutlet, don’t get too close to the edges.

Roll up each cutlet, jelly roll style, and tie with butcher's twine to secure and to make a roll. Sprinkle each roll with salt and pepper.

fry the braciole:

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef rolls and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate once the braciole are browned.

prepare the sauce:

Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the carrots and onions and sauté until tender and the onions are translucent. 

Add the wine and simmer for a minute or so, and then scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Continue the simmering until the wine is reduced by half.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring back to a simmer, add the braciole back into the pot and cover with a lid. 

Cook on low, turning the rolls occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and the meat begins to fall apart 2 1/2 to 3 hours, remove the bay leaves.

Remove the braciole from the pan and cut an discard the cooking twin.  Slice each braciole into 1-inch slices and plate for each dinner.

Top the slices with the sauce and serve with crusty bread and a glass of good red wine.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ham and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

Ham and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich
serves 2
                                                       total time: 10 minutes


1 ciabatta or rustic bread
3 tablespoons Basil Pesto, or to taste
6 slices ham
4 round slice provolone
3 large pieces roasted red peppers
1 tomato, sliced
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
shredded lettuce, to taste
aged balsamic vinegar, to taste


build the sandwich:

1.  Slice the ciabatta bread in half horizontally.  

2. Spread about 1 ½ tablespoons of the pesto on each of the ciabatta halves.  Place 3 slices of the ham on each half, top that with 2 slices of provolone and  follow that with the three roasted red peppers. Add the tomato slices on the bottom half of the ciabatta, sprinkle the tomato slices with salt and black pepper, top with the shredded lettuce.  Finally drizzle the aged balsamic over the lettuce to your taste.

3.  Join the two halves of the ciabatta.


Slice the sandwich in half and serve one half to each person.

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