Archive | January, 2011

bolognese stuffed peppers

29 Jan
Ingredients– 1/2 cup uncooked white rice, 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided),1/8 cup minced carrots, 1/8 cup celery, 6 bell peppers (any color) stems and seeds removed, cut in half lengthwise, 1/2 pound ground beef, 1/4 pound pancetta or lightly smoked bacon (diced), 1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce, 1/4 cup red wine, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake, 1/3 cup heavy cream(from walmart, don’t hate!), 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese  (Italicized ingredients weren’t used in my recipe since I had the bolognese sauce from earlier this week. And of course I didn’t use celery. I HATE celery and will never cook with it!)

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and remove seeds and stems from peppers

2.In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender and fluffy; set aside. (I’m the absolute worst at cooking rice. I screw it up every time and I don’t know why! I put in the exact amount of water and rice that it calls for, it just never comes out right. It’s never light and fluffy, it’s usually gummy and kind of paste-like. Any suggestions? Get a rice cooker? Ok!)

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook and stir carrots and celery until tender. Add ground beef and pancetta, and cook until browned and crumbled; drain off any excess liquid, and return to heat. Add marinara sauce, wine, and red pepper flakes, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream, half of the Parmesan cheese, and rice. Simmer 5 minutes more, or until most liquid has absorbed.

4. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish, and fill with beef mixture. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

5. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Serve hot.

mmmmm...with some parm on top!

 

I loved these peppers. I  didn’t eat anything else with it because they were so filling.  It’s an entire meal in a bell pepper! What else  did I need? I got the recipe from Allrecipes.com and saw tons of “remixes” on the recipe. Some people added corn, zucchini, onion and chicken. I plan to make this in the future, and when I do, I think I’ll try shredded chicken. The only complaint I have about this recipe is that after baking for 30 minutes, the bell peppers were still “raw” tasting. I baked half of them, (only half because if I ruined them, I didn’t want to ruin them all!) for an extra 30 minutes, and the pepper was still crisp and raw-y. I wanted them to have more of a chile relleno feel. A friend told me to try boiling them for a couple of minutes before filling them. Hopefully that will help.

 

Bolognese sauce

24 Jan

I am sooooo excited about this recipe. It’s for homemade Bolognese, the meat based sauce found in many pastas. I am making a big pot of it and using it for other dinners this upcoming week. Spaghetti Bolognese, Bolognese stuffed peppers, and if I have any left after making those two, I’ll make a baked pasta. This recipe is from, Tony. I met Tony when I lived in The Netherlands. He was my hookup to all foods American and was/is always a big help to me when it came to anything food related. He also makes THE best stuffing in the world. The best! No exaggeration. I’m sure his recipe for Bolognese won’t disappoint.

Ingredients– 2 large cans crushed tomatoes, 1 large onion(chopped),2 fistful baby carrots (chopped), olive oil, optional-1lb ground meat (of your choice…pork, beef, sausage, etc. feel free to mix and match as they work well together), basil, oregano, sea salt, black pepper, thyme, optional-anchovy filets

Directions-

1.Heat large pot over medium heat. Once ready, put some olive oil (me-“how much is ‘some’?” Tony- “a glug”) in the pot along with your chopped onions and carrots. Stir until they are all coated in oil. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Cook until carrots and onions are soft…approximately 7 minutes.

2.If adding meat to your sauce, do so here. Put the ground meat in the pot with the onions and carrots and cook until browned. At this time, dump everything out of the pot into a strainer to get rid of the oil and grease from the meat. Place everything back in the pot.

3.Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and mix everything up. Bring up to a low simmer and then add your basil, oregano, thyme, pepper, and salt. Do this to taste. I personally like a fairly large amount of basil and oregano, but this is subjective to each person. Add the spices and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Then taste to see if the spices are where you want them.

4. Optional-In lieu of salt, I like to add anchovy filets to the mix to add a hint of mediterranean flavor as well as salt. Simply add 3-5 anchovy filets to the mix and stir until they completely dissolve. Please remember to wait about 5 minutes before tasting as adding things to your sauce takes a while for the flavors to spread throughout. (oops! I used salt and anchovies and even though m y sauce is delicious, it is a bit salty)

bye, anchovies!

 

5. Cover the sauce and turn the heat to low. Allow to simmer until you are ready for it. For a Bolognese it is best to let it simmer for at least 1.5 hours to get the full flavor. For a meatless sauce, 30-40 minutes should be fine.

 

6. If you find your sauce getting too thick, simply add a bit of drinkable red wine or a bit of water.

7. TADA!!!

 

Mmmmm! The sauce was SO good. A little salty (my fault), but really good. I loved the taste the anchovies gave the sauce. My boyfriend loved it too and actually had two helpings. The recipe was really simple. I bought a little food processor that made chopping the onions and carrots easy as pie.  The 1.5 hours that it took to simmer was a nice break from the kitchen and allowed me to do some other things around the house. I love a recipe that doesn’t force me to stay in the kitchen all day. :P Because my spice rack is so empty, I had to buy basil, oregano, and thyme. Looks like this blog is not just going to expand my cooking knowledge, but also my spice collection. I have a ton of leftover sauce so I will update again this week with Bolognese stuffed peppers!

Oven Roasted Chicken

20 Jan

This recipe comes from Jim! You may remember him from such blogs as, “Peanut Butter cookies inspired by Jim“. He helped me make my first rack of ribs last summer and has always been there to help with my dumb cooking questions. The recipe I will be trying out tonight is for oven roasted chicken. A WHOLE CHICKEN, YALL! I cook chicken quite often, but it’s usually chicken breasts on my Foreman grill!

Ingredients

Whole Chicken, Lemon, Garlic, kosher salt, pepper, rosemary (if you’re feeling fancy), Onions, Carrots, Meat thermometer

Directions

 

1.)preheat oven to 450.  get one whole chicken and clear out all the gizzards and heart and shit.  feed these to Peanut. (After I got over the fact that I had to dig around in a chicken, I reached in and to my surprise there were no insides! Score for me, not for Peanut.)

2.) pat the chicken dry with paper towels – super important for crispy skin
3.) shove a bunch of lemon quarters and whole garlic cloves into the chicken’s asshole.  if you have some butcher’s string, tie the legs shut

quartered lemon and cloves

4.) coat chicken skin with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, maybe rosemary if you are feeling fancy.  if you have any other fresh herbs you can also put them in the asshole, sticks and all. (I wasn’t feeling fancy-also known as, my local grocery store didn’t have Rosemary. So, my chicken only got salted and peppered.)

5.) place in roasting rack in a pan, maybe with some sliced onion and carrots in the bottom for aromatics.  if you don’t have a rack, you can make a bed of onion slices and put the chicken on it. (I bought a rack! And I didn’t want carrots so I put red potatoes in their place.)
 

tada

Finished!

7.) chop it up and serve!  I like to serve it on a bed of spinach, but you can serve it with rice, or potatoes, or other veggies or whatevs!

I ended up cooking it for an hour and fifteen minutes. I  served it with the  potatoes. The chicken was great! Crispy skin and very juicy.  My potatoes however were a little overcooked. They started burning about halfway through and stuck to the bottom of the pan. I will definitely try this recipe again. Next time I’ll lose the rack and cook the chicken on a bed of a variety of veggies. I’ll also remember to take a final pic before devouring it >.< Thanks for the recipe, Jim!

Hi, I’m Soph

16 Jan

I only know how to cook a handful of things. Pastas with jarred sauce (never homemade),  George Foreman grilled chicken and burgers, oven roasted potatoes, pancakes, and eggs.  Pretty pathetic, eh? I know. So, I’m  making a pledge. I’m going to try a new recipe every week to better my cooking skills and expand my recipe collection. Everyone always says “if you can read directions, you can cook”. Well, let’s hope so!