Friday, April 22, 2016

Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

(about 4 servings)

This is an easy and delicious pasta sauce. It's flavor depends primarily on the sausage you are using. I'm very fortunate to live near a butcher who offers a decent choice of well seasoned sausages.

If the fat content of your sausage is high, you might consider preparing the sauce the day ahead and refrigerating it overnight. That way you can easily remove the hardened excess fat from the sauce the next day.

1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb bulk (or casings removed) sweet Italian sausage 
1 28oz can whole plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
2-3 pinches red hot chili flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh chopped parsley, to serve

4 servings of your favorite dried pasta

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is lightly browned. Remove the garlic from the pan and set aside.

Crumble the sausage meat and fry until browned in the garlic flavored oil. Add the tomatoes, reserved garlic and the red hot chili flakes. Simmer gently until the sauce begins to thicken; about 20-25 minutes.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and keep warm.

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package.

Divide the pasta among 4 plates and top each with the sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Food Processor Meatloaf

(9x5 inch loaf)

Last week I swapped out my food processor and since then I've been chopping, slicing, shredding and mixing practically anything I can get my hands on. So far, I'm pretty happy with the results. My new machine isn't perfect, but it's performing much better than my previous one did.

I chopped practically everything for this meatloaf in the food processor. The vegetables, meat and cheese as well as the bread. Everything came together reasonably quickly considering I started off with a large piece of top round steak.

1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium onion
1 large bell pepper
1 3/4 lb top round steak
1/2 lb Gouda or smoked cheddar or a combination, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 slice bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp lemon pepper
3/4 tsp salt
leaves from 3 sprigs marjoram
2 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
2 slices of seeded, sourdough or rye bread
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup ketchup, divided
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

Equip your food processor with the cutting blade at the bottom of the bowl, cover and run the motor. Drop the peeled garlic down the chute (with the motor running). Remove the top and scrape down the sides if necessary.

Peel the onion and cut up into 1-2 inch chunks. Place into the bowl of your food processor, cover and pulse until they are chopped.

Add these to the frying pan and cook until the onion is translucent.

Meanwhile seed the bell pepper and cut up into 2 inch pieces. Process them in the food processor as you did for the onions. Add to the onion mixture and cook until the bell pepper has softened.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Cut the steak into 1 inch cubes. Place the meat into the bowl of the food processor. Add the cheese, bacon, thyme, smoked paprika, lemon pepper, salt and marjoram. You might have to do this in batches depending on the size and strength of your food processor. 

Pulse until the meat and cheese are finely chopped; about the size of fresh bread crumbs. Add to the mixing bowl. Add the ground flax seed if using.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Tear the bread into small pieces and place those into the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until you have bread crumbs. Add those to the mixing bowl.

Add the milk, half of the ketchup (2 tbsp), Worcestershire sauce and egg. Combine everything until it's evenly mixed.

Place the meat mixture into a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Spread the remaining two tablespoons of ketchup evenly over the top.

Bake the meatloaf in the middle of the oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the meatloaf registers 160°F. Remove from oven.

Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before slicing it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw

(about 4 servings)

Not too long ago I came across a post that suggested salting and draining cabbage beforehand would produce a nice crunchy coleslaw. Well, I happen to be one of those people who loves coleslaw especially after it's begun to wilt a bit. I usually slice my cabbage paper thin and prepare the coleslaw a few days ahead of time just to make sure I get the "right" texture.

If you slice your cabbage a bit thicker and consume it within a day or so, you can probably save yourself the time for salting, draining and squeezing the stuff if you enjoy yours on the crunchy side.

1/2 small cabbage, about 1 pound
1 carrot
1 apple
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp apple juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
2 tsp poppy seeds (optional)

Slice the cabbage either in a food processor, with a mandolin or by hand. Place into a large mixing bowl.

Shred both the carrot and apple and add them to the cabbage.

Combine the mayonnaise, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour this over the cabbage mixture and toss until everything is well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Sprinkle the poppy seeds over the salad, if using. Give everything a final toss.

Allow the salad to sit at least an hour before serving.