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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Easy-As-Pie Greek Pasta

Sometimes you need a break from the same old boring Italian dishes (Not to knock Italian food - I love it). Try this easy Greek pasta dish to shake up your taste buds.

                                          Easy-As-Pie Greek Pasta

4 Greek sausages, sliced (Freeze sausages for 30 minutes to make slicing easier)
12 oz. penne or fusilli pasta
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup Feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup diced fennel
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbl spoons olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt/pepper to taste

Cook pasta per instructions (Usually 4 quarts boiling, salted water)
Preheat oven to 350.
In an oven-proof sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook sausage until almost done (about 15 minutes). Add onions, peppers, zucchini, fennel. Cook until onions soften (about 5 minutes). Add garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add olives, tomatoes, herbs and pepper flakes.

Reduce heat to medium and slowly stir in tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Add drained, cooked pasta and stir in. Cover with crumbled Feta cheese and place in oven until cheese melts and sauce thickens. (10 minutes)

Serves 4.
Serve with warm garlic bread. Try it with a nice Greek red wine. You can try Ouzo, but be prepared for a kick.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Savory Souithwestern Meatloaf Meatballs

I like meatloaf as a comfort food and I like meatballs, but sometimes meatballs are just too bland without pasta and red sauce. This recipe offers the best of two worlds - meatloaf savoriness in meatball form. Adding a bit of heat with Ancho chilis gives it a nice zing. Perfect for pot luck dishes or large gatherings.
                      Southwestern Meatloaf Meatballs


3# ground beef (85/15 or 90/10)

1 egg

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped celery

1 roasted Ancho chili, chopped

¼ cup breadcrumbs (1/2 cup if Panko)

¼ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp cumin

2 Tbl spoons tomato paste

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper


Sauté onion and celery until soft. Allow to cool. Crumble ground beef into bowl. Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Form into 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch balls. Place in greased baking pan or foil-lined sheet pan. Cook in 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Save juice.


2 oz flour

2 oz butter

4 cups beef stock

¼ tsp thyme

¼ tsp chopped rosemary

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Salt/pepper to taste

In large pan, heat flour and butter to form a roux. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until roux a light brown color. Add juice from meatballs and stock. Stir to avoid lumps. Add herbs, salt and pepper. Cook until thickens, about fifteen minutes.

Place meatballs in gravy and serve with mashed potatoes or rice.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fourth of July Apple Pie

I usually don't do deserts - too many measurements - but this apple pie is quick and easy and tastes great. I use Pillsbury packaged pie dough to save time, Their dough is consistent and tastes good.

                                                     Fourth of July Apple Pie

1 package Pillsbury pie dough
1 packaged pie crust
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
3 Gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 T butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 T All Purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix sugar, flour, and spices in a bowl. Place apple slices in a bowl and add lemon juice. Combine apples and spice mixture and place in a 9 inch pie shell.

For a nicely decorative ornate lattice top, cut pastry dough into 3/4 inch strips. It is better to assemble lattice on wax paper on a cutting board than on top of pie. Make sure dough is cold.  Lay 1 strip across middle of board. Cross with 2nd strip. Weave strips basket-like to edge of wax paper - 9 inches. If dough warms, return to refrigerator to cool. Reverse wax paper lattice strips on top of pie. remove wax paper. Melt butter and brush across lattice top. You can sprinkle on a little sugar for sweeter crust.

Cook in 450 degree oven for 10  minutes, and then reduce temperature to 350 and cook 30 minutes or until crust edges are brown. 

Allow to cool before slicing. A little whipped cream or ice cream over the top brings it up a notch.