One of my mom’s favorite dishes to make is her meaty tomato sauce. She uses Italian sausage as her meat of choice. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of sausage (I would eat white meat, fish, and veggie meals any day of the week over sausage, red meat, pork, etc), but I do have to admit her sauce is good. Together, we make a sauce that includes store bought sauce (to add some simplicity), Italian sausage, green peppers, mushrooms and onions. It’s great! (and I get my veggie fix).
We ended up tossing it with some angel hair pasta (the pasta we had on hand). Usually we do penne, but realized we didn’t have enough.
Meaty Pasta Sauce
Italian sausage links (I think our package had six)
favorite jar of tomato sauce
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
mushrooms, sliced (as much as you want)
– Cut up and brown Italian sausage in skillet on medium heat. (Don’t need to add oil to pan–the sausage has its own natural oils)
– When browned, remove sausage from skillet (place in separate bowl).
– Add oil to pan, if necessary. Saute onions, pepper, and mushroom until softened.
– Add sausage and tomato sauce into skillet and let simmer a couple minutes so all the flavors meld together.
– Toss with favorite pasta and enjoy!
What’s your favorite pasta sauce?
One of my mom and I’s favorite meals to make is risotto with shrimp and vegetables. We usually throw in whatever vegetables we have in the house. This week, my mom started the risotto, then when I got home from work, we walked to the local farmer’s market. We picked up some tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, and zucchini. The first day we made the risotto, my mom was too hungry to wait for the mushrooms and zucchini to cook, so we didn’t add it until day two. Both dishes were delicious, but day two was much more colorful! Also, for those who think risotto is hard to make, it’s really not!
Shrimp and Vegetable Risotto
About 24 shrimp, pealed, deveined and shelled
1 small onion, diced
1 cup risotto, uncooked
3 cups chicken broth
2 medium tomatoes, diced
10 cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 medium zucchini, diced
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
– Coat large skillet with extra virgin olive oil and toss onions into skillet. Saute until softened. (Make sure to use LARGE skillet)
– Put risotto into skillet. Add one cup of chicken brother and stir. Keep stirring until almost absorbed, then add another cup of chicken broth. Repeat again with the third cup. Keep stirring until the rice is puffed up, soft, and chicken broth is FULLY absorbed.
– Toss chopped tomatoes in with the risotto.
– Chop shrimp up into 3 pieces per shrimp (or keep whole, however you like to eat your shrimp).
– Remove large skillet from heat and place medium skillet on heat. (Or if you’re good at multitasking, you can complete these next steps while the risotto is cooking. Either way, you still need an additional skillet otherwise the large skillet will be too overcrowded for the shrimp and veggies to cook properly). Coat the medium skillet with extra virgin olive oil.
– Toss the shrimp into the medium skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the shrimp is pink.
– Toss in the mushrooms and zucchini. Saute until softened.
– Toss the ingredients from the medium skillet into the risotto in the large skillet.
This dish is so versatile because you can add in whatever you have on hand. If you add garlic, add it in with the onions in the beginning. For all other vegetables or add ins, do that after the risotto cooks.
I have found a new obsession: english muffin pizzas. I haven’t been this excited about something I’ve been in awhile, but these are awesome! I had very low expectations, but I just loved how they tasted on how easy they were! They’re so customizable too! You can add whatever you want to them. I add some jarred tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
English Muffin Pizza
1 English muffin per person
favorite tomato sauce
toppings of your choice! (I did green peppers, mushrooms and onions)
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
– Cook your toppings. (If following my pizza, dice green pepper, mushroom, and onion. Cook onion in pepper in skillet over medium high heat. Add mushroom about 5-7 minutes later. Cook until all veggies are tender.)
– Split English muffins in half and place on baking sheet. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Take out of oven and top with tomato sauce, then sprinkle with cheese, and top with rest of ingredients. (Make sure not too add a huge amount of tomato sauce–the crust might get soggy). Cook 11-13 minutes until English muffin is crispy and cheese is melted.
Personally, I don’t like that much cheese, but my mom does like it, so I added some more cheese to hers on top of of the veggies.
They tasted delicious! Just the write serving size. I had some extra veggies and tomato sauce, so I’m going to serve those up with some pasta tomorrow.
One of my mom’s favorite dishes at restaurants is chicken piccata. I’ve attempted to make it a few times, and finally had some success! I was in such a frenzy cooking it, though, that I forgot to take pictures! Luckily, the dish made enough that we had leftovers, and I was able to take a picture of the reheated plate. It doesn’t look as spectacular as it did day one, but it tasted just as great! I would highly recommend using low sodium chicken stock. We didn’t have any in our pantry (we just had regular chicken stock) and I find it to be a little salty.
Chicken Piccata with Pasta and Mushrooms
6 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta
5 teaspoons flour + more for dredging
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
10 oz sliced mushrooms
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons parsley
– Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
– While pasta is cooking, whisk flour and 2 cups chicken broth until combined.
– Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour. Heat 2 tsp oil in large skillet over medium heat, and cook chicken until browned on both sides and no longer pink in the middle (about 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness).
– Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Add 1 tsp oil to skillet and heat on medium-high. Add mushrooms to skillet and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.
– Add 1/2 cup broth and garlic to skillet and cook about 2 minutes. Add flour-broth mixture. lemon juice, and sprinkle of salt. Cook about 5 minutes, until broth is thickened.
– Stir in capers, butter, parsley, and mushrooms. Toss the pasta in with the sauce.
– Serve the chicken on top of the pasta and sauce.
Like I said, it looked much prettier day one, but it tasted great both day 1 and 2!
For dinner tonight I made a dish that used boneless pork chops and was topped with an onion, orange, and brown sugar sauce. It tasted great! I got inspiration for the recipe here. I decided to serve the dish with potato and zucchini pancakes (which I’ll talk about in my next post) and some frozen mixed veggies. Everything tasted great, but cooking everything ended up being more time consuming than I’m used to–everything took about an hour and 15 minutes to set up and cook.
Pork Chops with Orange and Brown Sugar Sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 boneless pork chops
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup orange juice (I used juice of 1 medium orange)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
– Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
– Sprinkle pork chops with black pepper on each side. Add to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until slightly browned. Cooking times varies depending on thickness of chops.
– While pork chops are cooking, gather the rest of the ingredients. When pork chops are finished, remove from skillet and cover to keep warm. (I like to set the pork chops on paper towels to soak up some of the excess oil).
– In the same skillet, cook the onion for about 3 minutes, or until tender. Push the onions to one side, remove skillet from heat, and add orange juice and sugar. Then, place skillet back over heat and cook for another minute or so until sugar is dissolved. Stir the onions back in with the sauce, then place over pork chops.
I happen to really like cooked onions, so I was happy with the quantity, but you can always add less if you aren’t the biggest fan. Also, I was looking for a little bit more orange taste, so I would recommend increasing the orange juice quantity. This may also be because I used the juice of an actual orange and orange juice from a carton may have a stronger orange taste. As I said before, I served with potato and zucchini pancakes.
What’s your favorite way to serve pork chops? I’m always looking for new suggestions!
My mom and I really like having stuffed bell peppers for dinner and usually I use brown rice as my grain of choice, but this time I decided to use quinoa. I used water to cook the quinoa in, but I think next time I’ll use chicken stock or vegetable stock to add some more flavor. Also, I used a bag of frozen corn and heated it up ahead of time, but fresh corn would work as well. Unfortunately, the one pictured on the left toppled over, but it still tasted delicious!
Stuffed Bell Peppers
4 large bell peppers, stems cut off and seeds removed
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 16-oz bag frozen corn
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
pinch of salt and pepper
juice of 1 lime
sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
– In a large pot, boil peppers until they are tender (about 5 minutes). Remove from pot and place on towel to dry.
– Cook quinoa according to package directions. For mine, I rinsed the quinoa, put it in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, brought it to a boil, then lowered the heat to medium and let it cook for about 10 minutes until all the water was absorbed.
– If using frozen corn, heat in the microwave. If using fresh, add in with the black beans in the next step.
– While the quinoa cooks, heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add in onion and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, until tender. Add in red bell pepper, spices, and black beans. Stir in corn (fresh or frozen).
– Stir in lime juice and cooked quinoa.
– Place bell peppers in baking dish (I used a loaf pan), and fill peppers with mixture. Top with sprinkle of cheese.
– Cook for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minute before serving.
^^That’s how they look when finished! I ended up only making two and have TONS of filling leftover. I think I’ll add some shrimp, tomatoes, and avocado for a meal for tomorrow!
So for dinner last night, I made a delicious, healthy meal of tilapia and veggies. It was super easy and basically the only work was cutting stuff up! Since I was only cooking for my mom, we’ll have a lot of leftovers, but we both decided we’re okay with that since we liked the meal so much! We both love tilapia since it’s so easy to cook, so this is a great go-to recipe. I got the inspiration for the recipe here.
Tilapia and Veggies
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
One 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch of salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 pound of tilapia, cut into 1″ chunks
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
– In a large skillet, cook onion, celery, zucchini, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender – about 5 minutes. (Make sure to use a large skillet, because there are a lot of veggies! I made the mistake of using a smaller one and it took longer to cook and wasn’t as even.
– Stir in undrained tomatoes, salt, paprika, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
– Discard bay leaf. In a small bowl stir together water and cornstarch.
– Stir cornstarch mixture and fish into tomato mixture. Simmer over low heat 5-7 minutes or until thickened and fish flakes easily with a fork.
This ended up making about 6 servings. I served it over brown rice and it was delicious! The rice absorbed all the flavors of the sauce and tasted great. Since I used a medium and not large skillet, it ended up taking about 45 minutes, but with a larger skillet, the veggies would take less time to cook.