Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spicy Sausage with Peppers

It's been awhile since I came across a recipe that both my husband and I really loved. Sure, there were recipes we both liked, but nothing recently had wow-ed us. Until I made spicy sausage with peppers.

I went back & forth over whether I should post this recipe. I didn't take a picture, and I like to post pictures of whatever dish I'm blogging about. Finally, my husband convinced me that I should, simply because we enjoyed it so much.

I hope you try it, even without being able to see a picture of it. You'll love it.

Spicy Sausage with Peppers

Inspired by Giada de Laurentiis and Rachael Ray

Serves 3-4
Prep Time - 10 min
Cook Time - about 30 min

4 Hot Italian Sausages
3 TBSP olive oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 bell peppers, seeded & sliced (I used red, orange, and yellow)
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
crushed red peper flakes, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
6 chopped fresh basil leaves
toasted buns*

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, 8-10 minutes. Add chicken broth to the pan to deglaze and cook for about a minute. Remove sausages from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions, peppers, garlic, salt, & pepper, and cook until onions begin to soften, about 6 minutes.

Return the sausages back to the pan and add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, and red pepper. Reduce heat to low or medium low and cook for about 10 minutes.

Serve sausages with peppers and tomato sauce on toasted buns.

*If you're not a fan of making these into subs, I'm sure this would be delicious over pasta.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

I always liked pulled pork sandwiches, but never really loved them. If Famous Dave's catered an event I was attending, I'd grab one, and enjoy it, but that was about it. Then, one day, I was reading a blog and came across a pulled pork recipe that looked alright, but piqued my interest in trying to make my own.

After eating these sandwiches, I'm proud to say that I'm firmly in the pulled pork camp. They were absolutely delicious and made my house smell so good when it cooked all day. I'd even go so far as to say they're better than Famous Dave's. And they really couldn't be easier.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

Rub adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Serves about 6
Prep Time - 15 min
Cook Time - 8-10 hrs


1 4-5 lb pork butt roast
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/8 cup water
1 cup barbeque sauce (I recommend Famous Dave's Rich & Sassy)

2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP oregano
2 TBSP paprika
1 TBSP sugar
2 tsp white pepper

Mix together the spice rub and rub it all over te meat. Double-wrap the roast in plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Unwrap the roast and place in the crockpot. Add liquid smoke and water.

Cook on low for 8-10 hrs.

Transfer to a cutting board and pull the meat with forks. If your roast is cooked enough, this should be incredibly easy. If it takes any effort, your raost probably isn't done enough.

Discard any fat and all but about 1 TBSP of liquid from the crockpot.

Place the meat back in the slow cooker and add a generous 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce. Cook for another 30-60 minutes.

Serve on toasted buns and top with more barbeque sauce, as desired.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I love bagels. I could eat them every single day. I've been annoyed lately how expensive they are in the grocery store, so I started wondering how difficult they would be to make. After searching around online for awhile, I came across a bagel recipe that starts in the breadmaker. Since I love my bread machine, I couldn't pass it up.

These bagels were super easy and they taste great. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to justify buying bagels again.

Recipe from Allrecipes
Makes 9 bagels

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP white sugar
3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Water bath
3 quarts boiling water
3 TBSP white sugar
1 TBSP cornmeal
1 egg white

Place water, salt, sugar, flour and yeast in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough setting.

When cycle is complete, let dough rest on a lightly floured surface. Meanwhile, in a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut dough into 9 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a small ball. Flatten balls. Poke a hole in the middle of each with your thumb. Twirl the dough on your finger or thumb to enlarge the hole, and to even out the dough around the hole. Cover bagels with a clean cloth, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle an ungreased baking sheet with cornmeal. Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water. Boil for 1 minute, turning half way through. Drain briefly on clean towel. Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. Glaze tops with egg white.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until well browned.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Maple Hot Wings

There is a restaurant in Iowa City called The Vine that makes amazing chicken wings. The best of their 10 flavors is the maple hot - or at least, that's the consensus in my family.

We've wanted to try to re-create these wings for some time, but haven't been sure where to start. Then, I came across a recipe for maple wings in my google reader and became inspired. While the end result didn't really taste much like the Maple Hot wings from The Vine, we both really liked these wings and will be making them again.

Maple Hot Wings
Serves 2
Cook & Prep Time - 20 minutes

6-7 whole chicken wings
, divided
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup lite soy sauce
1/4 cup barbeque sauce
1 TBSP minced garlic
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
2 serrano peppers, sliced
1 1/3 cups maple syrup
Oil, for frying

Heat oil to 375 degrees. (We do this in our deep fryer).

Meanwhile,in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic, onion powder, pepper, maple syrup, barbeque sauce, and serrano peppers. Bring to a low boil and simmer to allow it to thicken.

Fry the wings until cooked through (should be about 10 minutes).

Remove serrano peppers. Pour sauce over wings and shake to coat.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Up until about a year ago, I was convinced that I hated guacamole. There was just one problem with that opinion - I hadn't actually ever tried guacamole. Whenever it came on my plate at Mexican restaurants, I'd scrape it off or just ignore that weird looking green blob. At Chipotle, I'd simply pass on the guacamole option.

Then, one day it dawned on me that despite my belief that I hated the stuff and continual passing it up in restaurants, I hadn't ever eaten it. About six months later, I finally broke down and bought some. I was pleasantly surprised.

I hope you enjoy this guacamole recipe. I'll probably make it a little spicier then next time I make it, but overall, it's excellent and simple to make.

Serves 4-ish

2 small Hass avocados, peeled & pitted
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 serrano chili pepper, finely chopped
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)

Mash up avocado with a fork.

Add lime juice and blend together.

Add all other ingredients and stir until well-combined.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Twice-Baked Potatoes

I love twice-baked potatoes. They're just so creamy and wonderful. Unfortunately, I'd never made them before and those pre-made ones at the supermarket are usually mediocre at best. So, I figured I'd try my hand at making them as a side dish to to a roasted chicken.

So, after searching several recipes, I came up with my own combination of ingredients and was very pleased with the results. These potatoes were absolutely delicious - creamy, cheesy, and everything a twice-baked potato should be.

Twice-Baked Potatoes
Serves 3-4
Prep Time - 10 min

Cook Time - 1 hr, 30 min (mostly inactive)

2 large russett potatoes
2 TBSP butter, softened
1-2 TBSP half & half
3-4 oz cream cheese, softened & cubed
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
dash Cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Wash the potatoes and poke holes in them. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for about 1 hr at 400 degrees F.

Let the potatoes cool for a few minutes. Grab the potatoes with a towel or pot holder (so you don't burn your fingers) and cut the potatoes in half. Take a spoon and scrape out the insides into a medium bowl. Be careful not to tear the shell, but get as much of the potato out as you can.

Lay the hollowed shells out on a cookie sheet.

Add butter, half & half, cream cheese, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper and begin mashing to your desired consistency. I think keeping it a bit lumpy gives them a nice texture, but feel free to mash more or less, depending on how you like your potatoes.

Add the cheese to the mixture and stir until combined.

Scoop the filling back into the potato skins and keep going until the filling is gone. They should sort of form a dome on top of the potato shell. Sprinkle each potato with more shredded cheese, if desired, and bake about another 15 minutes, or until cheese gets bubbly.