Tag Archives: Olive oil

Roasted Veg

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Now that it’s summer, my kids and I commute together to work, because their summer camp is at my work.  Convenient, no?  

Kinda.  My commute is long.  35 miles long, one way.  It’s a rather boring, tree lined, “almost” interstate.  “Excitement” during my commute is my son making sure to point out all the road kill while my daughter yells “gross!!!”.  Alternatively, excitement can be had by me trying to find a radio station that isn’t “boring” or inappropriate for children under 11 years old.

Good times.  Times to cherish, or so I’m told.

I only partially kid, as my kids and I have wonderful conversations.  For example, we love to discuss the merits of autotune and whether a song is plagued by it.  Although, there may have been tears involved in the Katy Perry discussion. Katy would never autotune!

Anyway….on our way home, when I don’t have something pre-planned for dinner, I get to take everyone to the grocery store.   Joy!

As we are walking around the store, I come upon the large display of pre-made foods.  Row after row of buffets filled with items like salads, soup, meat entrees and vegetables. All for an astounding $8.99 per pound! Most stores have these “convenience foods”, but I walk by it.  The illusion of homemade without the work, I suppose. I just marvel because the ingredients that go into these items are conveniently located in the store for much, much less.  I try not to be judge-y. Lots of people don’t know how to cook, and this has to be better than something in a box. Plus, I know weeknights are hectic, high stress, and minimal time. Items like this help busy moms and dads put dinner on the table. But, I stopped at the tray marked “roasted eggplant”.  Really?  $8.99 USD for “roasted eggplant”?   The eggplants were only $1.99 a pound! There’s hardly any effort involved in “roasting”. Thus, a blog idea was born. Do not pay for roasted eggplant!! Except, my kids would never agree to roasted eggplant.  Lucky for me, my store had some beautiful, locally grown yellow and green pan patty squash.  So, pan patty squash would have to be a substitute.   They may not outright rebel against something so pretty. As an extra bonus, my husband loves pan patty squash.

You can use this “recipe” on almost any vegetable that you roast.  Even eggplant! To fancy it up, you could grate parmesan cheese on top just prior to serving. I’ve cut the vegetables in chunks, you could do thick slices as well. Whatever shape you like!

When you see how easy this is, you will never pay for roasted veggies again! You can totally do this!

Roasted Pan Patty Squash

Pan Patty Squash
Olive Oil (or any other oil of your choice)
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Consistently cut squash to 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces. Place pieces on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the squash so that it is well coated by the oil.

Bake for about 7-9 minutes, check the oven to see if the bottom of the pieces have turned brown, if so, use a metal spatula and flip them over. Do the same for the other side. Total time would be about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size vegetable pieces and the accuracy of your oven. Remove from the pan serve.

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Italian Sausage and Peppers

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My husband comes from New York City. I’m from below the Mason-Dixon line (albeit just barely) and he’s a chap from Queens. Needless to say, we shared very little in common food-wise when we met over 15 years ago!  He eats a lot more seafood now, and I eat more charcuterie. Not a bad tradeoff!!

Some of his favorite food memories revolve around the Italian cooking of his friends’ very Italian moms. Sausage and peppers are a particular favorite. I have severe and substantial reflux issues and the thought of tomatoes, spicy Italian sausages, peppers, garlic and onions gives me agida. I can actually feel my esophagus burning just typing the words. It’s a low carb, easily made dish and should totally be “in the rotation”. It’s a very traditional Italian American dish, right up my “traditional and simple” alley. Stupid reflux. So, we haven’t eaten sausage and peppers often, if really at all.

However, one of my very lovely neighbors dropped off 3 pounds of Italian sausages from a  famous Italian shop around these parts. Spicy Italian sausages, of course! Awesome, right?  I am very lucky to have such great neighbors!   Knowing these are far superior than anything you can get in the grocery store, I wavered. So, I am putting my pantoprozole (my reflux medicine) to the test and seeing how I do with what has to be the biggest challenge known to the heartburn afflicted: Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers.  I chased the peppers with some antacid pills.  No problems.  Yay!  Dodged a bullet there!

The dish is so easy. It’s made in one cooking vessel. Serve with a salad and you have an amazingly good, easy and quick weeknight meal.  If you love bread, pile this on some crusty French bread, top with mozzarella cheese, broil until the cheese is melted and have an awesome sausage and pepper sub!!

Sausage and Peppers
Serves 4-5
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Spicy Italian Sausage (mild works too!)
3 bell peppers (I used 2 green and one orange)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Heat oil in a sauté pan (I used a 4 quart). Place sausages in the pan and cook until slightly browned on both sides. Juices should run from the sausages, if not, prick a few so they do. Remove sausages from pan and add the peppers, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano. Cook until the vegetables are soft or your desired firmness. Return sausages to the pan and just before they are cooked through, add the tomato paste and combine. Simmer for a few minutes until the sausages are done.

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40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the main reasons I started this blog was to add some creativity to my cooking.  Day after day making and eating the same stuff was becoming tedious.  Old cookbooks give me great inspiration.   They don’t have 100s of ingredients using various and sundry appliances that I don’t have (or frankly, want).   If you google this recipe, you will see what modern chefs have done to it.   Some have made it ridiculously hard with lots of steps and expensive ingredients.  Frankly, it’s a travesty.  If you are tired of plain old chicken, give this recipe a try.  It’s easy, crazy good, and fairly cheap eats. If you are lucky and can eat carbs, this dish is made to have the cooked garlic smashed across some wonderful, crusty French bread. The bread can also be used to soak up the amazing sauce created by this dish.  If you are no carbing it, the smashed garlic is still wonderful to combine with the chicken.

Serve with a salad or steamed veggie and dinner is complete.

I’ve made this recipe to fit a 5 quart dutch oven.  The recipe is very scalable for other sizes. It’s adapted from James Beard’s 40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken recipe.
40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken

3 stalks of celery, rough chop
1 large onion, medium dice
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
7 chicken thighs (could be 6 or eight, whatever fits)
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper
40 cloves of garlic, unpeeled (or however many you have)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place celery, onion, tarragon in the dutch oven. Top with the chicken thighs. Pour vermouth over thighs, then pour the oil. Season thighs to taste.

Tuck unwrapped garlic into every nook and cranny.

Cover the dutch oven and bake until the chicken is done, about 60 minutes.

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