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Pasta Abruzzese: Penne with Sausage, Fennel, and Tomato Sauce March 31, 2011

Filed under: Rachael Ray — kariryerson @ 3:55 pm

This dish came from Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute-Meals. The texture was interesting because I put the onion and the fennel in the food processor. I liked how small it made everything but it was almost a gritty texture since I am used to a larger dice. The flavor in this dish was surprisingly mild.


  • 1 lb bulk sweet sausage
  • 1/2 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped or processed with fennel (I broke out the food processor)
  • 1 bulb fresh fennel, tops trimmed and first layer of skin pulled away, quarter the bulb, then process or chop into fine dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • A handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lb penne cooked until al dente


Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up and browning the crumbles. Remove sausage to a bowl lined with paper towels and let stand to drain away grease. Return pan to heat.

Add onion, fennel and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, giving the pan a shake now and then. Add broth and tomatoes. Heat through. Dump sausage back in and add parsley. Stir while bringing to a boil. When sauce bubbles, droop heat to low and let simmer until pasta is ready to toss with sauce and serve.


Stove-Top Stuffed Peppers March 19, 2011

Filed under: Rachael Ray — kariryerson @ 9:02 am
This recipe came from Rachael Ray’s: 30-Minute Comfort Foods but it was in no way a 30 minute meal! It took me closer to 45 when it was all said and done and as the picture shows it made WAY too much stuffing. I found the small amount of peas didn’t add much to the dish but overall I really did enjoy it.

Quick Tomato Sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried (I used fresh)
  • 15 oz can low salt beef broth
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Handful chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
For the stuffed peppers:
  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 6-7 medium bell peppers, red/green or 3 of each
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork, and veal mix (I only had beef)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup quick tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Put 2 pots of salted water on the stove to boil before you begin this recipe – 1 small pot with 2 cups water and 1 large pot with 4 cups water.

In a saucepot over medium heat, saute garlic and crushed red peppers in olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes to begin sauce. dd remaining ingredients, bring to a bubble, reduce heat, and let simmer over low heat.

Add rice to small pot or boiling, salted water. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Cut tops off peppers and scoop out seeds. Cut an X in the bottom of each pepper. Place pepper in large pot of boiling, salted water, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove peppers and drain upside down on paper towels.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground meat in olive oil. Add bell pepper and onion, cover, and cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. When rice is done, add to meat and stir in 1 cup of sauce, peas , mozzarella, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove filling from heat. Place the pot you emptied after cooking the peppers back on the stove over low hear. Cover the bottom of the pot with a layer of sauce. Stuff peppers with filling and place upright in sauce in top Top each pepper with a little extra sauce and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.


Quick Coq au Vin March 17, 2011

Filed under: Rachael Ray — kariryerson @ 9:48 am

While this tasted good, I don’t think it in any ways stands up to a regular Coq au Vin. The real dish needs the time to build the complex flavors that I associate with it. I also found this dish to be a lot more like a soup than I would have liked. It is from Rachael Rays: 30-Minute Meals.


  • 4 pieces chicken breast
  • 2 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt and cracked back pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (many produce departments sell packages of pre-sliced, ready-to-use mushrooms.)
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups good, dry, red wine
  • 14 oz can no-fat chicken broth
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stem and chopped (I used dried)
  • 3 to 4 tbsp tomato paste

Giant Garlic Croutons:

  • 1 baguette, cut into 2 inch thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic


Cut breasts and thighs into large chunks. Mix flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Dust the pieces of chicken with the seasoned flour. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown and crisp the chicken pieces by cooking for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken. Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic to pan. Give the pan a shake every minute or so. Cook onions and mushrooms down for 5 minutes. Add red wine. Scrape up all the good bits of gunk off the bottom of the pan. Add chicken broth. Return chicken to pan. Sprinkle pan with a generous amount of fresh thyme. Bring to a boil. Stir in tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until broth begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.

While chicken finishes cooking, broil bread rounds, completely dry, on cookie sheet. Evenly brown the bread rounds on both sides. Remove from oven. In a small dish or bowl, microwave the olive oil and garlic for 30 seconds on high. Brush the oil over the toasted french bread rounds.

To serve, set the garlic croutons in the juice all around the edge of the skillet of chicken. Bring the whole pan right to the table and serve it right from the hot pot.


Quick Cassoulet March 15, 2011

Filed under: Rachael Ray — kariryerson @ 9:16 am

This was a very delicious meal. I am a huge fan of sweet Italian sausage and love finding new ways to add it into meals. I don’t like to cook them whole and slice later as I find the dish an get greasy and the meat cooks unevenly so I break it into large chucks out of the casing and use the natural fat rather than oil to cook. This is from Rachael Ray: 30-Minute Meals


  • 2 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 2 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 4 sweet sausages
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans
  • 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stem and chopped (I used dried since I had it on hand)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can no-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

Giant Garlic Croutons:

  • 1 baguette, cut into 2 inch thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic


Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces. Heat a deep pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and whole sausages and diced chicken to pot (I don’t use oil as the sausage releases enough fat, I also take it out of the casing and create large crumbles). Brown for 5 minutes. Remove sausages and chicken; set aside. Add a second tbsp of olive oil (I use the oil from the sausage). Cook carrot, celery and onion for 5 minutes, frequently giving the pot a good shake. Add garlic. Douse pan with wine and scrape up all the good bits of gunk. Add beans, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper, tomatoes, and broth.  Slice sausages into bite-sized pieces and return sausages and chicken to pan to finish cooking. Bring dish to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

To make croutons, broil bread rounds, completely dry, on cookie sheet. Evenly brown the bread rounds on both sides. Remove from oven. In a small dish or bowl, microwave the olive oil and garlic for 30 seconds on high. Brush the oil over the toasted french bread rounds.

To server, set the garlic croutons into the juice and all around the edge of the skillet of cassoulet. Bring the whole pain right to the table or counter and serve it right from the hot pot.


Cashew! God Bless You Chicken March 13, 2011

Filed under: Rachael Ray — kariryerson @ 12:06 pm

I am always a bit weary of a recipe that calls for Hoisin sauce as I find it a bit sweet. I added extra red pepper flakes to balance it out and I found I really enjoyed this Rachael Ray: 30-Minute Meals recipe. I also used to hate water chestnuts but I added them anyways and found that I liked them in this dish.


  • 1 box jasmine rice (I used regular white rice)
  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
  • Combine in bowl with
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and mashed
  • 2 tbsp rice wine, rice vinegar, or dry sherry (I used dry sherry)
  • A couple shakes of crushed red pepper
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 can (about 7 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 3 heaping tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • A couple handfuls cashews
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced on an angle


    Following directions on box, start rice.

    Heat oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat until it smokes. Add carrot and stir-fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the coated chicken and cook another 3 or 4 minutes. Toss in the bell pepper and chestnuts. Heat through for 1 minute. Add the Hoisin and toss to coat evenly. Dump chicken out over a bed of jasmine rice and top with cashews and green onions.


    Southwestern Chicken and Black Bean Burritos March 11, 2011

    Filed under: Rachael Ray — kariryerson @ 1:05 pm

    Chicken and black beans are a match made in Mexican food heaven. I found that the BBQ sauce in this recipe made it a bit sweeter than I would like but overall the flavor was great. Oh, and I added cheese! This came from Rachael Rays: 30- Minute Meals


    • 2 full chicken breasts (or 4 smaller halves)
    • 1 tsp each chili powder and ground cumin
    • A couple of shakes of cayenne pepper sauce
    • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 medium (Spanish) onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 3 tbsp your favorite barbecue sauce
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • 1 heart of romaine, shredded
    • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
    • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    • 10-12 inch flour tortillas


    Rub chicken with cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper sauce. Heat griddle pan to high. Cook the chicken breasts about 4 minutes on each side and remove from heat (I chopped my chicken before cooking to make it quicker).

    While chicken is cooking, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Go once around the pan with oil. Cook onions and garlic until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add beans and barbecue sauce.

    Chop cooked chicken breasts and drop into barbecued beans. Heat mixture through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

    Pile chicken and beans on tortilla. Top with lettuce, green onions, and tomatoes. Wrap and enjoy!


    Red Beans and Rice March 9, 2011

    Filed under: Rachael Ray — kariryerson @ 12:31 pm

    This recipe is from Rachael Ray’s  30-Minute Comfort Foods (can you tell I like that cook book?). I only learned to like beans in the last couple of years and find that I am partial to black beans more than any other kind though I am willing to try others. This meal was pretty good but I don’t like ham in general so I would probably not add it and use more sausage if I made this dish again.


    • 2 cups water
    • 1 cup enriched white rice
    • 15 oz can red kidney beans
    • 1 tbsp veg oil
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 lb andouille, chorizo or linguica sausage, diced (I used andouille)
    • 1/2 lb smoke ham, diced
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 cup chicken broth, or half a 12 ox bottle of beer (I used beer)
    • 2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika
    • 5 or  drops cayenne pepper sauce
    • 5 or 6 drops Worcestershire sauce
    • Course salt and black pepper, to taste
    • 4 scallions, thinly sliced


    Place a small saucepan with the 2 cups water on the stove and bring water to a boil. add rice and bring water back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and let stand (I used a rice cooker instead).

    While rice cooks, prepare meat and vegetables. Drain and rinse beans and set aside. Place a deep skillet or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and butter. Saute meat bits 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion, celery, garlic, and bay lead. Cook vegetables 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Deglaze pan by adding chicken broth or beer – scrape up all the good stuff from the bottom of the pot. Add red beans. Allow liquid to reduce by hald.

    Add cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper sauce and Worcestershire. Add cooked rice to pot and coast evenly with pan juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with chopped scallions.