Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Mom's Sausage Sauce with a little something extra from me!

My Mom's Sausage Sauce...
with a little something extra from me!

First comes the recipe for this delicious sauce!


1 1/2 medium onion chopped

4 tsp minced garlic

pure olive oil

2 lbs of crumbled sausage

5 large cans of Hunt Sauce (29oz each)

1 large can of Hunts Paste (18oz)

1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil or parsley

2 tsp of fresh ground cinnamon (yes ~ cinnamon~)

Cook & Drain sausage. Once cooked rinsed and than crumble into small pieces. In a big pot, heat olive oil that will cover the complete bottom of pot, add in chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook until garlic starts to turn a brown. Than add sausage and cook some more (for about 5 minutes) than add cans of Hunts sauce and paste...also add a little bit of water to sauce. Bring that to a semi boil and add basil and cinnamon to sauce. Bring back to semi boil. Once semi boiling, cover pot and reduce heat. Cook for 4 hours!

I bet you can guess what I added in the recipe to make this all my own. Yep you guessed it, it is the cinnamon. I LOVE the taste of cinnamon! And seeing how this small amount that I added in this sauce ~ adds just the right sweetness this sauce was screaming for!

Did I even mention I love cooking with my mom! She just has this way around the kitchen, that everything she AMAZING (well everything except her ham...don't ever come a running if she mentions she is making ham). The older I got, the more I appreciated & enjoyed just watching her cook in the kitchen. It seems that whenever I go home, that's is where we always end up. In the kitchen ~ cooking some amazing food!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kick Ass Cola!

You can always count on us! For if it is 5PM...we are having cocktails! And seeing how I just LOVE to experiment with the wide assortment of alcohol we have, I do come up with some pretty wild ones!

This one featured here is called my "Kick Ass Cola" for as you guessed, it does have cola in it!

You take...

3oz of coconut rum

3oz of cola


3oz of raspberry/cranberry juice

Stir until blended

Pour over ice

Add three red raspberries


a nice juicy slice of lime!

All I can say is YUMMO!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day Three ~ Mrs. G's sausage & peppers

OK - this is not I recipe I can take full credit for. Nope. Not one bit. For it belongs to my long time & best friend since grade school ~ Gina ~ mother-in-law, Mrs. G! These sausage & peppers have become a family favorite in our household as I find myself making them as often as I can....
(and yes this photo is from this past Christmas)

3 1/2 lbs of sausage (boil to cook about a 1/2 hour ~ drain & rinse off boiled grease)

4 large green peppers ~ seeds, core, and stem removed than sliced


One 45oz Francesca Rinaldi Jar Sauce

(trust me once this recipe is done you'll never know that you used jar sauce & it another recipe to double, even triple to freeze for another day)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large glass baking pan, add some sliced peppers, add some sauce, and than some sausage to make a layer. Repeat this order until all ingredients are used up and you have a few layers of peppers, sauce and sausage. Cover with tin foil and cook for 45 minutes. Once time is up in the oven, transfer everything from glass baking dish to crock pot. than cook on high for about 45 minutes (or until it starts to bubble) than switch the temperature to low and cook for another three hours!

Now please remember that you can NOT miss-cross over-skip-or shorten on any of the steps in this whole recipe for they will NOT taste the same if you follow the recipe exactly (your cooking time could vary when in the crock pot but it will only vary slightly). Trust me ~ this recipe will soon become a family favorite and while it does seems a bit simple, it is very time consuming and a true dedication to the chef who is preparing it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Two ~ my twisted Asian dressing

It has taken me at least twenty different recipes ~ all trail & error ~ to come up with the I think is the best recipe for an Asian Salad Dressing! With using one ingredient from each of the twenty recipes I have tried and failed to taste, I finally came up with a keeper...

You take...

1/2 cup of sugar

3/4 of vegetable cooking oil

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

and a dash of ground ginger

Place all the listed above ingredients into a saucepan. While stirring, bring the mixture to a boil making sure the sugar & ginger have dissolved completely. Let dressing cool and refrigerate over night.

The next day, stir dressing until blended well ~ almost creamy ~ and top over crisp romaine lettuce with some blanched slivered almonds!

This recipe is truly a combination of ~ as I stated early in this post ~ 20 recipes! With every recipe tried, the dressings never tasted what I felt Asian dressing should taste like...something sweet with a bit of a zing and it should be creamy & I mean creamy. I first tried out my newest creation on my mom when she came down for a visit this past March and I truly think she was taken by surprise how good it actually tasted! For she ate several bowls of lettuce that weekend...always using my dressing.

I always tend to double this recipe for it is a hit with everyone who tries it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day One ~ my mom's pizza sauce

Today I once again made my mom's fabulous home made pizza sauce {and added a little twist of my own}. This is not the first time I have tried her pizza sauce recipe but it is the first time I have made it using these ingredients...

4 - 29oz cans of Hunt's Tomato Sauce

3 - large yellow onions (diced)

Pure Olive Oil

Dry Celery Seeds to taste

In a large pot over medium high, heat olive oil (only use enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your cooking pan and to cook the onions in). Once heated, throw in your diced onions. Cook until they are golden brown but not burned. Than add your tomato sauce. *Make sure you get all of the sauce out of the can even if it means adding a little bit of water to the can and swishing the water around the can to get all of the sauce out and add the water/sauce mixture as well to the cooking onions and sauce* Than add the celery seeds to taste ~ I truly don't measure my seasonings...I just put in a little, stir it all up, than taste. If I feel it needs more, I add more but only a little bit at a time & repeat stirring ~ don't want to over whelm the sauce of celery seed taste ~ Let the whole thing come to a small boil and stir. Let it cook about another 3 minutes at a small boil and than turn off burner. Let it sit about another 3 minutes and than your pizza sauce will be ready!

Now in case you are wondering "How much pizza sauce does this recipe make?" And the answer to that question is "a lot!" But what's great about pizza sauce is that it is so easy to refrigerate and/or freeze for later date!

I first made this recipe right after my family & I moved into our new home in the beautiful suburbs of Washington DC. My mom came down for a visit the following weekend of our big move and after going out for the pizza the night before and spending $80 on two glasses of wine, one draft beer and three medium pizza at a local bistro, I knew that our days of eating pizza out here where numbered. So with my mom's help, and start of the recipe (the tomato sauce, onions, and olive oil) I added a little twist of my own and there you have it ~ my homemade pizza sauce!

My mom has had me add basil, cilantro, and even celery leaves to her recipe (in place of the celery seeds) ~ which in my opinion the celery leaves truly make one hell of a pizza sauce. I also tried on my own some green onions (seeing how I had a ton left over from some potato soup I was making) which was also very tasty, but after trying the celery seeds today (because I didn't have any celery leaves to use) I think I finally found the perfect ingredients for making pizza sauce!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How I gotten myself here....

Oh where does "this" all begin? I guess I can only say that after coming from a long line of some pretty fabulous cooks {from both sides of my LARGE Italian family tree}, being a person who truly LOVES to eat, and finally having a beautiful family of my own to cook for...I now find myself loving the many adventures of cooking!

It has taken me almost 40 years to get to this wonderful place of where I am currently at in my culinary life, for it has been for many years that I was not the "Most Likely To Succeed" in the kitchen. Lets just say that after moving out of my grandmother's/mother's house at a ripe old age of 24 {and moving a full two states away}, it was only than that I had to learn how to do my own laundry, make my own bed, and yes do my own cooking. I tried, believe me, I tried to channel the great cooks of my ancestral history but I always came up short ~ very short.

After our first daughter was placed into our arms {through the miracle of adoption back in 2005}, I knew that I must try and be the 'best mom' I could be. My grandmother & mom raised me on home cooked meals. Seriously! I had never eaten processed food or sauce from a jar in all my years of living at home. Everything was homemade and I wanted to do the same for our daughter, Francesca and my wonderful husband, Keith. I started out with easy recipes and with a lot of help from my very-talented Italian mom, Elissa. With her patience & amazing ability to make almost everything that touches your mouth delicious ~ and ~ my artistic creativity, our old family recipes started to take on a life of their own.

So it is now that I want to document many of these fabulous recipes I have made/or plan to make over the next several...days, weeks, maybe months or do I dare say it even years to share with my family and friends. I have commented myself to posting one day one recipe that I have shopped for, cooked, and eaten. Even if it is the most simplest combinations of ingredients, I will post it here.