Recent Articles:

Grilled Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

April 28, 2016 Appetizer No Comments
peppers6

I first made this recipe as an appetizer for our family’s Easter dinner. I had wanted to somehow get lamb onto the holiday menu, and decided that ground lamb would be the easiest solution. After seasoning and browning the lamb with classic Mediterranean flavors (mint, thyme, rosemary, Italian seasoning and feta cheese), I used the mixture as a stuffing for miniature sweet peppers. The stuffed peppers were baked and were a huge hit, but I knew that they would be even better grilled.

After getting my grill up and running this past weekend, I wasted no time firing up the stuffed peppers over an open flame. The peppers softened and blistered beautifully, making this dish even better than the first go! You can substitute the ground lamb with ground beef, turkey or sausage if you wish. But if you are looking for a true Mediterranean flavor, give the ground lamb a try. It makes for a perfect outdoor grilled appetizer.

 

Grilled Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

8 oz ground lamb (you can substitute other ground meats if you wish)
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbspn olive oil
2 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tspn fresh thyme
1 tspn rosemary, finely chopped (I prefer to use ground rosemary)
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled feta (plain or flavored variety will work well)
1 dozen miniature sweet bell peppers

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add shallots, stir. Cook until softened and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, stir. Cook for 1 minute. Add ground lamb, mint, thyme, rosemary and Italian seasoning. Stir together. Cook until the lamb is fully browned, stirring occasionally. Once browned, drain excess oil, place ground meat into a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in feta cheese. Set aside to cool.

Slice off the top of the peppers, remove seeds and stems. Once the ground lamb is cooled, stuff each pepper with the stuffing mixture. Be sure to pack each pepper tightly.

Preheat your grill, making sure to lightly oil the grates. Once heated, carefully lay each pepper onto the grate over direct heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, carefully flipping occasionally, so that the peppers are evenly cooked on each side. Once the peppers are softened and slightly blistered, carefully remove and plate.

Serve immediately.

peppers2

Multi-colored mini sweet bell peppers.

 

peppers1

The cooked ground lamb, mixed with feta cheese.

 

peppers3

Prepping the peppers.

 

peppers4

Stuffing the peppers. Be sure to pack them tight.

 

peppers5

Cook the peppers over direct heat, until the peppers are softened and blistered.

 

peppers6

Ready to serve!

If you choose to bake the stuffed peppers instead of grilling, simply place the peppers on a baking sheet into an oven at 350˚ for 20-25 minutes, until peppers are softened.

Share

How to Remove the Foil from a Wine Bottle

April 22, 2016 Menu No Comments

Here’s a video demonstrating a tip that I recently learned from Cooks Illustrated on how to easily remove the foil from a wine bottle. Cheers!

Share

Mini Caprese Wonton Bites

April 7, 2016 Menu No Comments
image

I have been using wonton and egg roll wrappers for many of my quick appetizer recipes for a few years now. I’ve stuffed them with everything from meatballs and cheese steak to buffalo chicken and vegetables. While the end result is always a crowd pleaser, I will admit that the actual stuffing and prepping phase could be a bit tedious. It’s not complicated, but rather monotonous to spoon, fold/roll, seal and repeat.

This past weekend I found the sure-fire method for stuffing and baking wonton wrappers, which involves very little time, yet still produces an amazing snack. By using a mini muffin tray, you are able to set up, fill and seal the wrappers quickly and efficiently. For my first attempt at the mini-muffin tray method, I used the classic caprese pizza ingredients: fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil, each sliced into small pieces. After lining up the muffin tin with a wrapper in each cup, I placed a piece of mozzarella, tomato and basil in each, then folded the wrappers over, slightly pressing down on them to seal them shut. After a quick hit of cooking spray and 10 minutes in the oven, my family and I were treated to some great tasting home made appetizers.

The filling combinations for this method are endless…and I plan on experimenting and sharing the results with you along the way. Definitely be sure to give this trick a try for your next round of party appetizers. They’ll be a thousand times better than the usual store-bought frozen variety, and you’ll be sure to impress your guests. This is also a great recipe to get the kids involved with…especially with the stuffing and folding of the wrappers!

The basic ingredients: mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and wonton wrappers.

The basic ingredients: mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and wonton wrappers.

 

Step 1: Line a mini muffin tin with 24 wonton wrappers, one wrapper in each cup.

 

Step 2: Fill each cup with a piece of mozzarella, tomato and basil.

 

Step 3: Fold the wrappers closed. Spray with cooking spray and place in 400˚ oven for 10 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

 

Remove from pan, serve and enjoy!

 

Bet you can’t just have one!

Share

Italian Eggs in a Basket

March 24, 2016 Entrees, Menu No Comments
IMG_2510

Eggs in a Basket has been a fun and popular breakfast item for many years. Quite a few versions of this meal exist, from the quick and easy Toad in the Hole* (using a juice glass to cut a hole in the center of toast, then frying an egg in the center of the hole), to lining a muffin tin with hash browns and bacon, then topping with a scrambled egg batter before baking.

In my version which I am about to share with you, we will be using dinner rolls that are hollowed out and baked with an egg poured inside. While this is also a very popular and common version of Eggs in a Basket, I’m adding a bit of an Italian spin to mine. Before cracking the egg into the hollowed roll, I add a slice of provolone cheese to the lining of the roll, then fill it with a tablespoon of bruschetta (home-made or jarred will work well). I also like to sprinkle some fresh herbs, salt and pepper on top of the basket for additional zing. These extra ingredients add a beautiful flavor and texture to an already classic dish. With springtime  finally in the air and Easter Sunday just a few days away, this dish will make for a great brunch item to serve to family and friends…and it’s just as easy to make a single serving for yourself during the week!

Italian Eggs in a Basket

The recipe is per serving. You can make as many, or as little as you wish!

The basic ingredients: eggs, bruschetta and dinner rolls

The basic ingredients: eggs, bruschetta and dinner rolls.

 

Slice a small portion off of the top of the roll, then hollow out the roll. Keep the sliced top for dipping.

Slice a small portion off of the top of the roll, then hollow out the roll. Keep the sliced top for dipping.

 

Line the rolls with sliced provolone cheese, then with a teaspoon of bruschetta (home made or store bought).

Line the rolls with sliced provolone cheese, then with a tablespoon of bruschetta (home made or store bought).

 

Gently crack an egg over the top of the roll. Top with salt, pepper and fresh herbs (basil or Italian seasoning work well).

Gently crack an egg over the top of the roll. Top with salt, pepper and fresh herbs (basil or Italian seasoning work well). Place on a sprayed baking sheet.

 

Bake in a 375˚ oven for 25-30 minutes, until the eggs are set, or to preferred doneness. You can place under a broiler quickly for well done yolks.

Bake in a 375˚ oven for 25-30 minutes, until the eggs are set, or to preferred doneness. You can place under a broiler quickly for well done yolks.

 

Serve immediately.

Serve immediately.

 

Lightly toast the bread toppings for dipping. Enjoy!

 

*Note – there is also a British version of Toad in the Hole, which consists of sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding, served with vegetables and onion gravy. Maybe I’ll consider adding an Italian spin to that dish somewhere down the line….

Share

Recent Comments

  • Midge: I can attest to this dish being AWESOME! I got a "sneak pee...
  • Jann: Gorgeous remodel! I love the countertops, wondering what ma...
  • Contestchef: Your blog is impressive, thanks to the quality of your recip...
  • bristol plasterer: This sounds really delicious. thanks for sharing this. :-) ...
  • Dom: Awesome! Let me know how it turns out for you, Annamarie. - ...
powered by
Socialbar