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Sausage, Peppers and Rice

March 1, 2016 Entrees, Menu No Comments

Sausage and peppers is comfort food at its best. Whether served as a quick sandwich or plated as a meal, there is nothing quite like this classic combination. Today’s recipe takes these two ingredients to a new level by adding rice, tomato sauce and smoked cheddar. Prep time and cooking time are both fairly quick, so this makes for a great weekday meal. And while it no doubt serves well on its own, it makes for an even better filling for another fantastic dish that I’ll be sharing with you in my next post.

My wife and I are both big fans of chicken sausage, which is what I used while preparing this dish. Of course, you can use whatever type of sausage that you prefer. And while I highly recommend a smoked cheddar for this dish, the choice of cheese again is up to you. Regardless of what ingredients you choose to use, you can bet that this dish will be a hit.


Sausage, Peppers and Rice

Serves 4

1 lb ground chicken sausage (or your preference), removed from casing
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tbspn olive oil
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup shredded smoked cheddar (or your choice of cheese)
salt and pepper
2 servings of cooked rice (white or brown)

Start by preparing the rice according to the package directions (microwaving it will work fine for this dish). Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped peppers and shallot, cook until crisp tender. Add the ground sausage, stir. Cook until the sausage is fully browned, continuing to stir (this will help break up the sausage as it cooks). Once the sausage is fully browned, add the can of tomato sauce. Add the Italian seasoning, stir together. Let simmer for 10 minutes, until thoroughly heated. Add the cooked rice, stir together. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shredded cheese, stir. Serve and enjoy.



In my next post, I’ll show you how to incorporate this recipe into an amazing new eggplant dish!


A Little of This and Some of That: Thinking Outside the (Pizza) Box

February 4, 2016 Entrees, Menu No Comments

The big game is quickly approaching…it’s Super Bowl weekend, and I’m sure that many of you are already planning your game day party. No doubt that one of the signature foods that appears at big game parties, or any type of party or get together, is pizza. In today’s podcast I want to share with you some of my ideas and suggestions on how to put your personal touch on a home made pizza party, with a variety of ingredients and cooking methods…so today, we are thinking outside of the box…the pizza box, that is! Game on!



Crockpot Meatball Stew

January 31, 2016 Entrees, Menu No Comments

There is nothing quite as old-world or rustic as a hearty bowl of stew. To add a bit of an Italian flare to this dish, my family adds meatballs in place of the more traditional cubes of beef or lamb. This is a recipe that has been in my wife’s family for a few generations, and we still consider it one of our favorite comfort foods. Because our schedules are always so busy these days, I’ve adapted this dish to work perfectly in a slow cooker. By using a pound of pre-cooked meatballs (using your favorite meatball recipe, of course), and letting the stew cook on low for at least 8 hours, you can enjoy a delicious old-world meal with minimal effort!




Crockpot Meatball Stew

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 16-oz package frozen peas and carrots
1 29-oz can tomato sauce
1 can (29 oz.) of water (use the tomato sauce can to measure)
1 beef bouillon cube
Salt and pepper to taste
(optional spices – chili powder, crushed red pepper)1-lb cooked meatballs, rolled small

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook on low temperature for at least 8 hours. Add additional seasoning to taste. Don’t forget the crusty bread for dipping!


I was very honored to have this recipe featured in the January 2016 edition of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine. The magazine version appears below. Please be sure to check out all of the greatness that my good friends at RowHome have to offer at gohomephilly.com




Stuffed Sausage Meatballs

January 13, 2016 Appetizer, Entrees, Menu No Comments

Meatballs and sausage. Two staples on an Italian-American menu. Sunday gravy would not be the same without them! For today’s recipe, I’m combining the two into one, with a surprise stuffing in the middle. Mind-blowing, right? The easy thing about making sausage meatballs is that you don’t have to put as much effort or ingredients into it as you would a traditional meatball. The meat is already seasoned, and there are more fats contained within it to help hold the shape of the meatball without adding breadcrumbs and eggs. You can, of course, add these ingredients if you like. But they are not necessary. Another good thing about using sausage meat for meatballs is that there is a wide variety of sausages available. From your basic hot or sweet Italian sausage, to chicken or turkey sausage, to gourmet sausages filled with ingredients such as spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and feta. Dare I say you can even use the Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage substitute, if that is your preference. Any of these would make for fantastic meat for these sausage meatballs. And if you can find ground sausage loose (not in the casing), all the better! It will save you some time from cutting the meat out of the casing when you are ready to get rolling (see what I did there?).

I’m not going to get into specifics on ingredients for this dish, because you can really get creative and go in whatever direction you desire. However, I will list some interesting filling combinations that would work well with ground sausage. Keep in mind that you will need a decent amount of meat to surround the filling that you are using. Certain cheeses that you may decide to use may get very soft within the meatball. This is a good thing, but you want to make sure that the filling is fully encased, otherwise the cheese will ooze out of any crevices or openings within the meatball. You are looking at about 6 large meatballs per pound of ground sausage meat. To help contain the shape and texture of the rolled meatball, simply roll the meatballs into some breadcrumbs. This will also make for a nice, crunchy texture.

Filling Suggestions

For my sausage meatballs, I am using a nice chicken and cheese sausage that I bought from my local butcher, and am stuffing them with broccoli rabe and extra sharp provolone. Here are some of my other suggestions that would make for great stuffings in a sausage meatball.

Roasted Red Peppers
Sun-dried Tomatoes
Provolone Cheese (mild, medium or sharp)
Mozzarella Cheese (a smoked mozzarella would be fantastic!)
Feta Cheese
Black or Green Olives


Step 1: select your key ingredients. I’m going with chicken sausage, broccoli rabe and extra sharp provolone cheese.


Step 2: pat down a handful of meat, top with a small amount of filling. Do not overfill, otherwise the meatball may fall apart.


Step 3: roll the meatballs tight.

Step 3: roll the meatballs tight.


Step 3: roll the meatballs in breadcrumbs. Lightly spray, and bake at 375˚ for 45-50 minutes, until crispy.

Step 4: roll the meatballs in breadcrumbs. Lightly spray the meatballs, then bake at 375˚ for 45-50 minutes, until crispy.


Step 4: serve with a side of your favorite sauce and enjoy!

Step 5: serve with a side of your favorite sauce and enjoy!


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