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Portuguese Chicken & Rice (Arroz com Frango)

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Spring is a funny time of year here in the Northeast.  Some days it’s sunny and you want to stay outside and grill and enjoy the beautiful day and the very next week, you can have 5 days of clouds and rain.  It makes for an interesting trip to the market when trying to plan out meals.  One thing that works rain or shine and really can provide some rainy day comfort is this one pot Portuguese dish, Arroz com Frango (Chicken & Rice)!

I have loved chicken and rice ever since I was a little girl.  What’s not to love right?  There is a juicy flavorful chicken combined with equally flavorful rice and potatoes, not to mention the nuggets of chouriço that are tucked away in there.  It’s really everything you could want from Portuguese cooking all in one spot.

This meal is also quite versatile.  In my house, my dad has always been a big fan of chicken legs, so my mom always made it with just legs.  And if you like that, great, make it just like we do!  But, if you prefer thighs or even breasts, this recipe accommodates that too.  Also, we make this with beer as many of my Portuguese recipes have, but white wine works well too and if you don’t keep alcohol in the house, just use some chicken stock.  It will still be delicious!  The key here is those main Portuguese spices, the crushed red pepper, the chouriço (which is used as much for its flavor as for the meat itself), the garlic and of course the Portuguese All Spice (which can be swapped out for sweet paprika in a pinch).

It’s an easy recipe that has something for the whole family.  Take a look at how I do it…

Start with some fresh chicken. I prefer legs for this recipe, but thighs would be great and if you only do breast, then that works too. I also prefer that it have skin as the skin imparts quite a bit of flavor. It can be removed after cooking if you like.

Start by searing your chicken. (Sorry this picture is so dark! It’s a big dark pot.)

You want to get every side.

Remove the chicken from the pot.

Peel and slice up some hot chouriço.

Chop up a large onion.

Saute the onion in the chicken fat you have just rendered. If not enough fat has been rendered, then you can add some olive oil.

Add in chouriço.

Get a few cloves of garlic.

Smash them with your knife and this makes the peel easy to remove. Add the peeled garlic into the pot.

Chop up about 6-8 potatoes… You want about one small potato per piece of chicken you are using or 1 large for every two pieces.

Add in a bottle of beer. Use that bottle of beer to measure out about 6-8 more of water. (white wine can be substituted for the beer)

Measure out your rice. This is NOT par boiled, medium grain rice. Uncle Ben’s does not work here, neither does any kind of quick cooking rice. Just good old-fashioned rice. I like River Rice.

Add rice into pot.

Add in one small can of tomato sauce.

And one to two heaping Tbs. of ground red pepper.

Add in a good pinch of kosher salt.

Add in Portuguese All Spice. If you don’t have this handy, add in about a tsp. of sweet paprika. (NOT SMOKY)

Keep an eye on it, if the rice needs more water. Once the potatoes have cooked through and the rice is plump and has absorbed most of the liquid, You are through.

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Portuguese Chicken & Rice (Arroz com Frango)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

3-4 lbs. chicken, skin on

8-10 small potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups medium grain white rice

1 large onion, diced

1 beer (or 1 cup white wine or chicken stock)

3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1 lb. hot chouriço, peeled and sliced

1 (6 oz.) can tomato sauce

2 Tbs. Pimenta moida (crushed red pepper)

1/2 tsp. Portuguese All Spice

1 Tbs. kosher salt

8 cups water

Instructions:

In a large heavy pot over high heat, sear chicken.  Remove chicken from pot and turn heat down to medium heat.  Add in onions, saute.  Add in chouriço and garlic.  Add chicken back in to pot.  Add in beer, water, rice, potatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, All Spice and salt.  Stir.  Cover and cook on low until potatoes are fork tender and rice has plumped to become fully cooked and absorbed most of the liquid.  Watch pot throughout cooking time, stirring and adding water if needed.  

*This is a gluten free recipe so long as white wine is used in lieu of beer.

Cover with some plain sauce just to keep the stuffing moist.

Portuguese Style Stuffed Peppers

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Stuffed peppers are a meal all in themselves.  They have protein, grain and vegetable all in one perfect package.  Adding in the chouriço, portuguese ground pepper (pimenta moida) and Portuguese Allspice really bring it into “Portuguese Style” territory!

These are great for a weeknight meal, to bring in to work for lunch or make some of the stuffing, freeze in an airtight bag and stuff fresh peppers whenever you get the inkling!

 

I like the red, orange and yellow peppers myself because they are sweeter, but if you prefer green, go ahead and use green!

Cut each pepper in half lengthwise. This will later lead to a more crispy top on your stuffing.

Seed the peppers removing as much of the white pith as you can.

Dice up a medium onion.

Fresh parsley is important here.

Chop it up.

Use one large can of plain tomato sauce. reserving about 1/3 of it for topping the peppers before they go into the oven.

The meat for this stuffing is made up of half ground beef and half chouriço.

Add in the onion.

Brown everything together in the skillet.

Once browned, add in 2/3 of the can of sauce.

Now add in a couple of cups of cooked white rice. If you prefer brown rice here, that’s fine, just be sure it is thoroughly cooked, this is not the time for aldente anything.

Add in some salt and pepper to taste and your stuffing is ready!

Select a baking dish that will comfortably fit the number of peppers you are looking to bake without being too tight.

Grease the baking dish with some oil.

Place your peppers with the cut side up on your baking dish ready for stuffing.

Stuff each pepper 1 and a half times its size so that it has a nice rounded top of stuffing.

Cover with some plain sauce just to keep the stuffing moist.

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Portuguese Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2-3 bell peppers, cut in half and seeded

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground chouriço

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups cooked rice

1 can tomato sauce

2 Tbs. parsley, chopped

1 Tbs. Pimenta Moida (ground pepper)

1/2 tsp. Portuguese Allspice

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Brown ground beef, ground chouriço and onion in a skillet over medium heat.  Drain if there is an excess of fat (a little fat is ok).  Add in Pimenta Moida, parsley and a little salt and pepper (don’t over do it here) and 2/3 can of tomato sauce.  Stir.  Add in cooked rice.  Stir.

Stuff filling into peppers and place in an oiled baking dish.  Top stuffed peppers with remaining 1/3 can of tomato sauce.  Bake for 30 minutes until pepper has cooked through. Serve hot.

***Gluten-free

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Basic Spaghetti & Meatballs

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It’s not often that you can find a meal that is as great as a Sunday dinner as it is a week night meal, but Spaghetti and Meatballs fits that bill.  We are talking REAL Spaghetti and Meatballs, the kind where you actually roll the meatballs with your own two hands.

I must make this dish a dozen different ways, but this is a nice basic recipe.  If you like to add parmesan to yours, feel free, if you like to add anchovies, go for it… But, this recipe is simple, not too complicated and because the meatballs are slowly simmered in the sauce instead of baked or pan-fried, they are nice and tender and help to flavor the sauce at the same time.

This sauce and these meatballs are also great when you make a big batch and freeze them!  So, put in the effort on a Sunday afternoon, have it for dinner, freeze the rest and a week later, you have a great Wednesday night meal!  Just boil up some more pasta and you are good to go!

Start with ground beef.

Grab some parsley.

Add in some bread crumbs.

Then some Worcestershire sauce.

Add basil and half and half to moisten the bread crumbs.

Saute some onions.

Add in an egg as a binder.

If you wet your hand, it’s easier to form the meatballs.

Make golf ball size balls.

Get them ready for the sauce.

In a large pan start with olive oil.

Saute some onions.

Add in some garlic when your onions are soft.

Next add in som San Marzano whole tomatoes. You really want the whole tomatoes here, because you know they aren’t just giving you left over scraps, these are good.

Add into your pot with your onions.

Take a potato masher gently to the tomatoes. If you go crazy here, you will be wearing tomatoes, so easy does it.

Get them good and mashed.

Now add in some tomato paste.

You need to give it time to melt in.

Mix it in well.

Add some Worcestershire sauce here as well.

Now a palm full of Italian seasoning mix.

Mix.

Gently drop meatballs in.

Make sure they are all nestled in well.

Get some sauce over top of them.

Cover and simmer on low.

Add in some parsley.

Stir it in.

Cook your pasta to package instructions for aldente pasta and drain.  I am using Barilla’s Spaghetti Rigati because it has ridges that help to hold on to the sauce!

Ladle in a ladle or two of sauce to coat pasta, do not over sauce!


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Spaghetti & Meatballs

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 lb. Spaghetti Rigati (or your favorite cut of pasta), cooked aldente to package instructions

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground beef

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 onion, small diced and sautéed until tender

1/2 cup half and half or whole milk

1 egg

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. Italian seasoning mix (optional)

Sauce:

2 large cans San Marzano whole tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

4 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. Italian Seasoning Mix

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 cup red wine (optional)

Directions:

For Meatballs:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Wet hands and form golf ball sized balls.  When sauce is ready, place in sauce and gently simmer.

For Sauce:

Saute onion in olive oil.  When tender, add whole tomatoes, mash with potato masher until broken down to your liking.  Add remaining ingredients.  Add meatballs, bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

To plate:

When pasta has come to aldente (after sauce is ready), drain and add in 2 ladles of sauce.  Coat pasta with sauce. Top with meatballs.  Serve hot and enjoy!

 

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Pablano & Cheese Stuffed Chicken

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Eating healthy can be tough if you don’t have an arsenal of yummy recipes to fall back on.  A low carb recipe is always great to have in your back pocket.  This may look crazy, but really it’s just baked stuffed chicken with a latin flare.  Shhhh… don’t tell.

To make this recipe you need some basic ingredients, boneless skinless chicken breast, fresh pablano peppers and a melting cheese of your choice.

Place your pepper directly on your flame or under your broiler if you have an electric range. The goal here is to get those char marks.

Cut your pepper in half length wise. Remove the seeds and stem.

Place your chicken breasts on a clean cutting board. If you have plastic wrap, grab a piece and place it over the chicken (I usually do this, but I was out of plastic wrap).

Pound out the chicken until it thins out without breaking through the flesh.

This is what you should get when you are through.

Sprinkle with some kosher salt.

Then crack some black pepper onto it.

This is a block of Monterey Jack cheese. Any good melting cheese would work here… Use a pepper jack if you want a little kick.

Normally I always shred my cheese, but for this recipe, I like to slice it up because I find it holds up better with both the chicken and the pepper.

Season the pepper with some salt.

Now stack it all up on the chicken.

And roll.

At this point if you have tooth picks, you could secure your wrapped chicken.

This is intended to be a low carb recipe, so I am just sprinkling with some panko bread crumbs.

Place them in a baking dish lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

Place a pad of butter on each. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until cooked through.

Place under the broiler for about a minute or two until you get some good color.

Pablano & Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

1 Pablano pepper, charred and seeded

6 oz. jack cheese (Colby, Monterey or Pepper), sliced

2 tsp. Panko bread crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs)

2 tsp. salted butter

kosher salt

fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

After chicken is pounded out thinly, season with salt and pepper, place 1/2 Pablano pepper on top, season with salt and pepper.  Then place sliced cheese on the pepper. Gently and tightly roll.  Secure with toothpicks if needed.  Transfer to a greased baking dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Place one pad of butter on each.  Bake 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from oven and start broiler.  Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until bread crumbs become browned.

Let rest a few minutes, enjoy!

***note, use gluten-free bread crumbs if needed.

And serve on a platter.

Pork Shoulder Boiled Dinner (Cozido)

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Ah the Boiled Dinner….  I think God invented the boiled dinner just for Sundays.  If you want to talk about an easy and delicious meal we need not say more than one simple word – “Cozido” (or Boiled Dinner).  If you’ve never made a boiled dinner out of intimidation, let me set your mind at ease because there literally could not be a less complicated, less stress free and less time-consuming prep time.

Growing up a good Cozido was always an option for Sunday dinner and it was such a treat.  My mother would always get her biggest pot on the stove and fill it with this amazing piece of smoked meat, onions, cabbage, potatoes and of course meat.  She would set it going when we got home from church and a couple of hours later we would have a feast.

The one and only downside to this is the price of the meat, at an average of $3-$5 per pound this 10+ pound piece of meat can get quite pricey just due to the sheer size of it.  What you need to do is look for a sale as I did!  I found a great deal on this one for $1.69 per pound and fed 10 adults with it!  Now that’s a great value!

One of the best parts of this meal is that you can add in anything you like really.  I see this one pot meal as Portugal’s answer to Ireland’s Corned Beef.  It’s got a great flavor that when boiled with other ingredients is enough to flavor the whole meal.   You can keep it simple as we do with onions, cabbage, potatoes and chouriço or you can add in carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips any hearty vegetable you like really.  Just be prepared for everything to take on that yummy smoky flavor.

I got a great deal on this smoked shoulder. Whatever you do make sure what you are buying for this recipe is a SMOKED shoulder, not a picnic ham, not a fresh shoulder, but a SMOKED one. The flavor is completely and totally different from fresh pork.

Cut open the packaging, drain and rinse under cold water.

You will likely find this mesh on the skin of your meat, this is meant to keep the meat all together and should be used in cooking. In their words, let it be (for now).

The great thing about this recipe is you can add or take away as many ingredients as you like. My family likes boiled onions, so we add in three good-sized onions. If you don’t care much for them, still add one in for flavor. If you would like more, go for it.

For this recipe, we want to be sure the onions stay in tact, so all that is required is peeling, don’t cut them up or they will melt right into the dish which is not the goal here.

To add in that Portuguese flavor, all you really need is one link of hot chouriço. I don’t peel for this recipe, I just add some slits along the bend of the chouriço.

Fill a very large pot with water. I am using my Pampered Chef Executive Stock Pot.

This may look funny, but some people in my family prefer potatoes with skins and some don’t. So, I do them both ways for this recipe.

Place your rinsed shoulder in the pot.

Now add in your onions and cabbage.

Add in the chouriço.

Cover the pot and boil. The shoulder is already pretty well cooked, so you are just really melting the fat a bit, heating it through and cooking the potatoes and other veggies… That being said, it is important to give the boil enough time to allow the flavors to infuse together. So, you will want this to come to a boil and then turn it down to a low boil for a minimum of 90 minutes.

Once done, remove the mesh from the pork.

And serve on a platter.

And serve on a platter.

Pork Shoulder Boiled Dinner (Cozido)

Serves 10

Ingredients:

1 10 lb. Pork Shoulder

6-8 potatoes, peeled (or not)

3 large onions, peeled

1/2 cabbage

1/2 lb. hot Portuguese Chouriço

Directions:

Place potatoes in the pot and cover with water.  Place pork shoulder in the pot and cover with water.  Add in onions, cabbage and chouriço.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat down and continue a low boil for 90 minutes to 2 hours.  Remove mesh from the meat and discard.  Enjoy!

*** Gluten-free

 

Tuck those in with the chicken as well.

Sweet Braised Chicken

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The challenge: Make a main course meal to include chicken, pineapple and chouriço.  Accepted. I belong to a super fun foodie group on Facebook and there was recently a “Chopped” type challenge issued by the admin. I love getting creative in the kitchen so decided to enter and take the Asian/Portuguese a.k.a. Hawaiian route.  And although I didn’t win as there were some pretty amazing entries, we were pretty happy around the dinner table eating this sweet and savory and slightly spicy dish!

Being the Portuguese American Mom I decided to add to the challenge by also making sure it was inexpensive  and easy to prepare come dinner.  The way I chose to do that was by first using  chicken thighs which I am pretty sure is the least expensive cut of chicken out there.  If you like chicken legs or breast, go ahead and do that, just be sure the skin is still in tact.  I then made this easy by infusing as much flavor as possible with a make ahead marinade, that way at dinner time it would just be a few minutes of grilling and pop it in the oven.  I even made my rice in the microwave! (fresh rice, from scratch)

All in all the contest was fun and something different to do on a hum drum February week.  I would like to thank Kerry, the admin for “Coastal Foodies”.  And congratulate all the contestants for the willingness to put themselves out there and have fun in the kitchen.  I got new ideas from each and every entry as I am sure many did.  The voting is all over and we are anxiously awaiting the winner!

I’ll take you through each step here.  We can start with the marinade:

 

This is the chicken. Wash this and trim each piece.

Nestle each piece in the marinade.

This is my Pampered Chef Grill Pan. I have lightly sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray.

The pineapples have had some time to dry out a bit as the chicken has been marinading in the fridge.

Lay out 5-6 pineapple slices on the grill pan. This will leave some pretty grill marks, but it also brings out the sweetness of the pineapple.

Flip to the other side.

Once you have nice grill marks on both sides, remove from pan, but keep pan hot.

Slice chouriço on a bias to create more surface area for grilling.

Place on hot grill and cook all the way through.

Once thoroughly grilled remove and set aside.

Reserve these for plating later.

Start grilling in a grill pan with a rim, skin side down over high heat.

Flip over to cook bottom for a bit before adding in liquid.

Add marinade into the pan.

Bring to a boil and add in ingredients.

Peel and cut garlic in half.

Add in to your pan.

Add white wine to your pan.

You should have 3-4 pineapple rings left in the can, wedge those in with the chicken and vegetables.

Take a few pieces of chourico and do the same.

This is what it looks like after the first 45 minutes.

Flip the chicken for the next 30 minute stint in the oven.

After 30 minutes, remove from oven again to flip chicken one last time to crisp up the top again. Place back in the oven for an additional 45 minutes.

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Sweet Braised Chicken

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

5-6 chicken thighs, washed and trimmed

1 16 oz. can sliced pineapple rings, juice reserved

1/2 lb. hot chouriço link, sliced

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 tsp. squeezable basil

1 Tbs. rice vinegar

1 Tbs. Sriracha sauce (optional)

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1 onion, sliced

10-12 sweet peppers, halved

1/2 cup white wine

salt and pepper

Instructions:

For the marinade:

Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, reserved pineapple juice from can, basil, vinegar and Sriracha sauce.  Whisk and place chicken in marinade.  Cover and place in refrigerator for 6-8 hours.

Grill 5-6 pineapple slices on both sides.  Grill chouriço.  Next, grill chicken on both sides until grill marks are formed and skin starts to tighten.  Add marinade into grill pan.  Add wine and garlic.  Bring to a boil, shut off stove.  Add peppers and onions throughout.  Add in a few slices of grilled chouriço and un-grilled pineapple.  Place chicken, skin side up, in a pre-heated 300°F oven for 45 minutes.  Flip chicken, cook an additional 30 minutes.  Flip chicken again and cook an additional 45 minutes.  Serve over white Jasmine rice and top with onions, peppers and pan sauce.

***Gluten-free This dish is completely gluten-free as long as you opt to use a gluten-free soy sauce.

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Beef Tostada

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I am always looking to save money.  Food is not cheap.  So, when I spend $23 on a roast, I like to be sure I get the most bang for my buck and re-heating the same ole dish night after night until the whole thing has been consumed to the point where I don’t want to think about making another roast for 3 months is not my idea of innovative left overs.  However, This tostada has transformed my left over pot roast into something completely new and delicious.  It has also enabled me to save time and money, both things I really appreciate as a busy mom of two very active toddlers.

I added exactly one ingredient to turn this beef into a Latin delight.  I then whipped up some Quick Mexican Black Beans, microwaved some rice in my Pampered Chef rice cooker, fried up some simple tortilla shells and got to work assembling.  All this was done in well under 20 minutes.  And you can’t tell me that looking at this dish, it doesn’t look a lot more time-consuming than that!  It’s almost, dare I say it, fancy looking for our Tuesday night dinner.  I put this on a plate in front of my husband and I quote… “Wow, WHAT is this?” was the reaction…. Now, tell me, when was the last time leftovers garnered that kind of reaction in your house?  Well, then maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit?

You will want to have a few things on hand of course. For me these things are all pantry staples, a can of beans, rice, Pampered Chef Chili Lime Rub, and  tortillas.  And from the fridge, some onions, peppers and sour cream.

These are 6″ white corn tortillas.

Start by heating some canola or vegi oil up to about 325°F in a small dutch oven. You want to make sure your pan will be able to accommodate the size of your tortilla and have a good amount of space between the oil and the rim of the pan to prevent over flow.

Once oil has come up to temperature, cook tortillas one at a time until golden brown, flipping half way through the process.

Drain on a paper towel or paper bag lined tray.

Salt while still hot.

I got fancy here at the end and cut a few tortillas up for garnishing chips on the top.

This is my left over pot roast. If you don’t have left over pot roast, you can always use left over steak or chicken or pork.

To serve 4 people, I picked out two good size slices of left overs.

With two forks, I shred the beef into a skillet.

I only add one ingredient to take this pot roast from Sunday dinner to Latin fiesta! My Pampered Chef Chili Lime Rub.

Add the rub in with the shredded beef and saute for a couple of minutes to heat through and bloom the spices.

Now to start building. I start with an 8″ plate. This meal does not require sides because everything is piled right up on top.

Place one shell at the bottom. This is your base.

Now add on about 3/4 cooked rice. I am using plain white rice here, it’s actually Jasmine rice because that is what I have on hand, but any kind of plain rice will do. You don’t really need a flavored rice here because you are adding on some strong flavors already and you wouldn’t want the rice to compete with that.

Now add on about 1/2 cup of Quick Mexican Black Beans.

Now for the next layer of tortilla.

Then piled on top of that is your beef.

I then top that with some sour cream. To this I will garnish with chopped scallions and my little tortilla strips.

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Beef Tostada

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Ingredients:

8 6″corn tortillas

1-11/2 cups left over roast beef, pot roast or steak

1 Tbs. Chili Lime Rub

3 cups white rice 

2 cups Quick Mexican Black Beans

sour cream (optional)

3-4 cups veg. oil

kosher salt

Instructions:

In a small dutch oven bring oil to 330°F-350°F.  Fry each tortilla seperately until golden.  Drain on paper towels and salt immediately.

In a small skillet shred beef and cook with Chili Lime Rub until heated through.

Build your tostada by placing one shell on plate, then add 3/4 cup rice, then 1/2 cup beans, then add another tortilla, then top with beef and a dollup of sour cream.  Serve hot. Enjoy!

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Spaghetti Frittata Pie

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I have a family of four, two of the four happen to be toddlers.  So, when we make spaghetti in our house inevitably there are left overs.  None of us are terribly big fans of re-heating left over spaghetti, so I decided to come up with a recipe to use up that left over spaghetti in a whole new way.  Hense, I give you the Spaghetti Fritatta Pie!

This simple pasta and egg dish is the perfect solution to my left over dilemma and the funny thing is, we like the pie left over too!  I made some angel hair pasta (my kid’s favorite) with some homemade sauce and some Italian sausage (my husband’s favorite).  I hate to waste food, especially a home-made sauce, so I put it in the fridge in a Tupperware container.  8 eggs, a pie plate, a block of cheese, and just a few more staples later and wala, a brand new meal.

This may seem odd to you and to be honest, I wasn’t sure about it when I started out.  But, I love Pasta Carbonara and this has a lot of the same element, so I gave it a try.  You don’t know until you try right?

Start with a pad of salted butter in a pie plate, this one is 9″.

Use a paper towel to spread your butter.

Your pie plate should be well buttered.

This is my left over Angel Hair with Sweet Italian Sausage and tomatoes with some basil.

Add into buttered pie plate.

Fill your pie plate up with spaghetti. This is about 2 full cups of cooked and prepared left-over Angel Hair pasta.

In this shot I have 6 eggs, but for my 9″ pie plate, I actually ended up adding in two more for a total of 8 eggs.

Beat them well.

Add in a good pinch of Italian Seasoning blend. this is about 1/2 tsp.

Beat the seasoning into the eggs.

Add in a good pinch of kosher salt, again this is about 1/2 tsp.

Beat into the eggs.

Pour the egg mixture right over your spaghetti or in my case Angel Hair.

This is what you should have.

Slice up some grape tomatoes.

Dart the top of your pie with grape tomatoes.

Add on some Fontina cheese, I am using about 4 oz.

Hand shredding is the way to go, although I’m not sure you can find pre-shredded Fontina anyway.

Add on some shredded parmesan cheese. This one is pre-shredded.

Just add cheese right up on top.  Pop this in the oven for about 45 minutest until the middle has almost set.  Then take it out, tent with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. The center should set right up for you and the rest will settle nicely.

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Spaghetti Frittata Pie

Serves 4-6Ingredients:

2 cups left over Angel Hair pasta and sausage (or whatever pasta you have)

8 eggs, beaten

8 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shaved

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning mix

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

6-8 cracks black pepper

1 cup left over sauce for topping

1 tsp butter

Directions:

Butter pie plate.  Place pasta and sausage in buttered dish.  Beat eggs and add in Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper.  Add in shredded Fontina cheese.  Pour evenly over pasta and sausage.  Dot with tomatoes and sprinkle with parmesan.  Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes until set.  Remove from oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes before serving.  Cut and drizzle with warmed left over sauce. Enjoy!

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Pizza Dough

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Have you ever wished you could make a perfect pizza dough?  Does working with yeast intimidate you?  If you have never worked with yeast and if you like to save money while having endless possibilities of different meals and snacks you can make for your family and friends, this is the perfect recipe to start with!

Pizza dough can of course be made into a great pizza or calzone. But, don’t forget cheesy bread with a marinara dipping sauce, hot dogs wrapped in pizza dough, bread sticks, or even sugar and cinnamon twists, yum! The possibilities are endless once you have a good basic dough under your belt.

This recipe is easier if you have a stand mixer of course, but totally doable if you only have your own two hands, remember Italians have been making pizza for long before electricity was even invented!

Start with some super warm water, about 110-115 degrees.

Add water into the bowl of an electric mixer.

(I keep my yeast in a resealable bag in the fridge because I use so much of it, I don’t buy in packets) Use one packet of Active dry yeast or 3 tsp.

Add yeast into warm water.

Add sugar into water with the yeast.

Stir.

Add one cup of the flour.

Stir.

Don’t worry if there are lumps.

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

This is what it should look like… if your mixture is not foaming, your yeast may not be good.

Add in the remaining flour. Stir.

Add in salt.

When your dough starts to look like this, it’s time to use the dough hook on your mixer.

This is my dough hook.

Mix for about 30 seconds to see how wet it is… This one is a bit too wet.

Add in one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough isn’t quite as sticky, but not too dry either.

I set my mixer’s timer for 5 minutes and knead on level 2. If your mixer does not have a time, be sure to set one.

Add in oil.

Continue to knead another 2 minutes until oil is incorporated. Move to an oiled bowl and let rise 20 minutes.

This is what your dough will look like. Remove and place on a floured surface and knead by hand into a ball this should take about 2-3 minutes.

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Pizza Dough

Makes 2 full size pizza crusts

Ingredients:

5 – 6 cups All purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar (shallow cup)

3 tsp. Active dry yeast

Shallow 1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp. salt

2 cups warm water (110°-115°F)

Instructions:

Bloom yeast in warm water with sugar for 2 minutes, once bubbling add one cup flour, mix, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Once bubbly continue.

Add 4 cups flour and salt.  Add remaining flour 1 Tbs. at a time if too wet and not kneading well.  Once desired consistency is reached, knead for a timed 5 minutes.  Add in most of the oil saving some to oil bowl.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about 20 minutes.

Turn out onto a floured surface, knead by hand about 2-3 minutes until dough comes into a ball.

 

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American Chop Suey

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I call this meal the “IhavegroundbeefinmyfridgeandIhavenoideawhattomakefordinner” meal option.  True, sometimes I will actually crave a good American Chop Suey with its saucy ground beef, savory onions and warm filling maccaroni, but honestly most times I make this meal it is out of sheer panic! American Chop Suey is 9/10ths pantry food items and 1/10th fresh (or frozen) meat.  It is something the whole family loves and it is easy to change-up by adding in mix-in’s like a can of corn, making it a quick and easy Sheppard’s Pie substitute or sprinkling some mozzarella cheese on top, making it into a sort of easy skillet lasagna!

This here is your basic, good old-fashioned American Chop Suey recipe.  No frills, no fuss, just ground beef, onions, pasta, sauce and a few (quite literally 3) seasonings.  It is by far one of the easiest weeknight dinners that any home cook can throw together in well under 30 minutes!  Just about every other week or so, I pick up a package of family size ground beef.  A little more often if I find that it is on sale in the interim weeks.  But, unlike the steak I pick up or the full chicken I plan to turn into a stock and use the meat in various recipes, I often don’t really have a plan for what to do with this American staple.  I just pick it up thinking, well if I don’t think of anything, I can just freeze it.  Although, I usually end up using at least half of it if not all of it throughout the week.  Sometimes though, I look at it and say, yep, I have no other fresh meat in the fridge, what am I going to do with you! Sometimes I have the time to lovingly labor over a beautiful Lasagna or I am all about making a big pot of Minestrone Soup… but, sometimes I am in a hurry and just want to get a quick dinner on the table.  There is no quicker meal utilizing pantry items than this.  Also, this recipe can be easily adjusted to feed a couple, a family of 4 or a crowd of 15+.

I can never seem to get a good price on ground beef unless I buy this ginormous 3+ pound package… so what I do, to save myself strife, is to brown it all up with a touch of salt all at once, then portion it out for different meals either throughout the week or sometimes I will even freeze the already browned meat.

I use my giant 14″ Pampered Chef Deep Covered Skillet and get it all done at once. If you don’t have a large enough skillet to accommodate th amount of meat you have, do this in stages, there is nothing worst than over crowding a pan of ground meat as the meat will end up boiling instead of browning and you will get grey meat without a lot of flavor.

See here how there is space for all 3lbs.? This is what you are looking for.

Use one large onion and do a large dice on it.

I removed two pounds of meat along with most of the fat and leave the remaining pound in the skillet.

Next, I add in the onions.

Mince some fresh garlic.

Add in the garlic after the onions start to soften.

Use an Italian seasoning blend along with a little kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper for seasoning.

The trick to using dried spices is to be sure to rub the spices in your fingers first and then put it right into the fat in the hot skillet to bloom it’s flavor.

I like using good old-fashioned elbow macaroni for this recipe.

Cook to the package instructions.

Once your onions and garlic have had time to soften and cook through, add in a small 6oz. can of plain tomato sauce.

Mix this together and add in about 6 oz. of the pasta cooking water too (so just fill your empty sauce can with water).

Add in your maccaroni and stir.

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American Chop Suey

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef, browned

1 large onion, diced medium/large

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 lb. elbow maccaroni, cooked to package instructions

1 6 oz. can plain tomato sauce

6 oz. pasta cookingwater from elbow maccaroni

1 tsp. Italian Seasoning blend

1 tsp. kosher salt

1./2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions:

Drain browned ground beef of most of the residual fat from cooking.  Add onions into a large skillet until tender over a medium heat on the stovetop.  Add in garlic, cook about 2-3 additional minutes. Add in Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, cook another minute.  Add in sauce and water and combine.  Add in maccaroni and stir, cook to combine an additional 3-4 minutes.  Taste for salt and enjoy!

*To make gluten-free, just replace elbow maccaroni with the gluten-free variety.