Stove top

Crispy Risotto cake for breakfast – yes please!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday weekend. My husband and I are getting out of dodge for a little while. We are heading South for some sun, fun and relaxation! We are probably some of the small few at the airport not “technically” traveling for the actual holiday.
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I am writing this post a week early knowing I will not be making much on vacation even though we are renting a house with a kitchen. I am pretty sure I won’t be making anything new to share but I will be taking lots of pictures of most of my meals and will share with you what’s happening out on the Island of Anguilla in my next blog.

Risotto
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ Cup Arborio Rice
  2. 1 Quart Chicken Stock
  3. ½ Cup White Wine
  4. 1 medium shallot or small onion chopped finely
  5. 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  6. 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  7. ¼ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
  8. 1 Tbs chopped Parsley
  9. Kosher Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.
  3. Add the rice and stir briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so; until there is a slightly nutty aroma. Don’t let the rice turn brown.
  4. Add the wine and cooking while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.
  5. Note: It’s important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.
  6. The rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn’t done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it’s absorbed
Notes
  1. A few notes to remember!
  2. always add hot liquid never cold
  3. stir often
  4. taste to make sure it has cooked thoroughly
  5. wait a day or two before making your rice cake. Freeze each cake and then fry in a hot pan
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

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I was craving risotto and it isn’t too often I will order it out. It is not something that gets better with time nor does it like to sit and wait for someone to order it.  Not saying that you shouldn’t order it you do you;  I just make a mean risotto at home so I am kinda spoiled! I made some the other night for dinner and of course I always make too mucha and have some left over. As I mentioned it doesn’t get better so I usually make Risotto balls aka arancini or rice cakes. I already have some arancini in the freezer so I had been thinking about what I could do with it differently. I wondered how it would be as a crispy rice cake with a poached egg on top and It was exactly as I thought it would be. It was so good I will be making this again soon!!! I also fried up some sausage to go along side. 
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It is best to wait until the next day for the risotto to dry out a bit; shape about a 1/2 cup of risotto into a cake and place on a sheet pan or something that will fit into your freezer. You’ll want to freeze the cakes for at least 30 minutes it helps them stay together while frying. Preheat either a non stick or cast iron pan. add a little oil and fry on both sides till browned. 

What would I do differently?  I would maybe add fried sausage to the risotto before making it into a patty instead of putting it on the side or maybe use a sausage patty and stack everything up. The sausage patty was my husband’s idea, I figured I could add the cooked sausage to the rice cake and my daughter thought maybe make it into an eggs benedict which sounds delish too. I am sure I will be playing around with this!

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Creamy Alfredo Sauce

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I have been using up some PTO the last couple of weeks with long weekends and had some grand illusion that I would spend at least some of it making food, taking pictures, writing and banking a few blogs in case the holiday season got a little out of control and I couldn’t write. Then I got this fast and furious cold that won’t go away hello cold and flu season grrrrr.

IMG_4824.JPGYesterday I headed out pretty early in the morning for most of the day; we were out dress shopping for my future daughter-in-law. She has an idea now of her perfect dress but is still waiting for the “yes to the dress” moment.

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I dice up my chicken breast so there is more surface area for the seasoning and fry pan!

My last stop was going to be the grocery shopping and I had a craving for fettuccine Alfredo before I got there so I added a few things to my list. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I had or even wanted it. I used to make it all the time; now it’s just a faded memory. Maybe I needed a little comfort food – that sounds about right!
IMG_4826.JPGTo make it a whole meal I grabbed some broccoli and chicken breast a loaf of bread and voila dinner! Well almost my daughter put away all the groceries while I chilled out on the couch and came very close to napping before I ventured into the kitchen

Creamy Alfredo Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  3. 2 ounces cream cheese optional but does make the sauce creamier
  4. 3-4 cloves fresh garlic minced
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese freshly grated
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Stir over low heat for about 2 minutes until melted and it starts to lightly simmer.
  2. Whisk in the garlic, salt, and pepper for one minute.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add in the Parmesan cheese, continue to whisk until melted.
  4. Serve immediately with your favorite pasta
Adapted from sweet and savory meals
Adapted from sweet and savory meals
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

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Pasta e Fagioli

It is a soup kind of day in my world today! what does soup mean to you?
Soup to me is fridge clearing, a welcoming stove top aroma and a warm comforting hug in a cup,  It is just plain home to me!

I am writing this while having my morning cup of tea about an hour before I generally post for you and yes for me. I use my posts as kind of a recipe holder. I find it so much easier to google cookingatclarktowers.com and search for a recipe then to riffle through all of my collected paperwork of recipes. So I do it all the time and if someone asks me for a recipe If I don’t tell them to google it I send them the link. 
IMG_5441I am not sure what recipe I will be making in a few minutes but this one is one of my top 5 that I love to eat. I am actually going through the ingredient list and wondering if I have everything on hand and I think I do so while I am re-posting this recipe from a couple of years ago I am fairly certain this will be on my stove top shortly. 
IMG_5439I finally planted my garlic yesterday I hope it stands a chance to grow. I am a couple of weeks later than I normally get it into the ground and I am looking at the temperature at 7:49 am est and it is 32’F yikes I may not get any next year. Fingers crossed! 
IMG_5440Pasta e Fagioli Soup makes approximately 12 cups – freezes nicely

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey (your choice – chicken, beef, sausage all would be great)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounce low sodium beef or chicken broth plus a little more as needed or use water
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram – or substitute with more oregano
1 cup ditalini pasta – or substitute with another small pasta
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and fresh crack Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, crumble in the meat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil add carrots, celery and onions over medium-high heat until tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic saute another minute or so. Reduce heat to low
Add the tomato sauce, broth, tomatoes and all the spices plus the meat back into the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.

Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. Add cooked drained pasta to the soup along with both cans of beans. Allow to meld for a few minutes.
Serve warm with grated parmesan or romano cheese.

IMG_5446Macros = 1 cup using ground turkey
Calories 221
Fat 7.54
Carbs 21.25
Protein 18.2

Chili – cook off contest

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So I signed up for another local cook off contest. This one was a chili cook off and my family loves the chili I make so why not! However there were 6 surprise ingredients (see above) that I had to incorporate into my chili recipe or come up with a new one. If you want to make this chili without the secret ingredients, you will not be disappointed. 

IMG_4808.JPGWhen I picked up my “secret” ingredients I thought it was so funny that black garlic was one of the ingredients. This is my second contest ever and both had black garlic in the basket. Luckily my daughter first introduced me to black garlic a couple of years ago. My son, who also competed in the last cooking contest found out that he does not like the taste of black garlic. He tossed one of his sauces he came up with because he hated the taste. After he tossed it he wondered if it was just him. Guess we’ll never know!
IMG_4805.JPGA little information on black garlic for those who haven’t seen or used it. It is made when regular heads of garlic are aged under specialized conditions until the cloves turn inky black and develop a sticky date-like texture and the taste is sweet, earthy, minus the heat. You can use the cloves as you would roasted garlic: Purée them with oil, then smear the paste on crostini, incorporate it into dressings, or rub it onto chicken or fish before roasting. If you google it, you will probably see a lot of recipes for black garlic butter; which is what I made for my last contest. That won’t work this time. I will be adding the black garlic as well as regular garlic to my chili.

Chili
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  3. 2 medium onions, diced
  4. 1 green pepper, diced
  5. 2 cups chopped celery
  6. 2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  7. 2 cans rotel
  8. 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  9. 2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  10. 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  11. 1 large can bush's original baked beans (optional)
  12. 1 medium bulb black garlic, peeled (1 of 6 secret ingredients)
  13. 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  14. 1/2 cup Moroccan tomato onion relish (2 of 6 secret ingredients)
  15. 1 teaspoon cherry wood smoked white Himalayan sea salt (3 of 6 secret ingredients)
  16. 1/4 cup no salt Contoocook chili powder (4 of 6 secret ingredients)
  17. 2 tablespoons Madagascar black peppercorn infused olive oil (5 of 6 secret ingredients)
  18. 2 tablespoons dark chocolate balsamic vinegar (6 of 6 secret ingredients)
  19. 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot brown hamburger and sausage, drain and remove and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to stock pot, saute onions, celery, green pepper till soft 4-6 minutes. add both garlics and continue sauteing for another minute. add the chili powder, and both salts.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and the rotel along with the Moroccan tomato onion relish
  4. Add the beans and the browned beef. partially cover and let it simmer for 4 hours
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar and taste for seasoning add salt as needed
  6. serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

I started writing this the other day, today is Saturday and the contest was earlier today. My Chili; this chili recipe listed came in 2nd. There were six contestants and everyone of them tasted completely different; all were really good but totally different even though all of us had to incorporate those six ingredients. I had a great time and met some great people. I especially enjoyed getting to know my tablemate. I feel bad that they La La Land her. They mistakenly said she came in 2nd place then said that it was actually me.
My tablemate and I speak the same language when it comes to food; I think our paths will cross again; at least I hope so!

Quick garden fresh tomato sauce

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Over the years I have processed my tomatoes using different methods. Freezing them as sauces, freezing them as chunks and cooking down and canning them as well. I can’t say that I loved anything that I have done before or that I have a true plan of what to do with all of them.. This year I have so far made salsa, spaghetti sauce and yesterday I made pizza sauce. All were successes.

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I used my potato smasher to breakdown the tomatoes even more

Yesterday I was also canning the last of the pickles, I have a ridiculous 50 pint size jars of pickles and since the water was already boiling I processed the salsa we didn’t eat so we could have it for later. I think I have found out how to deal with all the tomatoes last Wednesday night after work I made homemade spaghetti sauce and Italian meatballs for dinner. They were delicious and I used up all of the ripe tomatoes I had on hand. Yesterday I made pizza sauce with the next batch of ripe tomatoes.
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I like this recipe for fresh garden tomato sauce because it came together fast enough for a weeknight dinner. My husband was pretty surprised I pulled it off in only a few hours; most of it hands off. He thought you had to cook them down pretty much all day to have it taste good. Proved him wrong.
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Quick fresh garden tomato sauce
a great way to use up some of your garden tomatoes
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 5-8 pounds tomatoes
  2. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  6. handful chopped basil
  7. 2 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. If you are using a food mill don't worry about getting all the seeds and skins off.
  2. If you are not using a food mill you will want to cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and squeeze the seeds into a garbage bowl. And you could grate each side of the tomato on a box grate and throw the skins into the garbage bowl.
  3. If you are using a food mill then just chunk up each tomato, I cut around any of the ugliness and the stems.
  4. Add either the chunked tomatoes or the tomato pulp into a low but wide saucepan over high heat. Add the salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a brisk simmer.
  5. Reduce the sauce to almost half, stirring occasionally. Until the sauce is medium-thick or to your liking. Season with salt to your taste.
  6. If you are making meatballs like I did, add them to your sauce, it will help season the sauce.
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

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Had to throw some of my sunflowers into the picture!

 

 

Pasta Swiss Chard & Burrata


Pickles are done – sort of! I emptied the fridge and made 19 jars of pickles. I went out to the garage and there was a basket full of them that hadn’t made their way into the house yet UGH! Not entirely sure we need more pickles but looks like I might have some Christmas gifts started wink wink!

My daughter is a cookbook collector and she doesn’t just collect any and ALL of them she likes the ones that tell a story along with the recipes and it must have a picture of the food. At least those seem to be the ones she is drawn too most. For Christmas I bought her Bringing it home by Gail Simmons. I had a feeling she would like it; she wasn’t so sure so she never even opened it until a week or so ago. And um yup she likes it; she has 6 or so pages marked for things she wants to make and there was a page marked for either of us to make and use up some of the Swiss chard from the garden since that is growing like a weed.


After pickling I decided to make the recipe to use up the Swiss chard she picked, washed and left in the sink. I started it around 8-8:30 and I think we were sitting down to eat around 9:30. Which we never usually eat that late but sometimes you get busy and can’t help it.

Pasta Swiss Chard and Sausage
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound orecchietta pasta or similar
  2. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 4 garlic cloves, sliced very thin
  5. 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  6. 1 pound Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped into medium size pieces
  7. 2 lemons zested, juice from 1
  8. 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  9. 12 ounces buratta cheese
  10. 2 sweet Italian sausage links (opt) casing removed
Instructions
  1. cook pasta according to package directions - reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
  2. In a medium skillet heat a little olive oil; crumble and brown the sausage and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet add the butter and olive oil, add the garlic, pepper flakes, and a little salt. Cook,stirring occasionally, until the garlic is slightly golden brown, not burned about 2-3 minutes.
  4. add half the Swiss chard and cook down till the leaves are wilted. Add the remaining Swiss chard. the lemon zest and the lemon juice until the leaves are wilted. Remove from the heat.
  5. drain the pasta reserving a cup of the liquid.
  6. Add the pasta and the reserved water, to the Swiss chard,sausage mixture and cook over medium heat for a minute.
  7. Add the grated cheese. Season to taste
  8. spoon into individual bowls. Slice the burrata into cubes. Top pasta with cheese and serve.
Notes
  1. You can find buratta near the mozzarella and feta cheese usually in the specialty cheese section
  2. If you like mozzarella you should try it.
Adapted from Bringing it home - Gail Simmons
Adapted from Bringing it home - Gail Simmons
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Thankfully it didn’t take too long and it had pretty much everything we like in it lemon, garlic, pasta and cheese. Pretty funny I asked Abbi if she minded that I add some Sweet Italian Sausage; I mean it is her cookbook and I wanted to make sure she didn’t need to make it exactly as written. Sometimes I do that and then the second time around I will tweak it.  It came out great and the sausage is a must in my world. 

Pasta Swiss Chard and Sausage

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I believe I mentioned a few posts ago how I was going to leave the entire garden to my husband. I am basically still being true to my word. I have only harvested a few asparagus and only weeded that bed. He has spent more time out there more this years than in years past and has harvested cauliflower, lettuce, radishes and now Swiss Chard. Which this is the first time we have tried growing Swiss Chard. It is doing great out there and looks gorgeous. My daughter was the one that wanted it to be rainbow chard and that was a great choice too.
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Friday nights dinner needed to include Swiss Chard only because I am not sure how long it will last sitting in the fridge. And it really is pretty cool to pick, cook and eat what you have planted, nurtured and harvested.
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When I told my daughter what we were having she immediately said “yum” some of our favorite things, pasta, sausage, cheese. Pretty fail safe that dinner will taste like it was made with love. And it was!

Pasta Swiss Chard and Sausage
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 12 ounce box of pasta - small shells, rigatoni. cavatappi
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 3 links sweet Italian sausage, casing removed, crumbled
  4. 4 tablespoon butter
  5. 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  6. 1 bunch of Swiss chard, remove stems and roughly chop leaves
  7. 2 tablespoons flour
  8. 1 3/4 cup milk
  9. 1/2 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano grated
  10. 1 lemon - zested
  11. kosher salt
  12. freshly cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Pasta; make pasta as directed on the box. save 1 cup up the pasta water
  2. in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat add the olive oil and the sausage. breaking up while cooking. transfer sausage to a plate and set aside.
  3. remove most of the fat from the pot and add the butter, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute being careful not to burn.
  4. Add the Swiss chard and saute until it wilts 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for another minute or so. lower the heat to a simmer
  5. Add the milk and bring to a boil. cook for a minute then add the sausage, parmesean, lemon zest and add a little salt and black pepper.
  6. stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.
  7. Add the pasta to the pot and toss. Add pasta water as needed.
Adapted from Food Network
Adapted from Food Network
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

leftover takeout white rice

If you have ever ordered takeout from a Chinese, Japanese or Thai restaurant you probably ended up with a container or two or even three of white rice. I mean who is not going to eat the fried rice first over the plain, sticky and starchy white rice am I right?
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If you are anything like me you can’t just throw it away. So you put it in the fridge with the rest of the leftovers since you ordered way more than you could ever eat in one sitting and wait for someone to eat it. Until it stays in there a week, or more and you end up throwing it away on fridge clean out day. I too am guilty of this!
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I started out thinking I was going to make fried rice, but with the ingredients I wanted to add to my dish we ended up with a stir fry. You might think they are similar and they basically are. Both using leftover rice, both cooked on high heat with a little oil. You cook them both in a wok but you don’t have to if you don’t have one. Both have some veggies and a protein plus a little soy sauce or oyster sauce; maybe some hoisin sauce top with a few sliced scallion and you’ve got a meal.
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Here is what I threw in my stir fry – you make yours with what you like and what you have on hand.

2 containers leftover white rice
2 chicken breast
2 carrots – match stick
1 medium onion
1 can water chestnuts
1 can baby corn chopped
1/2 bell pepper
handful pea pod
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 teaspoon ginger – grated
kosher salt and black pepper

Prep by slicing and dicing all of your ingredients.
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heat your pan with a little oil and add the chicken or whatever protein you are using if it is not already cooked. Remove from heat, add the onion, carrots, pepper stirring constantly around the pan until lightly cooked, add the garlic stirring for another minute or two. Add the remaining already cooked veggies along with rice and chicken. Add the soy sauce and the hoisin. It only takes a minute or two for everything to come together.
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Serve topped with sliced scallions.
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Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

It will be 6 years this June since I started writing this weekly food blog and I do not see myself stopping anytime soon. I hope you are all OK with that; well I guess if you are reading this; you are on board with me continuing.
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With that being said I have upgraded my subscription on WordPress (more $) and am getting some help with how to make it a little more professional; and I hope easier for you to save and hopefully print out your favorite recipes. At least that is my goal. I just finished day 2 on how to build a better business blog so we’ll see where this takes me/us.
IMG_4029I have mentioned before that I am not very good at “self promoting” but yesterday I went to The Flying Butcher to pick up more pork chops and am making them tonight for my niece and her husband. I mentioned to the guy that helped me that I write a food blog and mentioned them in one of my posts because the pork chops we SO good. He said I should tag them and they will share it on their site. Look at me go! The name of the pork chops are Hatfield I need to ask them next time what Hatfield refers to. Name of the farm? Name of the pig? Company they get them from?
IMG_4037.JPGThe recipe I am going to share here today is what I am making for them later today. Not only because it is delicious but also because they collect and boil sap to make maple syrup and who doesn’t love having recipes that go along with what you worked so hard for.
IMG_4033.JPGThis recipe is even easier than the pork and apple recipe from a couple of weeks ago. Plus it’s fresh maple syrup season right now so let’s get cooking!
IMG_4030Pork Chop
4 pork chops – bone in or thick cut
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Balsamic Glaze
½ cup maple syrup
4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons beef broth
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic – smashed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small saucepan add all the glaze ingredients together and bring to a boil. You’ll want to boil it down for about 4 minutes.
IMG_4031Using a cast iron pan; if you have one. Either pre-heat it in your 350’F oven while you prepare the glaze, or place it on the stove top and put it on low to heat it up nicely.
IMG_4034.JPGPat the chops dry using paper towels. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add a little olive oil. Once your pan is almost to the smoking point. Add the chops and let them sizzle for 2-3 minutes. Flip and add some of the glaze to the browned side. After another 2-3 minutes flip again and add more glaze. You can keep flipping and adding glaze or finish them off in the 350’ F oven till they have an internal temperature of 140’F.
IMG_4035.JPGRemove them from the pan adding more glaze and let them rest for about 5-10 minutes.

Sausage & Broccoli Pasta

“I hope you are going to blog about this; it is delicious” “I am going to have this for lunch on Monday; maybe even tomorrow too” just a couple of quotes from my fam after eating last night’s dinner. So here I am going to share it with you. Though a little back story, it was NOT what I had intended on making at all. I had some chicken thighs that needed to be cooked and I wanted to do a sheet pan chicken thigh and veggie dinner; until I opened the package; damn they had been in the fridge too long and went right into a sealed bag into the trash. So this was a back up plan as I also had some sweet Italian sausage in there that needed to be cooked. Thankfully they fared far better and made a great quick simple meal.
IMG_3999.JPGI am still trying to go through the freezer; I know; how deep is that damn thing that I am going on what 2-3 months of trying to use up what is in there. I had seen enough progress so that I took everything out the other day and placed it on the counter. Then called my husband out of his office to “come and pick something out for dinner” he picked arancini (fried Italian rice ball) and egg rolls – Um no thank you! That night was arancini; the next night was the egg rolls. It’s a good thing he is cute!

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I spy in the upper right hand corner my Godiva bottle*Chocolate Martini’s was also on the menu 

Back to how my Italian sausage and a few things from my freezer turned into a quick, simple and blog worthy dinner. When I laid everything out on the counter from the freezer I noticed the broccoli that I put in there from my garden was getting beat up a bit. Apparently being in there since September and getting knocked around a bit it was turning into smaller and smaller pieces. So I thought it best to use it or lose it. I have homemade chicken stock in there majority of the time; thankfully so I added a little pasta and voila dinner.
IMG_3995The best tip I can give you is brown the sausage; without browning it in the pan and letting the pan get all dark in coated with the yummy bits, I am not sure my fam would have been raving about it. The browned sausage made all the difference in the world. The chicken stock helped to deg-laze the pan which gave such a deep rich flavor to the otherwise boring pasta.
IMG_3996I didn’t and usually don’t measure anything so I am going to ballpark it for you!

3 links of sweet Italian sausage – casing removed
1 pound broccoli
1 pound penne pasta – cooked to the packages direction
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup or more Parmesan cheese – grated plus more for serving
Olive oil

Add a little olive oil to your pan and let it get warmed up, add the sausage; breaking it up and letting it get brown. Remove and set aside.
IMG_3997Add the broccoli and let it get a little browned on each side. Add the red pepper flakes and a little salt and pepper to taste. Add the sausage and pasta back into the pan. Add the butter and Parmesan cheese and let it meld.
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Serve and enjoy!

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