Friday, January 28, 2011

Italian Penne Pasta Salad

I must be in a mood for Italian Food this week because here is my second pasta recipe in as many days... Italian Penne Pasta Salad..This is actually a recipe I could serve in the summer, but oh what the's in my mind now.. Check it out-


1 cup Marzetti® Asiago Peppercorn Dressing

1 pound penne pasta, cooked, drained and cooled

1 1/2 pounds grilled or roasted boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1 (16 ounce) jar pitted kalamata olives, halved

1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning

6 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, diced

2 medium roasted sweet peppers (in jar) packed in water, sliced thin

1 (6 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, cleaned.


1.In large bowl, combine all ingredients with Marzetti Asiago Peppercorn Salad Dressing. Toss well. Serve. Store remaining portion, covered in the refrigerator.

Serve with Wine or Ice Tea....Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Angel Hair With Ground Lamb Tomato Sauce

While sitting here looking over my other two blogs and sipping some wine...It occurred to me that I haven't had any pasta in awhile...(Since my family's recent Christmas dinner, which I hosted and which had an Italian theme) I thought that I might like something a little different for tomorrow's dinner. (I'm writing this post in the the time you read will be tomorrow.) Okay, enough of that...Here is that something different..Angel Hair with Ground Lamb
Tomato sauce.


1/4 cup olive oil

1 pound ground lamb

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 (28 ounce) cans peeled tomatoes

1 (8 ounce) can tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 pound dry capellini pasta (one box)


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Brown ground lamb in saucepan over medium-high heat until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Heat remaining olive oil in same saucepan.

3. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions start to get soft (but before they get brown), about 5 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Mash up the whole tomatoes into smaller chunks.

5. Keep heating sauce until it starts to bubble (a.k.a. simmer), then turn the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, adding cooked lamb when there's 5 minutes left to go.

6. For the angel hair pasta, a good time to start boiling the water is just before you add the tomatoes to the sauce. Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for the time directed on the pasta box.

7. When the angel hair pasta is cooked, drain it and put it in a large bowl. Add the sauce. Serve!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

I happen to know for a fact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. loved himself some Fried do I and as do most Baptist Ministers. Here is a recipe that would have knocked his socks off , had he of lived.


•4 chicken breast halves or other chicken pieces

•1 teaspoon salt

•1/4 teaspoon pepper

•1/2 cup flour

•2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

•1 1/4 cups buttermilk

•2 to 3 bunches green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths


Combine chicken, salt, pepper, and the flour on large plate; toss lightly to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove chicken, pouring off excess oil.

Return the skillet to the heat and add buttermilk, scraping pan to loosen any brown bits. Add chicken, skin side up. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until chicken is tender and juices run clear, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in another skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions and toss to coat. Cook until just golden, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange chicken and green onions on serving platter. Pour remaining juices from the chicken skillet into blender container and pulse until smooth. Serve with chicken.
Serve with rice or potatoes. Serves 4.

So after a day of public service to your fellow man (and woman) and or reading and researching and learning about the true man (See my blog- "Keith's Space" today..) Sit down and have yourself some good Buttermilk Fried Chicken..... Enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Nice Soup For A Cold Winter Day

Have you been snowed in? Got Cabin Fever?? Seasonal Blues? I got all of em rolled into one...Here is something else I've got....A nice hot hearty soup for a cold winter's day....Minestrone Soup with Pasta! Check it out-

3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini or navy) beans, drained

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

2 bay leaves

Salt and ground black pepper

2 cups cooked ditalini pasta

1 medium zucchini, chopped

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Basil sprigs, garnish, optional


In a slow cooker, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Thirty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add ditalini, zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top. Garnish with basil, if desired.

This ought to not only fill your belly, but take away some of your seasonal blues....Enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Watermelon, Feta & Basil Salad

Spring can't get here fast enough.....But here is something to at least put you in the right mind set for it.


  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 8-lb seedless watermelon cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup reduced-fat feta
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta and onion and toss gently. Garnish with the basil and serve.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Braised Short Ribs

Here is a sure fire good idea for weekend entertaining. Braised short ribs with mushrooms...


8 short ribs (12 ounces each), trimmed and tied by a butcher

8 shallots

11 cloves garlic

1/4 cup tomato paste

6 ounces pancetta, diced

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups red wine

1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

10 ounces oyster mushrooms, trimmed

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bring the short ribs to room temperature. Meanwhile, pulse the shallots, 10 cloves garlic and the tomato paste in a food processor to make a paste. Cook the pancetta in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer the pancetta and all but 2 tablespoons drippings to a bowl.

Add the shallot mixture to the pot and cook, stirring, until brown, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1/2 cup cognac, scraping up the browned bits. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, about 5 more minutes. Gradually stir in the wine until smooth. Add the porcini, thyme, bay leaves and 11/2 teaspoons salt.

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, place in the pot and add water to cover. Trim a piece of parchment paper so that it rests on the surface of the meat. Cover the pot with the lid and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is fork-tender, about 3 hours.

Remove the meat from the sauce and transfer to a plate. Set the sauce aside, about 10 minutes, then skim off the fat. (If the sauce is thick, add a splash of water.) Discard the bay leaves, season the sauce with salt and pepper and add the remaining 2 tablespoons cognac. Return the short ribs to the sauce and keep warm over low heat.

Chop the remaining 1 clove garlic, then mash with 1/2 teaspoon salt using the flat side of a knife; add the parsley and chop. Heat the pancetta and the reserved drippings in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oyster and cremini mushrooms and cook until brown, about 10 minutes. Toss in the parsley mixture. Untie the short ribs, divide among plates and top with the sauce and mushrooms.

This is a great meal for a few friends gathering over your house to watch the game Sunday...Unless you live in a city where your team has a bye week. It's still a great meal!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce

Everybody who knows me knows that I love Italian food...It's nice to find a recipe for something that you love that is also heart healthy too... Here it is...Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce..Check it out-


1 pound(s) whole-wheat spaghetti

2 teaspoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 stalk(s) celery, finely chopped

4 clove(s) garlic, minced

1 tablespoon(s) Italian seasoning

1 pound(s) lean (90% or leaner) ground beef

1 can(s) (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup(s) chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

1/2 cup(s) Kraft's grated Parmesan cheese


1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.

2.Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.

3.Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase heat to high. Stir in tomatoes and cook until thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in parsley and salt.

4.Serve the sauce over the pasta, sprinkled with cheese.

Serve with steamed broccoli and garlic bread. The recipe makes enough for 8 servings.

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 2 lean meat Carbohydrate Servings: 3 Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (49% daily value), Zinc (34% dv), Iron (26% dv), Vitamin C (23% dv), Magnesium (21% dv), Potassium (19% dv).
This is a main-course option that is good for your heart. This quick, heart-healthy recipe has just 5 grams or less of saturated fat per serving. Plus this has ingredients that is great for your overall health. Serve this with one or more of the heart-healthy side dishes I mentioned above.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Years Hoppin John!

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYBODY! You know you have to have your Black eyed peas for good luck.....What better way to have them , than in a nice bowl of that southern delicacy, Hop N John.

Here is my recipe-


•1 pound dried black-eyed peas

•2 small smoked ham hocks or meaty ham bone

•2 medium onions, divided

•3 large cloves garlic, halved

•1 bay leaf

•1 cup long-grain white rice or yellow rice

•1 can (10 to 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with chile peppers, juices reserved

•1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

•1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

•3 ribs celery, chopped

•1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced

•2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning

•1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

•3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

•3/4 teaspoon salt

•4 green onions, sliced


1.In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the ham bone or hocks, cut off the meat; dice and set aside. Drain the peas and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion pieces, and garlic.

2.Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

3.Mince the remaining onion then add to the rice along with the peas, tomatoes, and their juices, red and green bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, Creole seasoning, thyme, cumin, and salt. Cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced green onions and the reserved diced ham. Serve with hot sauce and freshly baked cornbread.


Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.

1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website

Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household