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Monday, August 29, 2016

Authentic Italian Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Make These Authentic Italian Stuffed Peppers for Your Freezer

This time of year I like to take advantage of the low prices on peppers and prepare a huge batch of Italian stuffed peppers for the freezer.  Stuffed peppers are a favorite dinner at my house and you will usually find them on our dinner menu once a week.  Having them all prepared, frozen and ready for the oven is a real time saver for those busy days we all have.

Ground beef, hot sausage and vegetables make the filling for this stuffed pepper.
Spicy Stuffed Peppers
Spicy Stuffed Peppers


Tweet: Make a large batch of stuffed peppers for the freezer.  You'll have an easy, tasty weeknight dinner ready to go.
Make a large batch of stuffed peppers for the freezer.  You'll have an easy, tasty weeknight dinner ready to go.  



Our family's stuffed pepper is one I've written about before.  I love this stuffed pepper recipe because it sneaks squash and eggplant into the filling for all those picky vegetable eaters in the family.  I also love that the fillingis prepared with ground beef and is similar to a meatloaf or meatball filling.  Our stuffed pepper recipe came from Hubby's paternal grandmother, Nani, who made wonderful Italian dishes and taught Hubby how to make this favorite dish.  Nani's stuffed peppers are a tasty comfort food for Hubby, but while flavorful, they are not very spicy.  Occasionally I like to spice things up with my own version of Nani's recipe.  The spiced up version of Nani's stuffed peppers is what I'm sharing with you today.

Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes 20 servings
Spicy Stuffed Pepper Ingredients
Spicy Stuffed Peppers Ingredients
  • 10 red bell peppers, cut in half and seeded
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium yellow squash, diced
  • 1 loaf of white bread, processed into bread crumbs
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 generous handful dried basil
  • 1 generous handful, dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Directions
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep-sided pan.  Add the squash, eggplant, garlic, and onion.  Season with one teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.  Saute the vegetables until tender.  Remove the vegetables from the pan to cool.  Heat the same pan as you cooked the vegetables in over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef and sausage, breaking apart any clumps.

Cooking the Vegetable and Meat Mixtures
Season with one teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.  Cook until the meat is browned and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.  Drain the meat mixture and set aside to cool.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat slightly to break apart.  Mix the squash and meat mixture together.  I like to use the pan I cooked them in for mixing so I can incorporate the brown, flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan into the mixture.  Add the eggs, tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley and crushed red pepper, stirring to combine well. Add the bread crumbs and stir to combine.  If the mixture seems dry, add water to moisten.

Mix the Meat and Vegetable Mixtures Together
Generously fill each pepper cup with the stuffing mixture.  If making the stuffed peppers ahead for the freezer wrap each stuffed pepper individually in plastic wrap and then package the peppers together in a large zip closure plastic bag for long term storage.

Filled Peppers Ready for Freezing or Baking

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the frozen stuffed peppers on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle the tops of the peppers generously with extra virgin olive oil.  Bake until the tops are browned and the peppers are soft when pierced with a fork, about 45-60 minutes.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Pretty Pintastic Party Weekend #120

It's the weekend!  That means it is time for the weekend Pretty Pintastic Party where bloggers link their favorite posts for sharing.  If you are a blogger, welcome.  If you are a blog reader, welcome.



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Welcome to the Pretty Pintastic Party, where every post is pinned & features are pinned by everyone! 

PPPhosts-July2016 
  First, let's meet the hosts:
Jamie, Kerry, & Lucy from Coffee With Us 3 Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter 
  
Here's what your hosts have been up to this week!

Now on to the Party!!
This is a super relaxed party!
You show up with your fabulous posts and we pin every single one! We only ask one thing from you!
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        This week's Features:  
   Features 120 
Gluten Free S'mores Pancakes from Strength & Sunshine
  Honey Oatmeal Goat's Milk Soap from Simply Stacie
  Cherry Pie Bars from Lou Lou Girls 
If you were featured, grab a featured button!!              
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Everyone else grab a button and help us spread the word about our party!!  Thanks!
Pretty Pintastic Party


By linking up, you give coffeewithus3.com, divasrunforbling.com, julieiscocoandcocoa.com, anallievent.com, anniesnoms.com, thewholeserving.com, mybigfathappylife.com, momssmallvictories.com, mommalew.com, thetiptoefairy.com, countrywifecitylife.com, thankyouhoneyblog.com, justonedonna.com, suburbanwifecitylife.com, karylskulinarykrusade.com, thetakeactionwahm.com or any co-host permission to feature your post on social media and our blogs using a photo, title, and link to your site. Proper credit and links will be given to you.  

By linking up, you will be added to the mailing list for The Pretty Pintastic Party.  You will only receive emails reminding you when the party goes live. 

An InLinkz Link-up

Thanks for sharing!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Slammin' Oven-Barbecued Pork Ribs

How to Make the Best Pork Ribs


Everyone needs a good barbecued ribs recipe in their repertoire. We have been making these oven-barbecued pork ribs at my house for more than ten years.  It's a winner recipe.  The two-step process for the ribs, using a dry rub and a sauce, takes a little time, but the result is well worth the effort.  You will also appreciate that these ribs are prepared 100% in your kitchen. That makes this a year round recipe perfect for Labor Day and a Super Bowl party.  This oven technique makes these ribs relatively easy to make for a large group of people.  No barbecue grill is required and no one will notice that the ribs were not cooked on your grill.  Your praises will be sung.  I promise.
Oven barbecued pork ribs
Oven-Barbecued Pork Ribs

Oven Barbecued Ribs

Slammin' Pork Ribs

Printer Friendly Recipe

This recipe is for two racks of ribs.
These Slammin' Pork Ribs require both a dry rub and a braising liquid.  First, you need to prepare the dry rub.  The dry rub recipe will make more than enough for two slabs of ribs.

Pat the Rub over the Ribs
Dry Rub Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Directions
Combine all of the dry rub ingredients together in a bowl. Double or triple the recipe based on your needs but be sure to maintain the original ratio.

Place each slab of ribs on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Sprinkle each side of the slab generously with the dry rub, patting the rub into the meat.  Carefully make a packet around the ribs so that the bones from the meat don't tear the foil.  Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.  We usually prepare this step the night before.

A prepared foil packet of ribs.
Make a Foil Packet

About four hours before you plan to serve the ribs, make the braising liquid.

Braising Liquid Ingredients
Braising liquid ingredients
Braising Liquid Ingredients
  • 1 cup white wine, we use Pinot Grigio
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped 

Directions
Combine all the ingredients either in a microwaveable dish or in a saucepan.  Heat on high one minute in your microwave oven or until warmed and well combined on your stove.

To Make the Ribs
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  Place the rib packets on a rimmed baking sheet in case there is any leaking.  Open one end of each foil packet and pour in half of the braising liquid. Tilt the baking sheet back and forth to make sure the liquid is well distributed.  Cook the ribs for 2-1/2 hours.

Pour off the braising liquid
Reduce the Braising Liquid into a Sauce

Making the Sauce

(You can save time by skipping this step and using your favorite bottled barbecue sauce.)  After 2-1/2 hours, open each packet and pour the braising liquid into a saucepan.  Return the ribs to the oven. Bring the braising liquid to a boil, then reduce to simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and looks like a thick syrup. It is going to take at least 30 minutes to reduce the liquid.  To reduce the time, you may want to use two saucepans with half of the sauce in each.

When the sauce is ready, preheat your broiler.  Open the rib packets, brush the sauce over each slab of ribs and place them under the broiler until the sauce caramelizes slightly.   Watch the ribs carefully for two to three minutes.  You'll want to see the sauce bubble and caramelize, but not burn.  Cut the slabs into two rib portions for serving.  You can then either toss the ribs in the remaining glaze or serve the glaze on the side as a dipping sauce.

Shared on Meal Plan Monday.
Shared on Between Naps on the Porch.

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Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Perfect Freezer Dinner

A Make Ahead Chicken Parmesan for Busy Families

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house.  It's also a favorite restaurant selection.  I like to keep Chicken Parmesan prepared in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home.  That way, we'll have a delicious dinner all ready to go into the oven, and save money to boot.  What's not to like about that?

Chicken Parmesan for Dinner
Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner

This Chicken Parmesan recipe is made with readily accessible ingredients in the spirit of semi-homemade. You may already have the ingredients you need in your pantry.  That makes this an easy recipe for any mom or dad to prepare in advance for those busy weeknight dinners.  Make a double batch and you'll have a baked Chicken Parmesan dinner for tonight and another one for the freezer.
Quick and Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan Ingredients
Chicken Parmesan Ingredients
Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded 1/4 inch thin
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs 
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar prepared Italian tomato sauce, or your favorite homemade sauce

Directions
Pound the chicken breasts between double pieces of plastic wrap.  Pound using the flat side of a metal meat mallet.  Cut each breast in half and set aside.

Pounded chicken breasts for chicken Parmesan
Pound the Chicken Breasts
Break the egg into a pie plate.  Add the water, salt and pepper and mix to combine.  Place the chicken breasts in the egg mixture to coat.

Egg and water mixture.
Mix an Egg with Water
On a plate, mix together the Italian seasoned bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and the grated cheeses.  I like a 50/50 mix of bread crumbs and cheese.  You may want to adjust the mixture.  Using one hand, coat both sides of each piece of chicken in the bread crumb mixture.

How to coat a chicken breast with bread crumbs.
Coat the Chicken with Breading
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan, over medium-high heat.  Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the breaded chicken breasts.  Cook until one side is browned.  Turn the chicken and continue cooking until golden brown.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.

Browning the chicken breasts for chicken Parmesan
Brown the Chicken in Oil
Coat the bottom of a baking dish with the prepared tomato sauce.  Add the breaded chicken breasts.

Breaded chicken cutlets.
Place Chicken in Baking Dish

Top each breast with additional sauce and the shredded mozzarella cheese.  Cover first with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil.  Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.

Chicken Parmesan
Top with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  You don't need to remove the plastic wrap.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, until bubbly and heated through.  Serve with your favorite pasta and a green salad.

Chicken Parmesan in the baking dish.
Baked Chicken Parmesan Ready to Serve
Shared on Between Naps on the Porch.

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Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pretty Pintastic Party #119


It's Friday's weekly Pretty Pintastic Party, a weekend blog-share and link up where you'll find great weekend reading from many bloggers.


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Welcome to the Pretty Pintastic Party, where every post is pinned & features are pinned by everyone! 

PPPhosts-July2016 
  
First, let's meet the hosts:
Jamie, Kerry, & Lucy from Coffee With Us 3 Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter 
  
Here's what your hosts have been up to this week!

Now on to the Party!!
This is a super relaxed party!
You show up with your fabulous posts and we pin every single one! We only ask one thing from you!

dotten-rule
       
  This week's Features:

     PPP119 Features 

Asparagus Smoked Salmon Sushi from Sumptuous Spoonfuls 
DIY Tree Stump Tables from The Learner Observer 
Reusable Snack Bag Tutorial from Creative Homemaking 
Nutter Butter Icebox Cake from I Thee Cook 

If you were featured, grab a featured button!!              
Pretty Pintastic Party

       
Everyone else, grab a button and help us spread the word about our party!!  Thanks!  
Pretty Pintastic Party


By linking up, you give coffeewithus3.com, divasrunforbling.com, julieiscocoandcocoa.com, anallievent.com, anniesnoms.com, thewholeserving.com, mybigfathappylife.com, momssmallvictories.com, mommalew.com, thetiptoefairy.com, countrywifecitylife.com, thankyouhoneyblog.com, justonedonna.com, suburbanwifecitylife.com, karylskulinarykrusade.com, thetakeactionwahm.com or any co-host permission to feature your post on social media and our blogs using a photo, title, and link to your site. Proper credit and links will be given to you.  

By linking up, you will be added to the mailing list for The Pretty Pintastic Party.  You will only receive emails reminding you when the party goes live. 



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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Robust Italian Meat Sauce

How to Make a Flavorful Italian Meat Sauce

Do you say sauce or gravy?  Depending on where you are from you may have a strong preference for calling the tomato based concoction served over spaghetti either sauce or gravy.  Some say when meat is cooked with the sauce it is called "gravy" and when there is no meat, it is called "sauce".  If that is true, then today's recipe is really "gravy", but in my neck of the woods, we refer to all tomato-based sauces as "sauce".


Italian Meat Sauce

I make tomato sauces often.  Sometimes the sauce is quick and easy, and other times the sauce cooks for several hours to develop depth of flavor.  When you want a robustly flavored sauce you generally must let it simmer for a bit to get the richness and depth of flavors you desire.  That is the case with today's recipe.  The first layer of flavor in this sauce comes from the combination of sweet Italian sausage and ground beef, cooked together until very well browned.  You do not want to hurry the browning of the meat.  Browned meat means delicious flavor.
A Delicious Italian meat sauce

The next layer of flavor comes from the addition of simple seasonings and some secret ingredients.  My sons used to ask me what made my sauce taste so yummy and I would tell them it was "the love" that only their momma could add.  Well, that is true when Momma adds a little bit of this and a little bit of that to get the flavors just right.  In this dish "the love" comes from a little bit of red wine, a tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a couple of tablespoons of Parmesan cheese simmered with the sauce.

Wine, Cheese and Seasonings
The "Love"


Finally, the flavor is taken over the top with a couple of hours of gentle simmering on the stovetop.  You can actually see the flavor cooking into your sauce as the color changes to a deep, rich red.  It will call out to you to break off a chunk of crusty bread and dip it into the sauce after simmering there on your stove.  I like to bake up a tasty focaccia bread while the sauce is cooking for just this purpose.

Lasagna made with a robust tomato sauce.
Make a Lasagna with Your Robust Tomato Sauce


This is a perfect sauce to make on the weekend.  You can serve it on top of your favorite pasta, like I am doing today, use it to make a delicious lasagna for later in the week, or freeze it in meal-sized portions for meals later in the month.

Robust Italian Meat Sauce

Printer Friendly Recipe

Ingredients

Italian Meat Sauce Ingredients
The Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2-28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dried basil
  • 1/2 cup red wine, your favorite
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Begin by heating a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.  I don't add any oil to the pan because the sausage and ground beef will render enough.  Add the sausage and ground beef to the pan, breaking up any chunks of the ground beef.  Season well with salt and pepper, starting with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Cook until the sausage and beef are well-browned and there are lots of browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the red wine, stirring to release the browned bits from the pan.  You may need to add a little water as well if there are still lots of bits on the pan.  Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the meat with the tomato paste.  Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, sugar, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and basil, crushing the basil between the palms of your hands before adding.

Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer.  Simmer on the stovetop for two hours; stirring occasionally to be sure the sauce at the bottom of the pan doesn't burn.  After two hours, taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. This is where you make the flavors in this sauce your own.  Add what you like. Stir in the chopped parsley just before serving.

Cool completely before refrigerating (using an ice bath) or freezing.  Serve with your favorite pasta.

Check out my recipe for Classic Italian Lasagna.
Don't miss this Vegetable Lasagna recipe.

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Enjoy!

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