Category Archives: Sausage

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

I’m pretty sure my kids can see right through me. I think they figured out that I don’t know anything. I’ve never been good at acting. I just didn’t think they’d catch on so soon.

My parents know everything. When I was a little girl, I would ask them questions, and whatever they answered, I knew to be The Truth. Even if it didn’t make sense. I’m still not sure how my dad had to walk to and from school uphill both ways. I guess it was some strange cosmic thing where you live at the bottom of the hill but you’re also at the top…? I don’t know. All I know is, my dad said it, so it must be true.

Also, I’m still trying to figure out where they sent our dog Bingo. I’m sure it’s a lovely farm. I’d like to visit him.

As for my kids, I’m wondering how many times I can say, “I don’t know, honey, that’s just the way God made it” before they start whispering to each other, “Don’t bother. She doesn’t know anything. Let’s go look it up on wikipedia.”

I was hoping I’d learn some things before they become teenagers and really know more than me, but it’s all going by so fast, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting dumber by the minute.

I guess I should be happy that my kids are smart. And I am. But if I have to hear the words, “Actually, Mommy…” one more time, I’ll… Well, I don’t know what, because my brain already punched out for the night. But I’m sure it will involve  the “little Smart-mouths” getting “something to cry about.”

Even my two-year-old has added the word “actually” to her vocabulary. The other day she pointed to the book I was reading and said, “That’s mine.” I told her that no, it was Mommy’s book. But apparently her wise older siblings already informed her of my stupidity. She calmly replied, “Actually, it’s mine.” Sigh. Et tu, Elmo?

Sometimes when my kids ask me a particularly hard question, I just stuff their sweet, inquisitive little faces with food. It’s a win-win.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (I used a mix of hot & sweet)
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 large bell peppers
  • 4-6 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
  • tomato sauce for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Remove casings from sausage. Brown sausage over medium-high heat in a skillet, breaking up into crumbles.
  3. Drain the can  of tomatoes and reserve juices. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl. Remove sausage from skillet and add to tomatoes. Add bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, and oregano. Mix to combine.
  4. Pour reserved tomato juices into a baking dish. Remove tops, seeds, and membranes from peppers. Place peppers in dish on top of the juice. Fill the peppers with the sausage mixture.
  5. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp mozzarella cheese over each pepper. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes, or until peppers are soft and cheese is melted. Serve with tomato sauce, if desired.

Click here for printable version

The Reviews:

Elmo: I don’t like it. (She was talking about the peppers. Actually she had several helpings of the sausage)

Batman: Mmmmmmm…. I love it!

Curious George: I tasted it, and I don’t really like it. Then: I sort of like it. Then: I like it.

Sarah Crewe: I like the pepper but not the stuffing.

Don Corleone: I love it!

I didn’t think the kids would eat this dish, so I thought four peppers would be enough. (Of course I thought that. I dumb, remember?). I think next time I’ll make six peppers and give each Critic their own.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Maybe one day I’ll learn some stuff, and then I’ll share it with my kids. For now, I think I’ll embrace my ignorance. At least it gets me off Homework Duty.

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Frank Sinatra’s Sausage and Peppers

Would it sound as good if it were “Frank Sinatra’s Tuna Casserole?”

Hey, you know what? Frank tells you to make tuna casserole, you make the tuna casserole.

Fortunately for us, it’s sausage and peppers.

Frank Sinatra died this week (May 14) 13 years ago. I still remember it so clearly. I was getting ready for work when my mom called to tell me the news. ‘Oh man,’ I thought, ‘How am I going to break the news to Don Corleone?’

We had been married only nine months, and this was the first “big” news I had to break to him. He was (and is) a HUGE Sinatra fan. I knew I had to be gentle and sensitive. How would I, in my new role as a loving wife, handle this momentous occasion?

I hung up the phone, went into the bedroom where The Don was dressing for work, and blurt out, “Guess what! Frank Sinatra died!”

Smooth.

Don’t beat around the bush, that’s my motto.

This is the recipe that Frank Sinatra prepared when he appeared on Dinah Shore’s television show, and you can also find it in her cookbook:

Someone's in the Kitchen With Dinah

Frank Sinatra’s Sausage and Peppers

  •  1 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Remove stems and seeds from peppers and cut into large chunks. In an ovenproof baking dish that can be used on top of the stove, saute green peppers in oil until they begin to soften. Sprinkle with a little salt. Lift green peppers out of dish and set aside.
  2. Brown the sausage in the same baking dish. When browned, add the red wine.
  3. Cover the pan and bake the sausages in wine in a 350F oven for 40 minutes.
  4. Uncover and add green peppers back to the dish. Bake for another 30 minutes and serve in the same dish.

I used half hot and half sweet Italian sausages, because I thought the hot would be too much for the kids. I served this with crusty garlic bread and spaghetti with marinara sauce. And salad, which nobody ate because we were all too stuffed from the pasta and sausage.  

Frank Sinatra's Sausage and Peppers

Wow. This was good. I mean really, really good. And I’m not just saying that because I think Frank will send some of his goons to haunt me from the grave. It really was fantastic.  My critics agreed:

Don Corleone: It’s ring-a-ding-delicious!

Sarah Crewe: I really love the sausage. The peppers are bad.

Batman: The sausage and peppers are really good!

Curious George: I like the sausage. I don’t like the peppers.

Elmo ate only pasta. But she didn’t have a nap today, so I think it’s unfair to take her opinion too seriously 😉

If you’re interested, click here to watch a video on youtube of The Chairman cooking his marinara sauce with Dinah Shore in 1970. It’s fun to watch!

 I always loved Phil Hartman’s portrayal of Ol’ Blue Eyes on Saturday Night Live…

Best of Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman as Frank Sinatra

Enjoy 🙂

Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Spinach

Today we mourn the loss of an icon.  Elizabeth Taylor died today at age 79.

National Velvet

"I want it all quickly 'cause I don't want God to stop and think and wonder if I'm getting more than my share." -National Velvet

I wish I could write an obituary to honor her, but I wouldn’t be able to do her justice. I’ll just share some pictures instead:

"You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You're her oracle. You're her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you're in a constant state of panic." -Father of the Bride

"Seems like we always spend the best part of our time just saying goodbye." -A Place in the Sun

"Maggie the cat is alive. I'm alive." -Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

"There are never enough hours in the days of a queen, and her nights have too many." -Cleopatra

"I'm loud and I'm vulgar, and I wear the pants in the house because somebody's got to, but I am not a monster. I'm not." -Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

"Why, there's a wench! Come on and kiss me, Kate." -Taming of the Shrew

Well, you know what they say. When you are mourning a Hollywood legend, the best thing to do is to eat lots of pasta.

They do say that, right?

Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Spinach

  • 1 lb pasta, any variety (I used spaghetti)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 5 chicken sausages, sliced (I used garlic flavor)
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 6-oz package baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp garlic & basil flavored vinegar (see note)*
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken sausage and saute for about 5 minutes, or until sausage is browned.
  3. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
  5. Add pasta to pan and top with remaining olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss well.

*A few notes: One of my husband’s students gave him homemade garlic & basil flavored vinegar for Christmas, so that’s what I used. It was fabulous in this dish. If you have a flavored vinegar that you think would work, then by all means, go for it. If not, I would suggest red wine vinegar. Don’t be afraid to play around with the flavors to see what you would like.

A second note: I used dried sun-dried tomatoes. If you use tomatoes packed in oil, drain them, and then cut back on the olive oil a bit in step 5. You can always add more if needed.

 

Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Spinach

I have to say, this is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. I really love marinara sauce, but it’s so nice to have something different for a change. And I love sun-dried tomatoes, and don’t use them enough! And chicken sausage is so tasty and easy! Since it’s pre-cooked, you really don’t have to do anything to it. I just like to brown it for personal preference, and because I think it looks more appetizing.

The Critics:

Sarah Crewe: Mmmm! This is pretty good! The sausage gives it a real flavor.

Batman: It’s delicious!!!!

Curious George: It’s good, but I don’t like the tomatoes. They taste like red raisins.

Elmo: Me too! Me too! Me too! (She wouldn’t stop eating!)

Don Corleone: It’s a piquant and delightful blend of pasta and pig. Oh, it’s chicken? It’s a piquant and delightful blend of pasta and poultry.

Ah, well. Rest in peace,  Elizabeth. We will miss you. Say hi to Michael Jackson for us.

On a brighter note, a special shout-out goes to Steve McQueen who would be 81 tomorrow, March 24. Happy Birthday, Big Guy!

More about The King of Cool later…

Steve McQueen

Toads in the Hole

Are you going to watch the Oscars tonight?  I am.  I usually do, even though I get so annoyed with the whole insane production that I think, ‘Why am I watching this?’  all night long. And by ‘long,’ I mean ‘looooooooong.’

I’m rooting for The King’s Speech for Best Picture. And Colin Firth for Best Actor. He just has to win. And I’m not just saying that because I totally think he’s the cat’s pajamas. He was just so remarkably good in that role.

And a good-looking bloke, to boot.

But looks don’t count in that category. At least I don’t think they do.

So in honor of The King’s Speech winning Best Picture, (whoops, I mean hopefully winning Best Picture) I served a British dish for dinner tonight.

Toads in the Hole.

Toads in the Hole is basically sausages cooked in Yorkshire pudding. It gets its name from the fact that it resembles little toads sticking their heads out of a hole.

Whatever. I think it just looks like sausages in Yorkshire pudding, but at least it’s fun to tell the kids we’re having toads for dinner.

Toads in the Hole

This recipe is from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-ounce package breakfast sausage links
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Brown sausage in a large skillet. Drain, and place in a 9×13-inch baking dish
  3. In a small bowl, beat eggs. Add flour, water, and milk and beat all together. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture over sausage and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is brown and crusty. And Bob’s your uncle!

I guess traditionally, this dish is served at dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, but I don’t know, I think that’s bollocks. The way I fancy it is to serve it like breakfast (for dinner) with maple syrup and fruit.

Toads in the Hole

Toads Dinner

Okay, I have to admit. This bloody well isn’t my favorite. I think it’s the Yorkshire pudding. I’m just not a big fan. The kids thought it tasted a lot like pancakes, and I don’t like pancakes, so there you go.

But the sausages dipped in syrup are quite lovely.

The critics said:

Batman: I tasted it, and it is delicious!

Curious George: I think it is 150 stars!

Elmo: Nyuh. (I think that’s good. She ate it, anyway)

Sarah Crewe: With syrup, I give it a lot of stars.

Don Corleone: I like this a whole lot better than The King’s Speech.

Humph.

Enjoy the Oscars. I wish Steve Martin was hosting, but it will be interesting to see how James Franco and Anne Hathaway do. The commercials are cute.

I know I said I get annoyed with it, but the truth is, I do like to watch. It’s fun to see who’s there, and what they’re wearing, and then practice my own acceptance speech when I’m in the bathroom during commercials.

I don’t like those shows, though, where they blast everyone for their attire. It’s just plain mean, and should  only be done in the privacy of my your own living room.

With fun Oscar snacks, which I forgot to  buy. Do Ritz crackers and chocolate Teddy Grahams count as fun Oscar snacks? I guess they do this year.

Well, that’s all folks! Cheerio!