Sausage Penne

Well the Enterprise managed to crank out another beautiful cheesecake! This one took over an hour to bake as well, further proving my need for an oven thermometer…

After the cake I started on dinner, a yummy recipe from my new favorite cookbook – Melissa D’Arabian’s 10 Dollar Dinners. It’s a penne pasta with roasted vegetables and sausage. She includes lots of veggies – bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, onion, tomatoes. I shrank it down to please the tastebuds of Brian, Matt, and myself.

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Olive oil

Dry white wine

Grape Tomatoes

Zucchini

1/2 yellow onion

Parmesan cheese

S&P

2-3 Sausage Links

First step here is prepping the vegetables, they take the most time. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the ends off the zucchini and slice it in half lengthwise. Then take the shell off the onion and cut into wedges. (You can use additional vegetables like mushrooms or red bell pepper as well) Toss the onion and zucchini with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of S, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Lay the veggies on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for 15 minutes.

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While the veggies are roasting, fill a pot with water for the pasta and add a tablespoon of salt to it. Grate 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Pull the casings off the sausages. And dress the tomatoes like the zucchini and onion, with olive oil S&P. After 15 minutes of roasting, add the tomatoes to the cookie sheet and roast for another 15 minutes. Then pull the veggies out of the oven and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.

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Start the pasta in boiling water. Cook until it is al dente, about 11 minutes. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Dice up the roasted veggies, save the juices. In a large skillet over medium heat, break up and brown the sausage (just like ground beef). This will take about 5 to 7 minutes. Bump the heat up to high and add 1/4 cup of white wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the brown bits. Add the roasted vegetables and juices to the pan along with the pasta and pasta water (if liquid needed). Stir all together and voila! 🙂

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Chicken Bacon Sandwich

I forgot to make breakfast on top of my chicken stock, cheesecake, cookies, and pasta dinner. By 3 o’clock Brian was starving and the dishwasher was running round 2. I realized I needed to pause my plan and whip up some lunch. I don’t keep lunch meat in the fridge because Matt works at a sandwich shop and would never make one at home. I stick to trusty PB&Js. But Brian needs more protein than peanut butter can offer.

My inspiration was the remaining slices of pepperjack cheese in my fridge – leftover from cheesesteaks a few weeks ago.

I grabbed two chicken breast cutlets, two slices of bacon, the cheese, lettuce, and four pieces of bread. First I pounded out the chicken cutlets until they were very thin – about 1/4 of an inch. S&P on both sides then dredge through flour. I set the chicken aside and cut the bacon slices into three pieces and cooked them up in the pan – smaller pieces faster cooking. I saved the bacon pan for bread toasting, I poured the grease into a can and left the crusty bits on the pan. I added butter and let it melt before dropping the bread in.

While the bread was toasting, I started another skillet for the chicken. Heat up olive oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Place the cutlets in the pan and leave them for about four minutes, cooking time will depend on the thickness of the cutlets. After four minutes, flip and finish for another four on the other side. During the last minute of cooking, place the cheese on the chicken to melt.

To wrap it all up, I spread dijon mustard on the bread and added a piece of lettuce. I placed the chicken on the other bread, with the bacon pieces on top of the chicken and then the bread on top. Yum. I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway done. It was sooo good! 🙂

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Chicken Stock

Yesterday was another cooking marathon! I started out by making chicken stock. I always like to keep some in the freezer and fridge but this batch is especially for Thanksgiving. I know my mom uses stock for gravy and other dishes, so I thought lets amp them up with homemade stock!

Making stock is super easy and cheap. All I had to buy at the store was a whole chicken which was about $5. The other veggies I normally keep in the house.

Usually my brother is around to chop up my chicken, but he wasn’t so I had to learn how to save the breasts myself. You could save all of the chicken parts and only use the backbone for stock. I don’t have any use for the wings or dark meat – not enough mouths to eat all of that chicken! So I just saved the chicken breasts and plopped the rest of the chicken into my stock pan. Along with the chicken, I added a whole garlic chopped in half widthwise, about 10 baby carrots, 3 celery stalks cut into thirds, half of a yellow onion, whole black peppercorns, 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, a bay leaf, and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt.

There are many other herbs and veggies you could add to the pot, but these were what I had on hand. After you get all of your ingredients in, pour in about 4 quarts of water – whatever fits! Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Leave simmering uncovered for 4 hours.

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The stock is simmering away on the right side of the picture. After 4 hours, remove it from the heat but leave it on the stove until it is cool enough to handle. This pot is big, heavy, and hot!

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Once its cooler – about an hour later – strain the liquid into bowls. I do this first with a big colander to get the chicken and veggies out. I let it cool in the bowls and then I strain it again through a mesh strainer to get any little bits and transfer to smaller containers. Put all of the stock containers into the fridge, even the ones you plan on freezing. The next morning, a layer of fat will need to be skimmed off the top. Then you can put the stock into the freezer for a few weeks or in the fridge for a week!