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Chicken & Barley Stuffed Peppers: Your Kids’ New Favorite Dinner

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I just had to share this recipe with you. Consider it a gift to kick off your summer! I made this recipe a few weeks ago, and it was an instant success. My husband loved it, my kids loved it, and I loved that everyone cleaned their plates. But for some odd reason, I forgot to add it to my weekly menu again, until tonight! We have been grilling like crazy lately, and my kids needed a little variety, so I decided to make these stuffed peppers again. WOW! Another raving success! My husband even ate seconds. I just love a meal where everyone leaves the table well-fed and satisfied!

Now, before you think it may not work for your family, try it. I do not like traditional stuffed peppers. In fact, I don’t really loved cooked peppers, but this recipe is a winner; I promise!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers (we love red)
  • 1 lb. of ground chicken
  • 1 cup of diced zucchini
  • 1 cup of barley
  • 2 cans of mild red enchilada sauce
  • 1 tbsp. of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. of paprika
  • 1 tbsp. of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of pepper
  • Drizzle of Sriracha (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Brown chicken in a large skillet
  2. Meanwhile, cut peppers in half and remove stems and seeds.
  3. Place 6 halves onto parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes at 450 until tender and charred at the edges. Flip after 10 minutes.
  4. Chop the other 2 halves of peppers and the zucchini into small chunks.
  5. Add the vegetables and barley to the browning meat, mixing well.
  6. Reduce to a simmer and add the enchilada sauce and spices.
  7. Mix well and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the barley is tender.
  8. Remove the peppers from the oven and transfer to individual plates. Spoon a heaping portion of the filling into each pepper and serve immediately.

Variations: You can top with taco cheese or cilantro. Feel free to change-up or add additional veggies, such as frozen corn, diced tomatoes, or onions.

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Pulling off Easter Dinner– A few tips to keep it simple.

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Hosting a large family dinner can be a daunting task, especially at a holiday. There are a few things you can do to ensure that the day goes smoothly and guarantee that you enjoy the day too. No one signs up to host a family meal saying, “Sure, I’d love to have you come over to a enjoy a stress-filled, resentful, exhausting nightmare together.” But, this is what these days are for some frazzled hosts.

This post was inspired by a hopeful co-worker who popped into my classroom this week to ask for help. She is hosting Easter dinner for her entire family for the first time ever. She was feeling intimidated, but hopeful that with a few suggestions, she could pull it off. I gave her some tips and a sold menu, and she left work on Friday feeling determined and optimistic. After seeing her relief, I thought it would be a good idea to share them with all of you.

1. The Menu

My co-worker had the challenge of incorporating traditional favorites, but accommodating a family member who is vegetarian and a family member who is vegan. Here is what we came up with:

Honey Glazed Spiral Ham— Don’t be afraid to go with a store-bought ham. They are very tasty and easy to make.

Oven Baked Risotto— This is a crowd favorite, and if made with vegetable stock & a butter alternative, it will please both the vegetarian and vegan. Additionally, it’s a sophisticated alternative to potatoes.

Quiche– A quiche is a nice option for vegetarians, and it works for meals throughout the day. Go plain, or add variety with different vegetables.

Clementine Balsamic Glazed Carrots— Roasted whole carrots are a beautiful symbol of the spring season. Not to mention, the flavor is the perfect complement to the sweet ham.

Garlicky Green Beans— Toss some skinny fresh green beans with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh minced garlic. Saute until bright green and slightly tender. Remove from heat, and transfer to a serving bowl quickly so they don’t over cook.

Spinach and Strawberry Quinoa Salad— Adding cooked & cooled quinoa is a great way to add texture and update this classic salad.

2. Appetizers

My advice is to limit appetizers when hosting a large sit-down dinner. The first reason is practical. Since you are spending so much time, energy, and money on this meal, you don’t want your guests to fill up on snacks before dinner. The second reason is procedural. You will be far less stressed as a cook if you are not trying to prepare appetizers when you really need to be devoting your time and energy to the main course. I would suggest a simple cheese and cracker plate and some fresh fruit. Fruit is a great option because if hungry kids ruin their appetites with fruit, is that really such a bad thing?

3. Working Ahead 

The key to sanity and effective kitchen management is to do as much as you can ahead of time.

A few days before:

  • Set the table
  • Clean the house
  • Shop for groceries
  • Make the quiche and freeze
  • Lay out serving pieces and cookware needed
  • Clean the fridge, creating space for prepped ingredients and leftovers

The day before:

  • Wash the fruits & vegetables
  • Do all dishes and run the dishwasher. Be sure to unload it too!
  • Make quinoa and store in the fridge.
  • Pre-slice the cheese.
  • Defrost the quiche in the fridge.

The day of:

** Keep up with dishes and cleaning in the kitchen as you are cooking. Staying on top of things and keeping the kitchen clean as you cook will reduce your stress later.

  • Before guests arrive–
    • Prepare the salad (do not put the dressing on until you are ready to serve it)
    • Make the ham, slice it off the bone, and arrange on a platter.
    • Warm the quiche.
    • Assemble to fruit plate.
    • Measure and prep all ingredients for the green beans, carrots, and risotto.
    • Arrange the drink table. Add ice and cold beverages just prior to guests’ arrival time.
  • About an hour before dinner–
    • Make risotto & carrots.
    • Let guests know that you will be eating in an hour.
  • Fifteen Minutes before dinner–
    • Warm ham and quiche in the oven.
    • Toast rolls or bread.
    • Dress the salad.
    • Make green beans
  • Five minutes before dinner–
    • Put the food on the table.
    • Encourage guests to get a fresh drink
    • Start the dishwasher with any random dishes left over from the prep.
  • Dinner time–
    • LET IT ALL GO!!
    • This is what you have been planning for. Be sure to sit, enjoy dinner, and take time to have good conversation with those you love!
  • After dinner–
    • Let guests help to clear the table.
    • Put away clean prep dishes from the dishwasher.
    • Load the dishwasher with dinner dishes.
    • Sit and enjoy family and your dinner success!
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My Very Best Pulled Pork

  

When it comes to pulled pork, I’m a full blown snob! I love it so much, that my bucket list includes a trip through the small towns of the south, sampling pulled pork and ribs from the well kept secret spots and smoky hole-in-the-wall kinds of joints, where the craft of bar-b-que is practiced from ancient family recipes.

Now, while I’d love to slow cook my own pork over a sampling of hardwoods, and allow the natural flavors to develop over hours of heat, the reality is that I’m a mom of three busy kids, who works full time. Carpools, laundry, bickering daughters, and work would not wait for me to monitor a roasting hunk of meat and the demands of an open flame in my small, suburban back yard.

So, I do what any other sensible cook would do, I pull out my slow cooker. I know it is not comparable to an open flame, but, oh well!

Here is my recipe. It is an awesome blend of a Carolina style vinegar pulled pork, and its bar-b-que based counterpart. I think of it as the best of both worlds. Smoky and savory, tangy and sweet all collide in this recipe that will leave you craving more!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large (8-10 lb.) pork shoulder/picnic or Boston Butt roast
  • 1 head of garlic peeled
  • 1 med. Yellow onion
  • 1 of each—Red pepper, yellow pepper, & orange pepper
  • ½ to 1 cup of ketchup
  • 4 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp. of  brown sugar
  • Bar-b-Que seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Sprinkle roast with seasoning.
  2. Chop peppers and onions into large chunks
  3. Place roast, peppers, onions, and garlic into a slow cooker.
  4. Pour in vinegar
  5. Cook 8-10 hours on medium to high until the meat is tender and falls apart easily.
  6. Remove meat and set aside to cool.
  7. Strain juice from the slow cooker into a medium sauce pan on the stove.
  8. Boil liquid until reduced to half
  9. Add ½ cup of ketchup and 3 tbsp of brown sugar and continue to boil until you have a thin sauce. You may need to add small amounts of brown sugar or ketchup to adjust taste.
  10. Use two forks or your stand mixer to shred meat and add it to the sauce.

Serve on a roll of your choice, or open faced on a slab of Texas Toast garlic bread!

Tips:

  • The longer the meat sits in the sauce, the better it tastes
  • This can be frozen in smaller amounts and used as needed.
  • Make it at least one day in advance to allow the meat to soak up the sauce.
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Buffalo Chicken & Potato Casserole

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“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

We all know this phrase, and I usually can agree with this philosophy, but it can’t always be true, right? Well, at least it’s not true for me when I get a good idea to “fix” something, like say a casserole.

I found a casserole recipe on Pinterest. It’s pretty popular, and there are a bunch of knock-off versions, so I made it this summer to mixed reviews. My mom and my husband liked it, my kids, not so much. I also have a neighbor who tried it based on my Facebook post, but her feedback was so-so as well. Technically, this recipe was not “broken”, but I had an idea of just how to “fix” it.

For me the issue was a flavor thing. It needed a bit more depth. I absolutely loved the technique, but I felt it needed a little more complexity beyond plain hot sauce. I “fixed” it. You’re welcome 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 medium potatoes, cubed with skins on
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ½ packet of Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix
  • 1 cup of Buffalo wing sauce
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup of chopped, cooked bacon
  • ¼ cup of chopped green onions

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 500°.
  • Chop potatoes and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and salad dressing mix, then toss until coated.
  • Line the bottom of a casserole dish with the potatoes and bake for 45 minutes. Check the potatoes around 30 minutes, and stir.
  • Meanwhile, chop the chicken and coat with the wing sauce.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the oven, top with the chicken, then sprinkle cheese, bacon, and onions.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 475° and bake for approximately 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the cheese is nicely melted.

**Because ovens can vary, ensure that the chicken is fully cooked prior to consuming.

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Crawfish Garlic Toast with Cajun Pierogies

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Yesterday, I gifted a friend with lunch from my favorite Cajun restaurant, to help her get labor started on her third, overdue baby. While I know this is an unproven, old wives tale, the voodoo crawfish worked to bring about many local babies!

Well, after ordering and coordinating delivery, I was left sitting at my desk craving Cajun food. I called my husband to whine about wanting to go out to dinner, but got no sympathy, so I took matters into my own hands! I shopped Pinterest for a Cajun pierogi recipe because I wanted to emulate the ones from High Street Caffe, but the recipes I found did not match the dish I desired. This is when the creative juices started to boil in my brain. By the time I left work, I was on a mission to go to Wegman’s  and secure some super tasty crawfish!!!!!

After an inspired trip to the store, I got home and started to cook! No pizza in my house on this given Friday! Once it was ready, I called my husband and urged him to rush home, because I couldn’t wait to dig in. It was HEAVENLY! Paired with a nice bottle of wine, it felt like a date at home! This recipe has now earned a spot in my top 3 greatest of all time!!!

Crawfish Garlic Toast

Ingredients:

The toast–

  • 1 baguette, sliced diagonally
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic

The Crawfish—

  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • ½ cup of finely chopped mirepoix (carrots, onion, & celery)
  • 12 oz. of crawfish tails
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1 Tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp of fresh thyme
  • A few dashes of cayenne pepper (you can adjust to your liking)
  • Salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 palmful of chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:

The toast—

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  1. Slice the baguette diagonally to create large oval slices.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the minced garlic. Sautee for 1-2 minutes to infuse the garlic flavor.
  3. Place each slice on a baking sheet, the brush with the garlic butter.
  4. Bake at 450° for about 3 minutes, then flip to toast the other side.
  5. Remove from the oven, and set aside.

The Crawfish—

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  1. In the same skillet used above, saute the garlic, mirepoix, and butter until softened.
  2. Add the crawfish tails and cook on high heat until firm.
  3. Mix in the spices, and saute for another minute.
  4. Add cream, mix well, and simmer uncovered for about 5 -10 minutes until thickened.
  5. Stir in the fresh parsley.

Final Preparation—

Place a slice of toast on a plate & spoon a generous serving of the crawfish onto the toast. Serve immediately.  If you would like to serve this as a small appetizer, use smaller, coin sized slices of baguette and smaller portions of crawfish.

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This pairs to well with Cajun pierogies! This is a total cheater recipe, so anyone can easily whip these suckers up. They also make a great stand-alone appetizer!

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Get the recipe here!

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Buffalo Chicken Chili

Buffalo Chicken Chili

This is one of those great meals that you don’t have to feel guilty about. It is so packed with veggies that your kids and husband will have no clue that you are secretly serving something nutritious! My daughter has asked for it in a thermos to take in her school lunch, and my husband will settle in to watch football with a big bowl of this tasty chili and some chips. It is also a quick and easy, one pot meal that feeds many on a budget. So whether you are entertaining the masses, or just looking for a reprieve from all that is unhealthy, look no further!

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 Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 medium onion,
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of buffalo wing sauce, depending on your taste
  • 2 15 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar or blue cheese for garnish

Preparation:

1. Poach chicken breasts in about an inch of water in a large stock pot for about 8 minutes. (or you can use 2 lbs, of ground chicken, cooked & crumbled)

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2.Meanwhile, chop carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in a food processor.

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3. Once chicken is cooked, remove from the pot, reserving the liquid in a separate bowl.

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4. Add 2 Tbsp. of butter to the stock pot (no need to wash it between steps), and allow to melt.

5. Add chopped vegetables, sautéing until soft.

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6. Chop cooked chicken in food processor, then add to the vegetables in the stock pot mixing well.

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7. Add wing sauce and crushed tomatoes. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

8. Add broth, bay leaves, paprika,

9. Allow to simmer on low heat for about 10-20 minutes

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Presentation:

Top with a pinch of cheese, then serve hot with tortilla chips for scooping.

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Thanksgiving: Traditional or Trapped?

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I had a great idea for Thanksgiving this year. I usually cook for about 26 people, but this year I am only cooking for 19. With the smaller number, I thought I’d change it up a bit. I sat down yesterday to draft a menu and update some of the side dishes. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with the old favorites, they have been made for years for a reason, but I just thought we’d add variety.

I casually mentioned the changes to my husband, who balked. He wanted to keep the traditional offering, but I have to admit I was annoyed by his response. This is the man that insists that I make his mothers “traditional” stuffing, and when I say traditional, I mean boring. He has also been known to profess that “Turkey is turkey!”

Ummm. No, it’s not!

Whatever! I did what I normally do when I don’t like his response, I called my sister. Can you believe she sided with him? And to make things worse, my niece piped in her dissent!

Et tu, Brute? 😦

My sister had me on Bluetooth, so it went more like a conference call.

Me: “I was just calling to ask if corn casserole is a necessity, or if I can make a corn & quinoa salad instead.”

My Sister: “Wait, you can’t change Thanksgiving! It’s a tradition.”

My Niece:  “Is she asking if she has to make corn casserole???”

Me: “I just thought I’d update the menu a bit. Simplify it a little.”

My Niece: “I wait 364 days to have corn casserole. You have to make it!”

My Brother-In-Law: “Ugh! Is she going all Food Fairy on us?”

Me: “Can I at least make carrots with parsnips?”

My Sister: “What are parsnips, and who would eat them? I am completely content with all yellow, brown, and white food on my Thanksgiving plate!”

Me: “Well, I thought some of it could be healthy, I know we have all been working hard to eat well.”

OVERWHELMING CHOURS: “NO ONE CARES ABOUT HEALTHY ON THANKSGIVING!”

So there you have it, the menu will stay the same. I tried to explain my disappointment to my husband, after the phone call ended. I shared my desire to update, simplify, and add new variety. I vented that my sisters get to change up Christmas and Easter. Why can’t I change Thanksgiving? To that, he explained how Thanksgiving is about tradition. Unfortunately, I chose a holiday where no one wants change. They DO wait 364 days to indulge in family food traditions and dishes that are reserved for this special feast. How can I argue with that?

This year, then menu will be the same, with minimal innovation, and I think I am okay with it.

Thanksgiving 2012

The menu:

Brined & Roasted Turkey

Simple Sausage Stuffing

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Corn Casserole

Garlic Tossed Green Beans

Escalloped Apples & Cranberries

Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Carrots & Parsnips

Meme’s Green Jello (AKA “The Green Sh#*%”)

Sweet Potato Gratin –(which my other sister makes her own & brings it anyway)

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding

…and most importantly, fall sangria!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Kelly

7

My Crazy is Showing, but I’ll Tuck it in Later

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My husband says that I have a tomato problem.

  I don’t.

He uses words like “addiction”, “compulsion”, “obsession”.

I respond with words like “whatever”, “nu-uh”, “ugh” (yes, they are words in my vocabulary)

My kids say things like “Stop saucing, Mommy!” “Can’t we just go to the pool, like other kids?” “Why are you making mooorrrreee???”

My responses… “I just have a few more to do.” “You love Mommy’s sauce.” “Can I just have one hobby?”

Why can’t my loved ones embrace my annual hobby of stalking my favorite secret farm stand until the Romas are ready, then packing my car full of red, juicy little friends, and crafting some of the finest homemade sauce (or “gravy” as my Italian friend, Lisa, corrects)? No one else we know has a basement stockpile of tomatoey awesomeness!! My family is lucky, damn it!

I’m a pretty simple girl. I do not like shopping. The mall is not my happy place, and the outlets, which are right down the road from my farm stand oasis, make my heart palpitate with anxiety! I prefer to cook, and grow, and relax. In an ideal world, I’d live on a small farm, next to the beach, and I’d have enough money to stay home with my kids and cook fabulous meals. It’s not a lot to ask.

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But now, the season of saucing is upon us. The Romas are ready; this is shopping that brings me joy! I woke up this morning, recruited my sister, Rori, who is crazy enough to join my adventures, and off we went. The sun was out, the breeze was warm, the top was down, and the doors were off. It was heavenly.

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Our morning was awesome. Kid & husband free, we popped into several farm stands snatching up peppers, pickling cucumbers, cheese, blackberries, and the coveted Roma tomatoes. I have a super secret special spot that grows them to perfection. Here we bought SIX BUSHELS. As I transferred them from the baskets to cardboard boxes, a calm washed over me. This is my happy place, this is my happy place, THIS IS MY HAPPY PLACE!!   After we loaded them into the car, I stood to ponder our stash. No buyer’s remorse. I had buyer’s delight!

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After a happy drive home, I pulled into the driveway and fought the urge to yell, in the spirit of Maurice Sendak, “LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN!”

It is time to sauce.

So, as I pull the first tomatoes from the box, and my family watches and waits for my crazy to show, I do consider the stages of addiction…

  • Admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion:
    • I totally admit that I cannot control my compulsion to make & can homemade pasta sauce
  • Recognizing a higher power that can give strength;
    • I totally thank God often that I live in such a beautiful place on Earth, with fertile soil, and Amish neighbors who grow the BEST ROMA TOMATOES EVER!!!!
  • Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor;
    • I will totally own my errors. Two years ago I didn’t make enough and we ran out in January. Last year, I made a little too much, and I still have 8 jars left.
  • Making amends for these errors;
    • I bought less this year.
  • Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
    • I will live with less canned sauce, and embrace my passion for making sun pickles too 🙂
  • Helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions;
    • I assisted my sister in securing a few cases for herself, and I am willing to help you all as well.

There you have it. I may be a little obsessed, addicted, or compulsive, but Hell, it’s a lot of fun, and so, so good!

If you need to know how I make my sauce/gravy, check out my Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce!

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Savory Pot Roast

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Pot roast, your perfect post pool day dish!

I know, you’re thinking “What kind of crazy loon makes pot roast in the middle of a heat wave in June??

Me!

While this does not seem like summer fare, I find myself juggling early mornings at swim team practice, then long activity filled summer days. I need slow cooker meals that will fill the starving bellies of my hungry monsters who are often “dying” and “starving” as they stagger around the kitchen whining for food at 4:30 on a Wednesday. And who wants to fire up the stove after a day of kid crazy??

This week was “Clean the Freezer Week” at my house, and I happened to have a big ol’ chuck roast in the freezer threatening to slip out and crush the tiny toes of a Popsicle seeking rummager. I figured I might as well pop it in the slow cooker and feed them a hearty meal. The result was well fed, happy kids who marched their satisfied tummies upstairs and slept well all night! SCORE!!

As for the recipe, This is an old family favorite, courtesy of my mother. Over the years, I have tweaked it a bit, but it still remains very much like the recipe of my childhood.

Savory Pot Roast

1 3lb beef roast

Oil for frying

Salt

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes OR ¼ cup catsup

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire

1 sprig of fresh rosemary OR 1 tsp. dried crushed rosemary

4 fresh garlic cloves OR ½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. dry mustard

In a Dutch oven or large oven safe pot, brown meat on the stovetop in small amount of oil. Sprinkle meat with a little salt. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over meat. Cover tightly, roast at 350 for 2 hours or until tender. Remove meat to heated platter. Skim excess fat from sauce. Spoon sauce over meat.

*** You can also cook it on low in a slow cooker for about 8 hours. I also add carrots and potatoes to cook in the sauce with the meat 🙂

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Rockin’ Rose Romano’s [SPONSORED]

1-IMG_2229Recently, the kind people at Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers sent me a few jars of their tasty sauce. Wow, am I a lucky girl. I was amazed by the beautiful presentation of the box I received, and I was intrigued by the recipes suggested in the insert. What I learned is that Rose Romano’s is actually more like a condiment, rather than a pasta sauce. As a coveted family recipe, owner, Dr. Marshall Angotti, created this gluten-free, low calorie, goodness as the perfect complement to your simple homemade dishes. Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers comes in two flavors, red pepper and green pepper, and the recipe possibilities are endless.

My biggest challenge was to figure out how I was going to use the red pepper sauce that I received, because the cookbook and menu created by Dr. Angotti is substantial! I decided on making a simple bow tie pasta tossed with garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, and salt & pepper. Once the pasta was seasoned, I spooned it onto a plate, topped it with the red pepper sauce, and served it with a side of crusty garlic bread. What a great, easy weeknight meal, even my girls loved it! We all went to bed with well nourished, happy bellies.

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The next challenge came with how to serve the green pepper sauce. I immediately thought of my nephew’s upcoming graduation party. I knew that my sister was making 100 pounds of Freakin’ Fabulous Roasted Pork for sandwiches, and a sandwich bar was the perfect stage for Rose Romano’s green pepper sauce. Along with traditional bar-b-que sauce, we offered a bowl of warm Rose Romano’s. The green pepper sauce was a sweet compliment to the savory garlic roasted pork.

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After my initial successes, I am excited to try some of the recipes suggested by Dr. Angotti. His recipes suggest topping almost anything with this unique food accessory, from hamburgers, to grilled chicken, to eggs. The ideas are creative as well as simple and healthy.

If you are looking for a new way to dress up a boring dish, or need a quick and easy gift idea, consider Rose Romano’s Peppers. You can order online or locate them at a store near you by visiting http://www.roseromanos.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.