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Apple Cider Sangria

Apple Cider Sangria
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Apple Cider Sangria
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, and ginger in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Set Aside
  2. Combine the wine, vodka, and cider in a pitcher. Add the syrup along with the cinnamon and ginger, and orange peel.
  3. Add the fruits to the wine mixture. Allow to chill for 30 minutes or so. To serve; pour into glasses and top with a generous splash of seltzer water.
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Ginger Soy Roasted Carrots

Ginger Soy Roasted Carrots
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These tasty little gems get an Asian treatment that brings out even more of their sweetness.
Servings
3
Servings
3
Ginger Soy Roasted Carrots
Print Recipe
These tasty little gems get an Asian treatment that brings out even more of their sweetness.
Servings
3
Servings
3
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place the carrots in a medium size bowl.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to blend the ingredients. pour over the carrots and toss to coat evenly.
  3. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray.
  4. Roasted in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. When carrots are tender, they are ready to serve.
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Carpese Chicken Breasts

This is a guaranteed way to cook chicken breasts that will turn out juicy, tender and delicious. The cheese and tomatoes create a moist and flavorful filling enhanced by the basil leaves. 

Resist the urge to over-stuff the breasts. All that extra filling looks beautiful,but most of it will wind up in the bottom of the pan. You should be able to close the pocket and secure it with a toothpick or two.

Searing over high heat insures a nice light crust without the need for breading. The oven finishes the cooking process quickly and evenly.

This is a time when a meat thermometer becomes your best friend. Check at the 15 minute mark. Once it is flirting with 140 degrees remove it from the oven. It will continue to cook as you garnish it with the pesto.

This will lend itself to any filling you can dream up. Just keep the filling moist and the amount in moderation. 

Carpese Chicken Breasts
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Carpese Chicken Breasts
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven heats prepare the chicken
  2. Carefully cut a pocket in each of the chicken breasts. Do this at the thickest part being careful not to cut completely through.
  3. Fill each breast pocket with half of the tomatoes, 1/2 ounce of cheese, and 4 of the basil leaves. Gently pull the pocket closed and secure it with tooth picks,
  4. Heat an over proof skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it begins to ripple.
  5. Sprinkle the Italian herb blend evenly over the chicken. Carefully place the chicken in the skillet. Brown for 3 minutes, turn the breasts, and brown the other side 3 minutes more.
  6. Carefully pour in the chicken stock and transfer to the oven.
  7. Bake 10 minutes. Add the remaining cheese to the top of the chicken and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness (140 degrees).
  8. Remove the chicken to serving plates. Pour a little of the pan drippings over the chicken. divide the pesto evenly on top of the chicken and serve.
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Caramelized Onion and Pepper Relish

We are all still basking in the fading glow of summer. Grills are still being called into service on a regular basis. Chicken, pork, fish, and beef proudly take to the grill. We all know that grilled protein is delicious, but sometimes it can feel a bit under-dressed on the plate.

There are lots of ways to make them feel a little more complete and this relish is one colorful alternative. It can be viewed as the bright colors of summer or the tones of the changing leaves of fall. Whatever your perspective it is a tasty addition to a meal.

I must confess that this came about as a result of a refrigerator clean-out mission. Mini bell peppers, and started red and sweet onions were all languishing in the crisper. The slow and aromatic caramelizing process came to mind. This does take some time ; 40 minutes give or take, but the depth of flavor is definitely worth it.

I brought some other bold flavors to the mix in the form of garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and sherry vinegar. I also added several serious glugs of dry sherry and a dollop of honey. Salt and pepper were added throughout the process. The acidity created by the vinegar gave it enough bite to qualify as a relish in my book and the petite sirloin it topped was very happy indeed.

 

Carmelized Onion and Pepper Relish
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Carmelized Onion and Pepper Relish
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and spread over the bottom of the pan. Cook for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Toss to combine and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the dry sherry and the thyme sprigs to the skillet and continue to cook for another 5 - 10 minutes.
  4. One everything looks beautifully golden, stir in the vinegar and honey and allow it all to cook a few minutes more.
  5. Remove the thyme sprigs (many of the leaves will remain in the relish) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with your grilled protein of choice.
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Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy

I am a firm believer that a slow cooker has a specific place in the kitchen of love. That is in the realm of soups and chili and now gravy. While I am not overly fond of large (or small)pieces pf meat prepared this way, I do find that soups, chili and other “liquidy” recipes work well. I do also like the convenience of setting and then forgetting these long cooking recipes.

Soups and chilies benefit from long slow cooking. With a slow cooker to keep an eye on things, the cook is able to go about life without the burden of being constantly available to stir and adjust the heat. At times that can feel like a life changing occurrence.

I had never thought to make Sunday Gravy in the slow cooker. I rather enjoy the process of stirring and tasting and adjusting. It brings back wonderful memories of my father making his gravy, meatballs, and sausage. Please, journey back with me by clicking on this link:

More Memories From the Kitchen of Love 

Back to the present and the slow cooker. This recipe takes the heart of my father’s recipe and introduces it to elements of the classic Bolognese Sauce. San Marzano tomatoes replaced my father’s Tomato paste and puree, though a good amount of tomato paste was needed to pay respect to the bolgonese.

I used meat that I had in the freezer; in this case two spicy Italian sausage links and a bag of “meat bits”. The bits were mostly chicken, remnants of trimmed thighs and breasts, but there were a few pork scraps as well.

I browned the meat and onions before adding them to the cooker. We all know that a slow cooker can’t brown things. Which in my opinion is one of the factors that contribute to the watered down taste. In this case it was worth the time because the flavors were really there. The tomato paste also had a chance to cook out a bit before jumping into the “hot tub”.

I originally planned to let the sauce cook 6 – 8 hours. It wound up going closer to 10. That was a good thing. It resulted in a thick rich sauce that was wonderful. I strongly suggest waiting until the next day to eat this. The aroma that is created in the house will make that difficult but be strong, I guarantee that the wait will be worth it. You have my permission however, to dip a chunk of bread into the pot to check for proper seasoning. That’s where the salt, pepper and perhaps a bit of sugar listed in the recipe come in.

Serve this over your favorite pasta. I chose spaghetti (Papa D’s favorite). I also used my mother’s technique of serving. A ladle of gravy in the bottom of the bowl with a sprinkle of cheese. Half of the pasta and another ladle of gravy, a quick toss, then repeat. Top with two generous ladles of gravy and a generous sprinkle of cheese and bring it to the table. 

I don’t know if my father would have embraced the slow cooker. Back then I think he was as concerned about the process as the product. I do believe that if he were around now he would approve of this take on his prized recipe.

Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy
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Servings
12
Servings
12
Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pour the tomatoes into a 5 -6 quart crock pot. Use a potato masher or your hands (if you want to be one with the tomatoes) to crush the tomatoes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a bit of the olive oil. Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet. Discard the casing. Brown the sausage lightly. When it is barely cooked through add it to the slow cooker.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the finely chopped chicken meat. You want this to brown, so if you need to, do it in two batches. Again we are looking for some color and barely cooked. Add this to the cooker as well
  4. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. cook these until they are just getting translucent and lightly browned.
  5. Add the tomato paste to the onion mixture along with a splash of stock. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.The onions should be coated and the mixture should be a lovely russet color.
  6. Add this to the cooker along with the parsley and Italian herbs. Stir everything together and cover the pot. Set the temperature on low and let it go. 8 -10 hours should do it.
  7. When you feel that it can't get any more wonderful, turn off the pot. If it seems to thick, add a little more stock. .
  8. Cool slightly. Divide the gravy into 3 containers. Freeze 2 and put the other one in the refrigerator for dinner tomorrow.
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