Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad


Adding chic peas to your salad adds protein and texture. Lots of colorful ingredients and different textures make for a wonderful salad.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

1 hothouse cucumber, (English cucumber) 1 1/2 inch dice
1-pint grape tomatoes halved
2-15 ounce cans chickpeas,  drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup diced feta
1/2 cup Kalamata olives (optional)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Freshly cracked black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients above. Season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and toss.  Dress with a lemon vinaigrette.

Homemade Vinaigrette Recipes- Lemon, Balsamic, And Cilantro Lime

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Braciole With Sweet Italian Sausage

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Sweet Italian Sausage (2)

Sweet Italian Sausage (3)

Sweet Italian Sausage (4)

Sweet Italian Sausage (5)

Sweet Italian Sausage (1)



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Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: mini food processor, 6-quart Dutch oven, 12-inch sauté pan, 6-quart saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, cast-iron grill pan

Ingredients For Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of good tomato paste
1 pint of Cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 fresh bay leaves, (substitute dried)
2 28-ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar

1 pound of sweet Italian sausage links (5 links)
2 packages of thinly sliced top round steaks (Scallopini-syle)
1 cup of Italian season breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of freshly grated Pecorino cheese
1/4 cup of golden raisins
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil, plus extra if needed


Start by this dish out with making my favorite tomato sauce. Normally I don’t put mushrooms in my tomato sauce but Steve loves mushrooms so for him I put them in. I started out sauteing the onions, garlic, and 2 bay leaves,1 tablespoon of good tomato paste, ( let that melt with the onions and garlic) and mushrooms in the pot with a little olive oil. I then added my crushed San Marzano tomatoes. The spices I add are Kosher salt, black pepper, oregano, and a sprinkling of brown sugar to balance out the acid in the tomatoes. I cook the sauce on a low simmer while I get the sweet Italian sausage and Braciole prepared.

I brown the sausage off on all sides before adding them to the sauce. For the Braciole, I buy thinly sliced beef, usually called Scallopini. I pound them out between 2 pieces of plastic wrap until they are so thin, that they are almost see-through. In a large bowl, I prepare the filling for the meat and that varies from different regions of Italy. In my family, we used Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, grated Pecorino cheese, golden raisins, finely chopped basil, toasted pine nuts, kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and enough olive oil to moisten the whole mixture. Lay one slice of the beef out on your board and spread the filling thinly across the top and then roll the beef up, secure it with a toothpick. it’s very important that you have a balance of meat to the filling. You don’t want the filling to spill out the sides, and you want the star to be the beef. After finishing all the beef I then brown them off in a saute pan on all sides in a little olive oil, sprinkling a pinch of salt and pepper on the outside of each Braciole. When they have all been browned off I add them to the tomato sauce as well. The sausages have now been simmering in the sauce and have a good head start on cooking when I add the Braciole to the sauce. Let all of this continue simmering on low for a least another 2 hours if not more. You will know when the Braciole is done because it will be so tender that you won’t even need a knife to cut them. Be careful to remove all the toothpicks before putting the Braciole back into the sauce. Having cooked with them in for that length of time they should hold their shape, just be gentle when removing them. That’s it, it seems like a lot of work but so well worth it. Once you take a bite of the Braciole that’s been cooking in that sauce, well you just have to try them. Oh and the spicy Italian sausage just enhances the flavor of the sauce, as they have simmered all that time in the tomato sauce. Finally, finish the sauce off with a sprinkling of chopped fresh basil.

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