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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Whole Foods

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I was strolling through the Whole Foods market when this display wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano caught my eye. Oh yeah, the “on sale” sign too!

Right behind the Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel is an enormous wall of cheeses from around the world, I mean that literally! There are cheeses from all over the world, and I’m planning on trying a few of them in the very near future.

 

The most amazing moment was watching the process of opening of an eighty pound Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel.

 

It turns out, this is a pretty big undertaking, and definitely takes some time to complete. Once that wheel is cracked open, it’s pretty awesome! I bought myself a couple of big wedges. When I returned home from the store, I placed one in the freezer and one in the frig. I think it’s going to be a pasta night!

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Cast Iron Skillet Pull-Apart Stuffed Pizza

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My Cast Iron Skillet Pull-Apart Stuffed Pizza is perfect for Sundays when Steve’s watching football all day. I serve it with a side of Marinara sauce. Served hot or at room temperature, these pull-a-part pizza bites can be customized. Here, I made them all the same, but you could get really creative and make them with a variety of fillings. All You need is a cast iron skillet.

Let’s start with the filling.

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I like stirring all the ingredients every now and then so they cool down faster, takes about 5 minutes or so. To the bowl of sautèed veggies and sausage.

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I’ve bought store bought pizza dough. It’s a lot easier when you’re talking about a weeknight meal, and really it’s just as good. I sprinkled the board with a little bit of flour to help the dough from sticking. I rolled out the dough and cut 24 circles about 4 inches in diameter. Lay them out on baking sheets lined with paper towel.

I placed a tablespoon of the filling right in the center of each circle. Fold the dough in half, then curve the bottom of each stuffed pocket in a crescent shape.

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I took my cast iron skillet and wiped the bottom and sides with a piece of paper towel that I drizzled with 2 tablespoons of Canola oil. This ensures to dough won’t stick and browns nicely on the bottom.

Lay the stuffed pockets of pizza dough into the skillet starting with the outside rim of the skillet first. Continue this process until the entire skillet has been filled. Place into the 400-degree oven on the bottom rack. Keeping a close eye on your oven, bake until crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

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As soon as the Cast Iron Skillet Pull-Apart Pizza comes out of the oven, I brush the top with a mixture of melted butter, a pinch of garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.  Serve with a side of Marinara sauce for dipping.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes ( this includes the filling cooking time)
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment; cast iron skillet, rolling pin,
sheet pans, parchment paper

Ingredients:
1 pound store-bought pizza dough, room temperature (rolled out and cut into circles, 4 inches in diameter, need 24 circles)
1-pound of bulk sweet Italian sausage (or spicy sausage)
2 tablespoons of Canola oil (add oil to a paper towel and thoroughly grease the cast iron skillet)
1/2 diced yellow onion
1.2 diced red, green and yellow bell pepper
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 15-ounce can of drained fire roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
8-ounces of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Season Butter:
1/2 stick of melted unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
Marinara sauce for dipping (or store-bought pizza sauce)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Preheat a large sautèpan on medium heat. Add olive oil and start by browning off the bulk sausage. Once the sausage is brown and fully cooked, using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage onto a plate lined with paper towel and set aside.

Next, in the same sautè pan add all the veggies with the seasonings. Once veggies are tender add the cooked sausage back in along with a can of drained diced tomatoes, stir and let simmer for 10 minutes.

When that’s finished cooking, transfer all the ingredients to a bowl, and let cool down. I like to stir everything every now and then to help the cooling process along. Next, add the shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Move on to rolling out the pizza dough.

Cut out 24 4-inch circles and lay them out on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Add Canola oil to a piece of paper towel and wipe down the cast iron skillet really well.

Start adding 1 tablespoon of the filling to the circles of pizza dough and folding them into a crescent shape. Next, place them in a circular pattern starting at the outside of the skillet and work your way inwards.

Bake on the bottom rack for about 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Be sure to keep your eye on it while it’s baking. Once the Cast Iron Skillet Pull-Apart Pizza is still hot, brush the top with the seasoned butter. Serve with a side of Marinara or pizza sauce.

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Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders

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Is it just me, or doesn’t everybody love a great meatball? I brought these Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders to a party recently and they disappeared just like that! Serving them on Hawaiian rolls, need I say more? Simmered low and slow, my tomato sauce is delicious. The star of the show is my mozzarella stuffed meatballs.

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Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Cook Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Yields: 24 meatballs (golf size)
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, 2 rimmed baking sheets, food processor, large mixing bowl, 2-ounce cookie dough scoop, 12-inch sauté pan

Ingredients For Sauce:
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 12-ounce jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, purèed (substitute roasted red peppers)
1 cup of unsalted chicken broth
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves

Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 1/2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground beef, chicken, or turkey)
1/4 diced finely chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
24 1/4-inch diced (low-moisture) whole milk Mozzarella cheese
1/2 a cup of heavy cream
1/2 a cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, (1 tablespoon dried parsley)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/4 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
2 12-ct packages of mini Hawaiian buns

Directions:
Set the stove to medium, add olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes. Next, add diced onion and minced garlic, stirring frequently, cook for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent.

The next ingredient is tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste around and let it bloom in the hot oil. Add the unsalted chicken broth. Bring the broth up to a bubble and let the broth reduce by half. Pour in two cans of crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, and brown sugar, stir to combine.

Next, add purèed Piquillo peppers. These peppers give a nice sweetness and a bright red color to the sauce. Still, on medium heat let this sauce come up to a bubble, reduce the heat to low and let simmer.

Continue to simmer the sauce on low heat for 2 hours before adding in the meatballs. While the sauce is simmering, start on the stuffed meatballs.

First, add olive oil to a sautè pan on medium heat. Add finely diced onion, minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, sautè until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add heavy cream, parsley, dried oregano, Kosher salt, pepper, ricotta cheese, Worcestershire sauce, cooled onion and garlic mixture, beaten eggs, and Panko breadcrumbs. Once this is all mixed together, add the ground pork. Using a fork, mix both the ground pork and the flavorings together to combine. Do not overmix. This meatball mixture yields 24 golf ball size meatballs.

Next, dice the mozzarella cheese into 24 1/2-inch cubes. Using a 2-ounce cookie-dough scoop (2-ounce portion), scoop the meat mixture into your hand. Place the cube of mozzarella into the center of the meat mixture wrapping the meat around the cheese as seen in the above pictures.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
On two rimmed baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, place 12 meatballs on each sheet pan. Spray the meatballs with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. The meatballs will be a golden brown. You could do this in a frying pan, but I find this way to be a lot easier, quicker, and not as messy.

At the same time, the sauce is simmering away on top of the stove, the meatballs are browning off in the oven. After the 30 minutes, take the meatballs out of the oven, transfer them into the simmering sauce.

Simmer the meatballs, in the sauce, for another hour. Turn the heat to off and add in some freshly torn basil leaves and gently stir through. Place a lid on the pot to keep everything warm until you are ready to make the mini sliders.

Slice the little sweet Hawaiian buns in half filling each with one with a Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball. Bring these delicious sliders to any party, or just have them at home. You won’t be able to eat just one.

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