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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

A classic Italian combination is a slice of meat paired with fruit like prosciutto with melon or even figs. Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes (seedless green, red, or both) is a roller coaster for your taste buds combining flavors and textures.

Seedless green or red grapes, when in season, are bursting with sweetness.

This dish is usually served with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping. I’m changing up the traditional Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes. I’m going to be adding potatoes, a perfect accompaniment to this dish, a complete one-pot meal. Potatoes were a huge part of my mom’s recipes. I suppose this is where my English influence comes into play.  I’m not stopping there, for some added color and flavor, roasted sweet bell peppers, YUM!

There are a couple of different ways you can make this dish, you can choose to use half hot and half sweet Italian pork sausage, that’s traditional. You could even substitute Italian style turkey sausage or Italian style chicken sausage. I’m going to use a leaner and less fatty option, mild Italian chicken sausage for this recipe.

If you’ve never tried roasting grapes, well… you don’t know what you’re missing. They add amazing sweetness to this dish. A perfect harmony of savory and sweet flavors. Let’s get started.

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (20)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

You can see above how much leaner the Italian chicken sausage is from the traditional Italian pork sausage.

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Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (18)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (20)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings
Equipment: large 11 x 13 baking dish

Ingredients:
2-packages (10 links) Italian chicken sausage (substitute 1/2 hot and 1/2 sweet, Italian pork sausage, or Italian style turkey sausage)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 2-pound bag petite red potatoes, cut in half
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
6 cups of seedless green grapes, halved
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoon dry Chianti (red wine)
1 quart plus a 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 4-6 sprigs for individual servings, to garnish

Balsamic Glaze:
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup pan juices

Directions:
Note: Cooking Times may vary slightly. If any or a few of the potatoes are larger than most, cut the larger ones into quarters. The potatoes need to be similar in size.
First, slice the potatoes in half.
Add the halved potatoes into a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water. On medium-high heat. Bring the potatoes up to a boil. Continue boiling the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until just fork tender. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

Note: Cooking times may vary slightly.
Using a fork prick each of the sausage links 3 times on each side. Pour 1 quart of unsalted chicken broth into a large sauce pot, similar to the one in the picture above. Place the 10 sausage links into the pot (make sure the liquid covers the sausage links, add water if needed), turn the heat to medium, and cover. Parboil the sausages until grey throughout, about 12-15 minutes.

The parboiled sausages and potatoes should be done around the same time.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
While the potatoes and sausages are on the stove being parboiled, prep the grapes, peppers, onion, and garlic placing them into a large mixing bowl. Add  1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, tossing to coat with oil and seasoning.

Next, using tongs, transfer the sausage links to a plate lined with paper towel. Drain the potatoes and transfer them back into the same pot. This will allow (because the pot is still very hot) any excess water to evaporate from the potatoes. Set the pot aside for a minute. Once the potatoes are free of any excess water, move onto the next step.

Place the potatoes into the baking dish first. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, toss to coat all the potatoes. Add the grapes, peppers, onions, and garlic mixture to the baking dish. Using a pair of tongs, place the Italian chicken sausage links on top. Pour the chicken stock and red wine all over the top. Finally, place the 3 sprigs of rosemary on top.

Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Turning the sausage links halfway through the cooking process. This allows for both sides to brown really well.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Using a ladle remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the baking dish to keep everything warm.

Directions For Balsamic Glaze:
Using a ladle, remove the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish to a measuring cup. In a small sauce pot, pour in the cooking liquid. Next, add the balsamic vinegar. Turn heat to medium-high, whisking occasionally, cook allowing the vinegar and juices to reduce and become thick and syrupy around 5 minutes.

Pour the Balsamic Glaze over the sausages and grapes. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

To serve:
Bring the baking dish right to the table Set on a using a trivet. Serve hot and family style.

 

 

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Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs

Homemade SpaghettiO's (1)

What’s better than reliving one of your favorite childhood meals. You know the one I’m talking about, SpaghettiO’s with meatballs! Well, I’ve recreated this dish for you and its super easy to make.

Making homemade sauce and meatballs takes this to dish to a grown-up level that will definitely surprise you, guests. I have a couple of great ingredients tips for the meatballs that are going to blow your mind.

Let’s start by making the meatballs and getting them into the oven before working on the sauce.

Normally I wouldn’t use a store-bought basil pesto, however; in this instance, I’m using it as an ingredient in the meatballs. If you’re going to go this route, buy the basil pesto you get from the refrigerated section, of the grocery store, rather than the jarred version. In some of my earlier posts I’ve mentioned using basil pesto in meatballs really elevates the flavor, and when you think about it, they’re really ingredients you would most likely add to the meatball mixture anyway.

When making the mixture for the ground meat, you want to start with the flavorings in a bowl first. That mixture needs to have the consistency of wet sand. Next, you’ll add your choice of ground meat and combine. I use a fork to slowly combine the wet flavoring mixture to the ground meat. Keep the ground meat as loose as possible, do not over mix. This will ensure you’ll have super tender meatballs. Below are 3 ice cream scoops. The middle one is about an ounce or a 2 tablespoons scoop. For my mini meatballs, I’m using a scoop which is about half the size of a golf ball, for this recipe.

ice cream soops.jpg

 

Yields: 48 meatballs
Equipment: 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 pounds (your choice of ) ground meat, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, or veal.
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup half and half, room temperature
1/4 cup water, room temperature
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup of a fresh store-bought basil pesto
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano_ Reggiano cheese. (grated Parmesan cheese is fine too)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 heaping tablespoons dried parsley flakes (finely chop and use double this amount of fresh)
1 to 1 1/2 cups of  Italian bread crumbs (you want the consistency of wet sand)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients For Sauce:
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1-15 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 large onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, basil sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, for cooked pasta
2 packages of la Molisana pasta

Directions For Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray them both with non- stick cooking spray.
Start by placing all the flavorings for the meatballs into a large mixing bowl. When blending in the bread crumbs, start with 1 cup, add an additional 1/2 cup if needed. The finished consistency should look like (and have the texture of) wet sand.

Add in the (your choice of) ground meat. Using a fork to combine the flavorings and meat together, do not over mix.

NOTE: If the ground meat starts to stick to the ice cream scoop, spray with a little non- stick cooking spray so the meat releases easier.

Scoop the meat mixture into your hands, roll into balls, then place the meatballs on the greased parchment paper lined baking sheets. Each baking sheet should hold 24 meatballs. For nice golden brown meatballs, spray the tops of the meatballs with a little non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 45 minutes.

Directions For Sauce:
While the meatballs are in the oven, start the sauce. On med-high heat add the olive oil to a heavy bottom pot. Add in the onions, cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock. Let the stock come up to a bubble and reduce by half. Once the stock has reduced, add in the tomato products. Turn the heat down to med-low and let simmer until the meatballs come out of the oven.

After the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce. Simmer sauce for another 45 minutes.

Cook 2 packages of the pasta according to the directions. In a large serving bowl, add the well-drained cooked pasta. Add 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese and toss through. Ladle the sauce with meatballs to the pasta and toss through. Add fresh basil leaves. Serve up table side into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with sprigs of fresh basil. Have extra cheese on hand for your guests.

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Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy

Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy (1)

Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy (2)

This dish is one of our favorites. I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked to make my Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy. The meat is so tender, the mushroom and onions pair perfectly with that deep brown gravy that swims over the egg noodles. This recipe is really easy to make. Let me show you how.

I prefer to use a large sautèpan to brown and caramelize the meat because of its large surface area. I do the browning in two batches so as not to overcrowd the meat during the browning process, then I transfer the meat to the braising pot.

 

 

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: Heavy bottom braising pot with lid, large sautépan, large pot, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan

Ingredients:
pinch of Kosher salt
pinch of granulated sugar
1/4 cup red wine, divided
1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1//2 inch cubes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tbsp for mushrooms, 3 tbsp for egg noodles
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil,  2 tbsp for browning each batch of the sirloin steak cubes, 1 tbsp for mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced
a few fresh sprigs of thyme (if the stems are woody, strip off the leaves, if the stems are still green and tender, no need to remove them)
1/4 cup good red wine
2 cup unsalted beef stock, reserve 1 cup of chilled beef stock for a slurry, (*see slurry)
1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1-10 1/2 ounce can of beef consommé
2 pints of Cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 pint of Shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 yellow onions chopped
1 package of NO Yolks Broad Noodles, prepared
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley to garnish egg noodles, (optional)

Directions For Browning Sirloin:
Lay the steak cubes out on a sheet pan and pat dry with paper towel. Season with Kosher salt freshly cracked black pepper. Using your hands, toss until all the sirloin tips are coated with the seasoning.

In a large preheated sautèpan on medium heat, add half (2 tablespoons) of the olive oil. Add half the steak cubes to the sautèpan, do not overcrowd. Allow them to brown, 3-4 minutes, then flip the sirloin tips to brown on the other side, again 3-4 minutes. Brown the steak cubes in two batches. Once all the cubes are browned off, transfer them to the braising pot.

To release those delicious flavor bits stuck to the bottom of the sautépan, start by turning the heat to medium-high. Add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted add the diced onions, mushrooms, fresh minced rosemary and thyme sprigs. Using a wooden spoon continue to stir scraping the bottom of the pan. Next, add the minced garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Using the wooden spoon again, scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Season with a sprinkle of Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Once the wine has completely evaporated, another 1 to 2 minutes, transfer the mushroom and onion mixture to the braising pot.

Reserve 1 cup, in a small bowl or container of the unsalted beef stock. Place into the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
On medium-high heat, add the remaining unsalted beef stock, beef consommé, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Bring to a boil then turn the heat off. Place the lid on, transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour, or until meat is tender.

To the reserved 1 cup of chilled unsalted beef stock add 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisk both together until it forms a smooth paste.

Remove the pot from the oven. Using pot holders, remove the lid. Turn the heat to medium. Add the *slurry slowly, stirring occasionally, and cook until thickened and bubbly. Once the sauce has thickened turn the heat to off and replace the lid to keep hot.

Start the egg noodles.

Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. In a large bowl add the remaining butter and chopped parsley. Drain noodles really well, then add to the bowl, toss to combine.

To serve. place buttered parsley egg noodles into a serving bowl, ladle the Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy over top. Serve hot.

*Slurry: For each cup of liquid you want to thicken, start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a bowl or measuring cup. Add an equal amount of cold liquid and whisk until smooth paste forms.

 

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Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables

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I love this dish! It’s so comforting and just gives you warm fuzzies inside! I have to be honest here, I didn’t make my own dumplings, for this dish. I took some help from my local grocery store. I found that they carry a great and quick alternative to making my own, and it’s a great time saver.

One ingredient that’s a staple in my frig is, chicken fat. Steve loves to grill chicken thighs and doesn’t use the skin. I render the skin down, and save the grease for recipes such as Matzo ball soup, and this dish. Chicken fat can add extra flavor to your dish. I’ll show you how I incorporate it.

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Directions For Poaching Chicken:
Equipment:4 quart sauce pot with glass lid
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time For Poaching Chicken: 30 minutes
Cook Time For Soup: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Note: While chicken is poaching, prep the vegetables.
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 tablespoons chicken fat (or 3 tablespoons of olive oil)
1 yellow diced yellow onion
3 diced carrots
3 ribs diced celery
2 cloves of minced garlic
3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded
pinch of dried rosemary (crush up in your hand)
1-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1-10 1/2 ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 package of Mary B’s Open Kettle Dumplings (12 ounces, break strips in half- freeze unused dumplings)
1 package frozen peas – optional
6 cups of low sodium chicken broth (make sure there is enough broth to come over the half-way mark)
4 tablespoons of corn starch
4 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of finely chopped, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley

While chicken is poaching, prep all the vegetables for the soup.

Directions:
To start, place 3- boneless-skinless chicken breasts ( in a single layer, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and a pinch of Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, into a large pot. Cover the chicken with either water or ( I’m using) unsalted chicken broth. If the 1 quart of broth does not cover the chicken completely, add water so that it will cover the chicken by at least an inch.

Bring the chicken to a boil of med-high heat. You’ll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the liquid starts to boil.  Since I’m not using the poaching liquid for this recipe, there is no need to skim this off, it’s fine to leave it.

As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to med- low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. Chicken will typically finish cooking between 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it has a bone.  The chicken breasts are done when they are opaque through the middle, and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken reads- 165 F.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, transfer the a cutting board, and begin shredding them using two forks, transfer to a bowl.

Packaged Frozen Dumplings:
Gently separate the dumplings right before adding them to the broth.

Directions For The Chicken And Dumplings:
In a small dice, dice the onions, carrots and celery.  Finely mince the garlic. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and chicken fat over medium heat. Add in all the vegetables, poultry seasoning, bay leaves, and a pinch of dried rosemary. Season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Saute until the onions until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add cream of chicken soup to the pot and stir. Next, add the chicken broth (making sure to add enough broth to where it comes up to over the half -way mark in the soup pot), and give another good stir. Turn the heat to med- high and wait until it returns to a boil. Once boiling, drop in the dumplings one by one. Let them boil in the soup, (45 minutes according to the package), stirring occasionally, until they are all tender. Next, carefully fish out the two bay leaves.

Return cooked shredded chicken to the pot and gently stir through.

To Thicken Broth: Optional
In a small bow combine 4 tablespoons of corn starch with 4 tablespoons of water.
Add to the boiling broth, a little at a time, stirring to reach desired consistency.

 

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