Brussel Sprouts And Bacon

 

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For any Holiday meal we all look for a great side dish.  I have come up with a great side dish using brussel sprouts and bacon.  At the end of the meal they are always gone so the family most certainly likes them.  You must use fresh sprouts and not frozen ones.   It is a very easy recipe to prepare also.

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Ingredients
 
5 slices of bacon
1 1/2 pounds of fresh sprouts, trimmed and halved
salt/pepper
 
Directions:
 
In frying fan fry the bacon until crisp and remove.  Disgard about half the bacon fat.  Add the sprouts to the pan and cook sprouts about 2 minutes and remove.  Lay the sprouts on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the sprouts in a pre heated oven at 350 degrees.  Bake until sprouts appear done approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Take bacon and put in a freezer bag.  Smash the bacon until it resembles bacon bits.  Take sprouts from baking sheet to serving bowl.  Take the bacon and mix together.  You now have a great side dish for any Holiday Meal.  Cheers !!
 
 

 

Grandma Marconi’s Sweet Potatoes

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My wife’s grandmother was one of the most incredible people I have ever known.  She loved to cook and after she passed the family put together a recipe book of her receits.  She didn’t call them recipes she called them receits.  Notice the different spelling.  The one recipe that has become a tradition to Thanksgiving in our family is her sweet potatoe recipe.  It’s simple, has pecans, and is great.  If you would like a nice twist on sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving give Grandma Marconi’s recipe a try.

Ingredients:
 
Sweet Potatoes:
 
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 tablespoon maple extract
1/2 cup of milk
 
Toppings:
 
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of chopped pecans
 
Directions:
 
In caserole dish mix the sweet potatoes together.  In seperate mixing bowl mix together the toppings.  Spread the toppings over the top of the sweet potatoes.  Place in oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Happy Thanksgiving.  We all have so much to be thankful for !!!!
 
 

My Signature Seafood And Corn Chowder

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It’s very cold out right now so there is nothing to warm you up like a hot thick bowl of seafood and corn chowder.   You can use based on your likes or dislikes whatever seafood you want to put in it.  My youngest son doesn’t like oysters and clams which is why I don’t have them in this recipe.  I actually get some oysters and add them into my bowl  because I love oysters.

Ingredients

1 stick of real butter
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
12 oz heavy whipping cream
12 oz half and half
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 medium onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
2 medium potatoes diced
1 frozen bag of corn
2 cloves of garlic minced
6 pieces of bacon
2 lobster tails
1/2 pound of shrimp chopped
1/2 pound of sea scallops chopped
1 piece of fresh cod chopped
1 can of crab meat (claw will work)
5 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
2 tablespoons ground thyme
2 tablespoons parsley
 
In seperate frying pan fry bacon until crisp, remove the bacon and set aside.  In bacon fat cook onion, celery, and potatoes  until soft.  In soup pot melt butter and add flour until it forms a paste.  Add garlic, onion, celery, potatoes, garlic, thyme and parsley.  Add milk, half and half, evaporated milk and heavy whipping cream.  Now add the crab meat, shrimp, lobster, scallops, cod and corn.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Then add the bacon and simmer for about 15 minutes.   You now have a bowl of heaven.  Enjoy !!!

 

Sauerkraut For Thanksgiving

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Growing up in Central Pennsylvania, sauerkraut was always a side dish for Thanksgiving.  I married into an Italian family so when I went to their house for Thanksgiving the first time the first thing I noticed was they didn’t have sauerkraut with their feast.  Well now when we have Thanksgiving at my wife’s parents home,  I am in charge of bringing the sauerkraut to the meal.  I put it together in a crock pot before I go to bed the night before and let it slow cook all night long.  A Thanksgiving feast would not be complete unless you have sauerkraut available as a side dish.

Ingredients
 
2 bags of sauerkraut
2 red apples cored but unpeeled and coarsely chopped 
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 pound of pork neck bones
1 can or bottle of beer
 
Directions
 
Put all the ingredients in a crock pot.  Add beer to cover the sauerkraut ( it will evaporate ).   Set the crock pot on the lowest setting.  That is 10 hours on my crock pot.  After 10 hours you can put the crock pot on warm and leave it that way until ready to serve.   Remove neck bones before serving.   You may need to add water along the way to keep it from drying out.  Happy Thanksgiving !!

Oyster Stuffing For Thanksgiving Turkey

Depending on where you live there are many different kinds of stuffing for your Thanksgiving turkey.  Here in Maryland there is only one way to stuff a bird and thats with Oyster Stuffing !!!   While fixing this awesome stuffing you always have to save a few oysters for some oyster stew to have as an appetizer.  If you have never had oyster stuffing you have no idea what your missing out on.  The key to this recipe is to use fresh oysters.  Do not use oysters in the canned food section.

Ingredients
 
2 bags of bread cubes
2 12 oz cans of fresh fresh oysters
2 medium onions diced
4 stalks of celery diced
1/2 stick of butter
2 eggs beaten
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
 
Directions
 
Melt butter in soup pot, add onions and celery.  When onions and celery become soft add bread cubes, egg, salt, pepper thyme.   Now pour the oysters and all the oyster juice into the bread cubes and mix together until it is soft.  Now take the stuffing and fill your Thanksgiving bird.  Once the bird is ready and your serving your Thanksgiving you will see that oyster stuffing is like no other !!!   Happy Thanksgiving !!!
 
 
 

My Incredible Creamed Spinach

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If your grilling some steaks there is nothing that goes with it like creamed spinach.  I have tried different recipes of this and have modified those into my own which is fantastic.  I don’t use frozen spinach.  It’s always best to use fresh.

Ingredients
 
2  10 oz. packages of fresh spinach
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of flour
12 oz of half and half
2 cloves of garlic minced
just a little portion of chopped onion
1/4   tablespoon of salt
1/4 tablespoon of pepper
a few dashes of nutmeg
 
Directions:
 
In soup pot bring water to boil.  Take your bags of spinach and cook about 5 minutes.  Drain spinach in colindar, let cool then squeeze as much water out as possible.  This is a very important step.  You want as much water squeezed out as possible.  In pan melt butter, then add flour and make a roux.  After you have a paste add half and half.  Add garlic, salt, pepper and onion, bring to boil and then simmer for about another 5 minutes.  Now take the spinach and add to the sauce.  Add nutmeg and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.  This is now ready to be served as a side dish.  It is so perfect to go with a big fat steak !!!! 

Grilled Sicillian Lamb

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Looking for something different to put on the dinner table, my version of this lamb recipe is to die for.  Other recipes I have seen take the lamb and cook it in a pan sliced.  My recipe you cook it whole on the grill and I add feta and capers to give it a great mediterranean taste.  This is one of those recipes that don’t have exact measurements.  You just take the ingredients and put it together to your liking.

Ingredients
 
Boneless Leg Of Lamb
1 box of rice pilaf
1 medium onion sliced
1 red bell pepper sliced
mushrooms sliced
1 zucchini sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
oregano
red pepper flakes
salt, pepper
pitted olives
feta cheese
capers
lemon juice
olive oil
 
Directions:
 
Take the leg of lamb and if necessary butterfly it so it is about 2 inches thick.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.  Fire up the grill and cook lamb until cooked through.  Cook rice pilaf in seperate pot as per directions.  In large skillet heat with olive oil and garlic.  When oil is hot add mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper, capers and onion.   Cook vegetables until soft.  Remove lamb from grill and cut into 1/2 inch strips.  Now it’s time to put this masterpiece together.  On your plate spread the rice first.  Then on top of the rice place the vegetables and meat.  Now on top of that put some olives and feta cheese.  You now have a great meal that is different and awesome.  Cheers !!!
 

Awesome Ham And Bean Soup

IMG_0695During the fall I love to make soups.  There is nothing on a chilly day than a bowl of homemade ham and bean soup.  The secret to making it outstanding is what you use for the ham and broth.  You can use just ham cubes but I use ham hocks along with some country ham chunks.  The salt from the country ham and the bones from the ham hocks is what gives the broth the flavor.  You can use fresh beans that you need to soak but it is just as good if you use canned beans.

Ingredients

2 large ham hocks
1 pack of country ham chunks
1 medium onion
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
4 12 oz cans of great northern beans
 
In large soup pot put the ham hocks and cover with water.  Bring to boil then simmer for approximately 1 hour until the meat is tender.  Remove hocks and let cool.  When cool enough to handle pull all the meat off of the bones and chop into bite size pieces.  Add country ham chunks, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, garlic, thyme and pepper to the broth.  Then put the meat from the ham hocks back in the broth and simmer for approximately 1/2 hour.  Add the beans to the soup and simmer for another 1/2 hour. This is a great soup and there are many different versions of it.  I don’t like putting potatoes or dough balls in it but I have seen it done.  Enjoy !!!

My Awesome Bacon Cheeseburger Meat Loaf

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I have been told that meat loaf is “old people’s food”.  Well if you try my recipe for bacon cheeseburger meatloaf both young and old will like this.  The idea is to create a giant cheeseburger by having all the ingredeints being what you find on a cheeseburger.  It’s easy to make and I guarantee you that everyone in the family will love this !!  Like most recipes the measurements are best done by using your best judgements because when I make this I basically throw it together.

Ingredients

3 lbs of meatloaf mixture (beef, pork, and veal)
1 medium onion diced
ketchup
mustard
mayonnaise
shredded cheddar cheese
6 strips of bacon
1 egg beaten
a handful of bread crumbs
salt
pepper
oregano
basil
worchestire sauce
 

Directions

In roasting pan take the meat and add all the ingredients except the bacon.  Mix very thoroughly together and form a nice looking meatloaf.  Cover with foil and place in preheated oven at 350 degrees.  Cook covered for 45 minutes. While the meatloaf is cooking fry up the bacon until crisp.  Put bacon in a sandwich bag and crush until it looks like bacon bits.  Uncover meatloaf and let cook uncovered until  it starts to turn brown.  Take out of oven and put the bacon bits on top of meatloaf and sprinkle some more shredded cheese.  After cheese melts you have the greatest meatloaf on the planet.  I like to put some potatoes around the meatloaf to have as a side.  You can also put some carrots in there if you desire. 

 

Cremed Cabbage

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A different way to fix cabbage as a side dish.  This is simple and has plenty of flavor.

Ingredients

1 head of cabbage
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup of Sherry
16 ox heavy whipping cream
 
Directions:
 
Chop head of cabbage into small pieces.  In pot heat some vegetable oil and add garlic.  Add cabbage and cook down until semi-soft.  Add sherry and cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Add whipping cream and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and let it go for approximately 1 hour until 1/2 of the liquid cooks down.