My Version Of Pasta Figioli

 

 

 

IMG_0689

There are alot of recipes for this wonderful Italian soup recipe on the internet.  After trying different versions I have come up with mine which takes the wonderful mixture of spices and beans yet add a few ingredients that set it over the top.  Pasta Figioli is a signature soup in Italian restaurants.  What I have changed to the standard recipe is sweet italian sausage, parmesan cheese, and hot sauce.  This is a wonderful soup to be used as an appetizer or a main dish.

Ingredients
 
1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of sweet italian sausage
1 large carrot
3 stalks of celery
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 15 oz of kidney beans with liquid
1 15 oz of canolli beans with liquid
1 12 oz can of spicy V 8 juice
1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of black pepper
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 pound or half a box of ditali pasta
6 to 8 shakes of hot sauce
 
Directions
 
Brown ground beef and sausage  in medium pan, drain most of the fat.  Add onion, carrots and celery and saute for approximately 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients except the pasta and simmer about 1 hour.  Don’t forget the hot sauce.  After simmering add pasta and let simmer for about 20 minutes.   You are now ready to serve.  In individual serving sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top of the serving bowl.  Garnish with some fresh basil for the finishing touch.  You now have a bowl of Italian Heaven, CHEERS !!!

 

My Classic Baked Chicken Pie

IMG_0686

Chicken Pie or known at Pot Pie is a great classic.  This is one of my family’s favorite dinners on a cold day.  There are several recipes on the internet that have the chicken, gravy and no vegetables.  My recipe is loaded with vegetables under the crust and is very easy to fix.

Ingredients (makes 2 pies)
 
1 whole chicken boiled
Pillsbury ready made pie crust
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 potatoes
1 onion
1 small package of frozen peas
1 small package of frozen corn
1 small package of frozen lima beans
3 18 oz jars of chicken gravy
1/4 stickof butter or marjorine
ground thyme
salt and pepper
 
Directions:
 
In large soup pot boil chicken until done, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.  Dice all frest vegetables into small pieces.  In seperate pot  melt butter and cook fresh vegetables until soft.  Add gravy and frozen vegetable and bring to slight boil.  When cooked remove chicken and pull all the meat off the bones.  Cut chicken into bite size pieces.  In a pie dish mix chicken along with the vegetables and gravy.  Add some thyme, salt and pepper.  Take the pie crust from box and roll out and place over the top and press around the edges.  Make a few small holes in crust.  Place in preheated oven at 350 degrees.  I suggest putting some foil or a cookie sheet under the pie because it will bubble over.  Cook apporximately 1.5 hours until crust turns golden brown.  CHEERS !!!
IMG_0687

Hagerstown Maryland Most Famous Dish STEAMERS

IMG_0684

 Hagerstown Maryland has 1 dish with it’s unique name and way to prepare.  Everywhere else people call them Sloppy Joe or Beef Barbecue.  Hagerstown’s Steamers are similar but different.  What makes them uniquely different is that they have less stuff in them and a different texture.  The secret to a great Steamer is to soak the ground beef in water until it is as fine as possible.  You can’t have a good steamer if there are clumps in the ground beef.

Ingredients

2 lb of ground beef
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1/2 cup of ketchup
 
Directions:
 
In pot soak ground beef for approximately 15 minutes until completly fine and no clumps.  In colander drain beef as thououghly as possible.  Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and ketchup.  Mix well and simmer until thick and all the water has cooked out.  Serve on hamburger roll.  Steamers are great with cheese, chopped onions, and mustard on them. 
 

My Best Maryland Crab Soup

IMG_0682

The signature dish of the state of Maryland.  Crabs are a staple here in the summer but I don’t know a person that lives here in Maryland that doesn’t like a hearty spicy bowl of crab soup.  Its not difficult because its like making vegetable soup except you put crab meat in it along with crab seasoning.  You can really use any kind of crab meat from claw to backfin it all works.  I am preparing a pot of soup today to give to my son’s marching band to sell on their concession stand at tonight’s football game.

Ingredients
 
2 cans of claw or backfin crab meat
1 medium onion
3 carrots diced
2 large potatoes diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
4 cups of beef broth
1 cup of frozen corn
1 cup of frozen green beans
1 cup of frozen lima beans
1 cup of frozen peas
old bay seasoning
3 bay leafs
salt and pepper
 
In large pot cook carrots, potatoes, and onions in boiling water until soft.  Add garlic, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, and bay leafs.  Add enough water to make it soupy.  Add frozen vegetable and old bay seasoning.  The amount of old bay depends on how strong you like it.  Simmer about 15 minutes and add the crab meat and beef broth.  Simmer an additional 10 to 15 minutes.  Taste and add more old bay plus salt and pepper until you achieve the taste you prefer.  Also add any additional water needed to get it to the thickness desired. 
 
 

Greek Chicken And Vegetables

IMG_0681

I remember growing up my mom would fix a greek chicken recipe.  I have added a greek vegetable medley which goes perfect with it.

Ingredients:
 
1 whole chicken cut up
2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into thick slices
2 zucchini cut into thick slices
1 large onion cut into thirds
2 medium tomatoes quartered
4 cloves of garlic crushed
1/4 pound of hard cheese cut into chunks
1/4 cup of olive oil
oregano (frest is best)
fresh mint
cilantro (fresh is best)
salt
pepper
lemon juice (fresh is best)
 
Directions:
Place chicken in baking dish.  Sprinkle salt and pepper and oregano over chicken and lemon juice.   Cover and cook in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Cook uncovered the final 15 minutes:
 
Vegetables:
Place vegetables and cheese in baking dish.  Pour olive oil on top and herbs.  Make sure you put lots of herbs in this.  Mix generousloy together.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour mixing together on occasion.  Serve the chicken and vegetables for a great greek dinner.  CHEERS !!!
 
 

My Awesome Stuffed Peppers

When I was a kid I really didn’t care for stuffed peppers.  Recently I have experimented with them and have put this recipe together that I think is awesome.  I have tried using tomato sauce, tomato soup, and ketchup to top them off with.  Ultimately I prefer the ketchup sauce to top them off with.

IMG_0678
 
Ingredients
 
6 large bell peppers
2 tablespoons  salt
2 tablespoons pepper
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 table spoon of parsley
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 medium onion chopped
1 pound of lean ground beef
1 cup of long grain wild rice
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of ketchup
2 tablespoons of worchestershire sauce
 
Directions:
 
In large soup pot boil water.  Cut tops of the peppers off and remove all seeds.  Place peppers in boiling water until softened, approximately 5 minutes.  In smalll pot cook long grain wild rice, I prefer the Uncle Ben’s but any kind of rice will work.  In large skillet saute onions until soft, add ground beef and garlic, cook until beef is completly cooked.  Add crushed tomatoes, parsley,  oregano, salt and pepper.  Blend together and cook until it thickens approximately 10 minutes. 
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In baking dish put enough water in the bottom to cover it.  Place peppers in dish and pack each pepper tightly with mixture.  In seperate small pot mix ketchup and worchestershire sauce and heat until hot.  Spoon ketchup mixture over the top of each pepper.  Place in oven and cook approximetly 45 minutes. 
 
 
 
 

My Mouth Watering Beef Jerky

 

IMG_0676Making jerky is not difficult but the key is having the correct meat and having it cut properly.  It is next to impossible to find a chain grocery store to cut the meat on a slicer.  I go to a little local butcher (Holsingers in Maugansville).   You need a nice eye round with all the fat trimmed off.  Then  have the butcher slice it thin and run the slices through a cuber twice.  This is the key to the jerky being tender and not too chewy.  Once you get that done all you need to do is cut the slices into strips, mix up a simple marinade and your ready to go.  I absolutely cook it in my smoker low and slow but if you don’t have a smoker you can simply make it in your oven.  This is once again a recipe that exact measurements don’t apply.  It depends on personal taste and how large a batch you are making.

IMG_0658

 

Ingredients:
 
1 large eye round trimmed and sliced
1 bottle of soy sauce
1 bottle of worchestershire sauce
garlic powder
onion powder
black pepper
crushed red pepper
 
IMG_0672
 
Directions:
 
Take the beef slices and cut into strips.  Mix together the soy and worchestershire sauces.  Add garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.   Combine meat and marinade and let sit in refrigerator for apporximately 24 hours.   Prepare smoker by getting one side hot and place the jerky on the cold side.  The temperature in the smoker should be between 225 to 250 degrees.  I like using hickory smoking chips which gives it a nice flavor.  During the process you will have to flip the jerky once and rotate making the strips closest to the heat farther away and the opposite for the strips farthest away from the heat.  Allow approximately 3 hours until the jerky gets the texture you desire.  Some like it more leathery than others.  Store in freezer bag and store in refrigerator.  Since this is not store bought with all the preservatives in it, don’t let sit out for any long length of time because it is not cured like store bought jerky. 

THE WORLD’S GREATEST CRAB CAKES

IMG_0663

I have tried hundreds of crab cakes before.  I have come to the conclusion that using the best quality lump crab meat and keeping it simple is best.  Most recipes have all the crap like onions, green peppers, mustard, worchestershire sauce, pomentos and such.  I also see that most recipes have bread crumbs, cracker meal, dried bread, or crushed saltines to hold it together.  I am a firm believer that putting too much stuff in a crab cake ruins it and you don’t have to use a filler to hold them together.  If you buy quality lump crab meat and keep it simple and don’t pack it real tight, you will see that my recipe for crab cakes is the greatest.    This is one recipe that the measurements don’t have to be exact.  It all depends on how many crab cakes you are making.   Remember when preparing crab cakes …. Keep It Simple !!

Ingredients:

1 pound of quality lump crab meat
2 eggs using the whites only.  Throw away the yolks
1 tablespoon  parsley
2 tablespoons old bay seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise
 
Directions:
 
In mixing bowl combine crab meat, egg whites, parsley, old bay and mayonnaise.  Lightly pack into patties that looks like a baseball.  Place on cookie sheet and put under broiler set on low for approximately 15 minutes.  You need to watch until they become golden brown.  After they are golden brown, change oven from broiler to bake at 350 drgrees.  Melt butter in pan or microwave and pour over cakes.  Finish by baking for 10 minutes.  Transfer to serving as a sandwich with lettuce and tomato or have them by the way they are.  Enjoy the signature dish of Maryland, CHEERS !!!
 

 

My Italian Salad Dressing

I absolutely love a thick creamy italian salad dressing.   The next time you fix a salad with your dinner all you need to do is put this together.

Ingredients
 
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon of parsley
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of basil
 
Dirctions:
 
Combine all the ingredients in a glass and stir.    You can also mix them in a blender, whatever works.  If you prefer you can add a little sugar.  Enjoy !!

MY WORLDS GREATEST POT ROAST

On a cold day there is nothing like comming home to a nice tender pot roast.  I have tried fixing it different ways and have tweeked many recipe ideas into my greatest pot roast recipe.  You can fix it in a crock pot and let it slow cook all day or slow simmer in a large pot.  Either way, fix some mash potatoes and some gravy and you have a plate of heaven.

Ingredients:
 
1 boneless chuck roast (approximately 3 to 4 pounds)
1/2 cup of flour
salt and pepper
ground thyme
rosemary
1 can of coke or pepsi
1 medium onion sliced
6 carrots peeled left whole
IMG_0651
 
 
 
Dredge the chuck roast in flour.  Heat oil in large soup pot or dutch oven.  Brown meat on both sides.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary.  Place in crock pot or back in the dutch oven.   Add onions, carrots and the can ok coke.  Let crock pot cook all day or simmer in dutch oven about 4 hours until the meat is very tender. 
 
Gravy:
After removing the roast, carrots and onions pour the remaining liquid into small pot.  I like to remove the fat with a gravy seperator at this point.  In a glass add about 3 tablespoons of flour and mix with hot water and stir until flour is disolved.  Bring the liquid to boil and add the flour mixture and stir until it gets thick.  Add some salt and pepper if desired.  Pour over the meat and mashed potatoes and you have a dinner on a cold night from heaven, CHEERS !!