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Stuffed Peppers

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Stuffed Peppers
From Julia Axtell…don’t know where she got it! I’ve made a few alterations and notes, many of them based on Julia’s advice

– 6-7 bell peppers of various colors, 1 3/4 to 2 pounds (I went ALL RED. They’re the best in my book.)
– 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil (I was out of olive oil – quel horreur! but canola oil worked like a charm)
– 1/2 medium onion, chopped
– 1 pound sweet or hot italian sausage, casings removed
– 3 cups cooked rice (Julia used basic white rice and it was fabulous. I used a rice blend of Texmati, brown and wild rice and it was soooo yummy.)
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
– 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
– 1 egg, slightly beaten
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
– 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut tops from peppers and remove seeds and ribs. If your peppers don’t want to stand up nicely, cut off part of the bottom as well to level the base of the pepper. Try not to cut through to the inside, but if you do it’s not the end of the world. Brush outside of peppers with olive oil.

In a medium frying pan, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 2-4 minutes, or until softened. Crumble sausage meat into pan and cook, stirring to break up lumps, until it begins to lose its pinkness, 5-7 minutes. Drain the fat (use a slotted spoon or pat with papertowels).

Slightly beat egg in a large-ish mixing bowl. Add rice, parsley, cheese, salt, pepper and sausage/onion mixture. Mix well.

Stuff the bell peppers with rice filling, mounding top slightly. Place peppers in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Mix tomato sauce with water and pour into dish around peppers. Bake 45 minutes.


Asian Lime Ribs

Asian Lime Ribs
adapted from Cuisine at Home

For Rib Rub-
Combine ; Rub on Two Racks of Spareribs:
2 T. ground cinnamon
2 T. kosher salt
2 T. black pepper
1 T. ground cloves
1 T. ground coriander

For The Asian-Lime Sauce-
Stir Together:
3 T. ginger, coarsely chopped
2 T. garlic, pressed
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup hoisin
2 T. dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Prepare two racks of spareribs as shown. (This included trimming the meat.)

Combine ingredients for rub and apply to ribs. Cover and let sit for one hour. Roast the ribs at 250 degrees for 2 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.

Stir together ingredients for sauce. Brush on roasted racks of ribs before grilling.

Grill over medium-high heat a total of 15 minutes. Serve ribs with Asian-Lime Sauce.

Pancetta and Parmesan Torte (aka Quiche)

Pancetta and Parmesan Torte


* 1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package), room temperature
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
* 2/3 cup whipping cream
* 1/2 cup whole milk
* 3 large eggs
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan


Position the rack on the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Press the crust into a 9-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the edges; set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to paper towels and drain. Beat the cream, milk, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and pancetta. Pour the cream mixture into the crust.

Bake the torte until the filling puffs and is golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. Let the torte cool for 15 minutes. Cut the torte into 12 thin wedges and serve.

Honey Glazed Chicken & Bacon Bites

Honey Glazed Chicken & Bacon Bites


1 pound boneless chicken breasts
20 thin bacon slices
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp coarse mustard
fresh lemon juice

Optional: salt


Cut the chicken breasts—or fillets, as we call them here—in thin strips. Not too thin, the bacon has to brown and if the chicken is too thin it’ll get dry before the bacon gets crispy. That would be a sin.

Grab a bowl and combine 3 tbsp honey with 2 tsp coarse mustard.

Squeeze in some lemon juice. Not too much, about a tbsp or so. I think orange juice will be great, too.

Bacon rights all the wrongs in this world. It brings justice to all the injustices. Or something like that.

I asked my favorite pair of extra hands to wrap the bacon around the chicken strips.

Place them in a roasting tray or on a cookie sheet. If you’re afraid of cleaning up, line the tray or sheet with some tin-foil first. I’m hard-core (And own a dish washing machine. It helps).

Brush the chicken bites with half the marinade.

Bake them in a preheated oven at 425F (225C) for 10 to 13 minutes. Until the bacon is crispy.

As soon as one side is done, take the tray out of the oven.

Flip them over and brush them with the remaining marinade.

Put them back in the oven for another 10 to 13 minutes, until the other side is crispy as well. Keep an eye on them.


Adapted from Taste of Home – Grand Prize Winning Recipe

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups water
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 lb. ground beef (I used chuck)
1 lb. bulk pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean regular)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 16 oz. can refried beans
8 flour tortillas (8 inch)
3 cups (12 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth (I sifted it in to help avoid lumps); gradually add water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened. (Thickening time will depend on the size of your pan. I used a 10″ saucepan and it took about 5-6 minutes. You are not waiting for a “thick sauce” just a “thicker sauce” than what you started with. The sauce also thickens more when it cools down.) Stir in chili powder and garlic salt. Bring to another boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef, sausage and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in refried beans; heat through.

Spread 1/4 cup sauce in a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Spread 1 Tablespoon or more sauce over each tortilla; place 2/3 cup meat mixture down the center of each. Top each with a 1/4 cup cheese. Roll up each tortilla and place seam side down in prepared dish. Pour remaining sauce over the top; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Sweet and Sticky Spareribs with Fried Noodles

Sweet and Sticky Spareribs with Fried Noodles

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee


* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 2 tablespoons barbeque sauce
* 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
* 3 tablespoons white vinegar
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
* 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
* 1 cup pineapple juice
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 1/2 pounds pork spareribs

Fried Noodles:

* 1/2 (12-ounce) package wonton wrappers, reserve 12 for round 2 recipe, Wonton Soup
* 1 cup canola oil


In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade. Cut the spareribs into individual ribs and put in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and toss to coat. Put the bag into a large bowl and refrigerate to let marinate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Remove the spare ribs from marinade and arrange on a baking sheet, cover with foil and poke holes in the foil to vent. Reserve the marinade. Bake until the ribs are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

In the meantime, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture until thick, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

After 1 1/2 hours, remove the foil from the spareribs and raise oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Baste the ribs with the reduced marinade and roast in oven for 5 minutes. Turn and baste the ribs again with the remaining sauce and roast for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and arrange the ribs on a serving platter. Serve hot with Fried Noodles.

Fried Noodles:

Heat 1 cup canola oil in a medium heavy saucepan, to about 350 degrees F. Cut the wonton wrappers into 1/2-inch wide strips. Fry in batches until golden brown and drain on plate lined with a brown paper bag or paper towels.

Use the leftovers from this recipe to make Wonton Soup.

Natchitoches Meat Pies

Natchitoches Meat Pies
Recipe by Our Best Bites, adapted from Chef John Folse

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2+ Tbsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (it’s the cheapest, best, and widely available)
Tabasco sauce to taste (start with about 1/4 tsp.)
1 can beef broth
Pie Crust, tripled
1 egg
1/4 c. cold water

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and ground pork, breaking the meat into small pieces. When it’s about halfway cooked, drain excess fat (if necessary) and then add green and red peppers, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent. Add 2 Tbsp. Tony’s and 1/4 tsp. Tabasco. Add beef broth and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with additional Tony’s and Tabasco if necessary, keeping in mind that the seasonings will mellow in the pie. You can refrigerate this mixture for 3-4 days before baking the pies.

Prepare pie crust and roll the entire ball onto a floured surface. For large (meal-sized) pies, I use a bowl that’s about 6″ across the top; I just invert the bowl onto the dough and trace a knife around it to cut the dough.

Place about 1/4 c. of the meat mixture onto one half of the dough circle, keeping about a 1/2″-1″ margin from the edges.

Fold the other side over and gently pinch the edges shut.

For the decorative edge, you could crimp the edge with a fork or use your fingers to flute the edges.

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place prepared pies onto your baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and cold water and brush over the pies. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool a few minutes and then eat as soon as humanly possible. So good. There are…no words.

Makes about 12 6″ pies or lots and lots of small (biscuit cutter) pies.

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: You could do this one of two ways; you can freeze them unbaked and just add the egg wash and bake them for an extra 15-20 minutes, or you can bake them and heat them up in the oven or microwave, whatever suits your needs better.

Pan Fried Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

Pan Fried Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

Serves 2-4

You will need:

* 4 boneless pork chops
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup all purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons flour
* 1/4 cup milk
* fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to warm setting.
2. Place pork chops in a resealable plastic bag. Seal bag and hit the pork chops with a meat mallet until 1/4 inch thick.
3. In one bowl beat egg. In a separate bowl combine flour and seasoning salt.
4. Remove pork chops from plastic bag, dip in egg and then dredge in flour to coat completely. Transfer to a plate and let set for 15 minutes.
5. In a skillet heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Once butter has melted fry pork chops until browned and cooked through. About 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a ovenproof dish and place in oven to keep warm.
6. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the pan drippings. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the top, stir. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in broth and milk. Cook until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Place cooked pork chops on a serving platter, spoon gravy over the top.
8. Serve.

IKEA’s Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 egg
~1/2 c cream or milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 c breadcrumbs
2 small potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed and cooled
1/2 t allspice
oil and butter for frying

For sauce:
1 15 oz can beef broth or stock
2/3-1 c cream
3-4 dashes worchestershire

1. Saute the onion in a small amount of butter until just browning.

2. In a large bowl, combine well all meatball ingredients except beef and pork. Add meats, then mix gently to combine without packing the meat down. Season the mixture generously with salt. You’ll use more than you think you need. If you’re unsure, heat a pan and cook a pinch of the meat to taste, then reseason the mixture. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.

3. Heat oil and butter combination in a large skillet over medium heat, and fry meatballs on all sides until brown and cooked through. You’ll have to work in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Remove the meatballs from the pan.

4. Remove any excess oil from the pan, then deglaze with the beef broth, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced a bit, then add the cream and worchestershire. Simmer gently until slightly thickened, then season to taste.

5. Add your cooked meatballs to the sauce and heat through. Serve with egg noodles, potatoes, lignonberries, etc.

Penne Pasta with Sausage and Cheesy Garlic Bread

Penne Pasta with Sausage and Cheesy Garlic Bread

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee


* 1 pound penne pasta
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
* 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
* 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake, optional
* 4 Italian-style hot pork sausages, cut into 1/2-inch slices
* 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* Basil leaves, for garnish

Cheesy Garlic Bread:

* 1/2 store-bought garlic bread (save other half for Pizza)
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix


Bring large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, garlic, Italian seasoning mix and red pepper flakes, if using. Sir frequently and cook until the onions are soft and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add sausage and cook for 1 minute. Add can of crushed tomatoes, stirring all the ingredients together to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and mix well.

Drain the pasta and add directly to the skillet with the sauce Toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and garnish with basil leaves. Serve with the cheesy garlic bread.

For the cheesy garlic bread:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle cheese and Italian seasoning over garlic bread half. Place on tinfoil lined baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bread is warmed through. Slice and serve.

Use the leftover garlic bread from this recipe to make Garlic Bread Pizza.