Super Bowl Chili

I think if anyone knows me well you know I L-O-V-E love football! In fact there are some Sunday’s in my house that the men in the family beg of me not to have to watch one more game! Can you believe it! But that’s me, I’ve been watching football since I can remember. If they let girls play back in my day I would have played football. Today I was listening to the commissioner of the NFL who states the female fan base is getting bigger and is very significant to pro football. It’s about time the rest of you women caught up with me! :) Just kidding of course. So here is a great chili recipe to serve the family on Sunday. Chili is the go to dish for Super Bowl Sunday!

Ingredients:

1 Lb of ground beef 85/15
1 Medium onion – diced
2 cloves of garlic – peeled and halved
1 green bell pepper -chopped
1 red bell pepper – chopped
1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 can of cannellini beans
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili power – to your tolerance of heat
2 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of coriander
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsps of Olive Oil
You can also add a can of mushrooms if desired.

Directions:

Over medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil and garlic to large soup pot and sauté the garlic until golden brown. Add the chopped red and green peppers and cook for a couple of minutes and then add the diced onions and add salt and pepper and garlic salt to taste and saute for 3 or 4 minutes.

In a separate skillet over medium heat add the other tbsp. of olive oil and the ground beef – crush the beef and add salt and pepper to flavor the beef. When the beef is browned drain off the extra fat and set aside.

Once the pepper and onions have been cooked add the kidney and cannellini beans as well as the crushed tomatoes to the pot. Add more salt, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and chili powder. After the extra fat has drained from beef add that as well. Simmer on low covered for about an hour. Taste and add more seasoning as needed. Once seasoning is set to your appeal simmer for about another 15-30 minutes and serve!

At the Mironti household we like to serve this with cheddar fries! It’s a Super Bowl Sunday tradition!

Although I know that this is a big NFL weekend I spend many Saturday afternoons at my alma mater watching my team play and I know they are going to be more and more successful! I can’t wait until next year!

Sausage and Rapini Orecchiette

Ingredients:

1 small onion – diced
4 cloves of garlic – peeled and halved
1 head of rapini (broccoli rabe)
2 links of Hot Italian Sausage
1 can of diced tomatoes (15 oz)
1 lb. box of orecchiette pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic Salt to taste
About 1/2 tbsp of sugar
4 tbsps of Olive Oil
2-3 tbsp of parmesan cheese

Directions:

Over medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil and garlic to large frying pan and sauté the garlic until golden brown. Add the diced onion and add salt and pepper and garlic salt to taste and saute for 3 or 4 minutes.

Wash the rapini thoroughly with cold water, cut off the ends, rough chop, and boil for about 10 minutes – do not overcook, drain and set aside.

Remove the hot sausage from the casing, add the rest of the olive oil to a frying pan over medium high heat, scramble sausage and cook until golden brown – set aside as well. Then add the rapini as well as the diced tomatoes. When you add the diced tomatoes – sprinkle them with the salt, pepper, garlic salt and sugar.

In a medium sized pot bring water to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and cook the pasta until al dente, before draining pasta water, remove a cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan and also add the pasta cooking water. Mix all ingredients well. Add the parmesan cheese and you’re done!

This is another great dish that is very comforting on these cold winter days! And what’s not to love with all these healthy ingredients!
By the way orecchiette is Italian for little ears and this dish will warm your little ears right up! :)

Sandro’s Chicken Piccata

This is a dish that Sandro makes and this Italian man is a great cook!  When it’s time for chicken piccata it is time for Sandro to do the cooking.  I have to say he does it better than any I’ve ever tasted.     He may use several frying pans and dishes but it’s well worth it.  He’s pretty darn good about cleaning up after he does the cooking too.  I guess we’ll keep him around.  :)


Sandro’s Chicken Piccata Recipe

Ingredients:

3 Boneless Chicken Breast
2 lemons
2 Tbsp. drained capers
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup of dry white white
2 tsp of minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium high heat. Cut the chicken into half and pound into thin cutlets. Salt and pepper the cutlets and dredge in flour.

Sauté the cutlets for about 3 minutes on each side and transfer to plate.
Deglaze the pan with wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic turns a golden color. Add the chicken broth, capers and the juice of one lemon. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken back to the sauté pan, as well as the butter. Cut the other lemon into slices and add the slices into the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes and add the chopped parsley.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tuscan Chicken and Sausage

This one is definitely going into the “Family Favorites” of my recipe binder.  This recipe was inspired by the “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network.  I watch the Food Network often, and I typically take what I see and make it my own.  The original recipe was made with just sausage and the grapes, but I felt chicken would go good with it too.  I usually take what I see and add my own ideas as I am making the dish and see what it ends up like.  Typically I come up with all winners.  That’s what makes cooking fun for me.  I love creating new dishes and as my family will tell you I take great pride in my work.  As for this dish…..  My family loved it! :)  The greatest gift to a chef is hearing that ”mmmm this is so good” after the family takes their first bite!  I think they like having me home every day coming up with great meals!  I’m enjoying it too.

Recipe

Ingredients:

3 Chicken Breast Bone-in
3 Hot Sausage links
2 cups of Red Grapes
4 Shallots – diced
4 Garlic Cloves – peeled
2 Tbsps. of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic Salt – to taste
2 tsp. Oregano
Chicken Broth – 1/2 cup
White Grape Juice – 1/2 cup
Wondra Flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Over medium heat in a large frying pan or dutch oven skillet heat the olive oil after a few minutes add the garlic cloves and sauté until golden brown. Cut the chicken breast in half, pat them dry with a paper towel and liberally sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic salt and oregano. Presentation side down add the chicken to the pan. Cut the sausage into smaller links and add them to the pan as well. Brown the sausage and each side of the chicken and remove from the frying pan. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and reserve to the side.

Now add the shallots to the pan, lightly salt and pepper them & cook for a few minutes. Add the grapes, chicken stock, and grape juice. Saute for a 4 to 5 minutes and add the Wondra Flour a little at a time to barely thicken the juices.

Add the chicken and sausage back to the pan, cover – cook in oven until the chicken’s internal temperature is 155 degrees. Remove cover/lid and cook until the chicken is 165 degrees.

Ditalini and Bean Soup

Is it ever cold outside especially in the Northeast and namely where I live in Cortland, New York! The temperature is about 3 degrees which is a heat wave from the -8 it was earlier. The kids are excited though as they are on their second snowday! It has added two days onto Christmas break! Don’t you all remember how exciting snowdays were? There’s nothing more exciting as when you hear the news commentators say your school’s name as being “closed!”

Oh and I had a snowday today too! It’s the first day that I am no longer the SVP of Patient Services. I am totally Julia’s Child today and although I miss all of my co-workers I am thrilled to start a new chapter that I’m calling Denise Version 2.0! It’s so exhilarating to have the time to dream about what that all means. Be looking forward to more to come. In the meantime I’m going to enjoy my first adult snowday and enjoy the time with my son. It’s too cold to go play in the snow but we’ll find something to do! :) We’ll warm up with some soup!

So here is a great recipe for you to warm up your toes and your soul too!

Ingredients:
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion – diced
2 cups of sliced carrots
1 cup of sliced celery
3/4 of a box of short cut pasta like elbows, ditalini, etc
2 cans of cannellini beans
64 oz. of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic Salt to taste
2 tbsps. Of Olive Oil
2-3 tbsp. of parmesan cheese

Directions:
Over medium heat add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to a large soup pot, add garlic and sauté, add the sliced carrots and cook until tender, add sliced celery and diced onions as well as the salt and pepper and garlic salt and sauté until translucent for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the soup pot and simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain and add the cannellini beans.
In a medium sized pot bring water to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and cook the pasta until al dente, before draining pasta water, remove a cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup pot and also add the pasta cooking water.

Add the parmesan cheese and you’re done! Now it is taste time to be sure you have enough seasoning. Add to it as you see fit!

Drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve with crusty bread and extra parmesan cheese!

This soup is sure to warm you up on a day like today.

“Cut the Cheese” Party

Every spring The Mironti’s hold a cut the cheese party. Sounds redneck-ish doesn’t it? Well actually it is not it is more “Guido-ish” Yes, it’s totally Italian. You see the cheese is provolone and it is aged by a group of Italian or adopted Italian men who are aging too! :)

This is an annual event with the chief Italian Sandro Mironti, our neighbor and second in command Italian, Tony DiLucci, my cousin Paul Thomas – doesn’t sound Italian but he sure is with a grandmother by the name of Assunta Yacavone Tremacco, and last but not least my brother-in-law, Ken Munro. Definitely doesn’t sound Italian nor is he, however he is the adopted one and actually I think he communicates better with his Italian than any of us!

It is pretty well known that food in an Italian family is what brings it altogether. I’m sure it could be true of many European cultures but I know Italian. There are no better memories than those memories I have of gathering around my grandmother’s kitchen table. All of the cousins having fun filling our tummies on Grandma’s great “macaroni!”

So our cut the cheese party is very similar to those old memories. We look forward to it every year and we gather around the Mironti kitchen having fun, cutting the provolone, adding in some olives, salami, pepperoni, hot peppers, prosciutto, a little vino or a lot of vino for some :) and living in the moment.

Start a tradition with family and friends. It’s something great to look forward to.

Here are some pictures of building and enjoying a cut the cheese party!

Memorial Day Retro Sides

I have put together a few recipes that have been around for quite awhile in my family and therefore I call them “retro” because they are from back in the day. Memorial Day is always exciting as it really marks the time of year we open our pools here in Central New York and officially feel summer is finally coming. Any earlier and we could probably go ice skating on the pool! It is also a holiday that puts a smile on my face because the “real” Memorial Day (May 30th) was my father’s birthday. For years he had my sister and I believing the flags up and down Main Street and the Parade were all in honor of his birthday. It wasn’t until several years after he passed away that I realized he was enjoying just one more story with his quick Irish wit and teasing like no other! The first recipe is one that I can say I “learned” from Fannie Fragnoli. Fannie co-owned Comando’s Restaurant in Cortland with her husband Vince and although I never did get a recipe out of her I did observe her closely for years. While all the boys were fooling around (my husband was one of those boys sometimes) I closely watched what Fannie was doing. Although Sandro thinks it was him, I believe I was her favorite kitchen employee, or maybe we shared that spot with her.

Fannie’s Tuna Noodle Macaroni Salad

Ingredients:

1 bag (12 oz) wide egg noodles
1 can of tuna packed in water
1 sm bag of frozen peas
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
Approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Splash of red wine vinegar

Directions:

Cook egg noodles in salted boiling water until al dente (almost cooked), drain and allow to cool. Drain the tuna in a strainer and set aside Cook the peas according to the directions on the bag and drain.
Chop the onions, celery and set aside. When noodles have cooled add all above ingredients and mix gently so that noodles do not break. Taste and add salt if needed, some pepper, the sugar and the splash of red wine vinegar. Mix again. Serve immediately!

The next salad is one my mother makes and is quite a hit with everyone. I’m not sure where she got the recipe or if she just concocted it. We’re good at throwing together ingredients and making it taste good! In fact when I was verifying the ingredients with her she said you can throw anything you want in there. So I guess if there is anything else you think may go with this feel free to add it! I’ve been very lucky to learn from some great women over the years!

Julia’s Artichoke-Olive Salad

Ingredients:

1 can of artichoke hearts
1 can of chick peas
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
1 can black olives
1 jar green olives
1/4 of chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Olive Oil
Splash of White or Red Wine Vinegar
Garlic Salt
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
Drain the artichoke hearts, chick peas, and olives and set aside. Chop the onion, celery and green pepper. Mix all ingredients together. Add the olive oil, splash of vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. Mix well, top with parsley and serve.

Red Potato and Green Bean Salad

Ingredients:

2# of small red potatoes
3/4# of fresh green beans or a package of frozen steam fresh cut green beans
3 scallions, chopped
1/3 c olive oil
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1/4 c Flat leaf (Italian) parsley

Directions:

Wash and quarter the potatoes, add cold water to a large sauce pot and add potatoes and about 2 tsp of salt.
Boil the potatoes until soft.
Clean and cut the green beans and add water to another sauce pot and boil until you can easily stick a fork into bean or if you are using the steam fresh to save time follow the instructions. Drain the beans and set aside.
In a separate cup mix olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk until emulsified. If you like Dijon mustard you can also add that to it as well. Add what you prefer! Mix the potatoes, beans, chopped scallions together in a serving bowl, pour the dressing over the potato salad, mix well, top with Italian parsley and serve immediately.
This is especially good served warm so eat it right away. It tastes much better right after you make it!
So there you have my retro sides. Serve with hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, ribs, etc. Have Fun!

For Jack

The Kane Kids!

Typically my blog is about recipes however today I am doing this post without recipes and it is for me more than you and for “Jack.” Julia’s Child isn’t the only kid in her family who loves to be called a foodie. In fact, probably most of the kids in this picture above have that passion, some more than others but we all have it in us. Hey when you come from Italian and Irish grandmother’s you can’t help it! However, Jack did something with it. As you know albeit part-time, Jack had a thriving catering business to feed his passion.

The photo was taken on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May just before a joyous get together with the Kane Kids and their children, spouses, and mothers. Family is an important part of the Italian and Irish heritage and as mentioned above that’s exactly what we Kane Kids are. The three Kane boys married three very lovely Italian women. Grammy Kane didn’t raise no fools! And look at what they all produced!! Mighty good lookin’ bunch if I may say so myself! :)

As we approach Thanksgiving I am thankful for this day. Thankful we were all together around good food but more importantly good company. We will forever cherish this picture, the laughs we shared, the stories we told, and the food we gathered around. We will never forget the fun taking this picture featuring the typical Kane shenanigans with our typical complicated ways. The memories will live on forever.

We’ll miss you Jack, but you are forever in our hearts.

Grandma Sue’s Gnocchi!

Today I had the house to myself as San and James along with my brother-in-law Ken took their annual outing to Watkins Glen for the big race. Ahh, peace at last! However, instead of relaxing I did what any good little Italian would do – I cooked! I spent many Sunday mornings with my Grandma Sue making an array of Italian dishes. I just can’t get out of the habit that Sunday’s are for making big meals for the family. Today I was in the mood to make my Grandma’s gnocchi.

It’s really not as hard as you think. So follow along!

Ingredients:

4 cups of flour
4 potatoes OR
1 – 15oz container plus another half of whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tsp salt
1 egg

Directions:

Add flour to a bowl, add the salt and egg and then it is decision time….
If you are using the potatoes – boil them until soft and then put them through a potato ricer and add to flour mixture. You may not have a potato ricer so try just mash up the potatoes.

If you are using the ricotta cheese add it to the flour. I prefer this method as it is easier. Mix all ingredients togther in the bowl very well and then knead the dough on a generously floured cutting board.

Roll out the dough in strips like this:

And then cut them into 1 inch pieces like this:

Now roll them over the back side of a fork like this. Be sure to flour the fork for easy rolling. This helps add texture to the gnocchi for the sauce to have something to grab on to :)

Now put them on a tray to hang out until you are done with all of them like this:

To freeze the gnocchi put the tray in the freezer until frozen and then you can store them in a ziplock bag. Otherwise cook those that you plan to use right away and eat them like this:

Delicious!! :)

Soup for Spring

This soup really has no name. Often times if I don’t have dinner planned I start rummaging through the cupboards and frig and I come up with dinner. I make it a fun challenge to see what I can come up with. This must have been the case with this soup.

It’s cold in Central New York. We like to joke that we had our spring, two days of summer and now we’re back to fall. So tonight was a nice night to serve comfort food. We won’t have a lot of opportunity for that soon because summer should return! :)

The Soup with No Name

Ingredients:

1 small onion – diced
1 head of rapini (broccoli rabe)
2 links of Hot Italian Sausage
1 can of diced tomatoes (15 oz)
1/2 to 3/4 of a box of orecchiette pasta or short pasta like elbows, ditalini, etc
64 oz of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic Salt to taste
About 1/2 tbsp of sugar
A few grates of nutmeg
2 tbsps of Olive Oil
2-3 tbsp of parmesan cheese

Directions:

Over medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil and diced onion to a large soup pot – add salt and pepper and garlic salt and saute for 3 or 4 minutes.
Wash the rapini thoroughly with cold water, cut off the ends, rough chop, and boil for about 10 minutes – do not overcook, drain and set aside.
Remove the hot sausage from the casing, add the rest of the olive oil to a frying pan over medium high heat, scramble sausage and cook until golden brown – set aside as well.
Add the chicken stock to the soup pot and simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the rapini and sausage as well as the diced tomatoes. When you add the diced tomatoes – sprinkle them with the salt, pepper, garlic salt and sugar.
In a medium sized pot bring water to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and cook the pasta until al dente, before draining pasta water, remove a cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup pot and also add the pasta cooking water.
Grate a small amount of nutmeg into the soup and the parmesan cheese and you’re done!
Now it is taste time to be sure you have enough seasoning. Add to it as you see fit!

Serve with crusty bread and extra parmesan cheese!

It’s good for the soul soup. :) Maybe that could be the name?

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