Sausage and Sage Tomato Cream Sauce

This recipe is a nice change of pace from the typical spaghetti dinner, but it will still appeal to picky eaters.  The flavor of the sausage and sage work so well together.  It comes together in less than thirty minutes.

A tomato based and cream based sauce are made separately and then combined.  Since I have picky eaters, I often set aside some of the cream sauce to be served to them.

This goes well my my favorite Italian bread recipe and a green salad.

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Crispy Buffalo Wings

Every Thursday at our house we have pizza and wings.  Sometimes we mix it up and do sweet Asian wings or garlic parmesan wings, but 90% of the time it is these classic buffalo wings.  They require very little hands-on time and come out just as crispy as anything deep fried, even though they are baked.  I love my deep fryer and hate healthy food but have found no reason to switch to frying wings because the oven method is easy and good.

I see a lot of wing recipes that talk about cutting the wings and discarding the tips but I get mine at Costco in a 10 lb. bag of frozen wings.  There is nothing to cut up or discard. You can grab however many you need out of the bag and defrost them in a bowl of cool water.

Sometimes I set some aside without the sauce to be dipped by the kids in barbecue sauce or ketchup (gross).

You will need:

-20 wings

-2 cups all purpose flour

-2 teaspoons seasoned salt

-1 teaspoon finely ground pepper

-1/2 cup Frank’s or Texas Pete hot sauce

-1/2 cup (one stick) of salted butter

-1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  1.  In a large ziplock bag, mix the flour, seasoned salt, and pepper together
  2. Place the wings inside.  They should not be wet, but there is no need to obsessively pat them dry.
  3. Shake until the wings are well coated, them put them back in the fridge for at least an hour, up to 24 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, if you have a convection setting this is a good occasion for it as it really crisps them.
  5. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it in foil and generously spraying with a non stick spray.  Place the wings on it without them touching each other
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip them individually.  Bake another 15-20 minutes.  They should look crispy.
  7. Towards the end of the baking time, prepare the buffalo sauce by melting the butter in a large saucepan and adding the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  (Worcestershire is not being highlighted by spell check, is it possible I have spelled it right TWICE?)
  8. Toss the baked wings in the buffalo sauce, right in the sauce pan.
  9. Serve with blue cheese or ranch.

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Greek Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is filling but not too heavy, and is a definite crowd pleaser.  I came up with the recipe trying to copy an expensive pasta salad that we used to buy all the time.

It makes a lot, so I would recommend cutting the recipe in half unless it’s for a party.

You will need:

for the dressing:

1 cup olive oil

2 1/2 t. garlic powder

2 1/2 t. dried oregano

2 1/2 t. dried basil

2 t. salt

2. t. black pepper

2 t. onion powder

2 t. dijon mustard

1 cup red wine vinegar

for the rest:

1 box of mini penne pasta

1 can of black olives

1 green pepper finely sliced

1 small red onion finely sliced

6 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  1.  Cook the pasta to al dente in boiling, lightly salted water.  Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing EXCEPT the red wine vinegar.  Add the vinegar last, while whisking quickly to combine.
  3. In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta and dressing together, then add the olives, green pepper, red onion, and crumbled feta.
  4. Cover and chill at least four hours.

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French Rolls for Sandwiches

We make these rolls every week, on Tuesday.   They are great for Italian sandwiches, cheesesteaks, and whatever sandwich your heart desires.  The dough can also be made into larger round loaves or baguette shapes to serve with dinner.

The best thing about the rolls is that they freeze well for at least two weeks, and can be defrosted in the microwave easily (takes about 1 minute on the defrost setting).  The crust can be recrisped with just a few minutes in the oven.  They have a thin, crisp crust and are super soft inside.

I always, always, always knead and rise my dough in the bread machine, although I never bake in it.  The stand mixer is okay.  I have never had success kneading by hand, but obviously many people do.

This recipe is one of the easiest to make, but also one of the best.  It is slightly adapted from Bread Machine Magic.

You will need:

4 cups of bread flour

1 1/2 cups of water

2 t. salt

2 1/2 t. instant yeast (I like Red Star brand)

Cornmeal and flour for dusting

Directions:

  1.  Combine your ingredients and knead into a soft smooth dough, preferably in a bread machine on the dough cycle.
  2. Cover and allow to rise until doubled.  (The bread machine will take care of this, and will beep when done.)
  3. Divide into 10 equal pieces using a sharp knife.
  4. Shape into rolls, pinching the bottoms until the tops are smooth.
  5. Prepare your baking sheet by either spraying with non-stick spray or covering with parchment, then dust with cornmeal.
  6. Rub flour on top of the rolls. Place them on the baking sheet, slashing a diagonal line with a sharp knife.
  7. Preheat your oven to 450, and place a spare empty baking sheet with a lip in the oven.
  8. Cover your rolls with greased plastic wrap, and put in a warm place to rise.  When they look very puffy, remove the plastic wrap.
  9. When the oven has preheated, pour 1 cup of water on to the spare baking sheet to create steam.  It may buckle.  This is okay.
  10. Put your risen rolls into the oven, and bake for 16-17 minutes.  When done, they will have slightly browned bottoms and feel light for their size.
  11. Cool and use immediately or freeze.

 

 

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The Best Chicken Tenders (Buffalo if you want)

I see a lot of recipes for things that picky kids are supposed to like and I laugh, because my kids would never eat them in a million years.  When I think of picky eater recipes, I think of this.  All children, and all adults, will love them.  I promise.

This is our most frequently made dinner.  We eat it almost once a week, on either Saturday or Sunday, and have not tired of it for five years.  I highly recommend a deep fryer.  We have one that filters and stores the oil and it has paid for itself many times over in oil costs, convenience, and how much it has improved the quality of our food.  We use it for this recipe as well as frozen appetizers, egg rolls, homemade General Tso’s chicken, fried shrimp, and other things.

You will need:

8 chicken breast cutlets (Perdue frozen ones from Costco are our favorite)

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 and 1/2 cups of panko bread crumbs

2 eggs

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 t. of seasoned salt

1/4 t. of black pepper

Peanut or vegetable oil for frying

A deep fryer OR a candy thermometer

  1.  Cut your chicken into the size strips or tenders you want.  
  2. In one medium sized bowl, combine the eggs and milk
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients
  4. Start heating your oil, either in a large Dutch oven or your fryer, to 360 degrees.
  5. Dip the chicken pieces into the the milk and egg mixture and then the flour/ panko mixture.  Do this one by one.  
  6. Fry until golden brown and dry on paper towels
  7. Serve plain with dipping sauce, OR toss in buffalo sauce (half melted butter and half Franks red hot).

This makes about 30 tenders, which don’t go as far as you might think! Any leftover chicken is great plain or on top of salads.

I serve these with homemade fries, which are easy peasy with a French fry cutter.  You simply cut russet potatoes using the fry cutter, soak them in ice water in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and fry them in the deep fryer.  They are fried twice.  First at 320 degrees for about 8 minutes, until lightly golden, then drained, and fried again at 375 for about 3 minutes until they are crispy as you would like.  Typically I do the first fry, set them aside, heat the oil to do the chicken, then do the second fry last.

The chicken can be breaded in the morning and stay in the fridge until dinner, along with the potatoes in their ice water bath.  Then all you have to do at dinner time is fry them.  Serve with a raw veggie to make life easy.

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