Friday, January 15, 2010

Football Parties and Food... Onions, Peppers and Italian Sausage

This weekend is football playoff games and my family and friends will be tied to the television to watch the Baltimore Ravens kick butt on the Indianapolis Colts.  This is a major game for the Ravens because the Colts were at one time the beloved Baltimore Colts that were stolen away in the middle of the night by a new owner and another city.  After the heartbreak wore off the state of Maryland got the Baltimore Ravens and now this fight for a chance at the Super Bowl is between the old and the new. Me I am cheering on the newer team, the Baltimore Ravens.

With football this important we break out the big guns when it comes to food and one of our top favorites is the king of street food, Onions, Peppers and Italian Sausage Sandwiches.  Makes my mouth water to think of these great flavors and I think you'll love them too.  They are really easy to make and not very expensive.

Italitan Sausage, Peppers and Onion Sandwiches
2 to 4 pounds of Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage (your choice on how hot you like it)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Big Onions either yellow or sweet
3 Peppers, 1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow or whatever combo you want

2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 cup beer or wine
Italian Seasonings -dried
6 to 8 Crusty Italian Rolls

In a large heavy skillet put in the sausage you have cut into 4 to 6 in lengths.  Cover the sausage with water and cook over medium heat for as long as it takes for the fat from the sausage to rise to the top of the water. Twenty minutes is plenty.
Remove the sausage and throw away all the greasy water.
Cut the sausage into one to two inch pieces.  Remove the seeds from the peppers and cut into narrow slices along with slicing the onions to the same size.
Chop the garlic into small pieces.
Add the oil to the heavy pan and heat it up.  Add the onions, peppers and garlic to the pan and cook till starting to get brown and soft. Add the sausage pieces to the vegetables. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Brown your sausages while the pepper and onions are getting softer. Add the beer or wine to deglaze the pan and stir well. Reduce the wine or beer for a few minutes.  Taste, you may want to add some salt and pepper to taste.
Cut open and toast the rolls and load the all up with the mixture.  This is so good I can't wait till tomorrow to fix it. Yummy.  With a cold beer or soda they are perfect for any sports event.

Hope you try them.  You can use chicken sausage if the pork is not your thing.  Let me know what you think and who you are cheering on this weekend.  Me, it Go Ravens!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Grandmother's afternoon treat...

I've been thinking lately about my very sweet Grandmother Clotile who left us many years ago after a difficult illness.  While she was with us she would always make up this special treat when the grandkids were visiting.  My grandparents lived in the deep south and were quite poor but Grandma Clotile always kept her little stash of goods in the pantry that she could pull an ingredient out and bring a smile to any kid.  My favorite treat was her chocolalte gravy poured all over her fluffly buttermilk biscuits.
This is something easy to do and hasn't many ingredients.  I even saw Paula Deen whipping it up one day.  That made me laugh because I thought only my grandmother knew how to make this chocolate treat.
Here's the recipe, I hope you try it on your kids one day, big or little, because I'm sure they will be thinking about how cool their Grandma is as well.

Grandma Clotile's Chocolate Gravy

Chocolate Gravy:
1/3 stick butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups whole milk
Heat butter in a cast iron skillet over low heat. Mix in sugar, flour and cocoa. Slowly pour 1 cup of milk into the skillet and whisk well to remove lumps. Whisk in remaining milk, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick, being careful not to scorch. Serve hot over biscuits.

How about you, did your Mom or Grandmother have special little afternoon treats like this one?  I'd would love to hear about them.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow days and Homemade Comfort Soup...

After lots of wonderful holidays and traveling to my family's places I have finally settled back home and back to my blog. I will admit to missing the blog a lot. I did from time to time sign in and read and leave comments on a few but couldn’t get to mine till now. Seems like it has been forever and I hope all my follows are still hanging with me. What do your think of the terrible cold weather we are having? We have already had three bad snows for this area and it’s just the beginning of winter; come on spring you are needed soon.

One of the good parts of winter are the wonderful, good homemade soups we enjoy whenever I feel the need for comfort food. When it comes to comfort food this is a favorite in my house, so for my Mom who is crazy about this one here is the Loaded Baked Potato soup. Whatever you love to dump on your baked potato just pile it on the bowl of soup. All items are welcome. Mom and I both love bacon crumbles, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream just like we can pile on our baked potato. Mmm good, give this a try, you’ll love it.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Start by baking till just done enough potatoes to get 3 cups. 3 or 4 is usually enough.
In a large soup pot add 4 tablespoons of sweet butter
To the melted butter add 1 ½ cups chopped sweet onion and cook till translucent
Add 2 cans of (15 ½ oz) all natural chicken broth
To the chicken broth or stock add the 3 cups cubed cooked potatoes
Simmer the soup for 15 minuets till they are tender and have picked up the flavor of the broth.

Add 1 cup cream or half and half. You can use low fat milk if you don’t mind a thinner soup.
Add 1/2 cup sour cream
Salt, or to taste
Black Pepper to taste (I love lots)
Don’t let the soup come to a boil or you will curdle the milk and sour cream. Keep it at a simmer.
Simmer for about 10 minutes and serve. This is a great but quick to make soup and the leftovers are wonderful the next day. Serve in a big mug or your favorite bowl.

To Load it up add crumbled crispy bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, dollops of sour cream and chopped green onions. Whatever you enjoy, this is your comfort food so do it your way.

What is your favorite cold weather soup, I’d love to here from you all?