Hearty Hamburger Soup for the Soul

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Have you ever been in a ground beef rut? I found myself there recently when the ultimate question came up: What’s for dinner? Continue reading “Hearty Hamburger Soup for the Soul”

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Georgia Cocktail Meatballs Make a Perfect Party Appetizer

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Some Kinda Good Georgia Cocktail Meatballs

Grape jelly combined with apple hickory BBQ sauce and hot pepper jelly is an unlikely combination, but when paired together with perfectly seasoned meatballs, they make the most decadent and savory bite. Continue reading “Georgia Cocktail Meatballs Make a Perfect Party Appetizer”

Petite Sirah Pasta Boats

Seeing this photo of stuffed pasta while listening to the song Belle by Jack Johnson has me escaping to the streets of Italy, smelling fresh bread and imagining fine wine—then Pandora radio quickly changes tunes and I snap back to reality.

Ground beef, Parmigiano-Reggiano, red wine and pasta are staple ingredients I always have on hand. With only a few ingredients, this recipe packs a nice punch and comes together quickly. It’s also versatile. Feel free to change up the ingredients and substitute them with items from your pantry!

Brown the ground beef and onion, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then, deglaze the pan with a good quality red wine. I’m using Dancing Coyote’s Petite Sirah. It’s a full-bodied, dry wine that’s full of flavor…one of my favorites! Always cook with a wine you enjoy drinking.
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. I like to add salt and olive oil to the pasta water for added flavor. Then set up a little stuffing station.

Stuff the pasta with the ground beef mixture, then top with sharp cheddar cheese. Sharp cheddar gives it a nice bite.

Cover the stuffed pasta with a jarred tomato sauce, then grate fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano right over the top of the dish. Drizzle with olive oil and splash with another drink of red wine. This will help the pasta to stay moist during the cooking process. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.

Enjoy fresh from the oven with a garden salad and some fresh bread and you’ve got a complete meal. Be sure to pour yourself a glass of that red wine, if there’s any left. 😉

Tell me about your best pasta dish!

Filling and Colorful, You Can’t Go Wrong with Stuffed Peppers

I like to alternate the lids and peppers for interest and variety. I love the way the different colors look together. Drizzle them with olive oil and they're ready for the oven!

Stuffed peppers are one of my favorite dishes to create. They’re colorful and you can pretty much stuff them with anything. Tonight I browned some ground beef with onion and two cloves of fresh garlic, then drained off the fat. Meanwhile, I cooked some brown rice. I popped open a can of fire roasted tomatoes, drained them and added them to the pan along with my spices. I like things hot, so I added a few dashes of crushed red pepper, italian seasoning and salt and pepper. I got some shredded cheese out of the fridge, added about a 1/4 of a cup to my rice and beef mixture and stirred it all together. I usually hit it with a little red wine, but I was out tonight, so I just went with it. I gave it a little taste, determined it was good to go and then proceeded with stuffing the cored peppers. Once stuffed, I topped them with a little more cheese (you can never have too much cheese), then alternately put the lids back on top and drizzled them with some extra virgin olive oil–that’s what gives them that charred looked when they come out of the oven. I put the peppers in a casserole dish, then poured some chicken stock in the bottom of the dish to keep everything moist during the cooking process. I roasted the peppers at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. While they were in the oven, I cleaned up the kitchen and made a quick tossed salad to round out the meal.

Not too shabby for a weeknight dinner, eh?

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