prep time: 15 minutes       cook time: 30 minutes (if you don’t let it simmer for hours), 2-3 hours (if you want to let the tastes meld)20141204-slow-roasted-bolognese-01

1 medium onion, minced (about 1/2 c)
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in coins
1/2 c celery, minced
2 tsp kosher salt
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1/2 c dry red wine
1 can tomato paste
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
4 dried bay leaves
ground pepper, to taste


  1. heat olive oil in a 3 to 4-quart pan over medium heat. stir in the onion, carrot and celery, season hem lightly with salt and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent.
  2. crumble in the ground beef and pork and continue cooking, stirring to break up the meat, until all the liquid the meat has given off has evaporated and the meat is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. pour in the wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the wine is evaporated, 3-4 minutes.
  4. stir in the tomato paste and cook a few minutes, then pour in the tomatoes, toss in the bay leaves, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  5. cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is dense but juicy and a rich, dark red color. this will take about 2-3 hours – the longer you cook it, the better it will become. (most likely, a noticeable layer of oil will float to the top toward the end of cooking. once finished, the oil can be removed with a spoon or reincorpoartedint he sauce, which is what is traditionally done.)


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antipasto squares

February 13, 2018

servings: 6-8       prep time: 15 minutes      cook time: 30 minutes      total time: 1 hourlandscape-1515784104-delish-antipasto-squares-pinterest-still003

2 cans crescent dough
1/2 lb. deli ham
1/4 lb. pepperoni (could also use salami)
1/4 lb. sliced provolone
1/4 lb. sliced mozzarella
1 c. sliced pepperoncini
2 T olive oil
1/4 c. grated parmesan
1 tsp. dried oregano


  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. unroll one can of crescents onto greased baking sheet and pinch seams together.
  3. layer ham, provolone, pepperoni (or salami), mozzarella, and pepperoncini.
  4. unroll second crescent dough and place on top of pepperoncini. pinch crescent sheets together to seal.
  5. brush olive oil all over the top of crescent dough and then sprinkle parmesan and oregano on top.
  6. bake until crescent dough is golden and cooked through, about 30 minutes. (if the crescent dough is browning too quickly, cover with foil.)
  7. let cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing into squares.


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italian sausage penne

October 21, 2016

prep time: 15 minutes       cook time: 20 minutes      total time: 35 minutes2980020

1 package (19 oz.) johnsonville italian sausage (any time of sausage will do – i used kielbasa), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 package penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 T olive oil
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar  (24 oz.) marinara sauce


  1. cook sausage according to package instructions (probably about 5 minutes); drain and set aside.
  2. in a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and saute peppers, onion and garlic until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  3. add sliced sausage and marinara sauce; saute until warmed through.
  4. add pasta to marinara/sausage/veggie mixture and serve.

source – a johnsonville sausage ad in parents magazine 2016

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world’s best lasagna

August 3, 2011

prep time: 30 minutes     cook time: 2.5 hours     ready in: 3 hours 15 minuteslasagna


1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c minced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 oz.) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 c water
2 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 T chopped fresh parsley
9 lasagna noodles
16 oz. ricotta or cottage cheese
1 egg
3/4 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
3/4 c grated parmesan cheese


  1. cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, italian seasoning, sprinkle of pepper, and 2 T parsley. simmer covered for about 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. soak raw hard noodles in large bowl of very hot tap water for 20-30 minutes. drain noodles and rinse with cold water. in a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt. preheat over to 375 degrees F.
  3. to assemble, spread 1.5 c of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. arrange 3 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. spread with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture. top with mozzarella cheese. spoon 1.5 c meat sauce over mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/4 c parmesan cheese. repeat layeres, and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  4. cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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veggies galore

March 14, 2011

this recipe is a blend of two recipes from my aunt. she got them from bon appetit magazines.


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb fully cooked italian sausage or kielbasa
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 T thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 5 cups beef/chicken broth (~3 cans = 42 oz.)
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced – half coins
  • chopped kale (1 bunch)
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced coins
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c dry red wine
  • 2 T basil
  • 2 T oregano
  • 1 9-oz. package cheese tortellini


  1. heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. add next 5 ingredients and saute until onions are soft and kielbasa is brown, about 12 minutes.
  3. add broth and bring to boil.
  4. stir in zucchini, kale, carrots, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano.
  5. simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
  6. add tortellini to soup and cook until tender, about 5-8 minutes. season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

sources (italian sausage and tortellini soup, bon appetit, oct. 1993; cheese tortellini soup with cannelini, kielbasa, and kale, bon appetit, feb. 2002)

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