Farmer’s Market Week: Green Beans w/Red Peppers

The garden is starting to overflow with ready-to-pick goodies. Here are some new flavors to try with fresh green beans. Below are stovetop and instant pot instructions.

Photo: Betty Crocker

Green Beans w/Red Peppers:

  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced in strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz sliced black olives
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Stovetop: Continue reading

Time for another white pizza

Because the last one was so good.  Minor tweaks to the recipe, different cheeses, a few more veggies – I had some leftovers from the nachos yesterday.I think there is some Swiss cheese in there too.  I was combining several partial bags of shredded cheese I found in the freezer.  The pizza edges are stuffed with mozzarella string cheese.  Lots of garlic in the white sauce.We used 3-1/2 cups of flour for this 14″ pizza, and the crust was huge.  And tasty!

Thursday Night Menu: Snow Storm Edition

I hope all of you survived the monster winter storm that hit the east coast. As I write this, we are predicted to get about 12 inches of snow today. It’s coming down pretty heavily right now and I’m not looking forward to my drive home. I will set this up to post automatically, just in case. See how much I love you? (Edit: Home safe and sound, roads are ugly)

Keeping it simple tonight. If your house is like mine, you’re still suffering holiday goodie hangovers, so no dessert tonight, just fresh fruit. Lots of fresh vegetables in this one, too. Trying to help you get ready for those New Year’s resolutions.

On the board tonight:

  1. Sausage Pasta
  2. Italian Green Bean Salad
  3. Bread Sticks
  4. Sliced Pears

Sausage Pasta

  • 1 lb Italian sausage, sweet or spicy*
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 mushrooms, washed & sliced
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp fennel (opt)
  • 10 oz ditalini or penne pasta

deep skillet and large saucepan

Brown sausage in skillet, and crumble well, add zucchini, onions & mushrooms, cook until tender. Add tomatoes & spices. In honor of my new friend fennel, toss 2 tsp in if you like.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain well & toss with sausage mixture.

* you can substitute ½ lean ground beef or ground turkey for ½ lb of the sausage to lighten up this meal.

Italian Green Bean Salad

  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, sliced in rings
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 4 oz can black olives, whole

saucepan and serving bowl

Prepare beans by snapping off ends, washing and cutting in half if large. Add  water & pinch of salt to saucepan, add beans and cook for 5 minutes at boiling. Reduce heat and cook until beans are tender-crisp about 5-10 minutes. Drain well. Prepare Vinaigrette Dressing (left), pour over warm beans & toss. Place in freezer to cool completely (about 5 min).  Remove, toss with parmesan, add tomatoes, onions & olives. Serve on lettuce leaves.  You can also serve warm over lettuce if you prefer.

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp basil, crushed
  • ½ tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients and blend well

Menu serves 4

Shopping List:

  • Bread Sticks
  • 4 pears
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, sweet or spicy*
  • 2 zucchini
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 mushrooms
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 10 oz ditalini or penne pasta
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 4 oz can black olives, whole
  • fennel seed (opt)

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, olive oil, red wine vinegar

Chicken Fajitas

Not going to say that Mrs J has been nagging me to make these, but she has mentioned it a lot.  Iasa asked me the other day what I used for fajita seasoning and I really didn’t have a good answer.  I’ve been using various powders more on a whim than than by any plan.  Seemed like a good time to do some Googling. I looked at a few recipes and they were similar enough I ended up choosing this one more for it’s placement on the results page than the star rating.

I used 2 tablespoons of the mix, plus 2 tablespoons of water, along with a dash of lime juice for a marinade.  Sliced 2 chicken breasts and soaked them in it for a couple of hours in the fridge.  When it came time to cook the meal I sliced some green peppers and an onion.  Start some oil in a pan, and toss in the marinaded chicken pieces.  Give them a few minutes and then add the veggies.  When done, array some on a tortilla and add whatever toppings sound good to you.  I had some jalapenos, tomatoes, black olives, sour cream, ancho sauce, salsa, green onions, some cheese sauce and some shredded cheese all set out on the table along with a bag of nacho chips.  A few lime wedges to squeeze on the assembled fajita are nice.  The lime juice perks the flavors quite a bit.  Nearly forgot I had some guacamole made.  Remembered too late to get some into the main round of pictures, but I still had room so I made up a plate of nachos.  Yummy every time.


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Thick Crust Pizza

Had a hankering for pizza today.  Made the thick crust sans cheese this time, though I did add some diced, pickled jalapenos.   Just a few toppings-Vidalia onions, black olives, and Italian sausage plus the usual mozzarella and some grated parmesan.  To make up for the lack of cheese crust I served the slices with melted butter to use as a dip adding a  generous stir of garlic powder for a little zing.  Yummy!


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Cuban-Style Beef and Peppers

Above are the ingredients for the recipe (recipe can be found here). I made some substitutions and omissions. I have no idea just how authentically Cuban this is, feel free to chime in in comments.

Lean beef sliced into thin strips in the middle, and clockwise from the top: raisins soaking in apple juice, diced tomatoes from a can, some hot dried chilies soaking in water, black and green olives, sliced yellow pepper, sliced onions, and fresh ground cumin with ground thyme.

This will be served over rice, so put some on.  Let’s get started.Heat up a largish pan and add a little oil, cook down the peppers (sans the soaking water for the dried peppers) and the onions until they wilt and then……add the beef and some minced garlic, I used 4 cloves.  Cook while stirring until the meat has browned and then……add the olives and tomatoes, sprinkle in the cumin and thyme. Cook until the meat is done, add the raisins and juice (recipe calls for rum as an option, I would’ve used rum but for the lack of it-also called for capers, didn’t have any).  The recipe linked above doesn’t mention it, but it looked to me like it needed some more sauce, so I added corn starch to a half cup of beef broth……and poured it into a well I made in the center.  Let it thicken as it starts to simmer, and give everything a good last stir.Mrs Jeffreyw thought it was pretty good, she cleaned her plate up except for a few odd olives (she’s not a fan of olives, alas).  She also mentioned black beans as a worthy addition.  Next time for sure.



I’m a huge pizza! fan, and these days that means one with cheese rolled into the crust on the edges. I’ll get to that later.  Here’s the recipe for the dough:  3 cups flour, 1 cup water, a tablespoon of olive oil, a dash of salt, and a packet of yeast.  I also added a couple of tablespoons of dried herbs to this batch, oregano and basil.  I let my bread machine to all the work of kneading just to cut down on the mess.  When the machine beeped 2 hours later I dumped it all onto a lightly oiled 14″ pizza! pan and smooshed it into shape.  Tried rolling the dough once, didn’t work.  Push the dough right up the rim of the pan.  I used pepper jack cheese this time, just about any cheese that melts well will work fine.  Layer the cheese around the rim, squishing it into the bottom edge so that the dough pushes out some.

Now roll the crust over the top, gently pulling and stretching the dough from the flat part that lies on the bottom of the pan. Yay! Now we are ready for the sauce.  I make it a little different every time.  This time I started with a bit of olive oil in a small sauce pan to which I added 3 thinly sliced cloves of garlic.  Warm them up some to bring out the aroma, then dump in a 15 oz can of tomato puree.  To this add some onion powder and several tablespoons of dried herbs: oregano and basil.  Simmer on low until it reduces to more of a tomato paste than puree.  Time to spread it on.  I used to layer the toppings, then spread the cheese atop everything, but these days I tend to add a little as I go along. My toppings today are three meats: Genoa salami, a Hungarian salami and pepperoni.  Also going on are black olives, mushrooms, pickled banana pepper rings, and red onions.Brush some olive oil on the edge and drizzle some more over the top and pop it into a  425 oven, check in 15 minutes.  This one I ended up giving 20 minutes.It’s so thick I used a cleaver to slice it.  Sprinkle on some Parmesan and some red pepper flakes and you are good to go!Enjoy!