Roasted Sausage & Peppers

Roasted Sausage & Peppers


You know how some people get into "beast mode"?  Well, I'm in "roast mode". Why else would I choose to roast all the things I can roast just when the weather is warming up?  My apartment heats up like a furnace when I turn on my oven for more than 10 minutes.  That would be nice in the dead of winter (aka last week) when I'm still wearing sweats while using two strategically placed heaters to warm up just my living room.  However, I probably don't need the added warmth when it's over 35 degrees.  So of course that's pretty much exactly when I'm making this.  Flawless logic, right?

All temperature issues aside though, I can't deny that this meal is amazing.  It's not only super easy to prep and assemble, but after you put it in the oven, you're pretty much done.  Really, the only thing left to do is eat up.  I wish I had thought of this earlier in the winter months because I know I would have made this every other week.  It's simply that good.

At the last minute I picked up some rosemary and butternut squash to add to this because apparently I'm also wishing for Fall to come back (no I'm not).  Still, I really liked the addition of these items.  I haven't eaten butternut squash for a while, which is just crazy talk if you know how much I love it.  I am also a fiend for rosemary and so I had to add some into the mix to make things more interesting.

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Crockpot Balsamic Shredded Beef

You may not know exactly how long I've been waiting to make this dish.  I think this recipe (not this exact one, but something similar) was one of my first "pins" on Pinterest, and I've been on that site for yearsssss.  So there's that.

As you already know, I love my crockpot.  You can find evidence of this by heading over to that neat little "Recipe Index" link at the top of this post.  What you may not know is that I also have some deep love and affection for balsamic vinegar.  I travel almost every week for work and I keep a full-size bottle of balsamic vinegar with my travel items because I have an unrealistic fear of running out.  True story.

Now that I've thoroughly convinced you of my strangeness, please let me present this balsamic beef recipe to you.  It's simply amazing.  As always, I put my ingredients into the crockpot late at night and then I am warmly greeted by a finished meal by 9 o'clock the next morning.  Tip: I usually turn the crockpot to the Warm setting for a few hours until I'm ready to eat lunch.  But let's face it, "lunch" usually happens at 10:30am since I've been sniffing this dish for the last hour and a half and I only have so much willpower!

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Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry

Asparagus is having a great time on this blog right now.

I mean....I even had to put a picture of asparagus in the Spring header because it is so dang pretty and green.  Let's not forget that for the longest time, this was the most green action we saw here in northern NJ.  Gotta take it where we can get it.

In light of these spring conditions descending upon us, we need to make sure we have some quick and tasty recipes to chow down upon before we head outdoors to enjoy this new and wonderful world that no longer includes snow and sub-zero temperatures.

I would also like to add that you should not be fooled by the number of steps in this recipe.  It really is so simple and easy.  In no time, you'll find yourself lounging in the sun and having the best spring evahhhh.

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Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken

Last week, my trip to Pittsburgh primarily revolved around Mad Mex margarita-drinking festivities.  Mad Mex was always a favorite place to visit when I was in college.  Unfortunately, I would sometimes (um...almost always?) end up a tad too inebriated as a result of drinking one to one-and-a-half Big Azz margaritas.  Those were the days.  The only thing I don't miss are the hangovers.

Of course, no visit to the 'burgh is complete without at least attempting to drink yet another Big Azz marg at Mad Mex.  Since it's a pretty small location and can become packed quickly, my friends and I had several discussions regarding the optimal time to go there.  (PS - We discovered the best time to visit, but I'm not divulging!)  And we drank margaritas.  Two each...

Now, in our "heyday", we would have been completely done for the day.  We would have stumbled home and passed out.  But.  We were not.  We had excellent appetizers and entrees and we drank our margaritas like the adults that we are and headed back to our hotel.  Like a boss!

OK, maybe we did fall asleep pretty early that night.  But it was a conscious decision on our part.  For sure.

In the spirit of eating even more quality Mexican food, I have an easy salsa verde chicken recipe for you.  Bust out those crockpots once again.  Let me assure you that this is a quick, easy, and tasty way to ensure you have some delicious protein on hand.  This time, I decided use the chicken in a burrito, but in a future blog post, I will be showing you another way that I decided to indulge in this mouth-watering chicken.

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Crockpot Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers

Last weekend, I wore MC Hammer pants.  I will vouch (for myself) that I never thought I'd see the day that happened.  But my group workout class had a 90's theme!  Of course I had to buy the drop-crotch pants to match.  I would say "ugh" right about now because I'm over myself, but since wearing them this past weekend, I've developed a fondness for those pants.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear them in public.  As in, it won't be a part of a costume.  Thankfully they're black and not some fugly patterned mess.  So there's that silver lining, right?  Someone out there is understanding my thoughts.  I'm sure of it.

Here's something that easier to understand: the amazing-ness of making Mexican stuffed peppers in a crockpot.  I've made stuffed peppers once before but I refused to revisit it again because it was such a chore to make those at the time.  Fast forward to today, hand me a crockpot, and I'm back in business!

Lately, I've been obsessed with Mexican food.  This should not be a surprise, because cheese is my kryptonite.  I would like to make it known that I can eat Mexican food at any time.  If there is a Mexican food throwdown, I'm there.  Needless to say, you may be seeing a few Mexican-inspired recipes from me in the near future.  I have to say that these pepper turned out to be mighty tasty.  The combination of the meat, rice, vegetables, and sauce made this an excellent dinner option for me the other night.

And cheese. And sour cream.  They just get me.

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Bahamian Fire Engine

Over the past year or so, I've received several positive emails or comments from my relocated Bahamian people about the Bahamian recipes that I post here.  When you grow up on a small island with a culture that predominantly revolves around food, and then you end up moving elsewhere, sometimes you just crave the comfort of a home-cooked meal.  Depending on where you move and with whom, sometimes that's just not possible.  Another thing I've come to realize is that, dang, sometimes I want Bahamian food too, but I don't actually know how to make it.  That's when we turn to the internet.

So, I recently decided to profile a new series on the blog.  I'm planning on featuring Bahamian recipes once in a while so that:

1) I can actually document my family's recipes (Let's be honest.  We know most of these recipes have no written instructions anywhere!); and

2) My fellow Bahamians and I can have a reference to recreate these dishes in the future.

I've begun to request that my family provide me with some recipes that I can include on the blog and they are working overtime to put measurements to some of our favorite meals. In the meantime, I looked to the Bahamian calendar to help me create a fire engine breakfast dish.  First of all, yes, our national calendar contains recipes.  Second of all, you're probably wondering what fire engine is.  Fire engine is a very popular breakfast dish in the Bahamas.  It's composed of steamed corned beef and vegetables, then served over rice or grits.  It sounds strange but I swear it's delicious.

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Caprese Chicken

Fun fact: I sort of don't like tomatoes.  Let me break this down.  Through some trial and error, I've realized that what I don't actually like is the taste and texture of tomato seeds.  Their texture reminds me of Jell-O, which I absolutely hate.  As in, to the point of gagging, hate.  Ok, no talk of gagging on this food blog.  But honestly, I actually really like the rest of the tomato, aka the tomato flesh.  Yes, I'm totally taking this post to an awkward place.

Moving on...I never really thought of pulling all my major faves together into one dish.  I think chicken is a fantastically quick protein to whip up for a weeknight dinner.  I absolutely adore basil.  (Homemade basil pesto?  Stop it!)  And let's not even start with the mozzarella cheese.

I've played with variations of this combination before by making Basil Pesto Chicken and a Caprese Salad.  But now, we are taking this business to another level.  Let's combine it all!  And then we drizzle the whole she-bang with balsamic sauce.  Just in case you didn't think we were serious enough.

If you didn't know before, now you know.

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Korean Beef Bowl

I used to go to the gym Friday evenings to catch up on the past week with my girlfriends.  And of course we burned as many calories as possible so we could promptly justify the ensuing late night dinner and glass (or glasses) of vino.  However, in the past several months, I changed gyms and also got down with some foot surgeries.  Needless to say, I didn't get to see my girls as often as I used to.

A few weeks ago, we coordinated our schedules so we could once again relive our Friday night glory.  We decided on Korean food and ended up at one of our favorite spots in K-town (Koreatown) in NYC.  I never know what to order when faced with pages of foreign food, so once I spotted a ground beef dish called bulgogi, I figured I'd just roll with that.  Little did I know that this bulgogi would be so tasty.  This was the beginning of something beautiful.

Approximately two days later, I discovered a new-to-me blog, Damn Delicious.  This blog is amazing!  The first recipe that popped up was for a Korean Beef Bowl.  Essentially this was a stripped down (aka easy) version of the Korean bulgogi dish.  Clearly this finding was fate and I should just listen to the universe and make this happen.  So I did.  And it was fabulous, as it was meant to be.  This Korean rice bowl was a seriously close substitute for the Korean bulgogi, just without all the time and energy required to make the authentic dish.  Sometimes a girl just has to eat quickly.

But...if you're not into this Korean ground beef situation, then perhaps you would like to partake in some of this Deconstructed Wonton Soup.  Find your own lane and speed on down it.

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Swedish Meatballs

I seem to always be in a state of "I need to clean out the freezer!"  I'm sure you all know by now that I'm a traveling consultant, which means that I make a lot of food one day, then freeze it because I'm out of the state for the next 3 - 4 days.  Heck, I also freeze some leftover ingredients so they won't go bad before I can use them again.  And, since I'm living in the NYC area and there are a ton of tasty restaurants nearby, I tend to only eat at home about 50% of the time.  Hence, the need to freeze.

But sometimes I'm just over it.  I look in my freezer and realize I can't reach the ice cube tray because there's a cup of frozen milk in front of it.  (Yes, you can freeze milk!)  Or I open the freezer door and I'm attacked by falling slabs of ground beef.  You know how that is, right? I had picked up some extra ground beef when it was on sale at my local grocery store but since I didn't have an immediate use for it, I threw it in the freezer...aka the "black hole".  Now was the time to use this.  

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog From Grandma Loy's Kitchen.  I loved looking through all of Miss Loy's recipes.  There was so many desserts!!  We all know those are near and dear to my heart, but I am sad (happy?) to say that I have a ton of desserts already stored in my freezer.  It's sort of bordering on a dessert hoard in there.  I don't want to talk about it.  With my ground meat firmly in mind, I eventually decided to make a batch of Swedish Meatballs.    I've actually never made this before because, guess what!, I don't like gravy.  Yep, last week I completely shocked you all with my black bean disclosure, and this week, I'm continuing on that theme with some gravy info.  I don't know why, but I've never been enthralled by the thought of butter, flour, and broth coming together to smother my meat.  Not so interested.  Cheese?  Why yes, I'll take that.  Gravy?  Uh, I'll pass, thanks.

So this time I decided to give gravy a shot.  Why not?  I live my life on the edge so let's take the plunge.  I'm so glad I did because these meatballs turned out to be really flavorful and the sauce made the meat extra rich and hearty.  I could totally get on the gravy train now.  (Get it?  I know, I'm corny!)

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Indian-Style Meatballs

Take a look at these pictures, please.

This would be the last set of food photos I took in my old apartment.  As I mentioned before, I had a few recipes backlogged so that I could seamlessly transition to my new apartment without interrupting my posting schedule.  What can I say?  I was obsessed with being organized for this move.  (Let's not speak about that rogue bookshelf that I accidentally left in my roommate's storage facility.  It's still too soon.)

I did manage to take a few test photos this past weekend in the new digs and I'm sort of in love.  I hope to whip something up this weekend to make sure that it wasn't just a fluke and that yes, I can take decent food shots in my new abode.  Crisis averted.

With all that jazz out of the way, I have to say that these meatballs came out fantastically!  I love ground meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc) but I sometimes struggle with ways to use it creatively.  Enter Bev's Indian-style meatballs.  Ta-da.  This, my friends, is the beginning of a beautiful meatball relationship.

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