OMELET WITH SALSA FILLING

Decided to place my staple breakfast dish (oatmeal) on a hiatus and went with eggs. These were done in an omelet form. For the filling, I went a tad out of the box and reached for salsa in a jar. Shh!!……never bought the chips. It was deliberate Love me some salsa in my omelet.

Served my oozing omelet on a bed of leftover Jamaican spinach (callaloo). And topped with nature’s butter (avocado) and fresh sliced tomatoes. For a contrasting taste, I couldn’t help myself. Toasted up an English muffin and added a sweet spread of strawberry jam.

ENGLISH MUFFIN WITH STRAWBERRY SPREAD
ENGLISH MUFFIN WITH STRAWBERRY SPREAD

My salsa omelet was ‘kicking’  along with a sweet and crispy taste of English muffin. All was well.

 

 

 

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AN ITALIAN KIND OF NIGHT …..SI! SI! #PENNE PASTA/TURKEY BAKE

I knew I had ingredients for a spectacular dish. However, on this day, I was  a tad indecisive on what to prepare for supper. The previous evening before I ventured for work, I placed some chopped turkey on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for thawing. Thought I would whip up some curried balls.

But now on the day of reckoning, my palate and I didn’t feel like doing a repeat performance. At a quick glance on the counter, I spotted some juicy and super-red tomatoes.

TOMATOES FOR MEXICAN/ITALIAN BAKE
TOMATOES FOR MEXICAN/ITALIAN BAKE

Got four of them a few days ago at the produce aisle of my store for $1.99. Thought they were a fairly good bargain; so, I brought them home and placed same on the counter top. Used up one in its natural form. I chopped up same and drizzled a little olive oil and a pinch of salt/pepper to taste along with crushed garlic. This was topped on a piece of crusty warm bread. I was in heaven.

So, the remainder of my three tomatoes perched there as if to say, “What’s wrong with us? Are we chopped liver?” Immediately an idea came to my head. I decided on a homemade tomato sauce that screamed Italian. An amalgamation was in mind. Clearly, it was looking to be an Italian kind of night.

A scan of the pantry yielded quite a find. Nestled between the shell and linguine pastas was my whole grain penne pasta. On close inspection, I learned that there was enough to make my international dish.

PENNE PASTA FOR MEXICAN/ITALIAN BAKE DISH
PENNE PASTA FOR MEXICAN/ITALIAN BAKE DISH

I was in business, with all my main ingredients assembled, I went to work.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR DISH
SOME OF THE  INGREDIENTS FOR DISH

In a hot skillet, a little olive oil was drizzled and ground turkey was added. The spices and seasoning added were salt, black pepper, and dried oregano/basil. As soon as turkey took on its brown hue, chopped onion, garlic, thyme, bell peppers were added to skillet for more flavoring. This was then set aside in a bowl.

GROUND TURKEY BROWNING IN SKILLET
GROUND TURKEY BROWNING IN SKILLET

In a separate sturdy skillet, finely chopped onions,bell peppers were added to a drizzle of olive oil. These were seasoned along with salt and black pepper. It was time, I added my chopped tomatoes and four diced olives for more flavors. My sauce called for a little more tomatoes, so, once again, I raided my pantry and  found a can of diced tomatoes.

DICED TOMATOES FOR SAUCE
DICED TOMATOES FOR SAUCE

So, I let it work for me. With the sprinkle of a little dried oregano, basil and a pinch of sugar, my tomato sauce was all done.

TOMATO SAUCE
TOMATO SAUCE

Penne pasta was cooked in salted water in al dente form. This was then drained making sure to reserve a little water in case I needed for later. Pasta and sauce were then added to chopped turkey. I tossed in my shredded cheddar cheese and folded all the ingredients.

MOST OF THE INGREDIENTS READ TO BE FOLDED FOR ITALIAN BAKE
MOST OF THE INGREDIENTS READY TO BE FOLDED FOR ITALIAN BAKE

All ingredients were combined and placed in a greased baking dish. A sprinkle of a little more cheese, bread crumbs and olive oil were mixed. That was added on the top of Italian Penne bake and placed in a heated oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Guys, this was my Italian Penne bake. And, I was over the moon about this delicious dish.

ITALIAN PENNE BAKE DISH
ITALIAN PENNE BAKE DISH

WAIVE THE PLAIN MARINARA SAUCE #JAMAICAN RUM MARINARA SAUCE

Main ingredients for Jamaican Rum Marinara Sauce
Main ingredients for Jamaican Rum Marinara Sauce

Recently I purchased some fairly sweet and relatively inexpensive tomatoes in the produce aisle of my supermarket. For $1.99, I was able to nab five small goodness in a package.In the moment, I got a culinary idea so I grabbed another packet. Marinara was on my mind. It’s a simple sauce that is seasoned with herbs, garlic and other ingredients of choice.

It had been sometime since I made my own marinara sauce. Making my own has its advantages in that I’m able to control the consistency of my sauce. I like to keep it on the chunky side and add my own fresh and wholesome ingredients without the added preservatives that the store-bought version has. Not only did I wish to make my own marinara sauce, I wanted to input Jamaican white rum to take it to another level. That move provided quite a treat. It gave my sauce a slightly bold and even more succulent taste.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh tomatoes (8 sm)
  • Diced tomatoes (15oz) canned
  • Jamaican white rum (1/3 cup)
  • Onion (1/2 Large)
  • Garlic (3 cloves)
  • Thyme (1 tsp)
  • Dried oregano(1/4 tsp)
  • Dried basil (1/4 tsp)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Bell pepper (tbsp)
  • Olive oil (3 tbsp)
  • Sugar (1 tsp)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Jamaican Rum Marinara Sauce simmering
    Jamaican Rum Marinara Sauce simmering

Method:

  1. In a stock pot, saute finely chopped onions and bell peppers in a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Season along with salt and pepper.
  3. Add crushed garlic cloves.
  4. Add rum and stir the ingredients.
  5. Proceed to add fresh tomatoes, and canned diced tomatoes along with sugar. The sugar will provide a balance to the acid in the tomatoes.
  6. Add the dried herbs and seasonings.
  7. Do taste test and add additional seasonings if needed.
  8. Allow sauce to simmer under low to medium heat for approximately 40 minutes or until sauce gather the right consistency you are okay with.
  9. A few minutes before completion, add fresh chopped parsley or any herb of choice.
  10. Add shredded or grated parmesan cheese (or any cheese of choice) after removing pot from heat.

I served my Jamaican rum marinara sauce on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti along with a spicy serving of  shrimp. I chose not to add cheese.

Spicy peppered shrimp with Jamaican rum marinara sauce on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti
Spicy peppered shrimp with Jamaican rum marinara sauce on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti

 

A CHICKEN CACCIATORE DISH AN ITALIAN GRANDMA OR HUNTER WOULD APPROVE

Sometime in 2014 (might have been the fall season), I made this dish, chicken cacciatore. And although it’s a labor of love, it was certainly worth it. This dish originated in Italy among the hunters back then. In fact, it’s called a hunter’s meal. Being out in the fields away from home, they had to make do with what was on hand. As such, rabbit or chicken was the main ingredient in regards to protein. Of course, wild mushrooms and other veggies like onions, garlic, etc were part of the dish.

Over the years, cooks/chefs around the around placed their spin on the dish.Depending on the region in Italy, some cooks will add white or red wine. It is said that the authentic cacciatore doesn’t consist of tomatoes; however, many cooks have incorporated this lycopene veggie so as to mask the taste of the ‘game’ taste of the rabbit.

Because I love tomatoes, and I’m don’t eat rabbit, I’ve chosen to cook my dish with same along with a little left-over red wine.

Some of the ingredients for chicken cacciatore
Some of the ingredients for chicken cacciatore

Ingredients:

  1. Dark chicken (6 drumsticks/4 thighs)
  2. Mushrooms (any type) (1/2lb)
  3. Canned Italian crushed tomatoes (28 ozs)
  4. Fresh tomatoes (3)
  5. Salt/pepper to taste
  6. Garlic (3 cloves)
  7. Onion (1 med)
  8. Scallion (3 sprigs)
  9. Parsley (for garnish)
  10. Dried basil/oregano
  11. Canola oil for searing chicken
  12. Whole wheat flour to dredge chicken
  13. Thyme
  14. Sugar (1 or 2tsps)

    Seared chicken ready to go in sauce
    Seared chicken ready to go in sauce

Method:

  1. Chicken parts were cut in smaller pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper and crush garlic for least a couple of hours.
  2. Before searing remove garlic pieces and dry with paper towel.
  3. In skillet or sturdy stockpot, drizzle a little oil to cover bottom.
  4. Lightly dredge chicken parts and brown on both sides and set aside. Ensure not to crowd skillet.
  5. Add chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes,mushrooms, and thyme and season along with salt and pepper and other dried seasonings along with red wine. Add a sprinkle of sugar to balance out the acid from the tomatoes and wine.
  6. Add back browned chicken parts to skillet and cover with lid.
  7. Allow chicken to stew under low to medium heat until they fall from the bone.
  8. Garnish with parsley.
  9. Serve with choice of pasta, crusty bread, rice, mashed Irish potatoes and roasted root veggies or a green salad.
    Chicken cacciatore simmering
    Chicken cacciatore simmering

    Completed chicken cacciatore dish with garnish of parsley
    Completed chicken cacciatore dish with garnish of parsley

Guys, this dish is certainly a crowd pleaser. And, the next couple of days in the refrigerator only makes it more succulent. Moreover, it freezes very well. The flavors are bold, super delicious, and will make you return for seconds.