Category Archives: Cooking

BosGuy’s wicked awesome tomato sauce

BosGuy cookingThis time of year is when my culinary skills are most appreciated since I think my best meals tend to be traditional Italian-American plates, which are a bit heavy to eat in the warmer months.  I spend many of my Sunday afternoons in the winter months happily cooking my favorite meals and for many of them a key ingredient is a good homemade red sauce.

I first shared this post last winter but I thought I’d re-post it for anyone who may have missed it and is looking for a good recipe.

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The estimated cost for making my red sauce is ~$10 and it will make 6-8 servings.  Total time prepping and making the sauce varies because you can let it simmer for hours, but when in a pinch this can be done in 45 minutes to 1 hour.

BosGuy cooksIngredients: 2 28oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes (I prefer the whole peeled or cubed variety), 1 Vidalia onion, 1 head of garlic (roasted), 1 bell pepper (roasted), 1 carrot, 1 Italian pork sausage (I prefer spicy but sweet is fine too), 1/2 cup of red wine, 1/2 cup of chicken stock, a handful of parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes (optional), Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions:  Puree the onion and carrot so they will cook more quickly then add them to a hot pan with olive oil.  The carrot acts as a natural sweetener and will cut the acidity of the tomatoes when they are added.  This is a healthier option than sugar commonly found in jarred sauces.

Tomato SauceI then combine the whole peeled tomatoes, roasted garlic and peppers and puree the ingredients and add it to the sauce pan and stir (repeatedly).  Next, I remove the casing of the sausage and remove any large pieces of fat.  I add this along with the parsley and half a cup of red wine into my blender to puree it until it looks like a paste (it looks gross but adds flavor). Add the contents to the sauce pan and stir (repeatedly).

Lastly, I cover the sauce pan and lower the heat so the sauce will lightly simmer. Let it cook for a minimum of 30 minutes (stir every 5-10 minutes).  If the sauce becomes too thick add chicken stock / or water.  Before plating I like to drizzle extra virgin olive oil.

BosGuy cooks brussel sprouts

bosguy cooksRoasted brussel sprouts seem to be very trendy at the moment. I love roasted veggies and brussel sprouts in particular are quite nutritious; rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants so I thought I’d suggest this easy recipe.  The prep work is very easy and if you use tinfoil you needn’t even dirty a single pan – total prep and cooking time is 40 minutes.

bosguy cooks

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees then soak the sprouts in salted water for a few moments to help remove any dirt.  After, chop the stem and remove any discolored outer leaves. Aside from mincing a garlic clove, this is all the food prep required.

bosguy cooksOnce the brussel sprouts have been prepped you will need 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil (enough to thoroughly coat the sprouts), a minced clove of garlic, a few pinches of salt and a ziploc bag that you can use to incorporate the ingredients.

bosguy cooksOnce you’ve added everything in the ziploc bag – give it a thorough shaking. You want the salt, garlic and olive oil to cover / coat the sprouts to add flavor and prevent them from drying out or burning when you roast them in the oven.

Pour out the brussel sprouts, garlic and salt into a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil (to make the clean up easier) and insert the tray into the oven at 400 F for 30 minutes. Shake / stir the sprouts every 10 minutes to help the vegetables cook more evenly. They are delicious when you take them out of the oven, but beware – they are extremely hot. bosguy cooks

BosGuy’s chicken and pasta

BosGuy cooksI’m mindful of the fact that I’ve not posted much pertaining to cooking lately.  Part of that is because I tend to repeat a lot of meals that I really like, such as my Wicked Awesome Chicken and Peppers.

Last week I made this (a personal favorite) with extra dashes of crushed red pepper for additional heat since Sergio was away.  This is such an easy, affordable meal that it is one of my ‘go-to’ plates.  The secret ingredient for this meal is the pepperini.  I didn’t mention them when I first shared the recipe, because I don’t like the jarred variety sold in grocery chains, preferring the deli variety I have at my local grocer.

The plate I made last week with homemade spinach linguine was so good I actually had to talk to myself in the mirror to explain why I didn’t need a third plate.

Do you have a go to plate that you absolutely love? What is it?

BosGuy cooks cauliflower (part 2)

BosGuy cooksThis past February I wrote about cooking cauliflower in this post. This past weekend I picked up cauliflower and decided I’d experiment with trying to make a version of mashed potatoes but in lieu of using the spud, I’d swap it out with cauliflower. The ingredients I used included: one head of cauliflower, one clove of garlic, 7 oz of plain Greek yogurt, skim milk (sorry – I didn’t measure), 1 tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted cauliflower and garlicThe first step included chopping the cauliflower and roasting it alongside a head of garlic in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 F. I let the cauliflower and garlic rest for about 10-15 minutes to cool then I added them along with the remainder of the ingredients in a blender.

BosGuy cooks cauliflowerIn hindsight I should have used my little Cuisinart because the blender was too deep but after a bit of cursing I was able to get everything to work and puree the ingredients.  It was at this point that I added the skim milk to try and help with the blending process.

BosGuy cooks cauliflowerWhile I’m relatively happy with this cooking experiment there are a few things I might do differently. My mother suggested that I steam the cauliflower because it will add moisture. I’m inclined to agree and will try that next time.  Do you have a recipe for something similar? Tell me about it by emailing me or leaving instructions in the comments section.

BosGuy cooks: Wicked awesome chicken and peppers

bosguy cooksThis easy to make dinner provides a lot of flavor and can be prepped and cooked in approximately 30 minutes. Ingredients include: 1 lb of chicken, 2 bell peppers, 6-8 small spicy peppers, 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed red pepper, oregano and flour.

BosGuy cooks

Step 1: Dredge the chicken in flour and add to an already hot pan with olive oil and two crushed garlic cloves over medium heat. Cover the chicken once added and flip the pieces as they start to brown.  Add the dried herbs – crushed red pepper and oregano.

Step 2: Cut the bell peppers and smaller spicy pepperoncini and add to the pan then cover.  Continue to vigorously shake the pan to keep the chicken from sticking.  The peppers will create a lot of steam that the chicken will absorb so be sure to cover the pan once they are added.

Step 3: Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of white wine and cover.  Continue to vigorously shake the pan rather than taking the lid off to stir so the ingredients all mix. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the meat.

BosGuy cooksThe smell of this as it cooks (esp. once you’ve added the peppers and wine) is heady, keep it covered so the chicken will absorb those flavors. This dish is best served over a bed of pasta – my preference is linguine.  If possible add 1/4 of a cup (half a ladle) of the boiling water that cooked the pasta this will add more liquid and flavor. Toss the cooked pasta in the pan or use tongs to coat it with all the flavors from the chicken, peppers and wine.

BosGuy cooks shrimp scampi with linguine

Shrimp scampi is an easy and quick meal that anyone can make if you have two pans and the right ingredients – which fortunately are easy to buy and not expensive.  I served this dinner following an arugula salad with tomatoes, walnuts and cranberries that I paired with a delicious sauvignon  blanc (Petit Bourgeois that Brix sells for $12.99).

BosGuy cooks

Click on photograph to enlarge

Ingredients for the shrimp scampi include:  1/2 lb of linguine, 12 shrimp, 1/2 cup of white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc), 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, 4 garlic cloves sliced thinly, a dash of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes (for some heat – optional). Not shown is the olive oil I coated the pan with to start the cooking.

Start by boiling water for your pasta in one pan and adding oil in a frying pan and turning the heat to medium high. After a minute, add the sliced garlic and butter and stir to prevent the ingredients from burning.

Once you smell the garlic cooking and it slightly browns add seasonings: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and the shrimp then cover the pan. Give the pan a good shake and flip the shrimp after a minute or two. Once the shrimp is pink on both sides, add the parsley, turn off stove and remove from heat but keep covered.

When the pasta is done add it to the pan; coat the pasta with the wine and butter sauce so all the flavors are absorbed and will flavor the pasta.BosGuy cooksThen plate and serve. The longest part of this dinner is waiting for the water to boil for the pasta and assembling the ingredients. My total cooking time was about 20 minutes and the cost of this dinner (which by the way serves two) was approximately $7.00.

BosGuy cooks: Wicked awesome zucchini

BosGuy cooksThis is a good vegetarian option for the winter because it is so hearty.  It takes one hour to make because there are a few steps but it is worth the effort. Ingredients include:  4-5 zucchini, 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella, 1 cup of panko w/ spinach (use bread crumbs if you prefer) 8-10 oz of spinach, 14-16 oz of red sauce, 4-6 roasted garlic cloves, one roasted red bell pepper, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 of a sweet onion.

First, make a red sauce.  I used a trusty jarred variety but I pureed and added 1/2 an onion, roasted red bell pepper and 4 roasted garlic cloves in a pan before adding the sauce for flavoring. The peppers will make the sauce sweet which is important.  Let the sauce simmer for ~15 mins then prep the zucchini for breading.BosGuy cooksThe first plate includes two egg yolks and some water whisked lightly followed by a container with 1 cup of spinach flavored panko crumbs and half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese. After breading each zucchini strip place it on a foiled pan and put it in a preheated oven (at 350 degrees Farenheit) for 15 minutes.

While the breaded zucchini is in the oven, add the spinach with 2 crushed garlic cloves and a splash of white wine in a pan over medium heat and cover to wilt it. This will be layered onto the zucchini when you prep BosGuy’s Wicked Awesome Zucchini.

Add a ladle of red sauce to the bottom of a rectangular oven safe container. This will prevent the zucchini from sticking when you layer them (see below).  After you place the first layer of zucchini, add the wilted spinach (remove the crushed garlic cloves) and ladle more sauce, sprinkle some Mozzarella. BosGuy cooksBosGuy cooksAdd a final layer of zucchini and add enough sauce and cheese to cover the vegetables entirely.  Then cover with foil and place it in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit for 20 minutes.  When you take out the zucchini give it 10 minutes to cool then enjoy.

BosGuy cooks