Monday, December 20, 2010

Early Christmas - Sunday Supper

Yesterday, we had both my husband's family and mine over for an early Christmas get together. One my toughest critics was coming (my grandpa, aka Papa) so I spent all morning preparing what's become a pretty traditional Sunday dinner in my family.

The menu:
Pasta with meatballs, sausage and pork
Baked chicken breast with garlic and sage breading
Asparagus and mushrooms with hazelnuts and Parmesan

The review:
Everyone - including Papa - loved all of it. Caught up in the great meal, I forgot to take pics until we had already dug in!

The recipes:
Sauce with meat
6 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (the rule is - use about 1.5 cans per pound of pasta. I cooked 2 pounds but wanted leftovers)
1 wheel of Italian sausage or links
1 pound country pork ribs (boneless)
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
Dried basil

Cook the sausage in a frying pan with enough liquid to come half-way up the side of the wheel or link, cover and simmer until cooked through. Place the country ribs in the sauce pot with about 1 1/2 cups water and simmer, covered until cooked through. In the meantime, prepare the meatballs. Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, milk and egg in a large bowl. Add garlic powder, salt and dried parsley to your liking (about 1/2 teaspoon each). Once mixed well, roll into equal size balls and coat lightly with oil to keep meatballs from falling apart while cooking. In the empty sauce pot, crush canned tomatoes with a hand blender to consistency of your liking. Add meat and about 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt, dried basil. For extra flavor, add crushed red pepper (I add a whole dried chili pepper). Cook sauce on medium to low heat for 4 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. Once sauce is cooked, taste and add seasonings if necessary.

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, mix pasta, sauce and Parmesan cheese. Serve meat in a separate bowl.

Baked Chicken with Garlic and Sage Breading

Chicken breasts
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Bread crumbs
Garlic powder
Ground sage
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice chicken breasts and trim off fat. In one bowl, beat eggs and mix with milk, garlic powder and sage. Place bread crumbs in another bowl. Bread each piece of chicken by first dipping in the egg mixture, then coating with bread crumbs. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Fry each piece of chicken about 2 minutes on each side or until brown. In a large baking dish, place chicken and a 5 small chunks of butter (one in each corner and one in the center). Bake for 35 minutes.

Asparagus and mushrooms with hazelnuts and Parmesan

2 pounds asparagus
1 8-ounce package of white mushrooms
2 T butter
Chopped hazelnuts
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Break off hard end of each asparagus spear. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Boil water in a medium sauce pan and cook asparagus for 3 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process (or asparagus will get too soft). Wash and slice mushrooms. Melt butter in a large frying pan and add mushrooms. When mushrooms are almost done, mix in asparagus. Transfer vegetable mixture into a large bowl and top with nuts and cheese.


The great thing about salad is: Anything Goes! But, here's how I made it.

1 head of green leaf lettuce
1 head of red leaf lettuce
1 tomato
1 carrot
1 small yellow bell pepper
1/4 of a large sweet onion
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil

Wash all vegetables. Tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Cut tomato into small wedges. Thinly slice carrot into round chips. Cut pepper into small squares. Slice onion. Mix together in a large bowl. To make dressing, mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts oil and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Mix into salad. Add salt to taste.

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