Enchanting Recipes & Everyday Life In General

Category Archives: dinner

The Boo and I have been on a mission lately to try to eat a little healthier. We’ve been eating at home a lot more, and aside from buying two 5-pound bags of Sour Patch Kids from Target, (on clearance for $2.79, each!) we’ve been doing decently.

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Do you have foods that you crave, but don’t really like?
I do.

I crraaaaveee mozzarella sticks and their melty, cheesy, fried goodness. I order them a lot. I don’t actually like them. I never do. I’m always disappointed when I order them. I order them, knowing I will be disappointed with them. I can’t help it, I crave them.
I guess I crave the idea of them.

Eggplant is the same way for me.
They are so cool, eggplants. These big, squishy-ish, purple squash-like things. They feel hollow. How could you not love them?
I guess I don’t. I crave the idea of them, though.
I drive around town, going to [literally] five different grocery stores looking for them.
I buy them, and make a simple, beautiful dish.
And hate it.
Every. Single. Bite.

I’m not selling you on this meal, am I? The Boo liked it though, I promise. He loved it, in fact.

If you like eggplant, you’ll like this dish.
If you like eggplant parmesan, you’ll like this dish.
If you like a combination of eggplant, cheese, and tomatoes, you’ll really like this dish.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

adapted from here.

What You Will Need:
1 eggplant
salt
olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes w/ garlic, undrained
3 tablespoons flour
2 egg whites
1 cup breadcrumbs
6 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
6 large, fresh basil leaves (or 2 tablespoons dried basil)
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried oregano, dried parsley, & dried thyme

This Is How It’s Done:

Friends, meet the newest cast member of Veggie Tales

tomegg
*Please disregard my quick, horrible Photoshop skills (or lack thereof)
Tom, the Eggplant.
I just realized that this is going to get incredibly morbid, incredibly quickly. 
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The first step is to cut Tom the eggplant into 1/2 inch wide slices, then pour salt in his wounds coat the slices liberally with salt. Put them in a strainer (in the sink, or in another bowl/on a plate) and let them sit for 30-ish minutes.
The salt will draw all the moisture from the slices so they won’t get soggy later when they are baked. 

While the eggplant is dehydrating, you can get started on the sauce…

…And I can show you my new pot.

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Isn’t she pretty? She looks really pretty on my stove.
(She looks prettier with her top on, but I forgot to get to that. I will, eventually. Pinky promise.)
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That’s where she lives. On my stove…whether I’m using her or not. 
The Boo got her for me as a graduation present. 
Did I mention I finished school? I did. I’m done. Finished. Finito. 
Sorry, sorry…Back to this meal…
Heat a pot on medium high heat.
Once the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Once the oil is hot, this only takes a few seconds, add 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. 
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Stir them for about 10 seconds.
Don’t let them burn.
They will burn.
Quickly.
Add the finely chopped onion.
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Saute the onion until softened, 5-10 minutes.
Add the 2 cans of tomatoes.
Don’t drain them.
(This is what the can looks like–so you can find it easier.)
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Add in the garlic powder, and herbs here.
If you like things really flavorful, you can add more.

I did.

Like double-more.
I also added dried basil (2 tablespoons) here, because I didn’t have any fresh basil leaves. 
Just don’t add any salt yet. We’ll add that later. If you add it too early it will become too salty because the liquid will evaporate and the flavor will be more concentrated. 
Let the tomatoes stew until the liquid has evaporated. This will take about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.
Next, I sliced up the fresh mozzarella.
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Then, I set up my breading station.
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The standard breading procedure is dry, wet, dry.
Remember that. Dry. Wet. Dry.
In this case its flour (dry), egg whites (wet), bread crumbs (dry).
A note about breadcrumbs. I buy unseasoned, that way I can season them myself to whatever I like. I like to control my flavors. 
So, if you’re also using unseasoned breadcrumbs, now is the time to add seasonings.
I added salt (1 teaspoon), pepper (1/2 teaspoon), dried basil, dried thyme, dried oregano, and dried parsley (1/4 teaspoon of each). 
Then I added about 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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And mixed everything in really well.
By this time, the eggplant slices have been draining for about a half hour.
Rinse them off really well with water.
Then pat them dry with paper towel.
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Now, we bread them, using the standard breading procedure.
How’s that go again?
Dry. Wet. Dry.

Coat them in flour.

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Then egg.
Then breadcrumbs.
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Place them on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Bake them 10 minutes, flip them, and bake another 10 minutes.
When they are done, they wont look too much different than when you put them in. They wont really be browned, just a little less dense.
Taste your tomato mixture–add salt if needed.
Layer tomato sauce on half of the eggplant slices. 
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Top with mozzarella.

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The add a basil leaf. Grated parmesan. And top it with an eggplant hat.

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Put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Then serve it immediately.
*I tossed the remaining tomato sauce with some pasta and served it with the eggplant.

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Looks Yum, right?
OH! And it’s healthy, too. Somewhere around 300 calories.
…I’m craving eggplant again….Uh-oh.
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While growing up, whenever we had steak for dinner, it was always pork steak.
The idea of pork for dinner now grosses me out. It’s just not appetizing. My idea of pork is a dry, chewy, flavorless piece of meat. (No offense, Mom–love you!)

Needless to say, we’re not big pork eaters here in this household. (Besides bacon, of course of course!)

I decided to give pork a try again. It was on sale, I had no choice.
I bought one of those tenderloins that is sealed in a marinade.
Did you know they had those?
They do.
It looks like this:

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The goal here was to create a super tender, flavorful, and moist piece of meat.
Even though it was already soaking in flavor, I wanted to add some more.

In a bowl, mix together some seasonings to make a spice rub:

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(I mixed minced garlic, rosemary, sage, salt & pepper, thyme, parsley, paprika, ancho chili powder, and olive oil)

Slather the tenderloin on all sides with the spice rub.
Slather it good, baby. Flavor, flavor, FLAVOR!

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Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Once the skillet gets hot, add about a tablespoon of oil.

Saute the tenderloin, creating a nice, crunchy crust on all sides. You don’t want to cook it through here, we’re just sauteing until brown to make the crispy crust and to seal in all the flavor.

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Once browned on all sides, put in 350˚F oven to finish cooking. Bake for 25-30ish minutes, until it has an internal temperature of 145-150˚ F in the center.

In the meantime…..

We’re gonna make our apple & leek salad to go with de loin of de pork-o. This is the best part, in my opinion.
Be gone all thee meat…Bring on thee fruits & thee veggies, YUM!

For this you need 2 leeks, and 3 red apples.

It surprises me that a lot of people don’t know what a leek is. I looooveeeeee leeks. LOVE LOVE LOVE them.

Friends, meet Leek.

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A leek is like a super huge, yet super, super mild green onion. (Word of the day: super.)

In leekdom, you only want to use the end of leek–the white and light green parts.

Cut the leek in half lengthwise, then cut it in 1-inch chunks. Fill a big bowl with cold water and put the chopped leeks in. Separate the layers and let them sit in the water for 5 minutes.

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The dirt from between the layers will fall to the bottom of the bowl–skim the leeks from the top.
Make sure you dry the leeks thoroughly

Next, thinly slice your apples.

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In the same skillet you used to sear the tenderloin, add a little more oil and saute the leeks until tender.

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Add zeee apples…

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…and stir until softened.
Remove from heat, then add 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar–season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Remove the pork tenderloin from the oven and let rest 10 minutes.

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This resting step is crucial for juicy, delicious meat. All meat needs to rest once it’s done cooking–if you cut it before it rests, all the juices flow out of it, leaving you with a dry piece of meat. Blah!

After 10 minutes, slice the pork into medallions. Serve with the leeks & apples.

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This is delicious.
Seriously, delicious.

It’s sweet, and salty, and juicy and flavorful.
No, really. It is.
I promise.
Try it.

Recipe:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Leeks & Apples

Ingredients:
 Pork tenderloin

 oil for sautéing 
Spice Rub:
 3 cloves chopped garlic
 1 tablespoon rosemary
 1 tablespoon sage
 1 tablespoon thyme
 1 tablespoon parsley
 1 teaspoon paprika
 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
 2 teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon pepper
 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 leeks, halved & sliced into 1-inch pieces
3 red apples (such as Gala), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste

  1. Heat oven to 350˚F. 
  2. Mix spice rub ingredients in a small bowl. Mixture should be pasty, but easily spreadable. (Add more oil if needed). Rub mixture on pork tenderloin. 
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Brown pork tenderloin on all sides, remove to sheet tray.
  4. Bake pork tenderloin 25-30 minutes, or until 145-155˚F.
  5. Meanwhile, in the same skillet used for pork, add chopped leeks. Stir until tender.
  6. Add sliced apples and cook until softened. Add honey and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Remove tenderloin from oven. Let rest 10 minutes, then slice into 1-inch thick medallions. Serve with leeks & apples. 

Back to the dinners!

Yes, we have been eating dinner around here. Yes, I have been taking pictures of [most] everything. I just haven’t gotten around to posting everything–I needed to take some time off for finals.

But now, finals are DONE! Break it here. Let the good times rolll.

I am sad, and slightly embarrassed to say that Pigs in a Blanket are quite the staple around the Yerrick household. They are pretty much our go-to dinner when I don’t feel like cooking, but we don’t feel like going out either, or if we’re in need of a speedy dinner. The whole dealio, from start to finish, takes about 20 whole minutes.

You may be wondering, “Does she realllly need to share a recipe for Pigs in a Blanket? Doesn’t everyone know how to make them?” My answer, my friends, is this: Yes. I need to share because, No, not everyone knows. Actually, most everyone makes them differently.

Now, for those few of you that are completely lost, wondering, WHAT THE HAY is a Pig in a Blanket? I mourn for you. I mourn for your childhood, lackless of little delicious piggies wrapped in crunchy, flaky blankets.

I present:

Pigs in a Blanket


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What you’ll need:
1 package of Lil’Smokies Cocktail Weenies (I got the cheese filled ones for extra deliciousness.)
1 package of crescent roll dough
salt & pepper
chili powder
garlic powder

Yep. That’s really all you need. No, I’m not kidding.

Here’s what you do, although you can probably figure it out from the picture…

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Get your supplies ready.

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Pop the can (I can never get the dang thing to pop…Just once I’d like it to pop normal without me having to bang it on the counter several times to dent it, UGH!) and roll out the dough on a sheet tray lined with foil.

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Separate all the pre-cut triangles.

Now, those are too big for my Lil’Smokies, aren’t they? Plus, there are about a million Lil’Smokies in a package and only 8 dough triangles. What to do, what to do?

I’ll tell you:

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Cut the dough triangles into 3 or 4 long-mini triangles with a pizza cutter. Tada! Now you have 8 times 3 or 4 (that’s 24 or 32) pieces of dough for your million Lil’Smokies.

Let the rolling begin!

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Put the Smokie on the fat side of the triangle and roll it towards the smaller end. It makes for a nicer presentation, and we all know, it’s all about presentation on these suckers.

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See? Gorgeous.
Keep on rollin’ til you have a little weenie farm.

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I just said weenie farm. Ha. I said it again.

Weenie farm, weenie farm, weenie farm. I need some coffee.

Well, now that that’s done…This, folks, is where things are about to get craaazy.

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Sprinkle them all with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder. Just for a little extra bit of flavor.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375˚ for 10-12 minutes, or until done.

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This is what you get. Yum. Simple. Yummmm.

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I’m guessing that most normal people don’t eat these for dinner. We do. Don’t judge. They are great for an appetizer or an after-school snack as well. For dinner, I usually pair them with Mac and Cheese and a vegetable of sorts, for  a well rounded meal.

I’ve also heard that Paula Dean has her own version of these. I’ll have to look into that….


I’ve never made scallops before. Apparently it’s just not something they teach you in school…So I Googled it. You find anything on Google. I learned how to crochet from Google. I learned how to use Oxyclean from Google. I learned how to get my dog to stop barking from Google. I learned how to cook scallops from Google.

Now, via Google, you will learn too.

Tonight for dinner we had Scallops and Pasta.

Paul LOVES scallops. He’s not able to eat them very often, but I’m sure if asked, he’d say they are one of his favorite foods. Me, eh, I’m not the biggest fan–but anything for my boo. I do like pasta, though. Yummm pasta…So this dinner worked well for the both of us–and it was really quite simple.

The first thing you need to do is put a pot on to boil the pasta. Don’t forget to salt the water. I cannot stress this enough, folks! You need to salt you pasta water! And I’m not just talking a pinch, I’m saying add a good tablespoon. A good fistful. A good amount of salt!

Adding salt raises the boiling temperature of the water. It doesn’t make the water boil faster, like most people believe, but it does make the pasta cook faster because it allows the water to get hotter than 212˚ (boiling point). I learned this from Google as well. The reason I stress salting the water though is not to make the pasta cook faster, it’s to season your pasta. This is the only way to actually season pasta because the salt won’t really stick once the pasta is cooked…so why not just cook it in salt? Salt, yummmmm.

So. First: boil your water.

While your water is boiling, chop up 1 tomato, a couple sprigs of parsley, 2 garlic cloves, and slice a lemon in half.

Also, measure out 1 cup of white wine (or chicken stock, or beer) and 1 tablespoon of butter.

Set all that stuff aside–once your pasta is done cooking, drain it and set it aside as well.

Now, for the scallops:

The most important thing about pan-searing scallops is to make sure they’re dry. So when you get them out of their package, put then on a plate with paper towel. Then flip them over, to dry the other side. Then, move them to a brand new dry paper towel. Then pat the top again. As they sit, their juices come to the surface, so make sure you pat them right before you put them in the pan. Oh, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Please excuse my nails. I had to remove my nail polish in a rush this morning before school. Grossss.

For the most perfect, golden brown, crunchy sear that you really want on these bad boys–make sure your pan is piping hot. Hot hot. Not burning hot, but hot. To test if its hot enough, get your finger wet and splash just a drop of water on it. If it sizzles, it’s hot enough.
Drizzle a dab of oil in a hot hot large skillet, about a half dollar size. I used olive oil because it was handy, but you can use vegetable oil if you desire. I don’t recommend butter because it burns faster than oil. You don’t want to burn these suckers. Swirl the oil in the pan so it coats it. 

Lay the dry scallops in the pan with plenty of space in between them. You want them to have enough room to get a good sear. Here’s a secret when you put them in: DON’T MOVE THEM! 
Leave them be. Let the scallops rest. Let them get nice and toasty brown. Let them get a delicious crust. Let them sit in peace for 2 whole minutes.  
After 2 minutes, flip them over. Let them cook again for another minute and a half–again, DON’T move them! Drizzle a little more oil in the pan and swirl it around after you flip them. 

After a minute and a half, remove the scallops from the pan and transfer to a new paper towel.
(Note, these cooking times are for large sea scallops, cooking times are different for smaller sea scallops.)

Next, reduce the heat in the pan to low and add a tablespoon of butter (unless you have a lot of oil remaining in the pan from the scallops.) Add the chopped garlic. 10 seconds later, add the diced tomato. After about a minute, turn the heat back to high and add the wine (or chicken stock, or beer).

When you add the wine, the pan should steam a whole lot and all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan will be released. Use your spoon to scrape up these brown bits as you stir around the wine. Add the chopped parsley.

About a minute later, add the cooked pasta to the pot and mix it well. Sprinkle with fresh squeeze lemon juice (half a lemon).

Serve in a bowl with the scallops. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

Yumyumyum. My first scallops experience was a success and it only took about 20 minutes. Paul LOVED it too, an added bonus!

The easy to follow recipe:

Scallops & Pasta from Steamykitchen

  • 4 ounces, weight Dried Pasta Of Your Choice
  • 10 Sea Scallops (or Jumbo Shrimp)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 clovea Garlic, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Tomato, Chopped
  • 1 cup White Wine, Beer, Or Vegetable Stock
  • 3 sprig Parsley, Finely Minced
  • Just A Bit Of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Salt And Pepper
1. Cook the pasta in salted water per the instructions on the box. Drain and set aside.
2. In the meantime, prep all the ingredients and have them at the ready nearby. For the scallops (or shrimp), use a couple of layers of paper towels and pat very dry. Move the scallops to a clean sheet of paper towel and pat dry once more. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Heat a large frying pan or saute pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in the olive oil. Add the scallops to the pan, not touching. Give each scallop ample room so that they can sear properly. Cook for 2 minutes without touching (1 1/2 minutes if using smaller pieces of scallops or shrimp) then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until cooked through. Remove to a plate.
4. Turn the heat to low. Add the butter and the garlic. Saute for just 10 seconds and then add the tomatoes.
5. Turn the heat to high and add in the white wine (or beer or vegetable stock). Let it bubble a bit for 30 seconds and use your spatula to scrape up the bits in the pan. Season with salt and pepper, throw in the parsley and then add in your cooked pasta. Stir well to let the sauce coat the pasta. Serve with the scallops.


Gotta go! I’m chatting with my Boo on Facebook chat….Well, umm…We’re on the same couch too…

Enjoy 🙂


Well, I’ve done my shopping (thanks to coupons and bargains, I managed to get all this food for about $60) and now I will share with you what we’re having for dinner this week (or 2 weeks, if I can stretch it) in the Yerrick household.

In the month of August we spent nearly $450 on eating out. FOUR HUNDRED & FIFTY DOLLARS! There are only TWO of us. That’s a LOT of money.

I know what you’re thinking…Aren’t you in culinary school? Aren’t you supposed to cook?

I do! I do cook! I cook all day at school…then I cook all night at work. The last thing I want to do when I get home is cook some more. But I’m going to do it. I will, and Paul has agreed to help me. The Yerrick’s are eating in. No more dining out…Okay, not no more, but less. Far less. About $400 dollars less.

I love polenta. Have you had it? Have you heard of it? It’s delicious. What is it? It’s basically just boiled cornmeal. Gross, right? Nope. It really is scrumptious. It’s scrumptious when you add loads of parmesan cheese and butter, and salt (3 of my favorite foods!). It has a wonderful smooth and creamy texture, and it’s super rich and satisfying. It’s kind of like mashed potatoes, but, dare I say…better. And a lot simpler.

Well, I’ve been craving it lately…and I had all the ingredients, so I made it last night. And then I ate it. Sooo, I decided to make it again tonight, and tonight I made it with sausage ragout (rag-goo). Don’t be afraid, ragout sounds fancy but it’s basically just a hearty stew (or sauce, in this case) with vegetables and seasonings. Kind of like Ragu spaghetti sauce….Hmm, I wonder where they came up with their name.

Anyways, I ate polenta again. But this time, I took some pictures to share with you. Without further adieu, I present:

Polenta Cakes with Sausage Ragout


For the polenta you will need:

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal (not the quick kind)
4 cups water
1 teapoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 grated parmesan cheese

(you’re going to have it grate it yourself, the stuff in a jar just wont work.)
Firstly, bring the water, along with the salt and pepper, to a boil in a medium saucepan. 
Once the water is boiling, slowly add the cornmeal, whisking constantly. Don’t add more cornmeal until the stuff already in the pan is mixed in, this will prevent lumps. You don’t want lumps. It’s not like lumpy potatoes that are good. In polenta, lumps = gross.

When all the cornmeal is added, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until thickened. Make sure you keep an eye on it and stir it about every minute or so. It should look about like this:


Once it looks like that, stir in the parmesan cheese and butter until both are melted.

Now, you could eat it just like this. Straight from the pot to the table. It’s scrumptious this way, this is the way I ate it last night. But tonight, I did something a little bit different.

Pour the polenta into a 9×9 pan, and put it in the refrigerator. Ideally, you should let it cool a bit before refrigerating, but if you’re hungry like I was, you’re going to put it in right away.

While the polenta is cooling, you can make the ragout. For the ragout you will need:

1 small onion, chopped.
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
6 mushrooms, halved then sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb italian sausage
2 cups prepared spaghetti sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a large skillet, brown the sausage. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning.

Add the onions, wait one minute, then add the red pepper. Wait another minute, then add the zucchini, mushrooms, and garlic. Once the vegetables are tender, add the spaghetti sauce. Reduce heat to low, and set aside so the flavors mingle.

The polenta should be cold and firm now, so pull it and slice it into 9 or 16 slices, depending on your preference.

Heat a small skillet until hot hot hot. Add a drop of olive oil (or butter), then add your polenta squares. Saute them until both sides are golden brown and crispy.

Remove them onto a plate with paper towel (to absorb the oil, of course.)

Serve the polenta squares on a plate with the sausage ragout spooned over them. Garnish them with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

I promise you, you cannot go wrong with this dinner. Paul has had 3 1/2 servings today, he just can’t get enough.

Now, we’re off to try to make our own ice cream–I’ll let you know how that goes!