Cheese Stuffed Bread

Cheese Stuffed Bread

Cheese Stuffed Bread
Cheese Stuffed Bread

This is a great appetizer that people seem to love and it looks pretty cool too.
What I like so much about this, is that it is completely versatile. You can add,  take out or adjust all the ingredients based on your tastes. There really is no right and wrong.  I like using some brightly colored ingredients so it looks pretty when you slice into it. The deep red from the sun-dried tomatoes, the black and purple from the olives and the green from the onion. They make a great contrast to the pure white cream cheese.

1 loaf of French baguette
12 oz. cream cheese
5 sun-dried tomatoes
8 black olives
6 Kalamata olives
1 clove of garlic
1 green onion
¼ cup fresh grated Romano cheese
2 slices of Genoa salami
salt and pepper

Let cream cheese soften to room temperature before you start.

While cheese is softening, take out a serrated knife and cut off the ends of the bread and then cut the bread into 3rds.  With the serrated knife, hollow out the entire center of the bread, leaving only the outer crust.
After this is done, place the 3 sections of hollowed bread into a Ziploc bag and set aside.

Hollowed French Baguette
Hollowed French Baguette

Put softened cream cheese into a mixing bowl.
Cut tomatoes into quarters. Dice the olives and slice the green onion.
Cut the salami into long strips and then make tiny little 1/8 inch squares.
Press garlic.
Add all ingredients along with a little pepper to bowl and gently fold them all together until well blended. Taste and add salt as well as make adjustments to any of the ingredients.

TIP: DO NOT add a lot of salt. There is a lot of saltiness in the Olives and the Romano cheese. So taste it before you add any salt.

After all the ingredients are blended and adjusted, get the bread back out.
Using a spoon and long butter knife, start stuffing the cheese into one of the open ends of the bread. I usually spoon it in and use the knife to move it further into the center. Once it is about half way stuffed, turn it around and start from the other end. When it is full,  roll it tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Do the same to the other 2 sections of bread.

Let them chill for about an hour. Then when you are ready to serve, take them out and use that serrated knife to slice then in about ¼ inch slices.

TIP: Don’t leave them in the fridge for more than a few hours and don’t cut them until you are ready to serve them.

Slow Cooker Pulled Beer Pork

Categories: Pork
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Published on: October 16, 2011

Slow Cooker Pulled Beer Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Beer Pork
Slow Cooker Pulled Beer Pork

1 (4-6 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
4 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
1 bottle of  beer (I used an ale.)

Spice Rub:
1 tbs ground black pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1 tbs dried oregano
4 tbs paprika
2 tbs salt
1 tbs white sugar

This is a great dish to serve at parties as little sandwiches. Although it can be messy, so I wouldn’t serve it at a black tie affair. I would stick to the casual paries or when watching football with the guys. The kids love it too!

This is a SLOW COOKER recipe, so give yourself about 8 hours of cook time.

Tip: While this is cooking, DO NOT open the lid. This releases the heat and adds to the cook time. Just leave the top on till it’s done. You don’t need to stir it.

Mix all spices together in a bowl.
Rub the spices into meat and wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap.
Then refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I did this about 12 hours before I cooked it.

When you’re ready to start cooking, slice up the onion and make a “bed” of onions on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Then slice the garlic and place that throughout the onions and then pour the beer in.
Unwrap roast and place it in on the bed of onions, garlic and beer.

Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours.

Take pork out and “pull” on cutting board, using 2 forks to sperate meat. Drain most of the beer out of the cooker. Leave the onions and garlic and a little liquid. I used a slotted spoon and just tipped it into the sink.

Place shredded meat back in slow cooker and mix with the onion, garlic and beer.

Serve on buns or WITH BBQ sauce on the side.

On step 8, you could add a cup or so of BBQ sauce, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes if you wanted BBQ pork. That’s good too.

The beer and spices give this meat a great flavor.



Categories: Pizza
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Published on: October 7, 2011


Christmas Calzone
Christmas Calzone

This has been a staple at my family Christmas gatherings, since long before I was born.
When my dad made it, he would make one huge Calzone….1/2 sweet and 1/2 hot. You could tell which side was which before you even cut into it, because he would poke little holes in the shape of an “H” and a “S” into the top of the dough before baking it.

Keep in mind that this will make a massive calzone that will feed a lot of people.
We usually serve it as one of the dishes on Christmas Eve.
You can cut the recipe in 1/2 to make it smaller.

Also pictured below that beautiful calzone is my great grandmother’s dough rolling stick.

3 lbs Rhode’s frozen pizza dough (3 loaves in package).
Use 1 ½ loaves for top crust and 1 ½ loaves for bottom crust.

2 pounds Italian sausage removed from casing
1 – 3 tbs Hot red pepper flakes (to taste optional)
1 tbs Fennel seeds
4 pounds whole milk Ricotta cheese
4 – 5 Eggs
A handful of Italian flat leaf parsley
2 cups grated Romano cheese
Salt & Pepper

Mix meat, fennel seeds, (hot pepper), salt & pepper and fry until pink color is gone from meat.
Let that cool.
In a large bowl, mix Ricotta, eggs, parsley, Romano cheese, salt & pepper.
When meat has cooled, combine meat mixture with cheese mixture.
Roll out bottom crust to fit large sheet pan (sprinkle bottom of pan with corn meal to prevent dough from sticking).
Brush inside of bottom crust with egg whites before filling to prevent pizza from being soggy. (Save egg yolks!)
Fill bottom crust with cheese/meat mixture. Cover with top crust and close edges.
Prick entire top of pizza with fork to let steam out when cooking or it will explode in your oven.
Brush top and sides with egg yolks.
Bake at 375 degrees until done – Approx. 45 min. to 1 hour (depending on oven)
Remove from pan immediately and cool on rack.

TIP: DO NOT COOL IN THE FRIDGE. The calzone will become soggy.

This can be served warm or cold.

When my sister Judi was making it last Christmas eve, she called and asked for the recipe that I had. I sent it to her and I must admit that her Calzone turned out to be the best I’ve ever tasted. You can check it out here: Calzone

Beer Chili

Categories: Beef, Chili
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Published on: October 5, 2011

Homemade Beer Chili

Beer Chili with Cornbread
Beer Chili with Cornbread

Who doesn’t love a hot and hearty bowl of chili on a cold
day?  Hell, I eat this in the middle of summer too, who am I kidding?

If you are a chili lover, you need to try this recipe. You can adjust the
seasoning blend to your own taste. In this recipe I used some sundried hot
chili powder, that my neighbor bought from the Spice House. It adds a mellow smoky
flavor, but not too much. Good stuff.

1 lb of *lean ground beef
1 stalk celery
1 small sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 4oz can green chilies (sweet or hot which ever you like)
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes (With the tomatoes pulled apart into smaller pieces)
2 Ears of sweet corn (With the corn cut off the cob or ½ – ¾  cup frozen or canned corn)
1 bottle of dark beer or ale

Seasoning blend:
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sundried hot chili powder (optional)
1 tsp cayenne
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp oregano

Pour oil into a pot and heat to medium.
Add onions and celery and sauté for about 5 or 6 minutes.
Add the can of green chilies and the pressed garlic and continue to saute for another 3 minutes.
Put that mixture in a bowl to the side and add  ground beef to the pot.
Brown the meat and drain the grease.

Add the veggie mixture back into the pot, along with the tomatoes, beans, beer and spice mix.
Stir till blended and simmer for about 1 – 2 hours.
About 20 minutes before serving, add the corn into the pot.
Taste and adjust seasonings.

The longer it simmers, the more liquid will cook out and the richer and thicker it will be.

Ladle into a bowl and top with:
Sour cream (optional)
Chopped Green Onions (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Serve with cornbread or garlic bread.

* You can also try this with 1lb of lean ground turkey or pork!

Stuffed Zucchini

Categories: Turkey
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Published on: October 3, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini
Stuffed Zucchini

When I was growing up my parents always had at least 1, if
not 2, gardens going in the back yard. Throughout the summer we feasted on tomatoes,
cucumbers, peppers, zucchini and various other fresh veggies.

Every once in a while we would get a monster sized zucchini and
my mom would end up stuffing it with a meat and rice mixture. Sometimes it would
have a tomato sauce on top and other times it would not. I don’t think she had
a recipe for it, although I never thought to ask.

This year we ended up with an arm-sized zucchini in our garden, so I thought I
would try my hand at stuffing it myself. It came out pretty good.

The kids only ate the meat out of the middle, but I ate it for lunch for the
next 3 days.

1 large zucchini
1 medium white onion – diced
1 red pepper – diced 
4 cloves of garlic – minced
2 sprigs of Thyme – chopped fine
About a teaspoon of oregano – chopped fine
Provolone cheese (about 5 slices cut into small squares)
About 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano
3/4 lb ground turkey
2 Cups cooked long grain/wild rice ( Any rice will probably do. I just happened to have that on hand)
About 2 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil

Boil the whole zucchini in a large pot of water until Fork tender.
Remove from water and let cool.

For the stuffing:
In a large pot sauté the red pepper in some olive oil for a few minutes, then added the onion and sweat that down until soft over a medium heat.

Add the garlic, thyme and oregano. Continue to sauté that for about 3 or 4 minutes so the garlic starts to cook.

Add  the cooked rice and a splash of the chicken stock, salt and pepper.
Cook it for another minute and taste. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Put that mixture is bowl on the side.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan and toss in the turkey.
Brown turkey and then add the rice/veggie mix and incorporate all.

Put that mix back in the bowl to cool a bit. After it cools add both cheeses and mix well.

Cut the zucchini lengthwise and scooped out the seeds. Leaving about ½ inch of flesh in the side.

After the filling cools, stuff it into the zucchini and put it into baking dish or roasting pan with the remainder of chicken stock in the bottom.

Cook at 350 for about 40 minutes or so. Just till it starts to brown on the top.

Let stand for about 5 minutes.

Slice and eat.

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