Bruschetta Twice Over

Leftovers offer a challenge for me, especially if there isn’t much to work with. Sometimes I feel like Robert Irvine from Food Network’s, Dinner Impossible, where I’m faced with limited resources and pressed for time to create a meal.

After a peek into my freezer (since I don’t have much fresh produce to work with), I found a freezer bag of bruschetta topping I didn’t have the heart to throw out from a previous party. Luckily, I had some chicken thighs anxiously awaiting to be cooked up. So for dinner I united the two to create my braised bruschetta chicken thighs and served it with spinach risotto.

Here is the recipe for my bruschetta topping which I used for this dish:

1 pint sweet ripe grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup of red wine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Combine the above ingredients and serve on top of toasted italian bread for bruschetta…
Or use it to make my braised bruschetta chicken thighs:

1 pkg of chicken thighs, trimmed of side fat

extra virgin olive oil to coat bottom of pan
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
garlic powder
onion powder
salt & pepper

In a dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil.
Saute garlic and onions until softened.

Season chicken thighs with seasonings.

Push garlic and onions aside and place chicken skin side down in pan.
(You can push the garlic and onions on top of the chicken to allow the chicken maximum contact with the bottom of the pan to brown.)
Allow chicken to brown for a few minutes.
After chicken has browned nicely, add the bruschetta mixture on top.
Lower the heat to low/medium and cover.

Allow chicken to braise over low heat for 30-45 minutes.

You can serve this with a side of pasta, rice, or even risotto.

I served my bruschetta chicken thighs with my spinach risotto.

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‘Mac It Up

Macaroni shouldn’t always be associated with cheese. In fact, in our house, it’s given fair treatment as other pastas we cook with. Tonight, I made my meaty macaroni that’s chock full of vegetables, italian sausage, ground beef and parmesan cheese. In fact, I used my previously made bolognese sauce (which I made & froze) and added some additional vegetables (green pepper, mushrooms, chopped basil & 1 plum tomato) to help “wake it up.”
Here’s my recipe for Meaty Macaroni, where my bolognese sauce takes center stage:

1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup baby carrots, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 large tomato
1 can diced tomato
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 lb ground beef
1 lb italian sausage, casings removed
spices: garlic/onion powder, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, oregano, sugar

In a pan, saute garlic and onion.
Add & brown the beef & sausage.
Add browned meats to crockpot.
Add remaining ingredients to crockpot.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
Adjust seasonings to your taste.
Use sauce in lasagnas or your fave pasta dish. Tonight I tossed it with cooked macaroni and added grated parmesan cheese for a filling meal.

‘Sketti please..

I intended to make a lovely shrimp stir fry for dinner tonight however, I decided on some good ol’ spaghetti & meatballs to clear up some freezer space.
Nothing really special about my spaghetti & meatballs, aside from both the sauce and meatballs that were prepared in advance. Although I don’t have exact measurements, this is what normally goes into my spaghetti sauce:

browned ground beef
browned sweet italian sausage
chopped onion
minced garlic
chopped carrots
sliced mushrooms
diced green pepper
canned whole tomatoes
canned diced tomatoes
tomato paste
beef bouillon cubes
water
red wine
basil
oregano
thyme
salt
pepper
garlic/onion powder
sugar

In a pan, brown ground beef & sausage.
Remove from pan and place in crockpot.
In same pan, add carrots, green pepper, onions, garlic & mushroom.
Cook until softened and add to crockpot.
Add remaining ingredients to crockpot.
Stir and cook on low 6-8 hours or n high 4-6 hours.
Allow to cool before freezing.