Beef and Italian Sausage Ragu

I’m a big fan of slow cooked, rich meaty sauces. I usually just add beef, but hubby and I recently had a pasta sauce that had sausage mixed in with the beef and it was amazingly delicious. After that, hubby challenged me to make my own version, which is close to my usual Ragu sauce. So I picked up some nice Italian sausages to pair with the beef but would ultimately be the star of this delightful sauce. This is one of those sauces that does take a little more time to make, but it is so worth the love you will put into it. This Ragu is cooked long and slow resulting in a rich flavor from the Italian sausage, beef, herbs, tomatoes and wine. What makes it even better is the pasta is tossed in the sauce at the end so every noodle is coated in that glorious sauce.

This Ragu is great for family get togethers…isn’t it so lovely to be able to actually have those get togethers once again…. or for just a sit down meal. If that sit down meal is just you, a fork and a glass of wine, who cares I won’t tell…. treat yourself.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb pasta; I used spaghetti

*grated parmesan

For the Ragu:

*3 TBS olive oil

*1 large onion, chopped

*3 cloves of garlic, minced

*1 carrot, shredded or finely chopped

*1 lb ground beef

*1/2 lb Italian sausage removed from casings

*1 tsp dried Thyme

*1 tsp. dried rosemary

*1 tsp dried basil

*1 tsp salt

*3 TBS tomato paste

*28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

*1/2 cup red wine; I used Merlot

*1 1/2 cups beef broth

*1 large bay leaf

Heat a large pot to medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add in the onions, garlic and the carrots.

I have found the best way to finely chop the carrots that go into this dish is using my mini food chopper.

You can also shred the carrots if you prefer.

Turn down the heat to medium and cook the onion mixture until soft, stirring frequently so the garlic does not burn.

Remove from the pot and set aside. Turn the heat up to medium high heat once again and add the beef and the sausage. Cook, breaking it up as you go until browned.

Turn down the heat to medium and add Thyme, basil, rosemary and salt.

Stir to mix together and cook for about 1 minute more then add in the tomato paste.

Stir until the tomato paste is incorporated into the beef mixture.

Add the onion mixture back into the pot and stir into the beef mixture.

Slowly pour in the beef broth, wine and the crushed tomatoes. Stir until well combined.

Add in the bay leaf then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook covered for 2 hours stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package directions. Before draining the pasta, add one ladle full of the pasta water to the sauce and remove the bay leaf.

Cook about 5 more minutes then add in the pasta.

Gently stir the pasta in to the sauce until all of the pasta is coated in the sauce.

I know it looks a little messy, but this looks so tasty that I could just grab a fork, lean in and eat it from the pot.

Garnish with grated parmesan and serve.

Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

We seem to eat a lot of sandwiches in my house. I think just about anything can be put between two slices of good bread and turned into something really satisfying. This is one of those. If you like the classic chicken parmesan dinner, then this is your go to sandwich. The chicken is breaded in a tasty coating then pan fried until crispy on the outside but juicy on the inside. It’s topped with marinara sauce, cheddar and mozzarella cheese and nestled between two lightly toasted buns. It makes a great lunch or dinner, especially when paired with chips or crispy fries.

Here’s what you need:

*sturdy hamburger buns

*2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half (this will make 4 servings)

*3/4 cup flour

*1 cup panko bread crumbs

*1 1/2 tsp. onion powder

*1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

*1/2 tsp salt

*1/2 tsp cracked pepper

*2 tsp dried basil

*1 tsp. dried Thyme

*2 tsp oregano

*2 tsp. dried parsley

*1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

*2 eggs, beaten

*soft butter

* olive or canola oil

*shredded mozzarella and cheddar blend cheese

*marinara sauce

Warm the marinara sauce and simmer until ready to use.

Place chicken breasts 2 at a time in a sealable bag and pound until even thickness.

This makes a great stress reliever. I also noticed while doing this, hubby never seems to venture into the kitchen….maybe I get a tab bit carried away?

In a shallow bowl or rimmed plate mix flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

In a second shallow bowl add the beaten eggs

In a third shallow bowl or rimmed plate mix panko bread crumbs, basil, Thyme, oregano, parsley and parmesan cheese.

Dredge chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour.


Then dip the chicken into the eggs.

Finally, dredge the chicken in the panko mixture coating both sides.

Heat a cast iron pan on medium high heat (you do not have to use cast iron, but I do not recommend a non stick pan because you will not get a good sear on the chicken). Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, slowly add the chicken.

Turn down the heat to medium and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook another 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink on the inside. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels if needed. Do not let the chicken sit too long on the paper towels or the coating will not be as crispy.

While the chicken is cooking preheat the broiler.

Place the hamburger buns on to a baking sheet. Spread a thin amount of butter on to the tops of each bun.

Place the chicken on the bottom half of the bun.

Spoon some of the marinara sauce over the chicken.

Then top with desired amount of cheese.

Place under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the tops of the buns are lightly toasted.

Place the tops of the buns over the cheese and serve.

Bacon Cheese Biscuit Bombs

These bacon cheese biscuit bombs are so good….yes I was tempted to say the bomb but I know, it would have been a groan moment. If you love bacon, cheese and biscuits then this is definitely for you. These little babies have crispy bacon and cheese not only the outside, but are bursting with more bacon and gooey cheese on the inside while surrounded by a golden, flaky biscuit.

Look at that cheese! I admit I had to make myself stop eating after 2.

These are great for breakfast and will even make appetizers.

Here’s what you need to make your bacon cheese biscuit bombs:

*Canned biscuits: I used buttermilk jumbo ones but you can use the regular kind

*1 pkg bacon cooked and crumbled; you might not need the whole package, but if you are like me, you will be eating some along the way.

*Shredded cheese; I used a combination of cheddar and Colby Jack

*1 TBS butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.

Grease a baking sheet and set aside.

Separate each biscuit dough. On a flat surface, place dough and press flat.

Place some of the cheese in the middle of the dough.

Then add some of the bacon on top of the cheese. Try not to over fill or everything will come spilling out when you fold the dough.

Fold the sides in to the center.
The fold the top and the bottom of the dough to the middle to seal it closed.
The dough will stretch so make sure to completely seal in the cheese and bacon. If small holes appear just pinch them closed. Lightly press down on the dough to flatten them slightly.

Place the biscuit bombs seam side down on the greased baking sheet.

Brush the tops with the melted butter.

Add bacon on top

Then sprinkle some cheese over the bacon.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown and the dough is cooked through.

Look at all that golden, toasted cheese at the bottom….heaven.

Serve immediately while still warm.

Air Fryer Chili Cheese Hot Dogs

I made these last year in the oven, but I wanted to see how they would come out in the air fryer. They did not disappoint. They came out really tasty. The hot dogs were juicy and smothered in cheesy chili. The hot dog buns even toasted nicely. The bonus is that it took half the time to cook in the air fryer than it does in the oven. I did use canned chili and I’m not a huge fan of canned chili. I usually make my own, but this saves a lot of time when you want to throw together a quick meal and maybe because it’s all hot and melted together, the chili is right tasty. I did cook the hot dogs by themselves first. I wasn’t sure if they would get done cooked with everything on it and not to mention they cook for a shorter time than in the oven. I want to add a little side note here. My post a while back on air fryer hot dogs is the most pinned and has the most views than any other post on this blog….. a little hot dog…. can you believe it. I feel so happy my that little dogs has made it.

Here’s what you need to make your own chili cheese hot dogs:

*hot dogs that have been precooked, I cooked mine in the air fryer (Air Fryer Hot Dogs)

*sturdy hot dog buns; I find that hoagie rolls work better

*1 can of chili; I used Hormel without beans.

*ketchup to taste

*mustard to taste

*shredded cheese; I used a cheddar Colby Jack blend

If you cooked the hot dogs right before preparing these, there is no need to preheat the air fryer, but if you did not, then preheat the air fryer at 400°.

Spread desired amount of ketchup and mustard on the inside of the bun.

Place a hot dog in each bun.

Spoon some of the chili over each hot dog.

Then add the desired amount of cheese over the chili.

Place the hot dogs into the fryer basket.

I was able to place 3 hot dogs at a time. If you are cooking more, cook them in batches.

Cook at 350° for 3 minutes. Check to see if the cheese is melted and the buns are toasted. If not cook about 1 minute more.

*Note*

Cooking time might vary depending on the brand and size of the air fryer.

Carefully take the hot dogs out of the basket and serve.

Chocolate Covered Oreos

I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything desertish….August 24 of last year to be exact (Chocolate Pudding Cake) but as I have said before, baking and deserts are not my thing. I love them, but we don’t always get along when it comes to making them. However, these chocolate covered Oreos were easy. I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate and Oreos…both mixing and mingling together? I wanted white and milk chocolate, but my store was out of the white chocolate. I’m not complaining because these made a nice treat. I used candy melts instead of chocolate chips because it is so much easier to melt and it’s easier to work with. Chocolate candy melts are microwavable so there is no standing over a double boiler and the whole process did not take long. One tip that I did learn from a friend who makes a lot of chocolate covered treats, is to add Crisco. Yes, you read right, Crisco. Only a teaspoon or 2, but it really does make it smoother and shinier. Now that I’ve gotten the hang of this, next time I might try some sprinkles or maybe drizzle the white chocolate…. if they have it….over the milk chocolate. Oh the possibilities.

Here’s what you need to make your own chocolate covered Oreos:

*1 package of Oreo cookies any variety; I used the regular Oreos

*1 container of candy melts milk or white chocolate

*1 tsp. Crisco

Place the candy melts in a microwavable safe bowl and microwave on 50% power for 1 minute. Take out the bowl and stir.

I found that stirring it with a silicon or rubber spatula was easier because it really helped scrape down the sides of the bowl.

The chocolate will have just begun to melt; add in the Crisco and stir a little more.

It’s ok if the Crisco is not incorporated with the chocolate. Place the bowl back into the microwave and heat for another 30 seconds.

Repeat this process, microwaving for 30 seconds and stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

Place an Oreo in the chocolate.
Using a fork, completely cover the Oreo with the chocolate.

Lift the Oreo out of the chocolate with the fork and gently tap the sides of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate.

I admit I lost the first Oreo to the chocolate sea….it split apart and was later found at the bottom of the bowl. Yes, it was eaten but it was all for the greater good.

Place the chocolate covered Oreo on wax or parchment paper.

If the chocolate starts to harden while dipping, place it back into the microwave and heat for 15 minutes and stir.

If adding sprinkles or chocolate drizzle, add to each Oreo then let them completely dry, Mine took about 45 to an hour.

These can be stored in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!