recipe

As I previously promised (though a little belated), I made a mini pink ombrè cake to commemorate the one-year anniversery of this blog (and just in time for Valentine’s Day!).  :)

I followed the same layering concepts as my Surprise Rainbow Cake, but wanted to play with just one color and some cake piping.  Instead of the 6 layers I used for the Surprise Rainbow Cake, I kept it simple and made only 3 layers.  For a 5-inch round cake, 3 layers is enough, no? 

 I used a simple buttercream frosting.  But, instead of using completely butter, I used 2 parts shortening and 1 part butter.  Shortening is great for making sturdier frosting, which is ideal for cake decorating, but butter gives the frosting a better flavor than shortening.

I used about a third of my batch of frosting for the crumb coat that covers the entire cake before it gets decorated.  Be sure to put some parchment paper down around the edges of the cake.  Any extra frosting from the decorating will get on the parchment paper and not on the cake stand.  You can remove the parchment paper when the cake is complete.  This will make the decorating process a little less messy — I’m a bit of a messy cake decorator.  Don’t judge.

 Here’s all three layers with a crumb layer around it.  For good measure, you should put enough frosting that would leave the surface smooth and even.  For this cake, I rang out of frosting for the crumb layer and didn’t make a perfect crumb layer (I’m a rebel, I know!).  But because this cake will be covered completely with roses, I wasn’t too worried because the roses would hide those imperfections.  ;)

To decorate the cake, I used an open star tip attached to a pastry bag filled with the remainder of the frosting that has been mixed with food coloring and piped layers of roses.  To make a rose,  start in the center of where you want the rose to be, then slowly move the tip in a circle around the center point.  Loop around the center point about twice and try to end at the same point for each rose.  I started from the bottom of the cake and worked around the cake until the bottom row of roses were complete before moving up to the next row.
 

Ta da!

After you have covered the cake with roses, you can pipe some extra frosting into any extra spaces between the roses.  If you pipe in the same direction as the neighboring rose, it will look like it’s apart of the rose.   Sneaky, I know.

 It’s not perfect, but I was happy with how it turned out.
 

 My favorite part is the different gradients of pink layers inside!

 And yes, I cut a pretty fat piece for myself.  I mean, someone has to be the guinea pig.  Plus, it’s only a 5-inch round cake — it’s practically a diet cake!  :P

The cake was moist and the frosting had the perfect buttercream and sugar consistency.  I washed this piece down with some milk, and  I may or may not have been on a sugar high for the following few hours.  :)

Mini Ombre Cake

Makes a 3 layer 5-inch round cake
 
Ingredients

Three-Layer Ombre Cake

  • Vegetable shortening
  • Parchment paper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • gel food coloring of your choice

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions

Three-Layer Ombre Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush three 5-inch-round cake pans (or as many 5-inch cake pans as you have, reusing them as necessary) with shortening. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper; brush again and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Slowly add egg whites and mix until well combined. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and milk in two alternating additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the milk. Mix until well combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly between three medium bowls. Using a food coloring color of your choice, add enough of the color to each bowl, working on one bowl at a time.  Whisk the color in until you have reached the desired shade for that layer.  I recommend starting with the darkest of the three range of colors you want and work your way to lighter colors.  That way, you avoid the possibility over coloring your lightest layer because you can compare it to the next darker color. 
  4. Transfer each color to an individual cake pan. Use a rubber spatula and smooth out the batter so that the cake will be as level as possible to minimize the amount of trimming necessary.
  5. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes (working in batches if necessary).
  6. Remove cake layers from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 10 minutes. Wrap the cake layers individually with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator while making the frosting (below).
  7. Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator.  Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level, if necessary. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a cake round or lazy Susan. Place the darkest layer on the cake plate. Spread a scant 1 cup of the white buttercream filling over the first layer with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond edges. Repeat process with next darkest layer.
  8. Place the lightest color layer on top, bottom-side up. Gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush. Using an offset spatula, cover the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting (also use any of the excess frosting visible between the layers). Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
  9. Put an open star tip onto a pastry bag and then fill it with the color buttercream frosting.  To make the rose, start in the center of where you want the rose to be, then slowly move the tip in a circle around the center point.  Loop around the center point about twice and try to end at the same point for each rose.  

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  1. In a KitchenAid Stand Mixer or medium bowl, cream butter and shortening until light and fluffy.  Add salt, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar and milk.  Beat well.
  2. Use 1/3 of the frosting for the white crumb coating. 
  3. With the remaining frosting, blend in some gel food coloring until it reaches the desired shade of color.  This will be the frosting you use to decorate the cake.  

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A year ago today, I started this blog and I can’t believe how quickly time has past (and how many recipes and craft ideas I have yet to share with you–I seriously need more hours in the day!)!

To celebrate this momentous occassion, I made a mini ombre cake.  I promise to post the pictures and recipe this weekend next week.  :)

For now, while you wait patiently, here’s some Red Wine Braised Beef Pot Roast for you to try!  It’s cold out now, and I crave more hearty and comforting meals during the winter season.  Pot roast is on the top of my list.

This is a great recipe that’s  pretty healthy and packed with flavor.  Of course, you can omit the bacon bits if you want it healthier.  ;)

But I prefer to live a little on the edge and bacon is one of my vices.  :D

First, in a dutch oven or 5-6 quart pot, dice and cook a few stripes bacon until they are crispy.

Remove the bacon pieces and set aside.   Reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pot and discard the rest.  Add in some olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the beef chuck and the sear the meat for a few minutes on each side until each side is nicely browned.

Once the beef chuck is nicely seared, remove from pot and set aside.  Reserve the drippings in the pan and add in some carrots, diced onions, and garlic to the pan.  Cook until the onion are the translucent.

 

Now, this is the fun part.  Add in the wine.  :)

While you’re adding the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the drippings.

Simmer for a minute before stirring in the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and oregano.

Return the beef chuck back in the pot and add a bay leaf.  The bay leaf will add an extra level of flavor to your pot roast.  Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low and allow the pot roast to simmer for at least 2-3 hours, or until the beef is tender.  The longer you let it simmer, the more tender it will be.

Once the pot roast is done, remove and discard the bay leave.

Remove the beef from the pot and onto a serving bowl.

Now thicken the sauce by letting it simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is about 4 cups.  Then stir in some cream and simmer for a minute.

Serve the sauce over the pot roast.  I sprinkled some dried parsley to add more flavor (I would have used fresh parsley if I had some in my fridge).

Sprinkle some of the bacon pieces on top and serve with some greens.  I made some sauteed french green beans with some toasted sesame seeds.  :)

Red Wine Braised Beef Pot Roast

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Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens’ Braised Beef with Red Wine Sauce Recipe
Makes 6 servings

Prep Time:  35 minutes
Total Time:  3 hours

Ingredients

  • 4 – 5 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 – 3 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. In a 4 to 6-quart Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon onto a paper towel and set aside.
  2. Reserve about a tablespoon of the drippings in the pan and add the olive oil to the pan.
  3. Add beef chuck and sear the meat on all sides until brown, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove meat to a plate and reserve drippings in the pan.
  5. Add carrots, onion, and garlic to pan.  Cook and stir until the onions are translucent and brown, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the drippings.
  7. Simmer for 1 minute before stirring in the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and oregano.
  8. Return beef to pot and add bay leaf.
  9. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2-3 hours until the beef is tender.
  10. Remove beef from the pan and onto a serving bowl.
  11. To prepare the sauce, simmer tomato mixture , uncovered, until mixture measures about 4 cups, about 12 minutes.
  12. Stir in cream and simmer for 1 minute.
  13. Serve sauce over beef and sprinkle with bacon.

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There’s something really homey and nostalgic about the winter holiday season.  The air is brisk and energizing and the bitter cold part of the winter season has not yet arrived.

During the winter, I love curling up on my couch under a fleece blanket with a nice book and a mug of hot cocoa.  With my hot cocoa, I like to drop in a few marshmallows.  It takes me back to childhood, when I adored marshmallows and may or may not have, on more than a few occasions, stuffed marshmallows in my mouth to see how many I can hold at once.  Ohh, to be a kid again.  :)

While I do not stuff marshmallows in my mouth like that anymore, I do still adore marshmallows.  So, in the spirit of this holiday season, I made some a lot of homemade peppermint marshmallows.

Once you know how to make marshmallows and realize how easy they are to make, it’s hard going back to the store-bought ones.  Plus, you can flavor and shape your marshmallows anyway you’d like, so the possibilities are endless!  For these peppermint marshamallows, I used peppermint extract instead of the vanilla extract that would go into a regular marshmallow.

To make marshmallows, first mix some unflavored gelatin with some cold water and let it sit until the gelatin softens like this.

While the gelatin is doing its thing, mix the sugar, corn syrup, salt and cold water together in a sauce pan on medium heat and bring to boil.  Stir and continue to boil until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Once all the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.

Then remove from heat and with the electric mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture and whisk.  Slowly increase the speed to high and whisk the mixture until it has tripled in volume.  This will take about 8-10 minutes.

The end result should look something like this.  It has the consistency of melted marshmallows.   Mmmm.  It’s okay to do a taste test at this point.  :)

Pour the marshmallow mixture into a pan that has been lightly buttered and dusted with confectioner’s sugar.  With an offset spatula, level the marshmallow as much as possible.

Let the marshmallow set in room temperature, about 12 hours.  When it’s ready to cut, pour some confectioner’s sugar on top and using your  hands, make sure the surface of the marshmallow is no longer sticky.  Then with a small sharp knife or metal spatula, trace the edges of the pan to loosen the marshmallow from the pan.

Invert the pan and allow the marshmallow to fall onto a large cutting board that has been dusted with confectioner’s sugar.  The parchment on the bottom of the pan will come in handy at this point.  With your hands, rub some additional confectioner’s sugar over the marshmallow in the areas that are still sticky.

Cut the marshmallow into squares.

 

Toss the marshmallow cubes in a bowl of (more) confectioner’s sugar.  I know it may sound like you’re using a lot of confectioner’s sugar, but really you’re only using it to dust the marshmallows and prevent it from sticking to one another.  I did not find myself using more than a cup or two for this large batch of marshmallows.

These are pretty easy to make and perfect holiday gifts.  I stored mine in my tea tins.  Remember this adorable peppermint tea tin I bought at Harney & Sons earlier this year?  I thought this was a perfect new home for these peppermint marshmallows.  :)

Mmm.  I see a lot of hot cocoa in the near future for me.  :)

Peppermint Marshmallows

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Makes about 140 3/4-inch square marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup cold water, divided in half
  • 2 - 1/4 ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1-2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions

  1. Lightly butter the bottom of a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and sift about a tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar onto the parchment, which will later help remove the marshmallow from the pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer filled with 1/2 cup of cold water, mix in the gelatin and let it stand until the gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a two quart saucepan, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining 1/2 cup cold water.  Stir over medium heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil.   Continue to boil and stir until the sugar has completely dissolves.
  4. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and increase the heat to high and boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F, about 8-10 minutes.   Once at 240 degrees F, remove from heat.
  5. With the electric mixer bowl with the gelatin mixture fitted with a whisk attachment, slowly pour the hot syrup with the mixer running at low speed.  Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has tripled in volume and is very thick and stiff, about 10 minutes.  It should have a melted thick marshmallow texture.
  6. Add peppermint extract and beat until it is combined in the marshmallow.
  7. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and spread the marshmallow evenly with a damp offset spatula or rubber/silicon spatula.  Try to level the marshmallow mixture as evenly as possible.  Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until set, about 12 hours.
  8. Dust the top of the marshmallow with another tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and remove the marshmallow from the pan by first running a small sharp knife or metal spatula around the edge of the marshmallow to loosen it from the plan.  Then invert the pan onto a large cutting board that has been dusted with confectioners’ sugar.  Cut the marshmallow into squares using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.  Drop and toss the marshmallow cubes in a bowl of confectioner’s sugar so that marshmallows are evenly coated and no longer sticky.
  9. Shake off excess sugar and store the marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 weeks.

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A “surprise” rainbow cake is the perfect cake for a baby shower or a birthday party.  I should know, I made it for both events within the same week recently.  Crazy, I know!  But, it was so much fun to make!  And the results speak for itself.  :)

Yes, I know I typically stick with my cupcakes.  I do have a bias towards those serving-size delicious cuties, but I could not resist trying this adorable rainbow cake I recently saw on Martha Stewart’s site.   Instead of using the normal colors of the rainbow, however, I decided to use pastel colors for mine, which I thought would be fitting for a baby shower and a girlfriend’s birthday.

Shall we make some rainbow cake?

First, let’s start off by making the cake layers.

Make the batter first.  This is a simple white cake recipe, but you could also use any other batter.  Just make sure it’s close to colorless, so that the food coloring will turn out properly.  Some alternatives I think would work well are:  pound cake, coconut cake, lemon cake, poppy seed cake (though, don’t go overboard with the poppy for this cake).   You should have enough batter to make 2-3 normal 9-inch round cakes (~ 12 cups).

Divide the batter equally into 6 bowls.  You can use a weight scale here if you want to be exact, but I just eye-balled it.  I confess, and please don’t judge me, but I have never been a very exact cook.  I alter, combine and improvise a lot of recipes I find.  To me, that’s part of the fun in cooking/baking.  Plus, I personally think there are very few recipes where you need to be very exact with your ingredients.  With that said, I think anyone can make something delicious, even if they don’t end up following the recipe exactly.  :)

Okay, this is where the fun begins!  Using gel food coloring, make the following colors: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink.  I recommend gel food coloring over the regular food coloring because the colors will be more vibrant.  Plus the color of the batter before baking will be about the same color as the final result, which will help you gage how much food coloring to put in the batter.

With shortening, grease the bottom of 6 pans, and then place a layer of parchment inside each pan (I traced and cut 6 out from a roll of parchment).  Grease the top of the parchment.  If you don’t have 6 pans, you can bake the layers one at a time.  I had two pans, so I bakes these layers in three batches.  Pour each bowl of batter in its own 9-inch round pan.  I recommend using an offset spatula to distribute the batter evenly in the pan.  This will ensure that the layers will be as even as possible, which will reduce or even eliminate the need to level the layers out later.

Once the layers are baked, let it cool a little before carefully removing the cake layers from the pan.  You will notice that the parchment between the pan and the cake layer will be very helpful at this point.   Wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap and put the layers in the refrigerator.  These layers can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, so they can be made ahead of time.  Even if you are planning on frosting the cake right away, keep the layers in the refrigerator while you make the frosting.  Chilled layers will be much easier to frost and your cake will be less likely to crumble into the frosting.

Next, you make the frosting.  I used a lemon meringue buttercream frosting, but you may certainty use whatever frosting you prefer.  I think a regular buttercream or cream cheese frosting would work just as well here.  A lighter frosting, such as whipped cream frosting may be a little difficult here because the light frosting will have less body and may not be strong enough to hold the six layers together, which could potentially make a mess.  But, I still think it’s possible, you will just need to be more careful when moving your cake, and I would suggest creating a slightly thicker whipped cream by adding a little more sugar than the recipe may call for.

Now let’s assemble the cake.  On a cake round, lay out some parchment strips, which will be on the bottom of where the edges of the cake will be.  This will make it easier to clean up the surface of the cake round after the cake is frosted.

Let the layering begin …

When the layers are complete, make the crumb coat.  This is the thin layer of frosting around the cake, which will help prevent any loose crumbs from mixing with the top layer of frosting.

Put the cake back into the refrigerator to allow the crumb layer to set.  This will make the top layer easier to frost.

Frost the top layer.  Once everything’s frosted, carefully remove the strips of parchment from the bottom edges of the cake.

I love raspberries and thought it’d look adorable on the cake.

Voila!  So cute!  You’d never guess there was a cuter surprised waiting inside. :)

The perfect cake for a surprise birthday party!

My favorite moment is when the birthday girl cut through the first slice and revealed the “surprise.”  So pretty!  Definitely a crowd pleaser. :)

A slice of the rainbow.

Not only was this cake adorable, it was really delicious.  It’s a must-try if you’re looking for a creative baking project. :)

For the baby shower, I used a little more batter for each layer so that the cake layers would be thicker.  Instead of raspberries, the cake was topped with adorable edible heart-shaped sprinkles.

 

Surprise Rainbow Cake

Original Recipe from Whisk Kid’s Super Epic Rainbow Cake

Makes one 6-layer 9-inch round cake

Ingredients

Six-Layer Rainbow Cake

  • Vegetable shortening
  • Parchment paper
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

For the Filling and Crumb Coat

  • 9 large egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure lemon extract

For the Frosting

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Directions

Six-Layer Rainbow Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush six 9-inch-round cake pans (or as many 9-inch cake pans as you have, reusing them as necessary) with shortening. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper; brush again and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Slowly add egg whites and mix until well combined. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and milk in two alternating additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the milk. Mix until well combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly between six medium bowls. Add enough of each color of food coloring to each bowl, whisking, until desired shade is reached. Transfer each color to an individual cake pan. Use a rubber spatula and smooth out the batter so that the cake will be as level as possible to minimize the amount of trimming necessary.
  4. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes (working in batches if necessary).
  5. Remove cake layers from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 10 minutes. Wrap the cake layers individually with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator while making the frosting (below).
  6. Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator.  Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level, if necessary. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a cake round or lazy Susan. Place the purple layer on the cake plate. Spread a scant 1 cup buttercream filling over the first layer with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond edges. Repeat process with blue, green, yellow, and orange layers.
  7. Place the remaining pink layer on top, bottom-side up. Gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush. Using an offset spatula, cover the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting (also use any of the excess frosting visible between the layers). Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
  8. Using an offset spatula, cover cake again with remaining frosting.

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. Make the filling and crumb coat: Cook egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; mix on high speed until mixture is room temperature. With the mixer on medium-low, add butter, one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  2. Remove whisk attachment and switch to paddle attachment. Increase speed to high and beat until buttercream comes together, about 5 minutes; beat in lemon extract.
  3. Make the frosting: In a clean saucepan and bowl of an electric mixer, repeat process in step 1.

{ 3 comments }

Up until three months ago, quinoa was never really on my radar when it comes to cooking.  Quinoa is a very healthy edible seed.  It’s not a grain, even though it definitely taste like one.  It’s related to leafy vegetables like spinach and swiss chard, so it’s definitely a great and healthy substitute for rice and pasta.  This was the initial reason I decided to try to incorporate it in my cooking.   Now, I’m hooked!  I cannot believe I’ve been missing out for so long!  I love the fluffy, slightly crunchy and nutty flavor of quinoa!   So lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed with it and making it quite often.  One of the first recipes I’ve tried and continue to make on a regular basis is this Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers on Quinoa.  It’s so easy to make and keeps well in the fridge, which is perfect for packing it as lunch for work.

You start out with cooking the quinoa.  You can cook it based on the directions on the package.  I like to add some additional flavor to my quinoa, so I include some carmelized onions and used chicken broth instead of water to cook to quinoa.

 

While the quinoa is cooking, I make the sausage and peppers, which will top the quinoa.  You can use whatever bell peppers you have on hand.  I like the use a variety of bell peppers to add some color to the dish.  Yes, I’m vain – I like my food to look pretty.  :)

First, dice an onion and mince some garlic.  Set aside.

Then, cut the bell peppers into bite-size strips. 

If you like a heat like I do, I add in one chopped serrano pepper with the seeds removed.  You may want to use gloves when removing the seeds because the oil from the pepper will be hot and may sting your skin.  It will also linger, even after washing your hands, so avoid touching your eyes if you don’t use gloves.   (I learned this the hard way once.  Rookie move.) 

 

Then, cut the Italian sausages into bite-size pieces.  I prefer using spicy Italian sausage instead of sweet, but really, any type of sausage is fine based on your own taste preferences. 

Cook the sausages in a large skillet until all sides are browned.  Then remove them from the skillet onto a plate.     

Next, in the remaining oil in the skillet, cook the onions until they are translucent and slightly brown.  Add in the minced garlic.   Then add in the peppers, cumin and paprika.  Allow the peppers to cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.  

Then add in some chicken stock and cook until the peppers become tender and the liquid has reduced.  At this point, you can add in the sausage and mix everything together.  Add in some salt and ground pepper to taste. 

By this point, the quinoa should be cooked.   Serve the sausage and peppers mixture over a bed of quinoa, and enjoy! 

Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers on Quinoa

Print this recipe!

Makes 6 servings

Prep Time:  40 minutes
Total Time:  45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 6 – 4 oz. spicy Italian sausage links, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded if desired
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir in the diced onion and salt to taste; cook and stir until the onion has caramelized to a deep brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Pour in 4 cups of chicken stock and the quinoa; bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a skillet on medium-high heat, and continue cooking until browned on all sides and no longer pink in the center.  Remove to drain on a paper towel lined plate, and keep warm.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir the diced onion into the remaining oil in the skillet.   Cook until the the onions begin to caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
  7. Stir in the red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, green bell peppers, and serrano pepper.
  8. Cook for a minute before adding in the paprika and cumin.
  9. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes before adding in 1 cup of chicken stock.
  10. Bring to a simmer, then cook until the peppers soften, and the mixture reduces and thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Return the sausage to the skillet, season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until the sausage is hot.
  12. Serve over a bed of quinoa.

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