Sunday Prep Kitchen (and an Easter menu idea!)

Sunday was one of my typical days of prepping all that I brought home from shopping on Saturday, in less than 2 hours!   I didn’t set out for anything in particular as I went shopping, but found many great buys that will make their way to our dinner plates throughout the week ahead.

Sunday Prep

Sunday Prep

I couldn’t walk past 98 cent eggplant or asparagus at 98 cents per pound.  Whenever I find eggplant on sale, I typically make Eggplant Parmesan, but having a tray already in the freezer, I thought about a grilled vegetable pizza and knew I’d be stopping off at the Italian import store for some peppery panceetta and pizza dough.  As I continued my way around the store, the fennel flashed me back to a delicious Italian sausage and fennel sandwich I had a couple of weeks ago on crusty Italian bread.  My mouth literally started watering, so in the cart went the fennel as I headed for the sausage aisle.  Some of the best meals happen when you have no set plan in place!

As I was in the midst of prepping, cooking, and storing, I came across the leftover mashed potatoes from a few nights ago – and they quickly became my go-to potato pancakes.  That was Sunday – and we’ll be sinking our teeth into delicious meals all week long!

What are you having for Easter dinner?  I’ve made a ham for every Easter I can remember, and I just don’t feel like a ham this year.  I started thinking about what to have, and although I’m still thinking, I might use that grilled eggplant in a vegetable lasagna (grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, and spinach, topped with goat cheese, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella.)  I’m thinking of grilling some chicken basil sausage on the side (for a little Easter je ne sais quoi,) make some garlic bread, a salad – and we’ve got Easter dinner.

Whatever you’re having, you’ll want to make the most delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake for dessert!

Lemon Blueberry CakeI made this for our friend Christine’s birthday on Friday night – and it’s the perfect spring/Easter dessert.  You won’t be disappointed.  Mike came across this recipe a week or so ago (Sally’s Baking Addiction website,) and I’ll be making it again real soon.

Here’s wishing you a week filled with good food and happiness!  Buon appetito!

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Red and Robust – Arrabiatta Sauce

Simple Christmas day dinner with homemade cavatelli (compliments of Assenti Pasta in Little Italy, San Diego) and my version of a homemade arrabiatta sauce, complete with salad and garlic bread.

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An arrabiatta sauce is red pasta sauce with a spicy kick!  I started by browning a couple of 1/4 inch-thick slices of pancetta (small cubed) in 2-3 TBLS olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.  When golden brown, remove pancetta from oil with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add 1/2 diced yellow onion to hot oil and season with salt/pepper.  Cook about 5 minutes until translucent.  Add in 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  Cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly so not to scorch the garlic.  Add in a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes and stir.  Add back the cooked pancetta and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.  While simmering, add in a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a splash of red wine.  Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and/or red pepper flakes to your individual liking.)

Cook pasta, drain, and serve with spicy arrabiatta sauce – buon appetito!