Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Awesome Hors d’œuvre

Posted: November 27th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

A few years ago I was rifling through my mothers recipes, and I stumbled across something called antipasto bread that was a recipe from one of her close friends who is a great cook.  I asked her about it and she said that it was really good but she never made it because it was a pain in the ass.  Now, for those of you that don’t know, I have some sort of ridiculous imbalance that heard that as a challenge…I HAD to make this.  So I made sure I had all the ingredients, and dove right in.  It turned out that it was a big hit, and has become one of those family things where everyone just assumes that I will make it for all family events.

I have changed the filling to all sorts of crazy things, but the general principle has remained the same.  When I am in a hurry (like Thanksgiving where my sister and I are cooking like fiends for days ahead of time)  I use a bread mix because its easy to deal with, but when I actually have the time and patience, I will make my own bread dough.

You can use almost any kind of bread dough on this one, so just make whatever dough you want ready and set it aside to rise.  Once its rising you can get to the filling.  This time around I made two different ones, so I will give you both ingredients:

Standard Filling:

-1lb sausage removed from its casing–this is not a particularly appetizing job, but if the sausage is a little frozen it makes it a lot easier…unless your grocery store sells the ground sausage, which mine does not

-1 to 1 1/2 cups of frozen spinach

-1 Tbsp minced garlic

- 1 large onion, diced

-1 pkg mozzarella cheese

-shredded parmesan

Just sautee the sausage until it fully cooked making sure to break it up into the smallest pieces possible.   When the meat is about half way cooked, add the onions and garlic.  Meanwhile, put the spinach in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it until it is fully heated through.  Using a LOT of paper towels, squish the spinach to get as much liquid as possible out of it.  You want the spinach really dry so it doesn’t make the bread soggy.  Once the spinach is done and dry, toss it in with the sausage and mix it all together.  Take it off the heat and add as much Parmesan as it takes to taste like you want it to.  At that point, just set it aside until you are ready to use it.

The other stuffing I used today was a lot more simple.  All it takes is ground sausage cooked with onions and garlic (same as above), sliced deli pepperoni, and 1 pkg sliced mozz cheese.

Once the bread has fully risen, turn it out onto a well floured surface and work with well floured hands.  It doesn’t really matter if you are a little overzealous with the flour because with the filling inside, the bread won’t get tough.


Then roll out the dough until it is even in width and about 1/4 inch thick or a little thicker:
Rolled OutOnce the dough is rolled out an no longer trying to pull back to a smaller circle, then you can start adding the filling.  First put the cheese all over the bread leaving about 1 to 1 1/2 inches all around the edge.  Then put the filling pepperoni (or sausage filling)  Cheese and Pepperoni

Then continue to layer whatever toppings you are putting into the bread, in this case for me it was the sausage:

Add Sausage

Once all the stuff in on the dough, take one side and start to roll it up slowly to make sure the dough doesn’t tear.  Keep rolling (jelly roll style) until there are only about 2 to 3 inches left that you can just pull up and over.  Jelly Roll

Once it is completely rolled, make sure the dough is staying closed and fold over the ends so everything doesn’t melt out the sides.  Score the top with a paring knife, but make sure not to cut too deep so that the stuff bubbles out the top (I learned that one the hard way…) and put it on a cookie sheet with the seam down.

Final bread

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and immediately brush with butter when it comes out of the oven.  Wait for it to cool and then slice it up.  People will be WICKED impressed, and it tastes really good.  I tend to make it a day or more ahead of time and then just keep it in the fridge or freezer until I’m ready.  If you are going to freeze it, make sure you don’t slice it before you freeze it because when you heat it up the slices will dry out.  Its better to keep the loaf whole and then heat it up and slice it when you are ready to serve it.  I tend to serve it with marinara sauce, but it depends on what you put in it.




Mmm..loaf of meat…

Posted: October 9th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Meatloaf is easily one of the most versatile foods on the planet.  Just on this website alone, you will find at least three recipes that are impressively different from one another.  This diversity is one of my favorite things about it, because no matter how you make it, its probably going to be good, and no matter what people say, it is still meat loaf ;) .  Growing up, I had meat loaf maybe a a half dozen times, but it was hardly a staple in our household, probably because none of us liked it.  As I got older and cooking on my own, it was always one of those foods I was curious about, but I had this weird feeling that I had to be a soccer mom of four in a crazy sweater with embroidered reindeer on it to make a successful meat loaf.   Somehow I thought the ingredients would not successfully make a delicious meatloaf if they were brought home in my Jetta and not a minivan.  However, about a year ago, I decided to conquer my fear and tackle the challenge that was meatloaf.  All of the meatloaf recipes I looked at sounded good, but didn’t really seem like they were my style, so I made one up.

Here is my take on the deliciousness that is meat…in loaf form.


1lb ground beef

1lb ground sweet italian sausage

One medium onion diced fine

One large rib of celery diced fine

3-ish cloves of garlic diced fine

a couple of mushrooms (depends on how much you like them) diced fine

1 egg

bread crumbs

italian seasoning


parmesan cheese

red wine – at least 1/3 cup (I usually go more, but I don’t think anyone is surprised by that)

The hardest part of this recipe is cutting all the vegetables up super fine, but the rest of it is cake.  Put the meat in a bowl and mix in all the vegetables  (your hands are your best kitchen tool here).  Mix in the egg and red wine, then the bread crumbs, cheese and herbs until all the liquid is soaked up, if you add too many bread crumbs, the easiest fix is going to be to add more red wine.  I know this would be a tragedy, but hey,  sometimes you have to do things you don’t like in the name of the culinary arts.  Schlep it all onto a cookie sheet and form it into a loaf type shape and top it with more shredded parmesan.  Bake it at 375 for appx. an hour…I usually just shove my meat thermometer in until it gets to 160 degrees.

Of course with this, I have to make mashed potatoes.  I usually try to make a different kind every time, but so far my favorites are the fully loaded mashed potatoes, carmelized onion and bacon mashed potatoes, and bleu cheese mashed potatoes.

Happy Carnivore-ing!