Grilled Steak Sandwiches with Sweet Peppers and Onions

By Jodee Weiland

Whenever I am looking for a sandwich type meal for dinner, Grilled Steak Sandwiches with Sweet Peppers and Onions come to mind. With the right cut of steak, this sandwich is full of flavor and easy to prepare. I usually look for thin cut round steak or sandwich steak at the store. The seasoned grilled steak with the right rolls, add in some sweet peppers and onions sautéed, a vegetable like my Grilled Balsamic Asparagus, and you have a very tasty meal for dinner.

http://learnfromyesterday.comI love a grilled steak sandwich done right, but it’s important to sauté some sweet peppers and onions in olive oil to dress the sandwich for a fuller flavor. I like to add some Italian giardiniera to that as well for an even heartier taste experience. I use hot, but even mild giardiniera will add extra flavor. There is no need for a sauce with or without the giardiniera, because this sandwich has plenty of flavor if the steak is seasoned right and you add the sweet peppers and onions on top of the steak. Sometimes less is more, and that’s true here.

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Grilled Steak Sandwiches with Sweet Peppers and Onions

1 and 1/2 pounds thinly sliced round steak/sandwich steak
Weber Grill’s Chicago Style Steak Seasoning or your preferred steak seasoning to         taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves chopped finely
8 or more mini sweet peppers cleaned and cut in halves
About four sandwich rolls

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Prepare the steak with your seasoning of choice. We like Weber Grill’s Chicago Style Steak Seasoning. Also, prepare any vegetables you may be grilling to go along with your steak sandwiches. We like to have my Grilled Balsamic Asparagus because it goes well with these sandwiches.

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Next, slice the onions, sweet peppers, and chop the garlic. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and then add the onions and garlic to the skillet first. Sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes or until somewhat translucent, and then add the sweet peppers. Sauté all the vegetables until cooked.

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When done, set aside the skillet with a cover on the pan to keep the vegetables warm. Grill your steak without over cooking the meat, so it stays juicy and tender, and then grill the vegetables you chose for a side dish. This will not take long because the steaks are sliced thin.

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Steak sandwiches 057 (500x333)Once finished, serve your Grilled Steak Sandwiches with Sweet Peppers and Onions. If you like, add Italian giardiniera, either hot or mild. We always have Grilled Balsamic Asparagus with our steak sandwiches because the flavors of both enhance each other. This meal tastes wonderful and will satisfy everyone. Give it a try sometime soon, and enjoy!

Homemade Fettuccine with Italian Basil Pesto

By Jodee Weiland

Italian basil pesto is a favorite of mine, but homemade fettuccine with Italian basil pesto is so delicious that it far surpasses all my other pasta dishes in flavor for me. I love homemade pastas and when we travel, we often search out Italian restaurants that serve homemade pastas. There’s something about homemade pastas that makes any Italian dish one hundred percent better. Think about it for a minute. In earlier times, people did not go to the store to purchase their pasta, but instead, they made it from scratch. Now who doesn’t know that homemade is always better than store-bought?

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When I was little, I would watch my mother make all kinds of homemade pastas. She never had a pasta machine to make her pasta and did it all by hand completely. In another blog, I will show you how she made her homemade cavatelli, which was truly work intensive, but for now I chose to make homemade fettuccine with a simple non-egg pasta recipe. I prefer non-egg over recipes with egg because I think they are not as heavy. You can do it either way, but non-egg pasta is my personal preference. I chose to serve it with my own Italian Basil Pesto recipe, which I love, but you can serve it with any sauce you choose.

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Homemade Fettuccine with Italian Basil Pesto

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For sauce:

Italian Basil Pesto (see my recipe or choose another sauce)

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The best way to mix the dough for your pasta is to put your flour in a mountain shape on a flat surface or in a large bowl. Create an opening at the top like a volcano. In the opening, put the warm water and olive oil. Start by whisking the oil and water together and then gradually, start to blend in the flour from the sides with a fork. Continue to do this until completely blended and too sticky to mix further with the fork. Then fold the dough together with your hands until blended together into a smooth dough. If needed, add a little more warm water, just a little at a time. Once done, set the dough aside for about fifteen minutes to relax.

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When ready, cut off a piece at a time, covering the rest with a damp towel. Following the directions on your pasta maker, make your fettuccine or spaghetti, whichever you prefer. Different pasta machines will vary somewhat in their directions, so be sure to read the directions carefully for your machine. This will make about one pound of pasta.

http://learnfromyesterday.comYou can also make fettuccine by rolling out the dough to the desired thickness, dusting it with flour, and then folding it over one or two times before slicing. Once folded, slice the dough with a sharp knife into straight lines to make fettuccine noodles. Whether with a machine or by hand, hang your pasta from a pasta drying rack until ready to cook and serve. When ready to cook, put the pasta in boiling water just as you would with any pasta, but note that fresh pasta cooks much faster and may take as little as three minutes to cook. It also usually rises to the top of the water as it cooks. Test a noodle to see if done al dente. When ready, drain the water and serve your pasta with your choice of sauce.

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Homemade Fettuccine with Italian Basil Pesto is absolutely delicious and will change how you look at pasta forever. We love it, and served with a nice Chianti, a fresh loaf of crusty bread, and a small side salad, you will feel like royalty. Homemade pasta makes store-bought pasta seem so ordinary, no matter which sauce you choose. You can have it with Italian Basil Pesto, Bolognesemarinara, or any other sauce you may prefer. It makes no difference which sauce you choose because the fresh pasta is what you will remember. Give it a try, and you will see exactly what I mean, so enjoy!

Enjoy a Day at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin!

By Jodee Weiland

The first day of spring is always exciting no matter where you are! It’s a time of anticipation and renewal. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is a great place to be on the first day of spring or any time with its expansive waterfront views and great downtown shops. So this year we drove about ninety minutes from our home in the Chicago suburbs to spend our first day of spring here in the Midwest at the always beautiful Lake Geneva. What a great time to enjoy a day at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin!

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We actually arrived the night before in anticipation of walking along the waterfront and then into downtown Lake Geneva to visit some of the unique little shops. The views of the lake and the shops make this town the tourist attraction that it is for so many Chicago area folks trying to get away from the city for a weekend or more. We came for a couple of days to do just that and to enjoy this town, where you can snowmobile in the winter and go out on a boat ride in the summer plus so much more.

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The many shops and restaurants in downtown Lake Geneva mean that everyone who visits will definitely enjoy their stay here because it’s unlike traditional city shopping. There’s everything from art galleries to specialty candle shops. You can buy cooking items in one store, hot sauces in another, clothing in several, and fresh made fudge and ice cream in others. Want moccasins? You can find them here for sure. There are many more types of unique shops in downtown Lake Geneva and exploring each of them is half the fun for visitors who love looking for that one special item to bring home or enjoy!

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The restaurants range from pubs and grills like Hogs & Kisses with its European pub setting to Italian dining like the Tuscan Tavern & Grill and more. You can eat at a restaurant that features casual dining on the lakefront like Scuttlebutts, famous for its Swedish Pancakes and entrees, or catch a quick bite at the Harbor Side Pub & Grill. If you like, stop at the Barrique Wine & Brew Bar with waterfront views while you sip exceptional wines and craft beers.  Another lakefront favorite is Popeye’s on Lake Geneva, a family owned and operated restaurant since 1972. At Popeye’s have Blackened Tilapia with a Pineapple Salsa and Toasted Almonds, BBQ Back Ribs, or Rotisserie Chicken, Lamb, or Pulled Pork. The list goes on and on, so anyone can find a restaurant that will satisfy their personal preferences.

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For us, the first day of spring at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, this year was cooler than usual, but the sun was out, and we had a great time! Although the temperatures were only in the forties, after the winter we’ve had this year, the forties and sunny seemed like a gift. It was easy for us to enjoy a day at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin! We walked around downtown Lake Geneva and enjoyed the views, the sun, and all the friendly people we met along the way. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to take some time and enjoy this friendly town. You won’t regret it, so enjoy!

Strawberry Apple Grapefruit Smoothie with Ginger

By Jodee Weiland

I love a good smoothie any day of the week, whether it’s following an intense workout or just to give me that little extra boost in my day. My Strawberry Apple Grapefruit Smoothie with Ginger is tart but delicious with just a little honey added for a touch of sweetness. Whenever you add grapefruit to a smoothie, you can expect it to be somewhat tart, so I like to add some organic honey to the mix. It will still be tart tasting, but just not as much.

http://learnfromyesterday.comI love ruby red grapefruit for all the health benefits it adds to any smoothie. The obvious health benefit is the Vitamin C, but it is also has the antioxidant lycopene. The ginger added in this smoothie is a spice that has numerous health benefits, such as easing nausea, helping with the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, arthritis, muscle pain, and more. Apples blended in to a smoothie help keep your heart healthy, reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes, help control weight, and much more.  Strawberries are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help boost immunity, promote eye health, fight cancer and bad cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and more.

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To list all the benefits of each of these ingredients would require me to do an individual post on each one, but for more information, I would like to suggest a source online that I frequently use to check on health benefits, Best Health. I find their information both useful and reliable.

http://learnfromyesterday.comStrawberry Apple Grapefruit Smoothie with Ginger 

8 ounce cup of all natural ruby red grapefruit segments with juice
1 Granny Smith apple with skin cored and cut into pieces
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger (more or less to taste)
2 teaspoons organic honey
1 cup ice cubes

http://learnfromyesterday.comThis recipe for my Strawberry Apple Grapefruit Smoothie with Ginger makes one smoothie and will be about 249 calories. It has eleven grams of fiber and is high in vitamin C plus many other vitamins and nutrients. It is healthy and deliciously tart and tangy. I love grapefruit and grapefruit juice, so I love this smoothie. If you’re not a fan of grapefruit, substitute another citrus such as orange segments and orange juice. If you do decide to make this substitution, you probably will not need any honey added. Either way, this smoothie is another one of my personal favorites, so stay healthy and try it! Enjoy!

Seared Sea Scallops with Parmesan Prosciutto Risotto

By Jodee Weiland

Making seared sea scallops intrigued me at one time, so years ago I researched how to do this and since that time have made them at home dozens of times. I love Seared Sea Scallops with Parmesan Prosciutto Risotto done right, so it was important to me that I learned how to do this dish correctly. What I learned was that you do not want to overcook the scallops or they will become tough and rubbery. I learned how long to cook them and how to cook them as well. Today a great source on “How To Make Pan-Seared Scallops” by Danilo Alfaro is at About.com Culinary Arts if you have never made sea scallops before.

Sea Scallops with Risotto

I use extra virgin olive oil and butter to sear my scallops. Depending upon the size of the scallops, it usually takes about two to three minutes on each side to sear your scallops without overcooking them. More often than not, this time is closer to two minutes in order to leave the inside of the scallop translucent.

Sea Scallops with Risotto

Before I sear my scallops, I usually make my Parmesan Prosciutto Risotto, a creamy Italian rice flavored by adding grated imported Parmesan Reggiano and crispy crumbled prosciutto to taste. I make the risotto and then pan fry about two ounces of cut up prosciutto until crisp and able to be crumbled. I add about a third to half of the crumbled prosciutto to the rice after blending in grated Parmesan Reggiano to the cooked risotto. Once done, I pan sear my sea scallops in the same pan I cooked the prosciutto after adding butter and olive oil. The scallops are seared in small batches until browned on both sides, about two to three minutes on each side depending on size. The sea scallops go well with the Parmesan Prosciutto Risotto and served with another vegetable make a great meal!

Sea Scallops with Risotto

Sea Scallops with Risotto

 

 

 

 

Sea Scallops with Risotto

Seared Sea Scallops with Parmesan Prosciutto Risotto

Parmesan Prosciutto Risotto:

1 cup Arborio rice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 and 1/4 cups fat free vegetable broth (or fat free low sodium chicken broth)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
2 ounces Italian prosciutto

Sea Scallops with Risotto

Sea Scallops with Risotto

 

 

 

 

Heat the olive oil and butter, and then add and sauté the chopped onions until translucent. Add the rice to this, and cook stirring for about two minutes. Then add in 1 cup of vegetable broth at a time, and cook while stirring until creamy. When creamy add the second cup of broth, and cook while stirring until creamy. Finally, add the third cup of broth, and cook while stirring until creamy. Once done, add in the last 1/4 cup of broth and the Parmesan Reggiano cheese, stirring it into the risotto until blended together. Add in about a third to half of the crispy crumbles prosciutto and stir into the risotto. Cover the pan to keep warm and set aside.

Sea Scallops with Risotto

Sea Scallops with Risotto

 

 

 

Seared Sea Scallops:

8 to 10 large sea scallops rinsed and dried with a paper towel
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Heat the butter and olive oil in your pan. Sear the scallops in batches of 4 to 5 scallops at a time. Make sure they are dried off well after rinsing. Place the scallops in the hot oil and butter flat side down and let cook for two to three minutes depending on size. You want to sear the sides to a brown crust, but you do not want to overcook the scallops. They should be somewhat slightly translucent inside when done. If done right, they will not be tough when you bite into the scallop. Once done, serve the scallops over your Parmesan Prosciutto Rice with a side vegetable. Sprinkle crispy crumbled prosciutto over the scallops to taste from what’s left.

Sea Scallops with RisottoSeared Sea Scallops with Parmesan Prosciutto Risotto done right are a delicious seafood meal that make you feel as though you are eating out at a luxurious restaurant. Serve with a side vegetable or salad and a nice glass of white wine for a delicious meal enhanced by the rich flavors of Italian prosciutto and Parmesan Reggiano cheese in the creamy risotto. I love this meal. There are a few more steps to this meal, but once you get used to it, it is really worth the little bit of extra effort. Try it and find out for yourself just exactly what makes this meal so special, and enjoy!