Category Archives: Recipe

TOSSED SALAD

COOKING UTENSILS NEEDED

Large Bowl

Paring Knife

Salad spinner

Can drainer/strainer (for olives)

Airtight container (ie. Tupperware)

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of Iceberg and/or romaine lettuce

2 cups of salad greens

2 Tomatoes

1 Cucumber

½ can black olives (whole small pitted)

¼ small red onions

Balsamic Vinaigrette  

DIRECTIONS:

Wash lettuce and dry in colander or salad spinner.  Place lettuce and salad greens in large bowl.  Cut the tomatoes into quarters or eighths depending on their size and add to bowl. You can peel or not peel a cucumber. Slice it thinly and add to bowl.  Drain a half a can of black olives (pour off only half of juice) and spoon olives to bowl.  Slice a ¼ of a small red onion and add to bowl.  Add salad dressing, then toss and serve. Place remaining olives and juice into airtight container and store in fridge.

Note: This is a VERY versatile recipe.  Remove any ingredient or add others like thinly sliced radish, broccoli, artichoke hearts or hard boiled eggs (sliced or chopped).

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

MEATBALL HERO PARMESAN (party sandwich)

            This is yummy. but I would not usually serve this at a party. I think the bread would get too mushy, but maybe you, my fine readers would leave a comment or two on if it works for you. I usually make this on a much smaller scale with smaller Italian bread and eat it for lunch.

            GADGETS:

            Bread Knife

            Cutting Board

            INGREDIENTS:

            Ma’s Meatballs

            One pound of whole milk mozzarella (Polly-O brand)

            Fresh baked Italian bread

            Slice open the Italian bread lengthwise. Lightly butter and garlic powder the bread. Toast it under the broiler. This will help prevent the bread from getting too soggy from the spaghetti sauce.

Melt the mozzarella on the top piece of bread under the broiler. I heated the meatballs in Ma’s Spaghetti Sauce in a pot on the stove.

            To transport and serve it, I am using a jellyroll pan and aluminum foil. I put a cutting board under it so it can be cut up upon my arrival at Jennifer’s school.

            Serve warm and with a Tray of Salad.

           -The Drunken Chef (Russ)

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2021

CHICKEN HERO PARMESAN (party sandwich)

            This is not something I make often. I personally prefer the plain warm chicken cutlet sandwich with lettuce that I can add mayo to. I see this whole chicken parmesan thing as being too messy to eat at work or a party, but it is what Jennifer wanted so *POOF* it’s being done. I am not saying that I always get things done that quickly. She has been asking me to get the hallway painted for a while now. That is just not as much fun as cooking! Anyway. you’re not here to read about my house chores, you are here for a sandwich recipe.

            GADGETS:

            Bread Knife

            Cutting Board

            INGREDIENTS:

            Chicken Cutlets

            One pound of whole milk mozzarella (Polly-O brand)

            Fresh baked Italian bread

            Slice open the Italian bread lengthwise. Lightly butter and garlic powder the bread. Toast it under the broiler. This will help prevent the bread from getting too soggy from the spaghetti sauce.

Melt the mozzarella on the top piece of bread under the broiler. I heated the cutlets up in the oven in a pan with Ma’s Spaghetti Sauce.

            To transport and serve it, I am using a jellyroll pan and aluminum foil. I put a cutting board under it so it can be cut up upon my arrival at Jennifer’s school.

            Serve warm and with a Tray of Salad.

            -The Drunken Chef (Russ)

CHICKEN CUTLET PARMESAN

This week, I made chicken cutlet parmesan with pasta. This was Sam’s original request. I was working on the chicken parmesan, but then Jennifer came home and asked: “If you’re making us chicken cutlet parmesan, can your make extra for chicken parmesan heroes for my class?” “Sure,” I said. “Can you make a Meatball Parmesan hero too?” “Sure,” I said. “Can you make a salad?” “Sure,” I said. Then it was off to the market last night to buy everything but the bread for today. Good thing I’m on vacation huh.

I made us the chicken cutlet parmesan last night. I also made all the extra Chicken Cutlets last night. I posted the recipe for Chicken cutlets about a week ago. Funny how that worked out as you start with chicken cutlets. Here is the recipe for Chicken Parmesan:

COOKING UTENSILS

Shallow medium size bowl or soup bowl

Large Baking dish

Fork

Plate

Paring knife

tenderizer/mallet

large frying pan

spoon

INGREDIENTS:

4 – 6 boneless and skinless chicken breasts

2 cups Ma’s Spaghetti Sauce

16 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese

2 eggs

½ cup flavored breadcrumbs

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°. Slice mozzarella cheese in ¼ thick slices using a paring knife or cheese cutter. Add sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish and place near stove. Slice thick chicken breasts in half.  Pound all chicken using meat tenderizer/mallet to ½ inch thick. Beat eggs in medium size bowl.  Heat large frying pan and oil over medium high heat. Dip one chicken beast at a time into egg mixture. Then, coat with breadcrumbs by pouring ½ a cup of breadcrumbs into a clean dish.  Place chicken onto on top of breadcrumbs and press firmly using fork. Flip chicken over and press chicken into breadcrumbs. Lightly shake off excess breadcrumbs. Place chicken breast in frying pan and cook until breadcrumbs brown on both sides. Remove chicken breast to baking dish with sauce and sprinkle tops with parmesan cheese. Cover chicken with sliced mozzarella cheese (Grated mozzarella can also be used), and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread, and/or Italian green beans.

See, this recipe is easy-peezy after making the cutlets! Chicken Parmesan is the recipe I made for Jennifer the night I proposed on our front porch. It is also her favorite. I think it Sam’s favorite too!

Here is how I made the party heroes:

Chicken Cutlet Parmesan (party sandwich)

Meatball Hero Parmesan (party sandwich)

Salad: Party Tray

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2021

MA’S MEATBALLS

Ma’s Meatballs

I make these while making Ma’s Spaghetti Sauce. This is the only change I have made over the years. Mom used to fry them in the pot in a bit of olive oil along with hot and sweet sausage before making the sauce.

I always ate two with a big plate of spaghetti until they were gone. Then I switched to sweet sausage. Now, I like the hot sausage. How our tastes change over the years.  

COOKING UTENSILS NEEDED

Large Bowl

Baking dish or large pot

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs. Beef

2 cups flavored bread crumbs

½ cup milk

½ cup water

½ cup onion or 1 small onion minced

3 eggs

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. salt

1 large clove of garlic crushed

½ tsp. oregano

1 tsp dry parsley or fresh is always better

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all the INGREDIENTS in the large bowl. Shape into meatballs the size of a handball and place in a very shallow baking tray or jelly roll pan. Bake in 400° oven for 25 minutes. Turn over meatballs half way through. Add to sauce and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. You can also fry them in the Spaghetti Sauce pot for an even richer tasting sauce.

Serving suggestion: See Ma’s Spaghetti Sauce

Ma’s Spaghetti Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

6 hot sausages

6 sweet sausages

2 cans whole tomatoes (Red Pack)

1 plum tomato (imported)

2 or 3 small cans of tomato sauce (DeMonte)

1 8 oz. can of paste (Contadina)

4 cloves of garlic (crushed)

2 large onions (chopped )

¼ cup water

1 tbsp. Olive oil

1 tsp. dry Basil or a few leaves of fresh

1 tsp. dry Parsley or a few leaves of fresh

½ tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. oregano

2 large bay leaves

¼ salt

¼ pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Mom cooked this in her large pressure cooker. I use a very large pot with a lid. Brown the sausages on med-low heat in olive oil and drain. I cook the sausages and meatballs in the oven. Then, add them to the pot and cook them in the sauce to add more flavor to it. Mom fried all the meat directly in the pot, then added the sauce ingredients next starting with the tomatoes first.

In a blender, chop one can of the Red Pack whole tomatoes and add this to the pot with the meat. In the blender, chop the one can of imported plum tomatoes and add this to the pot. Add 3 cans of DeMonte sauce and one can of paste next. In a blender, add the chopped onion and crushed garlic in water and pulse in the blender until finely chopped, then add to pot of sauce.  Liquefy last can of Red Pack whole tomatoes in the blender, and add to pot. Add all seasonings: 1 tbsp. Olive oil,1 tsp. dry Basil, or a few leaves of fresh,1 tsp. dry Parsley or a few leaves of fresh, ½ tsp. sugar, ¼ tsp. oregano, 2 large bay leaves, ¼ salt, ¼ pepper.  Add about a ¼ cup of water to the blender to gather up what is left at the bottom and then add that to the pot. Cover and cook at least 1 hour.

NOTES

See Ma’s Meatballs, Chicken Parmesan, Shrimp Parmesan. She also added a piece of pork for my sister and meatballs to every batch she made.

Chicken Salad

Tuesday and this morning I made Jennifer chicken salad for lunch. I had made the chicken on the grill after marinating it overnight in salad dressing. You can use any leftover white meat skinless boneless chicken breast. I have even cut the chicken breast right off a whole roasted chicken or one I have I’ve made chicken soup from. The breast meat from chicken in the soup gets diced up and put into the fridge, while all the dark meat goes into the soup.

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken Stock INGREDIENTS:

1 whole 6 to 7 pound raw chicken

2 medium onions quartered

2 large peeled carrots cut into one inch pieces

1 large clove garlic peeled

4 celery stalks cut into one inch pieces

5 quarts water

½ tsp. dill

½ tsp. white pepper

¼ tsp. thyme

¼ tsp. marjoram

1 bay leaf

½ tsp. rosemary

½ tsp. Savory

5 or more chicken bouillon cubes instead of salt to taste

1 tbsp. Fresh parsley (chopped)

Chicken Salad INGREDIENTS:

2 chicken breasts diced

½ cup mayonnaise

2 celery stalks diced

1 carrot grated

Pinch of onion powder

Pinch of paprika

Pinch of white pepper

Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Begin by making chicken stock/soup. Remove kidneys, neck or any parts that may be inside the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken in an extra-large pot with all the chicken stock ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until chicken falls apart.

Remove chicken and cover with foil until it cools and can be handled. Strain soup stock through fine mesh strainer and discard vegetables. Reserve stock for soup.

Once cooled, dice chicken breasts (reserve dark meat for soup if desired). Whisk mayonnaise with spices. Mix in chicken breasts, celery, and carrot to the mayonnaise and spices. Serve on toast or a bed of lettuce.  

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing,2021

AntiPasto SALAD

This is pre mushroom, roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts etc..

GADGETS:

Salad Spinner

Chef Knife and Cutting Board.

INGREDIENTS:

Iceberg lettuce

4-6 slices Di Lusso Genoa Salami

4-6 slices Hormel Slicing Pepperoni

4 Provolone cheese

½ can Mushrooms (small can of sliced)

2 Roasted red peppers

½ Tomato (optional)

1 slice Red onion (optional)

Wishbone House Italian Dressing

1 Tsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tsp. cider vinegar

Shake of Italian seasoning

Shake of fresh crushed black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Wash, dry, and rip lettuce into bite size pieces and place on a large plate. Cut salami, pepperoni, and provolone into quarters and place on lettuce. Top with mushrooms, roasted red pepper, tomato, marinated artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, and onion. Sprinkle black pepper, Italian seasoning, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and then add Wishbone dressing over the whole thing and mix well.

NOTES Serve with pizza

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

French Toast

Here is the French Toast recipe I grew up on. My mother made this often on weekends for both me and later when my nephew came along! I don’t think this recipe is very French nor do I believe it to be toast, but either way, it’s YUMMY! I would also make the Challah version of this for Sunday Brunch and serve it with Bellini’s! I hope I have some friends and family that can come by our house really soon for brunch. I know Sam is one of those brunch fans!

You have now made pancakes and omelets. The techniques for this are the same. You are ready for this! Enjoy cooking!

GADGETS:

A bowl big enough to fit the bread

Fork or Whisk

Pan (non-stick)

Pancake turner

INGREDIENTS:

4 slices White Bread (Wonder Bread) or Challah Bread

3 eggs

½ cup milk

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp sugar

2 tbsp. Vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk the eggs in the bowl until well blended. Add the milk, cinnamon, and sugar, then whisk again. Heat oil over medium high heat. Dip bread in egg mixture and soak both sides for 2 to 5 seconds each, depending on thickness. The Challah because of its density, (“you are my density”— a quote from the Back to the Future movie) takes a bit longer to absorb the egg mixture. If you soak the bread too long it falls apart, so timing is critical and takes practice to be perfect. Remove the bread from the egg mixture, allowing any excess egg to drip back into the dish. Place the egg soaked bread into the hot skillet where the oil has been added and heated. Cook one side until golden brown. It’s okay to peek at it as it cooks. Then, flip it over and cook on both sides, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked French toast to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven if you are making a lot. Repeat with the remaining bread and egg mixture. 

Serve with sugar sprinkled of top like my mom used to do, or like everyone else in the world, pour on pancake syrup.

Also see recipe for Stuffed French Toast or Bread Pudding when it appears!

Stay healthy, eat well, and be happy!
-The Drunken Chef (Russ)

OMELET

We covered how to make OMELETS in the “HOW TO COOK AMERICAN STYLE” section of this website. To me, this is a fundamental dish and part of learning how the whole cooking process works. There is LOTS of science going on here, and the omelet is an American breakfast staple. The “frenchy” version of this omelet is “creamier” or as I like to say—”not cooked all the way”. Cooking eggs, even this simple omelet leads into making custard one day or French Ice Cream the next. The basic ingredients only change a bit along with the cooking process. Next, we should try making French Toast or bread pudding. Soon enough, you will learn how to make Crème Brulèe.

COOKING UTENSILS NEEDED:

Bowl

Whisk or fork

“Butter” or “dinner” Knife

Pan (8 inch non-stick pan) with cover

Chef’s knife and Cutting board

Cheese Grater (optional)

INGREDIENTS:

2–3 eggs

1 tbsp. milk per egg

1 tablespoon butter

1-3 drops of Tabasco per egg

Steamed Vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms)

Cheese (Cheddar, Swiss, American, Monterey Jack, and salsa)

Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Scramble the eggs using a fork or whisk. Add milk instead of water; this makes the eggs a little softer and fluffier when cooked. Preheat pan on medium heat and add a pat of butter. Remember not to make the pan too hot because burnt butter tastes nasty. Pour in egg mixture and cover.  When the egg is cooked through, add your vegetables and cheese to the left half of the egg (if you’re a righty). Cover to heat. Flip second half of egg over vegetables and cheese. Remove from pan and serve on a warm plate.

Tip: I use fresh baby spinach that is not steamed when making my spinach and swiss cheese omelet.

Quick tip: Steam vegetables like broccoli chopped tops in the microwave in a small amount of water ahead of time. Drain off excess water and reheat when ready.

Serving suggestion:

Bacon, Sausage, Grits, hash browns and/or toast.

You can stuff your omelets with almost anything including chili and cheddar cheese.

NOTES: I always remember when I was kid my mother adding a few drops of Tabasco sauce and black pepper to the scrambled eggs and omelets just before cooking them.