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The Primanti Bros. Experience

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Last weekend Dave and I headed to Pittsburgh for my mom’s 65th Birthday weekend.  It was an extra special visit since my sister and brother-in-law just moved to Squirrel Hill, just a few blocks from where mom grew up!  I have a lot of fond memories going to Pittsburgh frequently as a child to visit one of my Aunts and many cousins, and also going to Emma Kauffman Camp (run by the Pittsburgh JCC).  But I really haven’t done many “touristy” activities before last weekend.  The trip would not have been complete without lunch at the Primati Bros. original location in the Strip District.

The Strip District, is an area in Pittsburgh that is home to warehouses and produce yards. The Primanti brothers started selling their sandwiches during the 1930’s out of a street cart to truckers on the go.  Their famous sandwich includes warm deli meat, cheese, coleslaw and french fries on italian bread.  You can choose your meat but everything else is mandatory!  It may sound weird that a sandwich would include the sides within the bread, but somehow it works so well.  Naturally it has become a staple of Pittsburgh.


The warm pastrami, crisp fries and coleslaw are such a good combination.  It is comfort food at its best!  This was my first time experiencing the famous Primanti sandwich and I can’t wait to go back for more!

Food Glorious Food, the Recipes

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My go to meals during the week all can be made within a half-hour (give or take with set-up).   Here are the recipe’s that I’ve been cooking up lately:

Penne with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash is a spin-off of my 5 Ingredient Fall Pasta.  It is made with roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, fresh Spinach and a whole lot of Parmesan.

Potato Cous Cous is a hearty side dish that can accompany Moroccan and/or middle eastern cuisine.  It was served with Moroccan spiced flank steak and seasonal vegetables.

Crock Pot Chicken Two Ways came about because my salsa chicken crock pot meal made a lot of food and I wanted to use the leftovers in a new way – so the first night it was served over rice with a corn-black bean side.  The second night it was used to make burritos with a seasonal salad on the side.

Healthy Baked Ziti is just as satisfying as one of my favorite comfort foods, but substitutes ricotta cheese for low-fat greek yogurt.  The result was a delicious meal that I made to give half to a friend.  Next time I give some away, I will make two :).

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Food Glorious Food

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I’ve been MIA lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking up a storm!  Here are a few of the dishes that have come out of my kitchen – recipe’s to follow.

Penne with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash:

Potato Cous Cous:

Crock Pot Chicken Two Ways:

Healthy Baked Ziti:

Sweet New Year

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2011 is ending tonight and I am ready to see what 2012 has in store :).  In honor of a sweet new year here are a couple of chocolate ideas:  Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow & Chocolate Bark with Almond and Dried Cherries.

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Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken with Vegetables

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I have my sister and brother to thank for my crock-pot – I started with my sister’s after she received one from her wedding, then recently upgraded to my brother’s after he moved and started law school with less time and space to use it (thanks guys!).  Though I have to admit that my accepting the crock-pot, was more out of interest in trying a new cooking tool, over the knowledge of how to use it (and what food is best made in one).  But since I recently learned that cooking in a crock-pot is super easy, and can even handle cooking frozen chicken, I have been using ours about once a week over the past month.  The standout so far is the pulled-chicken dishes.

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Roasted Vegetable Enchilada

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I’ve been busy over the past month plotting and pinning, but with Thanksgiving and daylight savings time I’ve been either too tired or too busy to try a new recipe.  That changed this past week when I discovered a healthy alternative to an enchilada.  The bonus is that I made this dish in just about 40 minutes, which is about my max cooking time during the week.  Layered with roasted vegetables, tomato, corn and black beans – you cannot go wrong with giving this a try.

plotting = working on personal goals

pinning = pinterest

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5 Ingredient Fall Pasta

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This dish is perfect for a dinner with friends or cozying up with your sweetheart on a cool fall/winter night.  There is no exact recipe, meaning you can take these five ingredients and cook as I suggested or add your own spin.  It is one of those easy meals that look beautiful and as though you put forth a great effort to make.  The key is in the ingredients, each one in this pasta pairs so well with the next.

To make my 5 Ingredient Fall Pasta you will need:

  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Butternut Squash – peeled and cubed
  • Chicken Sausage (OK to leave this off and/or serve on the side for vegetarian)
  • Spinach
  • Good Parmesan Cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and boil water for the pasta on the stove top. Then start preparing your Butternut Squash.  The hardest part is really the peeling process.  To make peeling a bit easier I take a good knife and cut it half-way, then in 4-5 smaller pieces before peeling.  After the squash is peeled you can cut down to the size you need.

I have tried this pasta with roasted butternut squash and pan sauteed/finished in the oven, both work well.  To save some time I made this version by cutting small cubes of the butternut squash and sauteeing with some olive oil, salt and pepper for about 2 minutes, then cover the pan and place in the oven to continue cooking (about 15-17 min).

Prepare the pasta as you would, I try to time it with the Butternut squash and have the water boil a couple of minutes after the squash is in the oven.  NOTE – I usually make the whole box of pasta even for just Dave and I so that we can have easy leftovers for another night.

Any chicken sausage will work.  For this version I had smoked applewood chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s in my fridge that I cooked on my grillpan (12-14 min), following the instructions on the package.

When the chicken sausage is ready to be removed from the grillpan you should let it cool off for about a minute, then cut it down into bite-size pieces.  NOTE – you can save two chicken sausage links if pasta is just for two people and reheat for another meal in your microwave).

By now you should get an idea at how easy this dish is to make, in fact two of the ingredients (spinach and parmesan) do not have to be cooked at all.  Once the squash, pasta and chicken sauage are done you are ready to assemble.

In a nice size serving dish add the pasta, followed by your squash, chicken sausage, about two cups of fresh spinach and about 1/2 cup of really good parmesan cheese.  Mix together and you are done!  Serve with a green salad and a glass of white wine.


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