Search This Blog

Italian Sausage Skewers


1 cup tomato sauce (prepared marinara, spaghetti or pizza sauce works great)
2-3 tablespoon olive oil
Assorted fresh herbs, chopped (i.e. basil & oregano)
Salt and pepper, to taste

3 links Italian sausage, casing removed and cut into 15 thick chunks
1 medium onion, quartered and some layers separated
1 bell pepper (Green, Yellow or Red), cored & seeded, cut into chunks
1 zucchini or yellow squash, halved and cut into 1/4-1/2 " thick slices
1 tomato, cut into eighths

You will also need:



If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water first.

In a smallish bowl, combine the tomato/pizza sauce with olive oil, fresh herbs and salt/pepper to taste. Stir well and set aside.

In a skillet, pre-cook the sausage pieces over medium - medium high heat. (They take the longest to cook and I find that pre-cooking them a bit keeps the rest of the vegetables from getting burned.)

Turn on your grill. (I'm assuming everyone uses a gas grill. If you are using charcoal, then you are on your own.)

Assemble the skewers by alternating all the components but leaving off the tomatoes until the end.

Brush with the tomato sauce.

Grill over medium heat until sausage is done and vegetables are tender and have good grill lines. Brush with remaining tomato sauce as desired.

Serve over rice and enjoy.

This recipe was included in the summer recipe edition of the carnival, Works for me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family. Go pay Kristen a visit to find more summer recipes from around the blogosphere or add your own.

You might also enjoy this easy recipe for Tuscan (Inspired) Lamb Chops.

If you are visiting for the first time, hop on over to my regular blog about faith, family and food at Way More Homemade.

Marshmallow Fondant

Adapted from a recipe found posted on the Wilton forums.

This recipe yields plenty for a single 9 inch round layered cake. I would probably double it for a 9 x 13 rectangular cake.


1 cup mini marshmallows (packed)
1 tablespoon water
1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
Gel color

You will also need:

Heatproof bowl


To measure the marshmallows, pack them down and put as many marshmallows as possible into the measuring cup. Place the marshmallows in a heatproof bowl; add the water and place in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or until the marshmallows begin to puff up. Remove from microwave and stir; it should be starting to get soupy. If you care to color the whole batch, add your color to the melted marshmallows at this point. Sift and knead in the powdered sugar about ¼ - ½ cup at a time; first kneading with your spoonula/spatula and then with your hand but keeping it in the bowl. You will add at least 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar. Stop adding the sugar when you can form it into a ball in your hands dusted with a little bit of powdered sugar and it does not stick to them.

Press the marshmallows down into your measuring cup until no more will fit.

So 1 cup of packed marshmallows is actually overflowing when released.

Place the marshmallows in a heatproof bowl along with the water and heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave.

Once removed from the microwave, begin to stir with a spoonula and it should be getting soupy.

If you are going to color the whole batch, this is the time to do it. The color can be easily added and evenly mixed in. Otherwise you are left kneading it in by hand which takes a while and stains your hands unless you wear gloves.

Sift in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time up to 1 cup. Then, add 1/4 cup. Then, sift in 1/8 - 1/4 cup as needed.

Stir/fold in with spatula/spoonula.

It will begin to thicken, but for a while will still be a sticky, gooey mess.

Eventually it will get thick enough that kneading with the spatula will be impractical. At this point, dust your hand with powdered sugar and knead in a little by hand while still in the bowl. Fold it over and press down with your knuckles.

Knead and add it small amounts of powdered sugar until you can easily form ball with your hands dusted with powdered sugar and the fondant does not stick to you.

At this point you are ready to roll it out and decorate or store it in a zip top baggie.

To see other tips about working with the fondant, visit this post over at my main blog, Way More Homemade.

All Kinds-a Berry Pie

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated (July/August 2003 pg. 23)


Graham Cracker Crust
9 cinnamon graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter (melted)

Berry Filling
6 cups assorted berries*
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple jelly

*I use a combination of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and quartered strawberries. Normally I'm heavier on the blackberries since they come from my garden.

Whipped Cream
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon (clear) vanilla

You will also need:

9 inch pie plate
Food processor with blade
Blender (optional)
Rimmed baking pan & paper towels
Mesh strainer
Small saucepan
Small microwaveable dish
Plastic wrap
Stand mixer or hand mixer with whisk attachment


Preheat oven to 325 F.

In the food processor, process the graham crackers until they are uniformly fine (you may have to stop periodically and break up some larger pieces by hand). Add sugar and process to combine. With the processor running, add the melted butter through the feed tube and process until the crumbs are all wet (looks like wet sand).

Transfer the crumbs to your pie plate and begin to press into place on the bottom and up the sides. You can use a measuring cup to help you press it all down evenly. It needs to be firmly packed to stay in place.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Crust should be fragrant and browned just a little bit. Allow to cool completely.

Rinse all berries in colander and lay them out on rimmed baking sheets lined with paper towels to dry. (You could probably do this step before you start the crust.)

Take 2 1/2 - 3 cups of your berries (I pick the ones with imperfections, too big, too small, etc) and put them in your blender (or food processor). Blend/process them into a smooth puree (you may have to use your spoon periodically to stir them down to the blade in a blender).

Pour into a mesh strainer over a small saucepan. Using your spoonula, stir and press the puree through the strainer until all is left is the seeds and skins. You will end up with a gorgeous bright pink puree in your saucepan.

Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt into the puree and place over medium heat. Stir constantly with heat proof spoonula, spatula or wooden spoon. You'll think you won't need to, but you do. After a bit, you start noticing thickened puree building up on your spoonula. Scrape it off and stir back in with the rest but keep scraping the bottom of the saucepan clean so it doesn't scorch. Eventually it will thicken to a pudding-like consistency (it reminds me of thick ketchup at this point). Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, heat the apple jelly in the microwave for 30 - 60 seconds until completely melted. Place the berries in a large bowl and drizzle the melted jelly over them and toss to coat.

Once the pie crust is completely cool and the puree has cooled a little bit, you may assemble the pie. Pour a layer of about 1/2 - 2/3 of the puree in the crust and spread it around to cover the bottom of it. Then pour 1/2 - 2/3 of the berries on top of the puree and gently press them down into the puree with the back of your spoonula. Layer the rest of the puree (spreading it evenly around) and the rest of the berries on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and everything has "set".

In stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk cream, sugar and vanilla. Start on low and once you see some small bubbled increase to medium. Once your whisk leaves a trail increase to high. Continue to beat the cream until it forms soft peaks.

To serve, I like to cover the pie in the whipped cream and then slice. But you may also want to try slicing the pie and serving with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

But most importantly... ENJOY!!!

Now for the pictures!

I like to showcase my blackberries from my garden in this recipe.

Process the graham crackers with sugar until uniformly fine.

Add melted butter & process. It will look like wet sand.

Press into pie plate. I think a shallower glass pie plate might work better, but I really like this blue one.

Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. It smells wonderful. Don't you wish computers had scratch and sniff?

I use a mixture of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Notice I have about the same amount of blackberries as I do the rest combined. Here I used about 3 cups of black berries and a cup each of the rest.

You can either clean out your food processor or just use a blender for the puree. I found that I like using the blender because it's easier to pour later.

Make the puree out of about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of the assorted berries. I usually pick the overripe, flawed, too big or little, etc.


Pour the puree into a strainer over a small saucepan and use your spoonula/spatula to press the puree through.

You'll be left with a nice clump of seeds. I usually take these and throw them back out in my garden in the hopes that something might grow. I think birds usually just eat them.

And this is the puree you are left with. Oh, it's gorgeous.

Whisk in the sugar, cornstarch & salt.

Cook over medium heat until nice and thick such that you can leave a distinct path when you scrape the bottom of the saucepan with your heatproof spoonula/spatula.

Pour melted apple jelly over the berries. You could also use red currant, but apple jelly is less expensive and a little easier to find. I have also wanted to try cherry but haven't had the chance yet. The Dr. Pepper is just adds a little somethin' extra, don't you think? ;)

See how pretty and shiny all those berries are. Love how they look.

Spoon about 1/2 - 2/3 of the puree and spread it around evenly on the bottom of the crust.

Layer berries, then puree, then berries again.

Top with whipped cream and serve.

(Many thanks to Kelly at evil shenanigans for taking the first and last two pictures in this post.)

Potato (Hash Brown) Casserole

This recipe was given to me by a friend. And it was the one that won me my "Way More Homemade" name.


4 baking potatoes
1 pound cheddar cheese (grated)
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
16 ounces sour cream
2-4 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled)

You will also need:

9 x 13 baking dish


Peel and boil the potatoes whole until just tender (you do NOT want them falling apart). Remove from water and let cool until very firm (preferably overnight).

Once cool, grate the potatoes into a large bowl (either by hand or a little at a time in a food processor).

Combine cheese, milk and butter in a large saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as it's all melted, combine with potatoes and pour into casserole dish. Top with sour cream and bake at 375 F for 35 - 40 minutes. Remove from oven and top with cooked & crumbled bacon.