Pineapple Slicer

This is one of those specialty kitchen tools that you think, well, am I really going to use it? And my answer is yes! I love my pineapple slicer. It makes preparing fresh pineapple such an easy task. I can have a whole pineapple cored and sliced in about 2 minutes without any of those pesky little brown bits left from the skin. Mine is from Pampered Chef and I’ve had it for several years. It works much like an apple corer/slicer, and is very sturdy. I looked on Amazon.com for similar designs, but nothing quite like it was there. I did see some used Pampered Chef cutters for sale on Amazon, and there’s always eBay.

This is how it works:

Cut the top and bottom of the pineapple with a knife. Line up the cutter.

Cut the top and bottom of the pineapple with a knife. Line up the cutter.

Press down firmly. Sometimes a rocking motion is helpful in getting it the cut started.

Press down firmly. Sometimes a rocking motion is helpful in getting it the cut started.

It quickly removes the outer skin and slices the core.

It quickly removes the outer skin and slices the core.

Done!

The design of the cutter leaves you with two half-circle sides of the pineapple without the core.

The design of the cutter leaves you with two half-circle sides of the pineapple without the core.

 

You can then slice the halves into thin or thick slices for serving. Easy Peasy!

You can then slice the halves into thin or thick slices for serving. Easy Peasy!

 

 

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Italian Sausage & Escarole Stew

Photo by Pampered Chef

We had our first Christmas in our new home, and started what may be a new tradition: Soup Party on Christmas Eve.  Soups are easy and inexpensive to make. Add a vegetable tray, cheese, salami and fresh bread from the bakery and you have a low-stress meal to feed a family! Best of all, I had the guests bring the side dishes, so all I had to cook was the soups.

I made three kinds of soup (which of course, was too much). I made a French Onion soup, and two new recipes: Italian Sausage Stew and Lemon Herb Chicken.  Of the two, I liked the Italian Sausage & Escarole the best.  The recipe comes from the Pampered Chef Soups & Stews cookbook. It was a little spicy thanks to the hot Italian sausage and had assortment of fresh vegetables.

I opted to use a bag of baby spinach in place of the escarole.  I was in a hurry and honestly, not sure what escarole looked like.  The spinach worked fine and actually saved a step since I didn’t have to wash and cut the escarole. The next time I make this dish I think I will leave out the ditalini pasta. It was fine the evening I served it, but it continued to absorb the liquid from the stew as it sat in the refrigerator.  The stew is hearty already, so the pasta isn’t really necessary.

You can get the recipe here, from the Pampered Chef website. Give this one a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!