April 28, 2011

Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese

Just your basic stove top macaroni recipe with whole wheat substitutions. :)

1 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
teaspoon ground mustard
1 to 1 1/2 cups grated cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to directions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Continue whisking for 1 minute. Add milk. Whisk until smooth. Turn heat down to low. Add ground mustard. Add cheese and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta and mix well.

April 26, 2011

Ravioli Gnudi With Quick Tomato Sauce

This month's Household 6 cooking challenge was to create a dish from a country that you have lived/stationed at or want to visit (excluding the USA).

Well, I have never lived anywhere but the US. I am just a couple of miles from Mexico, but I wouldn't exactly call that exciting by any means. One country I would like to visit though is Italy. I have fond memories of helping my full Italian grandmother, Nonna, in the kitchen to make homemade ravioli. It was delicious. Nothing has ever compared. Unfortunately she died many, many years ago and no one thought to write down her recipe. :( I wish I could present it, but since I can't I decided to challenge myself to make something that I haven't had before but reminds me of meals my grandmother used to make.

Ravioli Gnudi with Quick Tomato Sauce original recipe by Deborah Mele

Ravioli Gnudi:

9 oz spinach
15 oz ricotta
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for shaping)
dash nutmeg
dash salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Place spinach in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes. (Can also steam.) Drain and squeeze out all excess water. Chop finely and drain once more. In a bowl mix well the spinach, ricotta, eggs, parmesan, nutmeg, salt, and flour. Bring to boil a large pot of salted water. Lower to a simmer. Form dumplings by hand, lightly rolling the gnocchi to coat with a little flour. Drop one into boiling water to test that your mixture stays together. Afterwards drop dumplings one at a time as you form them into the water. Once they float to the top, they are done. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with tomato sauce on top.

Quick Tomato Sauce:

28 oz can imported diced Italian tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon basil (or 3 tablespoons of fresh)
dash red pepper flakes

Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic. When garlic begins to sizzle, add the tomatoes. Turn heat to high. When sauce begins to bubble, turn back down to medium low. Season with salt and pepper. Add the basil and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few more minutes.  

My finished product.

I really had no idea what I was doing, but this recipe was one I just HAD to try when I ran across while looking for something that reminds me of my grandmother. (Do note that I doubt if she ever made this because ricotta would have been too expensive for her.) I was wondering what the heck I was thinking when I took this picture:

How does one make these little treats? It was a rather sticky dough. Well, I can now tell you that a spoonful of dough dropped into flour and rolled around works just fine. Mine didn't turn out exactly like Deborah's photo, but it was close enough. Plus it tasted wonderful. DH even had seconds despite noting, "There's no meat." (You'll live, honey.)

The quick tomato sauce really was quick. If you're like me and live someplace where finding imported Italian tomatoes is a laughable matter, regular diced tomatoes do work. I added a little bit of sugar to mind and decided it was good enough for me. In fact I'm pretty sure I'll make this again. It's a bit more fool proof than this sauce (which I have managed to burn on the stove when I lost track of time...oops). 

April 24, 2011

Menu: April 26 - May 2

Tuesday: HH6 Cooking Challenge! (hopefully edible lol)
Wednesday: Hawaiian Pizza
Thursday: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crockpot (really, it's excellent!), whole wheat macaroni and cheese, and sautéed zucchini
Friday: whole wheat quiche w/ ham and broccoli
Saturday: pasta alla vodka
Sunday: spiced beef kabobs, grilled squash, and pasta with herbs
Monday: Blueberry pancakes and sausage

April 23, 2011

Southern Comfort Cake

Also known as my new favorite cake. :D Recipe adapted slightly from the Southern Comfort website.

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (3oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup Southern Comfort
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup walnuts, chopped

4 tablespoons butter
1/8 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Southern Comfort

Preheat over to 325*. Combine all cake ingredients but the nuts and beat/whisk until smooth. Grease and flour a bundt ban (Baker's Joy is a miracle product for this). Sprinkle the walnuts on the bottom. Pour in batter on top of nuts. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on rack.
For glaze, melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in Southern Comfort.
Invert cake on serving plate. Brush glaze over cake until glaze is all used.

Easter Dinner Recipes

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400*. Butter a 1 quart casserole dish.
Put potatoes in the casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Bake 1 1/2 hours.

Thoughts: Is good, but it's missing something to make it great. Not sure what that something is though!

4 cups firm bread or toast, cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons dry parsley flakes
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup butter

Combine onion flakes, salt, poultry seasoning, and parsley flakes into a large saucepan. Add broth and butter and bring to a boil. Cover and boil 5 minutes. Add bread cubes and reduce heat to low. Let stand until mixture is blended and heated. Fluff with fork.

Don't mind the bad iPhone picture. :)

Fish Tacos

It's taken a few attempts to set a recipe that DH and I both like. It's not "traditional" but hopefully it'll give some of you a starting off point to find something that works for your family. :)

8 corn or flour tortillas
3 tilapia filets
baby spinach

For rub:
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

For sauce:
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash of ground red pepper
1 teaspoon lime juice

Mix together the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the mixture on both sides of fish filets. From here you can pan fry in some olive oil, broil, or bake until cooked. I prefer to bake the fish at 425* on a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with olive oil for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway though (this method doesn't set off our very sensitive smoke alarms). Once cooked, break the fish into chunks.
Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Warm the tortillas.
Serve fish in tortillas with a small amount of sauce and spinach.

April 21, 2011

Menu: April 12-25

Menu: April 12-18
Tuesday: Chicken and Dumplings w/ carrots added (FANTASTIC!)
Wednesday: tacos with black bean and corn salad
Thursday: Iron Skillet Pizza w/ sausage
Friday-Monday: I was out of town

Menu: April 19-25
Tuesday: frozen meal thingy (didn't get in till 8:30pm)
Wednesday: hot dogs and fries, proud culinary moment in the Sea Monster household
Friday: Fish tacos and Spanish rice (Yes, I will finally get around to posting the fish taco recipe as soon as I finish typing it up. My bad.)
Saturday: ham, rolls, creamy au gratin potatoes, green beans, stove-top dressing, spinach salad (will link/post recipes soon!)
Sunday: leftovers
Monday: tuna fish salad

And I still have no idea what I'm going to do about this month's Household 6 Cooking Challenge. We're supposed to create a dish from a country that you have lived/stationed at or want to visit (not US). I know nothing about authentic cooking from other countries. I don't think living a hop skip and a jump away from Mexico counts. lol.

April 06, 2011

Another Menu-ish

DS and I were out of town last weekend. I cooked what I could scrounge up around the house for dinner last night (had too much to do around the house to attempt the commissary). Plans are up in the air for this weekend, so I decided to forgo a week menu. What's better is that DS and I leave for out of town again in little over a week. lol.

Last night we had baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, and fried squash.
Tonight is Chicken and Pasta Frittata. If it's any good I'll post the recipe up soon. If a miracle occurs I'll even have a picture.
Tomorrow night will be spaghetti (DH's request).
Friday is shrimp and grits (again DH's request). Lent is almost over, but I think I'm going to keep up this trend of one night of fish. Might even sprinkle in a few nights of meatless meals (until DH revolts that is).