Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Homemade Ravioli

Okay, I have been posting a lot lately...because I have made a lot of new things lately!  So here is what we had for dinner tonight.   I had been promised by Jeff's mom to be taught how to make homemade pasta.  I wanted to try making homemade ravioli for my first try, and so I decided to try it today!  Turns out making pasta is really easy to make, and more about method than about the recipe.    Here we go....be prepared, this one is somewhat involved.  I'll start with the actual pasta dough, and then give you the recipe for the filling, and then give you the directions for putting it all together.

Pasta Dough (you'll need about 2.5 recipes of this to use all of the filling)

2 c flour
2 eggs
4 tbsp cold water

In a food processor, pulse together flour and eggs.  Add water, one tablespoon at a time, and then blend til it forms a ball in the food processor.  Dump onto a floured surface and just knead lightly til the flour makes it less sticky, not much.

In a pasta press, start at the widest setting, and run the dough through.  You'll start at setting 1, and run it through, and then fold the dough in thirds, and run it again.  Then you'll move it up to the 2nd setting, run it through the first time, and then fold it, and then run it through again.  As you get to the 3rd setting, you'll stop folding it in thirds and just run it through to thin it out, twice through each setting, til you get to the 5th setting, and then you'll quit.

Before you roll out your dough though, you need to mix together your filling.   Here's the recipe:

Cheese and Spinach Filling

15 oz ricotta cheese
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (about a cup and a half)
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Mix all of these ingredients together.  Get your pasta dough ready, and use about a half tsp to a tsp of filling per ravioli.  Basically you'll have a long rectangle of pasta dough, and you'll want to place each spoonful of filling about a half inch apart and then place another sheet of pasta dough over the top of the first sheet.  Use your fingers to press the dough together between fillings, and press out as much air as possible from each ravioli.  once they are all sealed shut and no air is in there, use a pizza cutter or rotary cutter to cut the pasta apart.  Place them on a cookie sheet, making sure you don't overlap them so they don't stick together.

**Note** I am so sorry I didnt think to get the camera out.  It would be a lot easier for you to picture this if I had pictures and more of a tutorial.  If you need a tutorial, go to www.foodnetwork.com and search for   ravioli.  There's an Alton Brown video that shows you how to do everything I did.  REMEMBER:  BECAUSE IT IS FRESH MADE PASTA, IT ONLY TAKES 1-2 MINUTES TO COOK.   Just cook it til it floats to the top of the boiling water.

Stuffing...not just for Thanksgiving!

I am a firm believer that you don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to have turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes....and of course rolls and pie!!  This post is only for stuffing though.  I love it!  My mom and step-dad have been making this stuff their own way for years, and I have morphed my own recipe because theirs isn't my fave...sorry Mom!  We were invited to a friend's house on Sunday because they roasted a HUGE turkey and needed help eating it.  This guy knows how to roast a bird, let me tell you... and I brought my favorite side dish to go along side...it even won over the non stuffing lovers...!  Enjoy!


1 pkg herb seasoned stuffing
1 small pkg cornbread stuffing
1 can chicken broth
1 stick of butter
1/2 c celery
1/2 c onion
1 lb pork sausage (usually use the country kind)
1 c cashew halves
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced

Pour stuffing pkgs into a large mixing bowl, toss to combine.  Brown sausage in a skillet, and break into crumbly pieces. Set aside.  In same skillet you browned the sausage in, melt the butter, and then promptly add celery, onions, eventually, when onions and celery are tender, mushrooms.  Sauté veggies together til mushrooms shrink down and veggies are completely tender, and then dump this (make sure you get all of the butter in there too) and sausage into bowl with stuffing mix.  Add cashews and mix well.  Add chicken stock, stirring as you go so you get it moistened evenly but not soggy.  Pour this whole mixture into a greased 9x13 baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Pull out of oven, and stir so the top and bottom are swapped (kind of flip or turn the stuffing so the top doesn't burn and the bottom stuff gets slightly crisped.)  Bake another 10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite fixings, or just on its own.  I love this stuff!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Recycling Leftovers

So the other day I made enchiladas--both chicken and beef.  My chicken version can be found here, and the beef version is very similar. I just use red sauce instead of green, and I substitute ground beef in place of the chicken.  And because I use ground beef, I don't crock pot it, I do it on the stove.  Anywho, I had leftovers of both chicken and beef this last week and needed to figure out what to do with all of them.  Perfect timing, too, because today, I was facing brain block when it came to making dinner.  So I made this...quick, easy, and pretty much mostly done before I started....

Tamale Pie

4 c of leftover beef enchilada filling, recipe follows
1 1/2 c cornmeal
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c milk
6 tbsp melted butter

Enchilada filling
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small can red enchilada sauce
8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Brown the ground beef in a skillet, break into pieces as it cooks. Add onion, continue to cook.  Add corn, beans, and enchilada sauce, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pour leftover enchilada filling into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt,  and baking powder.  Add milk, egg, and then lastly, stir in the melted butter.    Basically, you're making cornbread batter.  Pour this batter over top of the enchilada filling mixture, and bake for 25 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and whatever other toppings you enjoy (I liked guacamole on it too).


 (If using the filling for enchiladas, I usually double the beef and use the large can of sauce, and then of course, stuff and roll the enchiladas.  In this case, just use the amounts above and then follow the directions.  Because I had this already made and leftover, I just dumped what I had left into the pan.)


Yeah, I hear you saying it already...what's tabbouleh?  It doesn't sound like something to eat for dinner...but it is!  It's a recipe I got from my grandma (a self taught gourmet cook) and it's very tasty.  It uses wheat bulgar, which is like cracked wheat.  Try it, you'll like it!


2 c wheat bulgar
2 c cold water
1 c chopped parsley (I actually used spinach, didn't have any parsley)
1 c finely chopped bell pepper, any color
1 c finely sliced scallions
1/2 c chopped mint leaves
1/2 c feta cheese crumbles (or the block stuff cut into small pieces), optional
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, combine bulgar and water, and let stand for 1 hour.  Add vegetables and cheese and stir to combine. Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil and salt.  Pour over salad and stir well to combine.   Let stand in refrigerator overnight.  Stir well again before serving.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Spinach Alfredo Pasta with Veggies

I made this on Thursday, and I haven't had a chance to sit down and post it til now.  I made a version of this, kind of, awhile back called Linguini Alfredo, but this one is a bit different.  This time I used rotini pasta, and I used chopped fresh spinach and added peas, but no mushrooms.  I like the flavor the peas brought to it, kind of made it taste fresher to me.  I also used sausage instead of chicken.  Anyway, enjoy.

Spinach Alfredo Pasta

1 lb box of pasta, any shape that holds sauce well (I don't recommend the strand kinds, short pastas work better)
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
3 c milk
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp onion powder
dash of salt and pepper
2 c chopped fresh spinach
1 c frozen peas
1 c broccoli florets
1 lb smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (we had this stuff we got on sale with sundried tomatoes and mozzarella and spinach, it worked well..but use whatever. you could also use italian sausage in the casing--just cook it all the way through, then slice it into slices, rather than slicing and heating)

Cook pasta to pkg directions.  While waiting for water to boil and pasta to cook, melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Once melted, add flour and whisk to form roux.  Add milk and continue to whisk til smooth.    Add cheese, continue to whisk til smooth.   Add onion powder and salt and pepper, whisk til combined.  Set aside.  In a small skillet, cook sausage slices til heated through; set aside.  Steam broccoli in small saucepan; set aside.  I zapped the peas in the microwave for about a minute to take the chill off, but they dont need to be fully heated.  When pasta is done cooking, heat sauce again, and add spinach to sauce, stir til spinach is wilted into sauce and combined.  Toss pasta with broccoli, peas, and sausage.  Pour sauce over everything, and toss well.

Serve with more parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grilled Tuna Steaks

Okay, so I made this for dinner last night and never got around to posting it til now.  Sorry about that.   This recipe actually came out of my in-law's barbecue book--the one that came with the grill-- and it has been a hit with Jeff's family for awhile.  I tried it for the first time last year and loved it, and now I am sharing it with all of you.  I strongly suggest using fresh ginger and garlic, it really makes a difference.  I have done it both ways and it was way better the second time through with the fresh ginger--dried ginger just isn't as flavorful.  I served this with couscous, which I will also include the recipe for, after the tuna marinade.

Grilled Tuna

1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbsp dark sesame seed oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger (or the stuff you can get in the tube at the grocery store in the refrigerated section near the produce)
1 tbsp minced or grated garlic
1 scallion sliced thin
4 tuna steaks, about half an inch to an inch thick

Mix marinade together, pour over steaks.  You can also do this in a ziplock bag, but I did it in a corningware dish so I could flip the tuna and get both sides well coated and soaked.  Be careful with the tuna, it can come apart if you press or pinch it too hard.  After half an hour at minimum, 1-2 hours maximum, grill tuna over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side.  If you like just seared tuna, then just a couple minutes per side.  My family prefers all meat and fish besides beef steaks to be fully cooked, but tuna can get kind of dry if you cook it too long...I liked mine about medium rare, same as I like my steak.

Cous Cous

2 c water
2 c cous cous
1/2 c celery, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper (I used red), finely chopped
3 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp olive oil
couple drops sesame oil

In a medium saucepan, heat water, soy sauce, olive oil, and sesame oil to boiling.  While waiting for water to boil, quickly saute the vegetables in a bit of olive oil and soy sauce til they are tender.  Once water boils, add veggies and cous cous, stiring well to keep from clumping; cover and remove from heat.  Wait 5 minutes for cous cous to steam, then fluff with a fork and serve.