Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pasta Puttanesca

4.5 Stars
Weekly Rotation

I was looking for a dish that fit into the "Blue Zone".  For a few weeks in the summer I followed the Blue Zone and I felt wonderful. I had so much energy, good mood, and I lost some weight.  It was great.  The down side of the blue zone is that being a meat eater, I didn't have a lot of vegetarian dishes.

When I googled "Mediterranean Meals" I found this recipe on Food Network from Ellie Krieger.  I forgot to buy arugula.  I also just bought a jar of black olives and I had to make my own anchovy paste, but otherwise I made it exactly as her recipe.


8 oz. whole-wheat thin spaghetti
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 c. pitted chopped Spanish or Greek olives (I used Black Olives)
2 T. Capers
1 t. anchovy paste
1 T. Fresh Oregano leaves or 1 t. dried (I used dried)
1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, preferably "no salt added"
3/4 c. chopped fresh arugula (I forgot this and it tasted fine without it)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan Cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium flame.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the parsley, olives, capers, anchovy paste, oregano and crushed red pepper to the skillet and saute for 2 minutes more.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the arugula and simmer for 1 minute more, until the greens wilt slightly.

When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the skillet, tossing it with the sauce to combine.

Top with grated cheese.

This dish was so good! On the website, it says it takes 12 minutes. It took me about 20 because I didn't time my pasta cooking correctly with my sauce cooking.  I made this dish on a weekend because I was afraid it would be labor intensive, but it was a breeze and would be so easy to make with the kids underfoot.



Coconut Chicken Chunks

5 stars
When I asked my husband what he thought about having Coconut Chicken, he was hesitant. He stated that he was not a fan of coconut, but that he would try it just for me.  I have to say, I am not much of a fan of coconut either,  I like the flavor of coconut, but the coconut shavings always reminds me of some coconut dessert and I dont like any desserts with coconuts on it.  But I was excited about making this and thought that it would be good for some reason.
The wet base was usual I thought and had no clue by reading it what it would taste like.  Slaw dressing as it turns out is very tangy and sweet.. once I tasted that alone I knew I would like it.  However, it was very think and maybe next time I will thin it out with some cream or milk.
This recipe calls for apricot preserve, however I used peach preserve and I think orange would be good too. The cucumbers didnt do anything I thought in regards to adding flavor to the dip, but I did like them anyway.

  • 1 2/3 cups Marzetti® Slaw Dressing, divided
  • 2/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cucumber, remove seeds, chop and drain on paper towel
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 pound chicken breasts


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Sauce: Mix together 2/3 cup Marzetti® Slaw Dressing, apricot preserves, chopped pecans and chopped cucumber; set aside.
  3. Mix the bread crumbs and flaked coconut together. Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Spoon remaining slaw dressing over each piece, and roll the pieces in the bread crumb/coconut mixture.
  4. Place on cookie sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve chicken with sauce on the side.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fruity Curry Chicken Salad

5 stars

Fruity Curry Chicken Salad

I stumbled on the recipe on here when trying to find something that looked good to make with curry in it.  I was not even going to make this dish because it just seemed to weird.. I mean all those fruits and curry for chicken salad.. No way would it work..  However I could not resist due to 171 reviews all giving it 5 stars.. What? Everyone giving it 5 stars.. OK ok ok already.. I will make it too!  But I secretly thought to myself that it will be ashamed if I make this and be the only one that does not like it. :) 
Surprise surprise.. It is wonderful! For sure it is not your original chicken salad that we are used to.. but very pleasant with all sorts of flavors and textures..  My husband even liked it.


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cooked and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple - peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  1. In a large bowl combine the chicken, celery, onion, apple, raisins, grapes, pecans, pepper, curry powder and mayonnaise. Mix all together. Refrigerate for one day and Serve!



Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

4 Stars
Bi-Weekly Rotation

I've had a taste for sweet potato fries for a while now. We like things on the spicy side, so when I found this recipe on AllRecipes, I knew we would like it.

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

1 1/2 t. paprika
1 t. brown sugar
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. dried rosemary
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (as much or as little as you like, can be omitted)
2 Large Sweet Potatoes
1 1/2 t. olive oil

Preheat Oven to 375 degree F.
In a small bowl, stir together all spices.
Wash, peel, and julienne the sweet potatoes.

Place the julienned sweet potatoes, olive oil, and spices in a gallon plastic bag. Shake until all the sweet potatoes are covered with the spices.

Place the spice covered sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Flip the fries and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until tender.
Take fries out of oven and turn on your broiler. Place fries in oven and broil for about 5-10 minutes until crunchy. Watch closely as they will burn.

    I added the entire amount of cayenne pepper and these were spicy! So, if you don't like spicy, add accordingly. I served them with roast beef sandwiches and after dinner I found my husband in the kitchen snacking on the leftover fries. That's always a good sign.

    I gave them 4 stars because they were so spicy. Next time I'll but about half the amount so they aren't so spicy.  


    Thursday, January 28, 2010

    Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken

    5 Stars
    Bi-Weekly Rotation

    I was looking for an easy meal in the Crockpot and came across a discussion board. You know how you start off on website and click, click, click and have no idea how you got there or what you were really looking for in the first place? Well, that was me. I found a recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork in the Crockpot, but didn't have the ingredients. It got me thinking how I could make a BBQ Pulled Chicken.

    2 Cans Chicken Broth
    2 Large Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts (or 4 small)
    BBQ Sauce (We like Sweet Baby Rays)

    Pour one can chicken broth in crockpot set on low. Put in your chicken breasts and pour 2nd can of chicken broth. Make sure the chicken is completely covered with liquid.

    Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Check chicken to make sure it is cooked completely. It should be very tender at this point. Place chicken on cutting board and begin to "pull". Take 2 forks and pull using each fork with the grain of the chicken.

    After chicken is pulled. Empty out leftover broth in crockpot and place pulled chicken back in pot. Add as much BBQ as you like. I like to add just enough so that it just moist. Cook on low for 1/2 hour more.


    This is one of the easiest recipes I have and when you are in a pinch, you can serve it to a large crowd. They'll think you were working all day!


    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Bread Pudding - My first time!

    5 stars

    I can not believe I have never eaten or made this before.  This was such a good dessert to make and easy too..  I know they call this bread pudding, but its more like a custard right? Now my oven is still out, but my NU wave oven is getting all the attention lately and it did wonderfully with this dish as well.  I really love how this dish is creamy through out and crispy up top.. and totally cinnamony sweet.  My youngest even ate a bowl of it.  Im going to test this dish out on my oldest and my husband when they get home too..  I will be making this dessert again for sure... as I had a lot of homemade bread that was not getting eaten fast enough.

    As I was writing this, I was eating my second bowl.. YUM YUM!!


    3-4 cups old bread cubes
    6 eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    2 TBS butter
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1/2 cup honey
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 cup raisins

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2. in one bowl mix, eggs, milk, vanilla and honey and wisk until all blended. 
    3. in another bowl mix butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and heat in microwave about 45 seconds just to melt the butter.
    4. in a baking dish spray bottom with cooking spray like pam.  Line your bread cubes all along the bottom of the pan.  Pour your egg custard mixture evenly over all the bread. cook for 30 minutes.
    5. remove dish and pour the butter, cinnamon mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with raisins. Bake addition 15 minutes.  
    6. Watch the bread that it does not get too brown and toasted, if it does cover with foil.


    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Homemade Kettle Corn


    Popcorn is not really something we eat very often, however kettle corn has been making its way into my home more often.. Its so yummy and my husband will ate an entire bag all by himself.  Today it occurred to me that I could probably make it myself.  I stumbled upon this recipe, and glad I did as some of the others didnt say anything about pre-testing the oil with three kernels first.
    This was super easy to make and what a money saver too. My husband did mention that he would like his kettle corn a bit sweeter next time, so I will just up the sugar a bit more next time.  The kids sure loved it!

    1/4 cup Canola oil
    1/3 cup unpopped corn kernels
    1/4 cup sugar
    salt to taste

    1. Put the oil in a pot (ideally a pot with handles and a cover!) and heat to medium high.

    2. Put 3 kernels in the oil and wait for the three kernels to pop. When this happens, you know the oil is hot enough.

    3. Add kernels. They should be spread out in one thin layer at the bottom of the pot.

    4. Cover and let pop - it should start popping almost immediately. Start shaking the covered pot around to let the kernels shake around so that the un-popped kernels can get to the bottom where it's hot!

    5. When the popping seems to have slowed down a bit (2-3 minutes), dump the sugar in. I used cane sugar, but you can use normal white sugar as well.

    6. Continue shaking the covered pot around, distributing the sugar and also letting the rest of the kernels pop.

    7. When it seems like the popping has slowed considerably (1-2 minutes), remove the pot from heat and let it cool. Stir the popcorn around to make sure the sugar has evenly distributed.


    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    Melt in your Mouth CrockPot Meat Loaf and Fingerlings Potatoes

    5 stars
    The family ate every bite of this.. There was no left overs of anything tonight! 

    Still improvising cooking methods without having my oven.  Nu Wave Oven and Slow Cooker tonight! Worked out great!

    I must say that I really never have liked meat loaf, I eat it, because my husband loves it, however he does not love the frozen kinds, but those are the ones I always buy.  I hate all the grease that it leaves soaking around the meat and its usually dry by the time its cooked to the temperature I like my ground beef to be.  Until I found this recipe.  I never would of thought about making a meat loaf in a slow cooker.. How cool.   What I did was made up the meat the night before and formed into the loaf look and put into a steamer/skimmer and then placed that in the crock pot and stored in the refrigerator overnight until I was ready to turn it on.  The biggest thing for me was to either have super lean meat so it would not be greasy or come up with something that would allow the grease to drain off.. and I remember I have all these metal steamers and strainers that would work great!  I actually thought that the one I used would had fit all the way on the bottom, however it did seem to matter at all.

    Meat Loaf
    • 2 eggs
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
    • 1/2 diced onion
    • 1 celery stalk diced very small
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
    • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
    1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well (mixture will be moist.) Shape into a round loaf; place in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160-180 degrees F. 
    2. For a sauce, use ketchup, BBQ sauce and either brown sugar or molasses depending on your taste

     Fingerling Potatoes
    • 1 bag fingerlings
    • 1/2 diced onion
    • 2 small peppers diced small (red, orange or yellow)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 teaspoon rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    1. In a large bowl add all the ingredients and toss around until the oil coats all the vegetables.  Put into a large baking dish or a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 400 at 35 minutes or until you can insert a fork into the potatoes easily. 


    Friday, January 22, 2010

    Caramelized Apples and Carrots over Pork Chops

    5 stars

    I have been making this dish for a while now.  My entire family loves this dish so much. I remember in the early days, my husband would not even eat pork chops ever.  I had to get creative to get him to eat them and this was it. The sweetness and the parts for apples that caramelize is just wonderful.  My oldest son says its like a meal and dessert all in one. :)
    There are different ways you can do this, with or without the carrots, you can pre-cook the pork chops a bit before baking.  In a frying pan heat up some oil and brown both sides before putting in the baking dish.  I just put in the baking dish with some butter and bake for about 25 minutes, then turn, bake for about 5 minutes then I add my apple mixture then bake until the apples are caramelized.  The time with differ depending on the thickness of your chops. I always use the thicker ones.

    • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
    • 4 (1-inch thick) pork chops
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 apples - peeled, cored and diced
    • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine.
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
    2. Place chops in an 8x12 inch baking dish, sprinkle them with salt and pepper. 
    3. Mix in a bowl  the carrots, apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
    4. Cover the chops with the apple mixture.
    5. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until the chops are done and the apples have caramelized. Enjoy!


    Rutabaga and Potato Gratin

    4 stars-me
    2 stars-my husband (he said it was ok, but not for his taste and he did eat it)

    Rutabaga and Potato Gratin

    If you remember my post from here I realized my oven was broke just as I was putting this dish in there.  I had to get creative a bit to figure out how I was going to cook this new dish.  I have never had rutabaga before the other day. I was pleasantly surprised that I like it. It really has an unique taste.  Somewhat like a turnip or a squash I think, but texture like a potato.  Its not a very strong flavor either, at least not how I have cooked it.  I will try to incorporate it into our meals more from now on. 
    So getting this dish cooked, I could have either taking it to a neighbors house and borrowed their oven, but I decided to give out my NU-wave oven a try for something like this.  I kept it covered the entire time, and actually it did very well, but did take a bit longer than I expected because the NU-wave is supposed to cook faster, or that is my understanding.

    The next time I make this dish, I will make a few changes, like not adding butter or cream cheese.  I was not following any recipes per say on this dish, but knew I wanted a very cheesy gratin. The cream cheese did not cook well I think, maybe if I had mixed it with the milk it would have been better. Also, most gratins call for heavy cream and I didnt have any, so I used milk, I think that makes a difference as well, not a lot but mine was more runny, but also still could have been from the butter I used.
    The flavor is very nice for this dish, creamy and cheesy is exactly what I wanted.

    Over all I was very please with this and am so happy to have tried a new vegetable.  I still have to wait and see if my husband and my oldest son likes it, and I will not be telling them that it has rutabaga in it until after they eat it. :)

    Rutabaga and Potato Gratin

    1 rutabaga (peeled, sliced thinly)
    4 small potatoes (peeled, sliced thinly)
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 cloves garlic (chopped)
    2 tablespoons green onion (chopped)
    1 teaspoon thyme (chopped)
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 cups cheese, (cheddar or others)

    Heat the sliced rutabaga in boiling water for 3 minutes and set aside.
    Pour a bit of the cream into the bottom of a casserole dish.
    Place a layer of rutabaga and potatoes on top, followed by some cream and some cheese. Continue to layer ending with a layer of cheese.
    Bake in a preheated 350F oven until bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 40-60 minutes.


    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Haystack Cookies

    4 stars

    I know I have seen these before and heard of them. Maybe even had them when I was a kid.. But it also seems so unfamiliar me.  When I came across these, my husband insisted that I make them for him and that he loves them.. I was like REALLY? looking at the ingredients, does not seem like much or even that good.. But oh man they are very yummy! They are very rich and you can only eat one or two.. so making them often is out of the question.

    The origianl recipe is here. You can see I made a few changes, not adding nuts for us.

    • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
    • 2 cups butterscotch chips
    • 5 (5 ounce) cans chow mein noodles
    1. Melt both chocolate and butterscotch chips in a saucepan on low heat. Stir in the the noodles.
    2. Then drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Cool and then store covered in the refrigerator.


    Creamy Steamy Hot Cocoa

    5 stars

    Im still on a chocolate hunt..  Im completely out of chocolate chips, but I sure do have cocoa powder.  There are many things you can make the cocoa powder, from fudge, to brownies.. just about anything really.  But lets settle for something warm and relaxing like Hot Cocoa.  Oh and what about something nice to stir it with..  If you are like me, you have a ton of candy canes left over from Christmas that you are about to throw away...  So yummy.. I am not really sure why I dont eat candy canes more often, they are very yummy all by themselves.

    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 3 1/2 cups milk
    • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt and water in a saucepan. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add some whip topping or marshmallows to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.  


    Gravy Baked Pork Chops

    Monthly Rotation
    4.5 Stars

    I found this recipe on allrecipes in December of 2008. Since then I've changed it a little bit. The original recipe can be found here.

    2 Pork Chops
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    1/2 t. garlic powder
    2 T. butter
    1 small onion
    Fresh Mushrooms (canned are fine too)
    3/4 c. milk
    1/4 c. water
    1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Melt 1 T. of butter. If using fresh mushrooms, saute in butter with the small onion until browned and soft. If using canned, saute the onions alone in the butter until translucent.

    On this night I had forgotten to buy an onion, so I used dried minced onion. It tasted fine, but fresh onion of course tastes better.

    Season pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
    Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over med/high heat.

    Saute the pork chops for about 5 minutes on each side until browned.

    In an 8x8 baking dish (use 9x13 if using more chops) mix together milk, water, and soup.
    Place the sauted pork chops, mushrooms, and onions in the baking dish and cover with the soup mixture.

    Bake covered for 45 minutes or until done.

    As you can see, I lowered the number of chops used, but kept the "sauce" the same. Around here, we love our "sauce". If you don't, then you may want to cut it in half or add in the other 2 pork chops. I also added garlic because we L-O-V-E garlic here. My husband and my daughter also enjoy mushrooms and I'm learning to like them, so I added in extra for them. As for the onion, the first few times I made it without and then one night we had one and I thought, "why not" and it justs adds that little something extra. If you don't like onions, you can of course, omit it.

    I rate this one a monthly dish because it is very heavy, not something you would want every week. It is very good, but you may need to play around with the salt/pepper to get it to your taste level.

    I usually serve with a noodle side or mashed potatoes.


    Fried Rutabaga


    Can you believe I have never had rutabaga?  Its true. I have heard of it, and I like the word.. rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga.  Its sounds so cool.  But I have never eaten any, I was not even really sure what it looked like.. But once I found out, I had to buy some.  I searched for all sorts of recipes. I found one that looked really good, Potatoes and Rutabaga Gratin.. Yum! Anything with that much cheese has got to be good.  I got it all prepared and ready to go in the oven and my stupid oven is not hot. Its broke, the coil broke in half..  How in the world does that happen?  So I have this huge pan of Gratin and no oven... Darn it, I wanted to try Rutabaga so bad.  So I put the pan in the fridge and start thinking of something else to make for dinner.  I did have some rutabaga left over that did not fit, so I chopped them up smaller and decided to fry them in some EVOO and garlic..  So yum! I dont think you can go wrong cooking anything in a pan with garlic.  But I was very pleased with this little snack!  Next time I will add some onion I think, maybe even bell pepper.


    1 rutabaga (peeled, sliced thinly)
    3 cloves garlic
    1 TBS olive oil
    2 TBS butter
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 tsp parsely
    1 tsp basil


    heat up frying pan with oil and butter, add in prepared rutabaga and let cook for about 3 min then turn cook for 3 minutes then add the garlic and season, cook until garlic is getting crisp.

    Frosted Mini Wheat-White Bread

    5 Stars

    Frosted Mini Wheat-White Bread

    I kinda came up with this at the last minute as everyone was heading to bed, I was getting excited about making a new bread. I have no idea if anyone has made this type of bread before, but came up with the idea to make bread last night while reading this blog post.  I was going to make her recipe, but got diverted when I started pulling out ingredients.  That is when I thought it would be good to try something different..and Im so glad I did. This bread is wonderful!  The mini wheats are not at all over powering either.  I had some toasted with butter this morning.. Fantastic!

    This makes a 2lb loaf

    1-1/2 cups milk (room temp)
    1/4 cup Oil
    1/4 cup Honey
    2 tsp Salt
    3 cups Bread Flour
    1 cup wheat flour
    1 TBP gluten
    1 cup frosted mini wheat
    2-1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast


    Place ingredients in your bread machine per the manufacturers specifications.  Before placing mini wheats in pan, break apart or crumble into smaller pieces.

    Select White Cycle, 2lbs loaf, medium crust.

    Banana Meringue Cookies


    Banana (overnight) Meringue Cookies
    These have also been know as overnight cookies, because you leave them in the oven overnight... with the oven off of course.  You can really have a lot of fun with meringue cookies, they are so easy to make and you can add all sorts of colors and flavors to your liking.  The kids LOVE them so much and with only egg whites and sugar they are much better choice than lets say a chocolate chip cookie.

    Most important thing when making this recipe is to make sure you have stiff peaks before adding the surgar.

    I started with this recipe here.

    • 2 egg whites
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon banana extract
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    1. Preheat oven to 315 degrees F (150 degrees C). To prevent burning you can bake on an air cushion baking sheet or put parchment paper on a regular cookie sheet.
    2. Beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and banana extract until very firm. Gradually add sugar and mix.
    3. Drop by teaspoonfuls on pan. Bake 315 degrees for 20 minutes. They should only be lightly browned. 
    4. Turn off oven and leave them in the oven overnight.


    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    My favorite Mashed Potatoes and the rest of the stuff for dinner

    5 stars

    Sometimes us moms have to resort to already cooked or boxed items.  That is ok as long as the food is good. I mean taste good and all.  We like chicken fried steak and I really am not a fan of frying.. but I have found this kit that we like real well. 

    It even has the bag of pepper gravy mix inside.  We usually have 1 or 2 left over as well, so the next day I like to make a sandwich out of these too, piled high with lettuce and tomatoes.  The one thing that I do make is my mashed potatoes.   For years I have just boiled the potatoes then mix with butter and milk. Right? NOPE! I learned about 5 years ago that you can add a few more things to make your mashed potatoes something to write home about.  Ever tried roasting some garlic and throwing in there?  Its wonderful.. but tonight that is not the one I made.. I made the cream cheese mashed potatoes.  You still use the milk, the butter but also add some cream cheese and to top it off, white pepper.. not black, just white and salt... such a fantastic flavor..  Sometimes I wonder what is the side dish and what is the entree... LOL



    For Biscuits: found here
    • 1-2/3 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup bread flour
    • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled
    • 2 Tbsp. solid vegetable shortening, chilled
    • 1/2 cup cup cold milk
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees and make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. In large bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add butter and with your fingertips, 2 knives, or a pastry blender, cut in the COLD butter and shortening until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the cold milk and buttermilk and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured work surface.
    Roll the dough into a 6" by 10" rectangle. Fold one-third of the long side over on the dough, then fold the other side on top to make three layers. Roll the dough into an 8" square and cut into 9 biscuits. (This prevents scraps of dough and re-rolling, which makes tough biscuits.) If you prefer round biscuits, cut with a 2" biscuit cutter, flouring the cutter in between cuts. Make sure that you press straight down with the biscuit cutter so your biscuits will have straight sides.
    Place biscuits 1-1/2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush tops with melted butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

    For mashed potatoes:

    6 medium potatoes
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 milk
    4 oz cream cheese
    1 1/2 tsp white pepper
    salt to taste

    In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes (cut into chunks), salt, and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes
    Return the potatoes to the pan. Add the butter, milk, cream cheese and white pepper, plus salt to taste and use your blender to mash these potatoes until smooth. Leave some of the bigger potato chunks.  Serve immediately.


    Beef Ravioli

    Beef Ravioli- 3 stars

    I am not a cook or a chef, just a mom making dinner and having fun. One thing that I have always wanted to try my hand at,is making pasta.  With the start of this blog, I knew this would be something I would try very soon.  I must say, that now that I have done this, anyone can do it. It really is not that hard at all, however I have a few tips, especially for pasta ravioli, the dough needs to be rolled very very thin. A few of my ravioli was too thick, even though I thought they were thin.  The dough was very good though.  Rolling the dough did take some time to do, the dough does not roll that easy.  Also, this dough recipe really does not make very many either, so I had a ton of meat left over. So the filling you make, whatever kind you decide on, you do not need very much at all cause you are only going to use about 1 teaspoon in each ravioli.
    All in all, I am so happy that I tried to do this.. I think I want to try my hand at some other pastas... Is there a pasta maker in my future?  More kitchen machines.. OMG help me! :)

    I got my dough ravioli recipe here and I did try some of the dough before even cooking it and it tasted just like pasta.

    For pasta
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 large eggs
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons water

    For filling:
    ground beef cooked
    1 small onion cooked
    2 cloves garlic
    1 TBS Italian seasons
    salt/pepper to taste

    To make pasta dough in a food processor: Blend flour, eggs, salt, and water in processor until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding more water, drop by drop, if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.

    To make pasta dough in bread machine: Place ingredients in bread machine per manufactor settings and push pizza dough setting.

    To make meat filling: Brown hamburgar meat in pan, add diced onions and minced garlic, spices and salt/pepper. cook until onions are translucent.  Turn off heat and let cool. Transfer to food processor and process less than a minute to get all meat mixture into small ground mixture.

    Roll pasta and make ravioli: Cut pasta dough into 2 pieces, then use your roller to roll the dough out very thing into a somewhat rectangle.
    Put sheet of dough on a floured work surface and drop 6 (1 1/2-teaspoon) mounds of filling 1 1/2 inches apart in a row down center of one half of sheet. Brush egg wash around each mound, then fold other half of sheet over filling. Press down firmly around each mound, forcing out air. (Air pockets increase the chance that ravioli will break during cooking.) Cut pasta (between mounds) with cutter into 3-inch rounds. Line a large shallow baking pan with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and dust towel with flour, then arrange ravioli in 1 layer in it. Make more ravioli with remaining pasta dough, 1 sheet at a time, and remaining filling, transferring ravioli to lined pan.

    Cook Ravioli: Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add ravioli, carefully stirring to separate, and, adjusting heat to keep water at a gentle boil, cook until pasta is just tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander.

    Do ahead: Dough can be made (but not rolled out) 4 hours ahead and chilled, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Ravioli can be made (but not cooked) 4 hours ahead and chilled in lined baking pan, covered.