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Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese

I came upon this recipe while trying to find a way to use up some leftover potatoes. Often I chop them up a little and throw them into a saucepan as hash browns to have with breakfast. Or I use them to make Bubble and Squeak. I found this recipe, calling for baked potatoes strained thru a ricer, mixed with egg and flour to make a dough, and was intrigued. But with no idea how to actually say the name of the thing I was making.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

If you had been a fly on my wall listening to my pitiful attempts to pronounce “gnocchi”, you’d have been horribly embarrassed for me. I pronounced the “g” sound, and instead of saying “key” for the cchi, I said “chee” like the start of cheese. It was really sad. My husband laughed right in my face and asked what on earth I was saying. If you are interested, here’s how it is supposed to sound. And, how my kids responded when I taught them how to say it. Talk about blind leading the blind.

 

Gnocchi comes in many varieties and have been around since the days of the Romans, when soldiers would mix a semolina porridge-like dough with eggs.  Since I’m fairly certain the Roman legions didn’t go around with ricers in their tunics, I thought I could probably figure out a way to make these without one too. Even if it is a potato variety. Romans didn’t own Cuisinarts either…but I do! I tossed my leftover potatoes in there and started whirling away.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

Pulse until no lumps remain. Then with your clean hands, combine the potato mash with  two egg yolks, some salt and flour.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

Until you have a firm, but still a little sticky dough.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

Cut into four even pieces and roll each into a long rope.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

Using a pastry cutter (or knife) and a fork. Cut into small pieces and then press with the fork to make ridges.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

Repeat until you’ve used all the dough. These can be boiled and served immediately, or frozen on a cookie sheet then transferred to a plastic bag in the freezer for up to a month. At this point, they reminded me of butter mints.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

You need two burners going to cook these babies up. One for the water so you can boil your little potato pasta gnocchis. And one for everything good in the world to get down in. Butter, garlic and Italian parsley hanging out. You know that’s gonna be good. Let the butter melt, then toss in the garlic and parsley just as the gnocchi dumplings start floating.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

Dunk your gnocchi into the pot of boiling water. They’ll bob up to the surface as they cook. Let them go another minute or two (no longer!) and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

And transfer them to your butter/parsley/garlic pan. Swish the pan around to get them all coated nicely (this should take under a minute).

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

Slap those gorgeous babies into a bowl, sprinkle some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano on top and go to town. Every little nugget is perfectly soft and wrapped in flavor. Like a cheesy, fragrant pillow of buttery goodness.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

The original recipe said this makes 4 servings. They must be serving dainty little princess eaters. I ate half the recipe single-handedly. If you are serving this as a first course, you could probably get away with a smaller portion. But as a main dish, you’d need to double the recipe to get 4 servings, unless you’re friends with really tiny people. Or, keep it simple and just eat all of these yourself. I won’t judge.

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese

Potato Gnocchi With Butter and Cheese
adapted from Food and Wine

2 pounds leftover potatoes (about 4 – enough to yield about 2 cups flesh)
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Garlic, minced finely
Italian parsley, chopped

Scoop the flesh into a ricer and rice the potatoes (or in your food processor). Transfer 2 slightly packed cups of riced potatoes to a bowl. Stir in the egg yolks and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the 1/2 cup of flour; stir until a stiff dough forms. Knead the dough gently until smooth but slightly sticky.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and dust with flour. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 4 pieces, rolling each into a 3/4-inch-thick rope. Cut the ropes into 3/4-inch pieces. Roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make ridges; transfer to the baking sheet.
In a large, deep skillet of simmering salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then simmer for 2 minutes longer. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Toss garlic and chopped parsley into the butter just before adding the gnocchi. Using a slotted spoon, add the gnocchi to the butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve.

Make Ahead The uncooked gnocchi pieces can be frozen on the prepared baking sheet, then transferred to a resealable plastic bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Boil without defrosting.

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Homemade Egg Noodles

Sometimes recipes happen as a byproduct of life. You have plans for your day that include relaxing in the sunshine, maybe reading a book and then BOOM…you are making noodles from scratch like you are Caroline Ingalls or something. There you stand in your kitchen, covered in flour asking yourself “what just happened?”.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Such are the circumstances of my first foray into making noodles from scratch. I was reading Mr. Putter and Tabby Catch the Cold and when the title character got chicken soup from his neighbor, my kids exclaimed how much they love chicken soup! I decided to make some for lunch before checking the pantry for noodles. Clearly I needed to go grocery shopping (who doesn’t have noodles!?) – but I was watching a couple extra kids and figured  it would be easier to occupy them with a noodle making project than wrangle them all into the car and thru the aisles of a store. What can I say, the choice made sense in my head at the time. I hold women who manage grocery shopping with 4+ kids in VERY high regard! I don’t have a fancy pasta press, cutter, drying rack, or attachment for my Kitchen Aid. Nope. Just my hands, a rolling pin and some adorable little helpers.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

I’ve decided that some things appear overwhelming because they are unknown. Like noodles. They really aren’t difficult to make at all. They just seem scary. Summer is here – I highly recommend this for kiddos lolly-gagging in your house claiming boredom. Pasta making kept two high-energy five year-old boys occupied and engaged for over an hour. And I’m sure there’s a benefit to fine motor skills here too.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

A few simple ingredients in a bowl and the dough comes together lickity-split. Let it rest about 10 minutes, then roll it out nice and thin. This dough was incredibly easy to work with. No sticking, no frustration, just a nice flat canvas for our noodles. I let it air dry a few more minutes before trying a trick I remembered seeing (somewhere – no idea where) about cutting nice even noodles.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Don’t cut yet. Roll your dough. Yup. That’s the trick. Instead of attempting to cut in a straight line thru the vast expanse of a big dough sheet, roll it up. Like so. Kind of like making cinnamon roll cookies.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Then, cut off the end and you have a dough spiral that can just get unrolled into a perfect egg noodle. Now, you can use this dough for other kinds of noodles too. Just change the shape you cut it into and you can make ravioli,  farfalle, lasagna or many other kinds of basic noodle shapes.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

This is where the reinforcements came in very handy. I cut little dough spirals and the munchkins unrolled them and draped them over some bowls. You can see I have two dough rolls on the table. That’s because I cut the dough in half and then rolled it up. I didn’t need noodles that were three feet long.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

In no time at all we had used every big bowl in the house for draping noodles. Let them dry a little while – I let them alone in the fresh air while I finished up some soup details.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Then, just plop them into some boiling water (or in my case, soup broth) and cook until al dente. Which, for me was around 3 minutes.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

I didn’t use all these noodles in my soup. I saved some to see how they tasted just boiled in water with a little cheese on top. Delicious. The chicken noodle soup was perfection and got thumbs up from all my little noodle slurpers.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Check back for the full soup recipe in a week or so. Mmmmmm. It was gooooooood.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Homemade Egg Noodles

Homemade Egg Noodles

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled slightly

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the beaten egg, milk, and butter. Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.
2. On a floured surface, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Allow to rest about 10 minutes. Cut into desired lengths and shapes.
3. Allow to air dry 30 minutes before cooking.
4. To cook fresh pasta, in a large pot with boiling salted water cook until al dente (2-4 minutes)

White Vegetable Lasagna

There are times in life when the only thing you can do for someone is feed them. When no words can soothe, a warm favorite food meal may provide some measure of comfort. Packing a casserole with goodness and love because it’s all you can do is occasionally part of this thing called life. The sucky part of life. This lasagna is perfect for such a time. It is also great for a weekday dinner for your family. Who, you should hold close. And tell them you love them. Give your kids an extra hug today while you’re at it. Because life is precious.

[Read more…]

Veggie Lasagna

I tried, but I can’t give up my noodles in lasagna. I just can’t do it. The idea for this recipe came from a zucchini lasagna I saw on Pinterest. When it came time to slice up the squash to replace the noodles, I chickened out. Tangent – why is it chickens get such a bad rap? Are they really cowardly? Anyone know? I saw some at the zoo the other day (yes, my kids love looking at the most boring of animals), they didn’t seem particularly afraid of us…I wonder when chickens became the scaredy cats of scapegoats? Anyway, I decided to use all veggies in place of meat instead.

[Read more…]

Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata always ends up being my second choice when it is on the menu at a restaurant. I have good intentions, but just never end up ordering it. Something about capers I think. They are one of those foods that I feel like I’m supposed to like, but have never really fully joined the bandwagon. I feel the same way about pesto. I try it all the time, and it’s always just ok. “Fine” and “ok” don’t cut it when I’m paying for a meal. I hate wasting a dinner out on food I’m not going to be in love with. So, the piccata always takes a back seat. I decided to make some myself to verify the caper conundrum. Do I like them? Or not? I found this recipe on my cousin’s blog and since she LOVES chicken piccata, I figured if any recipe was gonna float my boat, this one would. I was right. It was excellent. Capers and all.

[Read more…]

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

Meatless Monday strikes again! This is one of my very favorite pasta dishes. Full of veggie flavor and rich creamy pasta. It comes together quickly and is good for parties, potlucks or just an evening at home with the family.

Not the most photogenic dinner in the world but oh so tasty. Enjoy!

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake
adapted from Budget Savy Diva

14 oz of Orecchiette Pasta ( or short pasta)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup of Chopped Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic ( Minced)
1 Cup of Sour Cream
4 oz of Cream Cheese ( Room Temperature)
3/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
10 Oz of Spinach ( Make sure to squeeze excess moisture, after it has been thawed of course)
13.5 Can of Artichoke Hearts rinsed and chopped
1 Cup of Mozzarella
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Instructions
  1. Preheat Oven To 425°
  2. Cook pasta according to the box. Keep 1/4 Cup of the Pasta Water before you drain the cooked pasta.
  3. Heat oil in pan and cook onions for 8 – 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute.
  4. In a large bowl – Mix Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, Parmesan, onions, and garlic. Add Pasta and mix.
  5. Stir in spinach, artichokes, 1/4 cup of cooking liquid from the pasta, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and 1/2 Cup of Mozzarella
  6. Place mixture into greased 2.5 – 3 qt casserole dish and place the rest of mozzarella cheese on top
  7. Place in the oven till golden brown on top – about 10 – 15 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

Apple Cheddar Penne Pie

Or as I’ve decided to call it: Fancy Pants Mac n’ Cheese. I love everything about this dinner. First of all, anything that I get to eat as a main dish with “pie” in the title is awesome in my book. I’ve always heard how great cheese is on top of apple pie (but never been daring enough to try it myself). This cheesy pasta has apple chunks mixed in so it works off that same pairing. And it is incredible. Finally, I like using all my kitchen pans. I hate to think  any of them are lonely in the cupboards. My springform pan is generally relegated to cheesecakes, but got to participate in dinner tonight. Chalk one up for the little-used pan!

The tart apples balance out the rich creamy goodness of two kinds of cheese in this dish. I used an extra sharp cheddar to make sure there was enough bite to go along with the lush cream cheese. Yummy!!

Just look at that. Mmmm. Gorgeous. The crunch of the panko around the edges is just perfect.

Yum. Yummy. Enjoy!

Apple Cheddar Penne Pie
from BHG “Make and Take” cookbook

2 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
12 ounces dried penne pasta (3 1/2 cups)
2 cups chopped, peeled tart cooking apples (3 medium)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion, such as Walla Walla
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup apple cider
6 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut up
1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the softened butter. Sprinkle sides of pan with 1/3 cup of the panko to coat; set aside. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon softened butter. Stir the remaining 1/3 cup panko and 1 teaspoon of the thyme into melted butter; set aside.
2. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than directed by package directions; drain. Return pasta to pan; set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook apples and onion in the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Add flour, salt, and pepper to saucepan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and apple cider. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Add cheeses and the remaining 2 teaspoons of thyme; stir until cheese melts.
4. Add sauce mixture to pasta; stir to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved panko mixture.
5. Bake, uncovered about 40 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Let stand on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Using a serated knife, cut pie into eight wedges. If desired, top with fresh thyme sprigs. Makes 8 servings.

Mom’s Spaghetti

There is no food I have eaten more than spaghetti. I grew up in a family of 7 with one income and a mom who homemade dinner every night. Spaghetti was a staple. It feeds a crowd, is simple and inexpensive to make and is just comfort food at its finest. Everyone has things they like or don’t like in red saucy pasta. If you like mushrooms, throw them in. I often do. Also, my mother recently shared that she adds a little bit of sugar to her sauce usually. It takes the bite off the acidity of the tomatoes. It’s funny how comfort dishes just taste better when mom makes them. Regardless of how many times I make this myself, I’ll always prefer getting it in my parents dining room. Nostalgia is the best seasoning there is.

I’ll always be thankful to my mom for the years I saw her in the kitchen. I always assumed that baking and cooking was second nature. That it just kind of happened because there were always amazing meals and delicious treats.

Now that I’m the homemaker, I appreciate the energy it takes to constantly plan and prepare meals and I realize that I never thanked my sweet wonderful mother enough. I think I’ll call her and do that now.

Mom’s Spaghetti
from my mom

1 pound ground beef (or you can use turkey)
1 large onion, finely minced
28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
8 ounce can tomato paste
1-2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, cook onion and meat until no longer pink. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer 1-2 hours.

Vegetable and Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

Boy, the Italians sure know what they are doing with food. I could stay happily fed for the rest of my life with all the varieties of cheese, pasta and red sauce from that region. This by far my favorite vegetarian dinner. Full of spinach and broccoli and oozing with cheesy goodness wrapped in a pasta shell and smothered with rich tomato sauce. You could easily turn this into a lasagna by layering the cheese mixture with noodles and sauce. Or, mini individual  appetizers by layering it with wonton wrappers, and sauce in a muffin tin. All of them would be absolutely delicious! [Read more…]

Mediterranean Chicken Bake

This quick casserole includes great flavors like artichokes, tomatoes and olives. Tossed together in with chicken, pasta and cheese it takes boring chicken casserole to a new (delicious) place. It’s an amazing meal for a busy weeknight. You could use any leftover chicken you’ve already cooked, shred up a rotisserie chicken or quickly cook up some fresh chicken to use in this dish. I paired this with my Pear and Feta Salad and some hearty rolls for a perfect easy Friday night meal. Yum yum! [Read more…]

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