Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner – Salad Dressing Machine

So while perusing my recently purchased 5 in 5 Cookbook, there was this fun little recipe for Turkey Cutlet with Brussels Sprout Salad

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I’m still weaning Zack into the world of brussels sprouts (and myself for that matter) and I’d never made a dressing per se (marinades sure, but never a dressing) so I was a touch worried about how everything would turn out, but like any other recipe, as long as you follow the directions, you’re usually safe. Well, the vinaigrette salad that went on top of the salad drove Zack to eating seconds! That almost never happens with him and vegetables so I knew this had to be a success.

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I couldn’t find the recipe online and I don’t want to be infringing on any kind of copyright so just do yourself a favor and get the book. It’s worth the money, I promise. Or, check out this website with vinaigrette variations… it’s got a great list of recipes is full of great variations, and I’ve made 3 so far. All delicious, but my favorite is the parmesan-pepper. It’s great on a pasta salad. It’s so much cheaper than regular salad dressing, and a lot of them make great marinades. Plus you can make just as much as you need, and not have salad dressing bottles hogging up your fridge door (even though they still do at the moment).

So, anyway, as I was eating the brussels sprouts I was thinking about all the other things this dressing would be good on, and I kept coming back to thinking it would be good on some fish. It seemed like a perfect combo, with a few modifications. So, I bought about a pound of cod (for Zack and myself, but it could’ve served a 3rd) and made up the following recipe:

Dressing turned Saute Sauce: 

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sherry vinegar 
3 tablespoons of whole grain mustard 
2 teaspoons of garlic (or 3 if you’re like me and like a lot of garlic)
1/4 cup fresh chopped tarragon
1/2 cup butter** 

Instead of using a whole cup of oil which is what the dressing would call for, I just used about half a stick of butter. Maybe a little less. I thought a cup of oil sounded a touch ridiculous in anything other than a dressing.

I should mention first and foremost, since I rarely recommend gadgets/appliances, that there is one that I consider one of the best devices ever:

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I think it’s called some kind of “shaker dressing mixer” or something to that effect. It’s by all the kitchen gadgets in Bed Bath and Beyond, and I even saw them at Dick’s for mixing protein shakes or something. They have prettier ones too. I wouldn’t set mine out at the table after making a dressing, but the prettier ones? I totally would. So, onto the recipe…

– Heat up a skillet, and melt the butter on a medium heat.

– Take the non-butter ingredients and toss them into the shaker and mixed it up for about a minute (or pour all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk), pour the mixture in with the butter in the pan.

– Add the fish. and turned it over a few times to get it covered in the mixture.

– Lower the burner to med/low and put a top on the fish for about 10 minutes.

It’s kind of hard to time fish but mine was a pretty thick, so mine took around 10-15 minutes to cook but it varies a lot based on the thickness of the fish. It’s important to just cook it until it flakes apart. It’s one of those things you just have to try until you get it right. And make sure it’s never translucent in the center. Hopefully it won’t take you too many tries to get right! haha. I mean worst case you throw it back in the pan and cook it a little longer.

I served the fish with some green beans and carrots (ok so it also had pancetta, and garlic). I kind of wish I’d made some rice too, but it was really good either way!

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So anyway, hope you all enjoy!

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Sunday Dinner – Testing some new recipes

So now that American Idol is finally over, I’m basically wondering when Top Chef is starting. We also have a garden that is fully done as far as the planting/cleaning portion is concerned. Now we are just waiting for those home grown vegetables to grow!

Anyway, I think all these things lead me subconsciously, to cooking a lot more. Winter lasted so damn long I was just buying cookbooks to bide my time…. I was really happy with my selection.

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My neighbor Noelle told me about this one by Michael Symon. She said all the recipes she’d tried had been good and most cook really fast as long as you are prepared with all your ingredients when they start. We’ve cooked a few so far and I don’t think any have taken longer than 30 minutes. So far, I’ve made the Frittata with Fontina and Fried Salami (amazeballs), he taught me how to make some dressing that I ended up using in a fish recipe the other day (that’ll be on the blog at some point because it was good times). The newest one I tried was also a take on another recipe. I think I’d do it differently, if I did it again, but it was good! Good as hell, if you will…

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Yup, Eggs in Hell. This is actually a bit of a donated recipe to the cookbook, as it’s actually Mario Batali’s recipe. No wonder it’s so delicious! No offense to Michael Symon, of course.

Anyway, the recipe said to make the recipe and then top it with bread, but I decided it might be fun on top of some pasta. What isn’t fun on top of pasta?

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What I was actually most worried about were the eggs. For one, I’m not usually a “runny egg” fan… I like them fried, as nature intended. However, I’m always one of those people who likes to try something every couple of years, to see if maybe my taste buds have changed their minds. It worked with oranges and most citrus, tomatoes, bratwurst (still not with grapefruit, tuna fish, pickles or olives). I wanted runny eggs to be one of those things I like. They just look so good.

So, since I don’t really like my eggs that way, I never have to cook them that way, so this runny egg recipe was something I’m not familiar with. It seemed a lot like poaching an egg, except instead of water, it was tomato sauce. We actually made twice the sauce and kept half to freeze and eat later because it was good. My husband and I both like some zip on occasion, and this was a great way to accomplish that. And it’s simple which I love. I do not like a sauce with 100 ingredients. This one had 5. Garlic, onion, jalapenos, tomatoes and basil (crushed red pepper, optional, we opted).

I thought the eggs were a tiny bit overcooked but when we punched into the eggs, they were definitely runny, so I suppose, mission accomplished.

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So, do I like this particular recipe because the egg gets pretty mixed into the pasta and just kind of becomes part of the sauce. I still don’t think I’d like it on my plate at breakfast with just toast to wipe it up with. Blech. I’m not there yet. But this way, it was really good.

So anyway, check out the book. It gets 2 thumbs up from this girl!

photo 4Oh, it’s also good topped with some parmesan cheese for that saltiness. I used linguini because it was what I had, but I would’ve preferred if it were angel hair pasta. And I do wish I’d had some good crusty garlic bread to go with it!

And one more time, in case you missed it, get the recipe, RIGHT HERE! 

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Shrimp and Brussel Sprout Pasta

With Zack out of town this week I had two things in mind:

1. Make everything that Zack doesn’t like and I do, and get my fill of it
2. Try not to go grocery shopping, just try emptying the ridiculously full refrigerator.

This recipe accomplished both. I knew I needed to use up the brussel sprouts before they went bad (leeks too but that’s for another recipe). I also really wanted to eat some fish because Zack is never in the mood for seafood. Well, I didn’t have any fish but I had shrimp.

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After some googling to see that recipes including those two ingredients existed, I figured I could give it a shot. I’ve only made brussel sprouts one other time and that was in a salad so I knew I’d have to figure that out. I decided to roast them and get everything else ready while they were cooking (who knew they’d take 30 minutes in the oven at 400°F).

I’m not going to lie, this all takes probably an hour or so from beginning to end, and a fair amount of dirty dishes but it’s one of the better recipes I’ve thought of recently. Here’s how it goes. Oh, and trust me, read all this through before you start the recipe so you get the timing right.

Ingredients for the Brussel Sprouts

1 lb brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Pasta and Shrimp

1/2 box of the pasta of your choice (I went with linguine because it’s what I had)
1 lb of large peeled and de-vained shrimp (I took the tails off but you certainly don’t have to)
1 small yellow onion (or just use 1/2 cup of frozen diced onion, which is what I used)
1 diced green pepper (or 1/2 cup of frozen diced green pepper)
2 teaspoons of olive oil

Ingredients for Mozzarella Cream Sauce

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2/3 cups mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 large teaspoon of crushed red pepper (I probably used closer to a tablespoon because I like it spicy)

*This recipe serves about 3 adults. If you make a bit more pasta it can easily serve more!

So here’s how the order works:

1. Prep the brussel sprouts and begin cooking the brussel sprouts
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut off the bottoms of the brussel sprouts and quarter them, then mix all the remaining brussel sprout ingredients EXCEPT the parmesan, in a bowl. Pour out onto cookie sheet and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. Then put it in the oven. That’s really all you’re doing with the brussel sprouts. They’re going to cook for around 30 minutes and I do recommend stirring them up about halfway in.

2. Begin to boil the water for the pasta

3. In a large saute pan, begin cooking the onion and green pepper in a small amount of olive oil.
When the onion is translucent, add the shrimp and turn it down to low to let the shrimp cook (for about 5 minutes if your shrimp is cooked and frozen, 8 minutes of it’s raw)

4. When the water is boiling,
Put your pasta in the water. At this same time, you want to take the shrimp mixture out of the saute pan and pour it into a large serving bowl.

5. Using the saute pan your shrimp was in, begin your sauce
You want to add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and butter and saute on low until the butter is melted. Then add the cream and parmesan and whisk for about 6 minutes. Then add the mozzarella and whisk slowly until the mozzarella is melted. Around this time your pasta should be done (if you’re cooking linguine).

6. Combine the drained pasta, shrimp/onion/pepper mixture, and the cream sauce.

7. Top with the roasted brussel sprouts and a dash more of parmesan for looks.  

8. Enjoy!

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Pork and Pineapple Enchiladas

Hi folks!

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe up here but my dinner tonight was just too good not to share! Really easy too which is ALWAYS a plus! I always like doing leftovers a completely different way. It makes the pain of eating leftovers that much less. And let me tell you, we had a hell of a lot of leftovers.

Yesterday we made some pork bbq using the nectar of the gods…

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Yes, that’s Mermaid BBQ, but this is their Pineapple Teriyaki, which we’ve only used once before. I was excited to try it with something else (the first time we made it with chicken on the grill).  It’s so freaking good. Like most of their sauces! And I only say most because I’ve only tried 2 (and their rub) but they have more that I need to get to trying!

So back to the leftovers. I had made some pulled pork sammies but as we were eating them my husband had mentioned that he wasn’t sure what I was planning to do with the pork. I asked him what he meant and he was all, “Well, I dunno, I was thinking you might do like, tacos or something.” Interesting. I hadn’t thought of doing anything but sandwiches but as soon as he said it I got to thinking about it… and I’m glad he mentioned it because they were delicious.

Ingredients

3-4 cups of pork bbq*
1/2 bottle of Mermaid BBQ Pineapple Teriyaki sauce (you’ll be using another bottle and a half if you make the pork)
1/2 bag of mixed sliced peppers (or 2 fresh peppers, sliced/diced)
1/2 bag of diced onion (or 1/2 of a large onion, diced)
1 large can of crushed pineapple
2 cups of cheddar cheese
1 package of 10″ tortillas, any variety you like.

*If you’re making the pulled pork, you’ll need about a 5lb pork shoulder, 2 onions (rough chopped), and 2 jars of Mermaid Pineapple Teriyaki BBQ sauce (which we cooked in 1.5 bottles of the BBQ sauce, in our slow cooker for about 8 hours – it had been a 6 lb pork shoulder).  

So, as for how the process works, it’s pretty simple.

First you want to pre-heat your oven to 350. While that’s heating up, you’re going to re-heat your pork to a warmer non-fridge temp (if you’re not using fresh pork bbq) so that you’re not putting it into the enchiladas cold (1 minute in the microwave should be enough). Then you want to saute the peppers and onions in a pan until the onions are translucent, it should take about 8 minutes or so.

 

You then want to lay out your tortillas next to your pan of pepper/onion mixture, your opened can of pineapple and your pork, so as to have a nice little assembly line. Fill each tortilla in this order – 2 heaping tablespoons of the mixed pepper/onion mixture,  1/2 – 3/4 cup of pork, and 2 heaping tablespoons of the crushed pineapple. It’ll look a little something like this:

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The fold the tortilla up, and lay them into the pan. Then you want to top the closed tortillas with the 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce. A few heaping tablespoons of pineapple spread out evenly (about this much – see below)

 

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Then you want to finish it off with your cheese, and put it into the oven for about 20 minutes. When everything is said and done you’ll have something that looks like this:

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See all that delicious crispy cheese on the side? I like to finish it off with the low broiler for like, 3 minutes, but watch it so it doesn’t burn because boilers are a tricky mistress! But, a nice crispy top cheese layer is worth the risk!

I served it with some rice and refried beans and it was sooo yummy! The pineapple was such a delicious addition to the enchiladas and made them really refreshing but at the same time it was very filling. I couldn’t even finish my whole enchilada…. ok I did, but it took me a few breaks.

I hope you like them!

 

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Grandma’s Tacos with a Twist

I’ve posted my grandmothers recipes on this site a time or two and this recipe is no different. Well, maybe it’s a little different. Not where it counts though. Not the most important thing. What’s the most important thing? I’m glad you asked. That’d be the taco shells. That’s the key to making them hers.

Maybe I should formally introduce you to my grandmother, first. World, meet Peggy:

This is my favorite picture. It was taken either on her wedding day or close to it. Probably just close to it. I don’t really know. Wasn’t she pretty? Pop, my grampa was a pretty attractive guy too. They made a cute couple. She cooked a lot, and he ate a lot. So as you may be able to tell, back in days of yore, my grandfather was in the Navy and my grandma’s favorite thing was to soak up the culture of wherever they were. And by culture, I mean cuisine. They lived in such exotic places as Guantanamo Bay, Japan, New Jersey, and Coronado. This recipe comes from the locals of Coronado. Thank god for Coronado. And my grandmother. I remember the first time my mom took us to Coronado and Old Town San Diego. It was after my grandmother had passed and we went to this little mexican restaurant and I was shocked. They actually made tacos JUST like my grandmothers! It was amazing. I hadn’t had them in years and it was so awesome to be brought right back to that delicious food memory. For an Irish girl she made some mean tacos.

It was shortly thereafter that I decided I would just have to try to make these for myself. How hard could it be? Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s a touch harder than you’d think.  And the key/difficulty was in the shells. I’m not gonna lie and say I made the tortillas or anything. I’m not THAT good.

Here’s how it works though. You need to get corn tortillas. Not the tortillas that are in the refrigerator section, the kind that are in the bread section of the grocery store. I don’t know what it is about the ones in the refrigerator section but they are NOT the same.

Then, you want to get a small skillet. Just big enough to fit the shells. You can use a bigger one but really it just wastes the oil. I like to use my little 8″ skillet. Fill that up with any oil, just not olive oil. I use canola or vegetable. Heat it up at medium high heat. You’ll know it’s ready when you can drop a little piece of the tortilla into the oil and it sizzles. ** NOTE – make sure you watch the oil and that it doesn’t burn. If it looks like it’s cooking too fast turn down the heat. The oil will remain hot and if it starts to cool down you can turn up the heat again but you do NOT want to burn the oil or you’ll be in for a world of gross tacos. 

Place the tortilla into the skillet and fold it in half, holding the top half above the oil with some tongs. Hold it there for about 30-45 seconds, and then flip it over and do the same thing again with the other side. Then you want to sit them folded side up on a paper towel (that is nowhere near your hot oil – we don’t want a fire). Sprinkle some salt on them and that’s it. There’s a fine line though between soggy tacos and perfectly chewy. The perfect taco is mostly crunchy but with some chew to it. You just have to try it a couple of times. I think I made this recipe two or three times before I really got it. It’s also nice to start just by making chips. And the chips are way easier.

For the chips, you want to just cut the tortilla into quarters, and drop them into the oil. Flip after about 45 seconds. When you take them out, pat them with a paper towel, then salt them, and that’s it. Also, make a lot of them. Your family is going to want to eat them en masse. They’re the best tortilla chips you’ll ever eat.

Now, here’s how I make this recipe my own. See, every time my grandma made the tacos it was exactly the same. Seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, and salsa. It never changed. I made them this way all the time at first but then I discovered my love of the fish taco and I thought, yes, I must make grandmas tacos but with fish.

The best way to make a fish taco? Well in my opinion there are 2 secrets. The first, fish sticks. They’re perfect for tacos. The second, bloomin’ onion sauce. Yeah. I still add the lettuce and tomatoes but I don’t use cheese, sour cream or salsa. As for the bloomin’ onion sauce, it’s super easy. I used this recipe:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use the smart balance fake mayo)
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon creamed horseradish

It’s delicious and the perfect compliment to the fish. And that’s it for the recipe. I hope you make them, and I hope you enjoy them.

And don’t forget the chips!

Categories: Grandmoms Recipes, Recipes, Sunday Dinner | 1 Comment

Sausage Pepperjack Pasta

It’s been a while since I did a recipe. Things have been busy. My sister got married, I joined a gym… I’ve mostly been eating salads. Tonight was different though. Tonight I was inspired by wanting to try this new chicken sausage I bought. I perused some recipes but didn’t really have the right ingredients so I just tried one of those “refrigerator dump” recipes. And it looked a little something like this:

So lets get on with how I made the magic happen.

Ingredients: 

1 chicken sausage (polish/kielbasa style), sliced about a half inch thick
Half bag of frozen mixed peppers*
Half a bag of frozen chopped onion*
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon of garlic
1 cup of water
1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
vegetable oil
*if you want to use fresh it was the equivalent of 2 peppers and a medium onion

Directions:

First we cook the sausages. Take a saute pan and pour about a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil , on medium high heat. Throw in the sausages and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Just make sure you watch it so that it doesn’t get too burned. Crispy is ok though (and in fact, delicious).

Once you take off the sausages (set them on a plate for the time being), start boiling the water for your pasta. While you’re waiting for it to boil, take the peppers and onion and put them in the saute pan you used the sausage for, for about 5-10 minutes, until the water starts boiling is a good amount of time.

Add in the pasta into your boiling water, and add the garlic, the can of tomatoes, and the cup of water. Then add the sausages back into the saute pan also, lower the stove to low heat and cover the sauce.

When the pasta is complete, drain it about put it back into the same pot. Add the butter and pepper jack cheese and stir until it’s melted. Then place the pasta in your dish and put the sauce/sausage on top of the pasta! Voila! All done. Enjoy!

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Spinach Meat(less)balls

As promised, I’m finally here with my recipe for the Spinach bites I made for my sisters wedding. With a slight modification this time, but pretty much the same.

This time though, instead of an appetizer, I used them as a meatball substitute. I like most Italian things, and I like most meats, but two things I’m not a fan of – are meatballs and meatloaf. So instead of making spaghetti and meatballs last night, I made spaghetti and spinach balls!

And they were as delicious as the first time I made them. I also made the same large recipe as I did the first time and froze half. Here’s hoping they hold up! So without further adieu, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

4 cups of grated cauliflower
1 bag frozen spinach
1/4 – 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese (I just used a handful or so)
2 eggs (or 3 egg whites)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (I use panko)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup of melted butter, unsalted
dash of salt and pepper
3-4 slices of bacon, finely chopped (optional)

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Putting this recipe together is pretty straight forward.  First, you cook the cauliflower and spinach. The spinach, as directed on the bag, and most importantly, DRAINED! The cauliflower, you just throw in the microwave with no water, and cook it on high for 6 minutes. Then you want to combine those two ingredients, with all of the remaining ingredients, stirring as you add the ingredients. As for the bacon, I only added them to half the balls because I had to convince my husband to try them and you have to throw bacon into anything that has spinach, or it’s a losing battle. So that’s what I did.

You want to ball these guys up, to about golfball size (it’s ok if the mixture is a little wet). If anything go smaller but not bigger. About this size… haha. Also notice I lined the pan with aluminum foil. I always do this for anything I’m cooking on a cookie sheet. Always.

Cook them for about 20 minutes but watch them because sometimes they go longer. You want them to have a nice brownish twinge to them, kind of like this:

And that’s it. Nice healthy spaghetti toppings! I hope you enjoy them!

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Cauliflower pizza

Let me just state this is NOT an original recipe. It was the first time I’ve made it and I have some comments about it, but it’s not my recipe.

I was under the impression that I hate cauliflower. I think it smells weird, and raw, I do hate it. Completely. However, I’ve heard a lot about this “cauliflower pizza crust”. At first I thought, bizarre and that cauliflower was vile. Then I had two friends on special diets that tried it, and loved it, so that made me start to consider it a little more. Then I made these spinach cauliflower bites for my sister bridal shower (a recipe I have yet to get you, which I apologize for). That recipe proved to me that cauliflower aint half bad when disguised with different things.

With that, I decided to make it, and hope for the best. I shopped a few recipes around like this one, which seemed good but I wasn’t familiar with this website so I continued searching. Then I found this one from sparkpeople which is a great website I’m a member of, but the fennel? That I know I hate. Fennel and Anise are two spices I just can’t get behind. Finally I saw this one. The Recipe Girl is my jam. I’ve made a lot of her recipes and she’s never steered me wrong so I went with hers. Plus, the pineapple and ham combo is a personal favorite as far as pizza toppings.

I will say that I tested my chops and made this entirely organic! That never happens in this household so I was kind of proud of myself! The spices might not have been but other than that. Here’s what we ended up with:

Yes, you’re seeing that right, I ate it with a salad! Usually I like french fries with my pizza but I am turning over a new leaf… for dinner tonight. We’ll see how long it lasts.

I made the pizza exactly as the recipe tells me to. With that, I have a few minor recommendations for you:

1. Don’t cook the cauliflower for 8 minutes. I know it says temps vary but I’m pretty sure my microwave was made before I was born and it doesn’t have a ton of power, and  I think 8 minutes was a little too much. I think 6 minutes max, is the way to go.

2. Don’t cook the pizza crust for 15 minutes and THEN look in to see if it’s done. I set my timer for 13 minutes and the edges were already a little crispy. So, my recommendation is, got for 10 minutes, and when the edges start to get a little twinge of brown, take it out to add your toppings. Once you put it back in the oven, the crust is still going to cook for another few minutes so it won’t be undercooked, I promise.

3. Make your own sauce. Come on! Do it. You know I did.

4. Definitely make sure to use at least 3 cups of cauliflower. It shrinks down a lot. While I’d say this recipe is enough for 2 people with a side, that’s about it. I’d make two if I was cooking for more people.

Those are my only recommendations though, and I think they’re minor. Other than that, this was DELICIOUS. You couldn’t even tell it was cauliflower and my husband was proof. He knew it was something different, and did ask why our kitchen smelled like broccoli, but that was all he noticed.

One more time, here’s the Recipe Girl recipe. I highly HIGHLY recommend it!

Categories: Recipes, Sunday Dinner | 1 Comment

Fun with Salt Blocks

A few  years ago, my husband and I were watching Iron Chef America and one of the chefs were cooking this fish and when he plated the dish it was on this giant pink block. Zack and I were very intrigued. Up until this point we believed giant blocks of salt were meant for horses and livestock. Kind of like this:

I don’t even know why they give these things to animals. Luckily, this isn’t what the salt block on TV looked like. That salt block looked a little more like this:

How delicious does THAT look. Well this year, I was lacking a bit in Christmas ideas and Amazon took me to a search of cooking gifts and that lead me to a giant salt block, available in numerous sizes. So I went with it and got an 8″x8″ salt block. We’d been trying for a few months to figure out exactly what to cook on it. We didn’t really have any recipes to go by, and nothing in any of our cook books told us anything about cooking on a giant block of salt. Luckily, we’re adventurous so we just said hey, there are a lot of pictures of the block with tuna so lets try that!

So we found a tuna marinade that consisted of soy sauce, cilantro, honey, ginger, some siracha and a few other things. We let the tuna marinate for about 30 minutes while we prepared the salt block, and then threw it in the oven with the pre-heated salt block (we just followed the directions that came with the block as far as cleaning and preparing). Because tuna is to be served a little on the raw side, seared if you will, so it didn’t take long at all. We just had to sit and wait for a few minutes longing to eat our delicious salty fish…

I will say that next time we will not be putting cilantro, or at least, as much cilantro, into the marinade. Other than that, it turned out super great! We were so happy with everything! We served it with some rice, and green beans with peppers in a butter sauce (which were phenomenal).

All in all it was a fun adventurous dinner and it was pretty cool to try something totally new! We’ll do it again for sure but cleaning the salt block is a bit of a pain in the ass because you can’t use soap. That just doesn’t sound right in my brain but a lot of people use it so I’m just going to go with it! Things that aren’t dishwasher safe are a little beyond me, but it is fun to use this thing every now and then. I think next time we’ll try steaks! I hear we can use this bad boy on the grill and me likes the sound of that.

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Because I’m Italian

I feel like with my Italian heritage, I should’ve done this years ago but in fact, in my almost 30 years, I’ve never done it. What’s that “it” you may ask? Well, for the first time, I made pasta! Ravioli to be exact. And it actually turned out really well (after two tries). There are two reasons I never attempted home made Ravioli. First, we don’t have the pasta maker attachment for our kitchen aid and I kind of thought that was a necessary pre-requisite. Secondly, I never used to like ravioli. I had a strong (unwarranted) hatred for Ricotta cheese. It always grossed me out how lumpy it was (I still won’t eat cottage cheese). Now, I’m not really sure what my younger self was thinking! How did I miss out on 5 cheese lasagna? Stuffed shells? Ravioli and tortellini?  I’m making up for it nowadays though. Lasagna is our traditional Christmas eve dinner, after all. So without further adieu, here’s the recipe we used.

We made the pasta from this recipe. That was our second attempt recipe. In our first attempt we used a recipe that called for water instead of olive oil and it was terrible. It was far too gluten-y. When we tried to roll it out, it looked a little like this:

Even after what felt like 20 minutes worth of this:

After finding the Tyler Florence recipe though, we were cooking!

As for the filling we kind of just kept adding things until it tasted right. Here’s what we ended up with:
1 cup – Part-Skim Ricotta
1 cup – Mozzarella (buy it fresh and shred it)
1/2 cup – whipped cream cheese
1/3 cup – shredded parmesan.

We also added a few bread crumbs (maybe a quarter cup), about 3 tablespoons of an oregano, parsley and garlic mixture. It’s mostly Oregano with a touch of parsley and garlic. It’s our own homemade Italian seasoning. With all those ingredients, we ended up with this beautiful mixture, which we tried our best not to take too many samples of but it was nearly impossible.

Then the ravioli process began… We just used about a tablespoon sized scoop to lay out the balls of cheese.

Then you brush around the cheese balls with your egg wash so that when you fold the pasta over, it’ll stick together. The obvious next step was then to fold the pasta in half to cover the cheesey balls. We gently pushed down the dough to connect everything, and then used a pizza cutter to slice them all up. And then we repeated the process with the leftover dough from round 1.

After everything is sliced up, you still need to push out the extra air pockets that form, and then use a fork to squish together the pasta and prep them for boiling. They were bigger than I expected but no bigger than what you’d get at a restaurant. We got about 20 raviolis and had some leftover cheese mixture when everything was said and done. We basically just snacked on that with some bread because it’s delicious.

Also, I was clearly the better ravioli maker in the family, compared to my husband. The prettier raviolis are mine.

Here’s my hand to show about how big they were. Like I said, rather large, like my weird looking hand.

We actually made these on a Saturday and cooked them for Sunday dinner. They held up really well in the refrigerator and still tasted nice and fresh when we cooked them up. We also made our own sauce but that’s something I always do. Canned sauce is a big no no in my family. Trust me when I tell you it’s one of the easiest things to do and the taste is just infinitely better! That recipe is a family one though, so in case I ever become famous, I’ll save that recipe for my own personal vault.

The raviolis could not have turned out better and I was really thrilled I can now say I’ve made my own pasta! It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to do it again! I already have some recipes in the works. Most notably with my favorite current ingredient – butternut squash! mmmm…

Categories: Recipes, Sunday Dinner | Leave a comment

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