Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

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Tamed Tuna Casserole

March 10, 2014

I  know, I know…you’re turning up your nose. No one “loves” tuna casserole, in addition to the fact that it is loaded with  fat and carbs. I encourage you to try this version.. just once.. I guarantee you will put it into your menu cycle.  With Meatless Mondays, Lent, and the cost of meat soaring, now is the perfect time to try this. Using half spaghetti squash and half pasta you are cutting your carbs significantly. Because the  spaghetti squash brings a creamy texture to the dish, you can also cut down on fat from added  cheeses and milk.. No flour-y roux in this either. And if you “really” can’t stand tuna, cooked chicken is  always a viable alternative. The end result was such a hit I do not  have step by step pics,  but thought it was  worth sharing.

1/2 lb. angel hair or spaghetti, cooked and drained

1/2 roasted spaghetti squash, made into strands (directions here)

1 large can solid white albacore tuna, in water

1 C. Ricotta cheese

1/2 C. Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

1/3 C milk (I used 2%, fat free  would work as would cream)

1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (any salty dry cheese will work )

1 t. Old Bay

1 t. dried dill

1 t. pepper

1 T. butter

1/4 C. bread crumbs or panko

A sprinkle  more of  Old Bay, and dill for the top

Combine ricotta, milk , Parmesan and seasonings. Prepare pasta and drain. Mix with strands of spaghetti squash.While pasta and squash  are still hot, mix in ricotta until it is evenly distributed throughout.

Add the tuna, and break the chunks up so it is also evenly distributed  throughout the pasta and squash. Pour into a 9×9 pan.

Optional: Dot with  a little butter and sprinkle bread crumbs or panko on top.

Pre heat  350 degree oven. Bake 40 minutes until brown and bubbly.

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Served with some asparagus on top, this looks like a gourmet dish!

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I made this tonight with a few tweaks.. added some peas and carrots, a little more spaghetti squash and some Whites Only eggs..I didn’t think I could improve on this but it was even better than the other times I made it. Topped tonight with  scallion greens, red pepper flakes and sriracha on the side…

tamedtunacasserole

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No Carb “Noodles”

January 12, 2014

Yes, you read that right. Zero carbs, as in none. Would this qualify as a “real” noodle? I don’t see why not. All that is missing is  the flour. The texture is smooth, and it holds up to  a bold red sauce (gravy to my Italian roomie Lo), and can be made delicate enough for a clear soup.  What I especially like is you can  really flavor it up, and  add a new dimension to what you are making. I love layering flavors, and this is a good way to do just that. Seasoning possibilities are endless.. some suggestions: oregano for  a  red or meat sauce, soy if you are having Chinese…Cayenne and  curry powder for Indian dishes. Even a spoon of grainy mustard to use under Divine Dijon Chicken! Use a spice to compliment the dish you are making. Nicely filling too, without  that  oh em gee I ate too much feeling. I use one egg for soups and two for pastas. Since  I was making a Thai soup just for myself,  the recipe is for one egg.

One egg

2 T. water

1 T. scallion or parsley, chopped fine

1/2 t. hot chili oil, optional (good in chicken based soups for heat)

Beat very well. I don’t like clots of white in my eggs!  Add your seasonings. I have chili oil in mine, hence the slightly red spicy coloring. Pour into at least a 9 inch pan. Even with 2 eggs you want this on the  thin side. If you are using more than one egg, use a small ladle to make each serving. Think noodle, not omelet, even though  for a few minutes it is  going to look like one! Tilt your pan  in a circular motion to form your  “crepelet”. When it is set (as in a pancake little bubbles will form on top) flip over for a minute or  so. I like them to be cooked  through, almost well done.

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Remove from pan. When cool enough to handle, carefully begin to roll your crepelet into a log.

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Taking a sharp knife, julienne the roll to make your “noodles”. Thinner for soups, and wider  ribbons for sauces.

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NOODLES!

Add to  your favorite soup or top with anything…really, I mean it.. anything!!

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Pumpkin Gnocchi With Sage Butter

December 1, 2011

What a delicious and different way to use pumpkin! This recipe was shared by a co- worker on a facebook cooking  page. Since I am always in search of not only great recipes,but  ways to kick up my vegetarian repertoire this looked like a go.I’m glad I did!  What a fabulous,filling fall recipe! (which can be made year round of course! ) We devoured it. You can “unvegetarian” it by adding  slices of cooked apple sausage,or tiny turkey meatballs.I think it would also go well tossed with my Heart Happy Alfredo. However you choose to make it, it is a keeper.Enjoy!

Dough

  • 1 (15 oz.)can pumpkin puree’ (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 2 & 3/4 C. flour (I used white,I’m sure whole wheat would work as well)
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg.,1/4 t.white pepper,1/4 t. salt

Sage Butter

  • 1/3 C. melted butter
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic,finely minced
  • 2 T. butter
  • 8 sage leaves,finely minced

 Topping

  • 1 whole onion, sliced thin and carmelized(optional)
  • 10 mushrooms sliced thin, sauted with onions(optional)

Begin carmelizing your onions and mushrooms for your topping if you are doing this.That way they will be done when the gnocchi are.

Stir flour,salt and pepper together. This assures even distribution of your seasonings in your dough. Combine with can of pumpkin.The original instructions said to drain the pumpkin of excess water.  I found there was such a small amount I would skip this next time, as I almost lost the pumpkin down the drain! Your dough will be soft. Don’t overwork the flour or the gnocchi will be tough. If the dough is too sticky, add small amount of flour a little at a time. (I didn’t need any extra).Allow the dough to rest  10 minutes in the fridge.

Don’t forget to check on your onions and mushrooms!

In a small sauce pan add the melted butter, sage and garlic. Heat on low until ready to pour over cooked gnocchi.

Lightly flour the area you  are going to roll your dough.Remove dough from fridge.Divide into 6 equal parts on floured surface.

Roll into long ropes, about 12-14 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Cut the ropes into 1″  pieces, and roll lightly on the floured surface.Continue making the gnocchi with the rest of the dough. Place on lightly floured baking sheet.These can be made ahead and refigerated until you are ready to use them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.Add the gnocchi and cook about 7-10 minutes. The gnocchi will rise to the top when they are done.

Drain well. Immediately pour hot sage butter over the hot gnocchi and toss well. The smell is amazing! Top with carmelized onions and mushrooms.

Grate cheese over all, and serve extra cheese tableside. I served this with creamed spinach as a side. A tossed or Caesar salad would go nicely as well, or as Libby said some broccoli rabe. Enjoy!

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Baked Angel Hair Pasta

April 27, 2011

For years I tried to obtain the perfected “baked spaghetti”.Like Goldilocks I could never find the one that was “juuuust right”.  Finally I received a most interesting recipe from a friend, a few tweaks of my own and here it is. This is a great when you are asked to bring a dish to share, as it never fails.Creamy and moist, and holds its shape without falling apart.If you are tired of conventional lasagnes and shells,you will love this.

  • 1 lb. angel hair pasta (you can use any regular to thin pasta strings- we prefer the delicateness of the angel hair and how it holds together)
  • 1 stick of butter cut in tablespoons and at room temp
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz. shreddded mozzarella
  • 1 C. shredded GOOD Quality parm (please no green cans!)
  • 2 C.  Sauce- your choice but it works best with a thicker sauce.I use my Eggplant Tomato Sauce,or what you are seeing here is some frozen Red Cherry Pepper Sauce I had in the freezer- thumbs up on this one)
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • Italian Seasonings, driedparsley,salt ,pepper to taste

Lightly coat a 9×13 pan with olive oil. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.Boil salted water and cook pasta to al dente. While pasta is cooking beat butter and eggs and 3/4 of the parmesean together. Add seasonings.Drain pasta and cool just a bit, so it doesn’t scramble eggs. Add warm pasta to egg mixture,stir until just combined.Add seasonings and stir until evenly dispersed.

Pour into baking pan and flatten out mixture.Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Evenly spread sour cream over all.

 I sprinkle a little more Italian seasoning  over sour cream too.

Evenly pour sauce over top,cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle mozarella, remainder of parm and  a few more shakes of seasonings on  top to give it color.Bake about 15 minutes until cheese is gooey and lightly browned.

Cut and serve with garlic bread … you will make this again and again for your family and friends.

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Cabbage and Noodles (Haluski)

March 17, 2011

Lately my Mom has been on my mind -more so than usual. She lives in another state and I don’t get to see her as often as I would like. I wish she had been able to live with us as she wanted, but since that was not possible I often make the comfort foods that remind me of her. With cabbage on sale for St.Patrick’s Day,I am choosing  to honor my Mom with a very simple dish she loved. Though I love a good corned beef, I always omit the cabbage as it just doesn’t give this vegetable the taste it is capable of having.You will find the cabbage in this carmelized sweet, and peppery at the same time.It brings back warm wonderful memories of the very best friend and Mom a girl could have.I love you Mum ❤

  • 1 medium head cabbage,cored and diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion,diced
  • 3 T.butter
  • 1 lb. medium wide flat noodles,boiled in salted water,set aside
  • black pepper- lots of it!

Boil the water for your noodles. Drop noodles in  for about 8 minutes,drain and set aside.Add a bit of butter to them so they don’t stick.

Melt butter in large saute pan. Add onion and cabbage.Stir to coat all pieces with butter. 

 

 Sprinkle a layer of pepper over all.Black pepper has oils in it.Adding it while cooking brings out the oils and infuses it thoughout the dish.

 Brown your cabbage slowly. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour for it to look like this. It’s now ready to add the noodles to it.

Add the noodles to the cabbage in the pan-so that you get every morsel of flavor in them.Stir in a bit of salt and like my Mom did,I add more pepper!

Transfer to a large serving bowl.This is one from a set we had when I was young.Serve hot as a side (perhaps with your corned beef!) or by itself. A bowl full of loving memories for me.

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Saged Brussel Sprouts and Pasta

December 28, 2010

What? You don’t like Brussel Sprouts? Honestly,you don’t hear many nice words about these mini cabbages. A few I asked said they like cabbage, but ewwww, no brussel sprouts. Ok. They aren’t in my top ten either-or my kids. I somehow feel an obligation to keep trying a vegetable until I have exhausted all ways to make it taste good. Try this recipe- just try it.I promise it will change your mind. The quick dip in the boiling water (blanching) takes the bitterness out that most people dislike.Your house will not smell for days either!  The addition of fresh sage and a tiny bit of nutmeg is a marriage made for the most particular taste bud.

  • 2 thick slices of bread,toasted well,and crushed into crumbs
  • 1 pint Brussel Sprouts (I used 14-next time I will use more)
  • 8 oz. pasta
  • 4 T. butter
  • 3 cloves garlic,grated
  • 12 leaves fresh sage
  • salt &pepper to taste
  • dash of nutmeg,1/4 t. at most
  • 1 C. freshly grated parmesean cheese

Toast your bread and make your crumbs.If you want to kick up the calories you can butter the bread,but it is not necessary.I crushed the crumbs in a plastic bag,and left them rather large rather than “bread dust”!!!

Prepare your sprouts. Cut out the core and peel the  leaves. Warning: This takes some time!! It took me about 15 minutes to core and separate 14 sprouts. It’s worth it- I just wasn’t expecting it to be so labor intensive! (plus- I told the kids this was a really quick meal and they were starving – so allow a little extra time to get these little guys apart -or don’t tell anyone dinner will be ready in 15 minutes!) After the sprout prep-the rest of the recipe goes very fast.

Boil your salted water and cook your pasta to al dente.Remove pasta from  water with a slotted spoon and put in your serving bowl.(don’t drain so you can use the boiled water to cook sprouts)

Blanch the brussel sprouts in the pasta water for two minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

In a saute pan,melt 1 T. of the butter and 1 garlic clove on LOW heat.Do not burn the garlic.If you do THROW IT AWAY! It is never worth the loss of some butter and garlic if you burn the garlic.There is no fixing this bitter taste.Saute the blanched sprouts for about 5 -7  minutes in the garlic butter. Pour them over the pasta in your bowl.

Using  the same saute pan you used for the sprouts,heat the remaining 3 T. butter and garlic with the sage leaves.(again on low so as not to burn the garlic.) Stir the leaves to cover with butter, and saute for about 8 minutes.

Pour the butter and sage over the Brussel Sprouts and pasta.Season with salt,pepper and nutmeg.Add half of the grated cheese and toss well. Taste a piece of pasta and adjust salt and pepper. If the pasta is too tight – meaning stuck together- not light and easily separated, add a splash or two of the pasta water.

Top with rest of cheese and bread crumbs. Soooo pretty and soooo good.Our new favorite pasta recipe!

 

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Kugel (Noodle Pudding)

November 20, 2010

Every Jewish family has their version of  kugel. Made with potatoes (usually savory) or noodles (on the sweet side) eggs, and seasonings and  baked. I hesitate to call it a pudding but by definition it is.Not quite custardly either. My recipe is a combination (I think!) of how my Mom and my Aunt Lena made it. Not many of the family recipes are written down.  It doesn’t last very long when I make it,the kids love it and so do I.It makes a nice and different side and is filling enough to eat alone for lunch.Or as a snack..or dessert after you’ve had it as a side for dinner! You get the idea-it’s that good.

  • 16 oz. bag medium wide noodles (sometimes called ribbons)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C. cottage cheese (I use small curd -no fat)
  • 1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese(no fat or fat)
  • 1 C. sour cream (no fat is fine)
  • 1 C.crushed pineapple
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1/2 C. apricot preserves ( or blackberry- whatever you prefer)
  • 2 T. cinnamon
  • 2 T honey

Boil noodles just to al dente. Do not overcook them.Transfer them to a lightly buttered 13 x 9 deep pan. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.

                                                                                                                     TWINS!!!!

Add to egg and cream cheese mixture in no particular order: pineapple, cottage cheese,  sour cream,  vanilla and one tablespoon of cinnamon.Stir til well combined.

Pour mixture over noodles and stir to coat. By spoonfuls drop the preserves  in rows about an inch apart.

Push the preserves down a bit so that they are covered by noodles.(hide them so to speak ) Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of cinnamon. (We also like extra cinnamon as you can see- you decide amounts for what your family likes!) Drizzle the honey over the top.

Cover with foil and bake one hour at 350 degrees. We like the top a little crunchy so I uncover and bake about 20-25 minutes longer. Otherwise keep it covered and bake same additional time.

Remove from oven and cut into squares.