Monday, February 28, 2011

Pasta Ai Quattro Formaggi

“Ho studiato l’italiano per quattro anni.” Or, “Mi piace mangiare la torta,” that’s all I remember from Italian class. ~Which translates to, I studied Italian for four years, and I like to eat cake. I wouldn’t be able to find myself a bathroom in Italy, but I could find cake. ~he hee. And if you speak Italian, please don’t check my grammar. Ok, food.

This is another recipe from the Pioneer Woman, I love her!! I changed it up a little bit, using spinach pasta, and throwing in some KALE! Thanks to myzenpulse.com, it’s now one of my new favorite vegetables, my picky husband even said he liked it better than spinach! What?? Did he notice it’s GREEN? And…. HEALTHY??? To further cancel out some calories on this creamy comfort, I served it with more cooked kale, and baked chicken, seasoned with lavender and rosemary. Mmmmm, I want seconds. Hope you enjoy my new favorite macaroni and cheese for grown-ups!

A note about the garlic. My aunt once taught me ~ the smaller the food is, the more the flavor will disperse. I have problems leaving my onions, celery, and carrots the size of my eyeball. SO, I am now in love with the garlic press! As my mother and aunt can attest, I hate gadgets! But the garlic press is not a gadget, it’s now a kitchen necessity. No more peeling garlic, no more mincing and mincing and quickly chopping moving fingers. Place your cloves straight into the press, and SQUEEZE! Garlic finely minced – and flavor dispersed.

I also made some cheesy garlic bread along with this to use up those little bits of cheese leftover. Broil real sourdough slices until toasted. Paint slices with melted butter and more garlic sent through the press. sprinkle some cheese and toast again. YUM. Make sure to toast long enough to mellow out that fresh garlic, it will be pretty spicy otherwise.

~Peace, Love, and 4 Types of Cheese Ya’ll!

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Pasta Ai Quattro Formaggi

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta, I used spinach artichoke, made in Texas
½ cups Grated Fontina Cheese
½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ cups Grated Romano Cheese
½ cups Goat Cheese (chevre)
2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
1 cup cream, half/half, or whole milk
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through the garlic press, or minced
½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Minced Fresh Parsley to garnish! (but who has time to garnish? Just EAT it!)

Directions:

Boil pasta according to package directions in water with a little salt, remember, al dente. (which literally means "to the tooth" - it should have a bite to it, not squishy) My local pasta only cooked for 3 minutes! Pretty fresh! Drain pasta, then return to the cooking pot. Pour in cream, add butter, and add cheeses and salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine, adding hot pasta water as needed for consistency. Don’t overmix; if there are little clumps of cheese here and there, it’s fine! Also add your minced garlic and a few pieces of sauteed spinach or cooked kale. Taste and add more salt if needed. Mixing stage should happen very quickly.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicken and Dumplin’s

My chicken and their dumplins were feeling fat. Or, my thyme time was limited. Let’s face it, chicken and dumplings are not the most attractive dish to photograph. But what these puppies lack in show, ooooh girl, they make up for in flavor. They grasp you in their little dumpling arms and give you that cozy mama dumpling hug. You’ll feel like you just woke up on a winter morning and your mama was making you some feel better food! Minus the needing to feel better part. They just make me feel happy!

YES America, dumplings make me HAPPY! These cook up so fast, they would definitely qualify for what’s her name’s 30 minute meals, and without 24 ingredients! PLUS, you’ll be relieved to know I used a shortcut and bought one of those delicious rotisserie chickens from HEB (that’s our primary source of grocery items here in the great state o’ Texas). I think that added a nice touch of “ahhh, 10 more minutes on the couch.”

After you decide how much you LOVE this recipe, please thank eatathomecooks.com for this recipe, and then thank me for bringing it to you. Seriously.

Alrighty ladies and some gentlemen, gather your household staples, and let’s get to cookin’!

~Peace, Love, and Dumplin’s

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Chicken and Dumplin's

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups Flour
½ teaspoons Baking Powder
1 pinch Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup Milk
2 quarts Chicken Broth
3 cups Cooked Chicken (1 rotisserie chicken)

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. Stir in the milk, mixing with a fork until the dough forms a ball.

Heavily flour a work surface. Roll the dough out thin with a heavily floured rolling pin. Cut the dough into 2 inch squares, triangles, hearts, whatever your feeling. I made mine sorta into strips. And then I rolled some into balls for the hubs because it was his birthday and that's what he wanted. 🙂

To cook them, bring the broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in one at a time, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on them will help thicken the broth. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes or until they not doughy tasting. Don't leave your chicken broth unsupervised or it will dance its way out of the pot and all over your clean stove. (See? Learn from my mistakes people! Didn't your mother always say that? Or was that just mine?) Then, drumroll please : ADD YOUR CHICKEN. Some salt and pepper. Spin around and throw some salt over your shoulder. Muwaaah! You're done! Don't forget to cook your veggies with this meal for a balanced diet. I like corn niblets in butter sauce and broccoli.

 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Scones

“No, I don’t want chocolate cherry scum.” Yes, those words came out of my husband’s mouth. “No, SCONES I said.” Sheesh. Then I brought them to school. A colleague said: “Those chocolate biscuits you made were really good.” WHAT?!  Call them what you want, but they’re good. And halfway nutritious.

Ok, maybe not halfway, maybe a quarter nutritious? Cherries contain melatonin, anti-oxidants, essential amino acids, and anti-inflammatories. Suuuure, you’d probably have to eat 1 3/4 pounds of cherries to get the same benefit as an Advil, but they’re YUMMY.  Baaaack to the recipe, this is a good base recipe which you could add anything your heart desired, I already have my next batches decided upon: cinnamon, cinnamon apple (just for the hubs, not for me, yucko), apricot, chocolate chip, and PUMPKIN. mmmmm.

*Oh yeah, a word about using dried fruit. I made these before with dried apricots and they came out really chewy. Like – it hurts my jaw to chew so much – chewy. So this time, I chopped my dried cherries and put them in a glass dish, covered with 1/4 cup of water, and microwaved for a generous minute. Perfect! Re-constituted fruit! Grandma would be proud. Ok, let’s get cookin’ good lookin’. That’s right, I’m talking to you cupcake. Yes I called you cupcake. On with the recipe!!

Give me a holler and tell me what you think!

~Peace, Love, and Breakfast Biscuits Ya’ll!

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Chocolate Cherry Scones

Yield: 12 scones

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 T baking POWDER (read carefully here Jenelle, he heeee)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 butter, chilled
1 cup filling (chopped reconstituted fruit, chocolate chips, whatever butters your biscuit)
3/4 cup half and half
1 egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut butter into mixture of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add filling and toss to mix.
In a separate cup, beat together 1/2 and 1/2 and egg, and slowly pour into dry ingredients, stirring until dough forms. Knead just until it comes together, 3 or 4 times. Don't overhandle, or you-know-who will call (the tough biscuit police).
Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured board, shape each half into a 6 inch round. Cut into 6 wedges, depending on the size desired for your scum, I mean scones!
Bake on ungreased sheet, or your favorite pizza stone :), about 20 minutes. Serve warm!