Monday, October 5, 2015

Spinach Pasta

We received a pasta machine for our wedding and we finally made homemade pasta! It was a fun afternoon making it with Ryan and sipping on some wine. This pasta is made w/ whole wheat and spinach and the pasta does have a bite to it. We rolled the pasta out to 3 on the machine, which is thin, but I think the whole wheat flour does change the texture a little bit. This recipe was really great and we finished the pasta w/ lemon zest, fresh parm, pepper and olive oil. With the fresh pasta, I believe it needs a delicate sauce so you really can taste the pasta. Really liked this recipe, but I am interested in trying an all purpose flour next! I used this recipe
Spinach Whole Wheat Pasta Dough
Serves 4 people

2 cups spinach leaves
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
2 eggs
1/2 cup water (for steaming spinach)

Step 1: Boil the water and drop the spinach leaves in until they are fully wilted. Drain the water but save it in a bowl for later. Put the spinach into a blender or food processor. Blend the spinach until it liquifies. You may need to add in some of the reserved water.

Step 2: Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well with the flour to crack the eggs into. Then, add the salt, pepper and spinach purée. Mix the well’s ingredients with a fork until they are well blended. Then start incorporating the flour.

Step 3: You’ll quickly get to a point where the fork seems useless and your hands would be better suited for the job. Wipe off the fork and start mixing the ingredients into a dough with your hands. If the mixture seems too dry, add some of the spinach water. Likewise, if it’s too watery, add more flour. Just use your best judgement. Knead the dough for up to 10 minutes to strengthen the gluten.

 Step 4: After kneading the dough, let it rest at room temperature for an hour (or if you want to use it the next day, put it in the fridge). you can either put it in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or just completely wrap it in plastic wrap, which is what I did.

Step 5: Roll out the dough on a clean, floured work surface, so it can fit through the pasta machine. Then start using the pasta machine to make desired pasta. Keep dusting the machine and finished pasta with flour to ensure it doesn't stick together.

Step 6: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and slowly drop your noodles into it. Be sure that your noodles are thoroughly floured so that they don’t stick together. (The excess flour will come off in the water). The thinner they are, the quicker they will cook (4 minutes or less!). Serve up with favorite sauce!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

A few nights ago I was craving something sweet, so I checked the cupboards, found a cake mix, but no frosting on hand! Luckily I had all the ingredients to whip up a quick frosting.
The key thing about making a homemade frosting is to have the butter softened. Would make again in a pinch!

Homemade Chocolate Frosting
6 TB butter, softened
2 2/3 cup of confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 Hand or stand mixer

-Leave butter on countertop to soften
-Place butter in bowl and beat with hand/stand mixer until creamy
-Add sugar & cocoa, mix until blended
-Add vanilla, then add milk in small batches
-Enjoy on cupcakes or cakes in a pinch


Monday, August 10, 2015

Watermelon Salad

This recipe hails from the Newlywed cookbook and this one caught my eye w/ its' use of summer produce!

I will make substitutions on cooking recipes for whatever I have in the house to make sure that I am using the produce quick enough. I used romaine lettuce, since that is what I had on hand, but the recipe calls for a more bitter lettuce like arugula and I do think it would have been great with it too.

Verdict--would make this again for a nice summer meal to accompany any grilled meats. The dish is best served icy cold from the fridge.

Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad

-Romaine Lettuce/arugula lettuce
-Goat Cheese
-Balsamic Vinegar
-Good drizzle of Olive Oil
-Salt & Pepper to taste
-Wash the lettuce and put a small layer on the bottom of a shallow bowl
-Add thinly sliced watermelon, small pieces of mint, pistachios, crumbled goat cheese, salt, & pepper on top.
-Then a light drizzle of balsamic and olive oil

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Coconut-Lime Rice w/ Black Beans & Mango

This is another recipe from the "Thug Kitchen" cookbook and it is delicious! The original recipe says it serves 4-6 as a side, but truly it could feed 8 or more comfortably! My favorite part of this was that makes a large portion, is nutritious, and has a tropical vibe to it. The ginger and onion makes the rice super flavorful and savory. The coconut milk doesn't make it taste sweet, just a nutty, creamy, and a little tropical taste to it. If mango is hard to find or not your favorite fruit, it would be great without it too.

Verdict--would definitely make again. I ate this for lunch for several days, was good with a runny egg on top, and would be good accompanied with fish, chicken, or pork!

Coconut-Lime Rice w/ Black Beans & Mango
Serves 8 people as a side dish
2 cups short-grain brown rice
2 teaspoons of oil
1 cup diced shallots or onion
1 1/2 TB minced fresh ginger
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 mango diced into bite size chunks
1 1/2 cup cooked black beans or red beans
Grated  zest and juice of 1 lime
Chopped cilantro or green onion for serving

- Rinse rice under cool water. Heat up the oil in medium heat, add onions, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add ginger and sauté for a minute. Add rice and sauté until rice is starting to get golden and a little roasted (about 2 minutes).
- Add the coconut milk, broth, salt, and cayenne.
- Bring up to a simmer, stir, then cover until rice has absorbed most of the liquid (about 30 minutes)
- Add the beans and let the rice finish cooking for another 10 minutes.
- Stir in the mango, lime juice, and zest.
- The chopped herbs are good to add on top right before serving.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Grilled Tofu w/ Avo Sauce

Here is another recipe out of Giada's "Feel Good Food" cookbook. I really do enjoy her light recipes that have bold and fresh flavors! I like to cook up tofu from time to time, which makes for a fast meal with a good source of protein. I usually will cook my tofu by first cutting it, then placing it between paper towels, then place a cutting board on top. This allows for the extra water to be removed, then it can absorb more flavor or be able to get crispy.
Verdict--I did enjoy tofu this way, but the true star was the avo cream sauce that is actually dairy free! I would use that sauce on any Mexican food or as a dip. It was so easy to make and kept well for a few days in the fridge too.

Grilled Tofu w/ Avocado Creama
Tofu Ingredients
1 12oz firm tofu container
1 TB dried herbs de Provence**
3/4 tea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Avocado Creama Ingredients
1 ripe avocado
1/3 cup of EVOO
Grated zest from 1 lime
1 TB lime juice
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water w/ a little salt
1/2 cup of fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
**If you don't have Herbs de Provence,
than dried Italian herbs or Greek seasoning is a good substitute
Tofu Directions:
- Cut the tofu into 1/4 inch slices, then diagonally make another cut, so it is a triangle
- Place the tofu between paper towels, then a cutting board on top to remove the extra water (about 15 minutes).
- Pre-heat grill pan or bbq on medium heat, with a little oil
- Put the herbs de Provence, salt, & pepper on tofu and place into hot pan.
- Cook for three minutes per side or until there are golden grill marks
Avocado Creama Directions:
- Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
- Spoon the Creama over the tofu and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mango-licious Tilapia

Only within the last few years have I really learned to love eating fish and making it at home now too! I started out like some seared ahi and realized it was really good, to sushi, to cooked fished too.
This recipe caught my attention because when I cook fish, I do like bold flavors to accompany it.

Mango-licious Tilapia
Ingredients for Fish:
4 tilapia fillets
2 TB olive oil
1 1/2 TB grated orange zest
1/4 cup of oj
Salt, pepper, & red pepper flakes to taste

Ingredients for Salsa:
1 small red onion finely diced
1 avocado diced
2 tomatoes diced
1 lime zested & juiced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced
1 TB fresh grated ginger 
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
salt to taste

- Pre-heat oven 400 degrees
- Combine all the fish ingredients together and let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes in a baking dish with sides.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes
- While the fish cooks, combine the mango, onion, avocado, tomatoes, lime zest and juice, jalapeno, ginger, cilantro and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a glass bowl. Stir to blend and set aside at room temperature until fish has finished cooking. Place fillets on a platter and spoon the salsa over them to serve.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Vegan Artichoke Dip

Was looking for a quick appetizer to make for when company comes over and this recipe caught my attention with its' simple ingredients, healthy, and quick to get to the table! 

Verdict--would make this recipe in a pinch, but I prefer humus more than this. I also like the artichokes more in pasta or in my families' artichoke dip recipe w/ a fair amount of mayo and parm in it :)

1 14oz can of artichoke hearts drained
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon of EVOO 
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: place all ingredients in mini food processor and pulse together until smooth. If the consistency is off, just add a little more water or oil. Garnish with fresh herbs and splash of oil. Serve with veggies or pita wedges!