Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pantastic Pasta

This is a meal I came up with to use up odds and end of leftover vegetables. The type and the quantity of veggies change every time I make this, but I usually end up with 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound of veggies. Then I mix 1 to 1 1/2 oz of pasta per person. Don't cook the pasta as long as the box says because it will cook a little more in the frying pan.

Pantastic Pasta
1 to 1 1/2 oz dried pasta per person
2 to 3 oz chicken, shrimp or whatever protein you like
1/3 to 1/2 pound mixed veggies per person (I used broccoli, sun dried tomato, 1/2 yellow pepper, mushrooms, red onion and 1/4 red pepper)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Italian herbs

 Put a pot of water on the stove and bring to boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, chop the vegetables into bite size pieces. Put oil in a skillet and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and thicker veggies (broccoli, peppers, red onion, etc If you were using smaller veggies like spinach, kale, etc. save until adding the pasta. Add shrimp with small vegetables.)

When the water boils add the pasta and cook until it is a couple minutes away from being done. When pasta is done drain and add to veggies. Now add any lighter vegetables as mentioned above and shrimp if using. Cook for another minute or 2. Serve and top with drizzle of olive oil, shredded parmesan cheese or chopped parsley.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup

 I could have titled this how to destroy a KitchenAid blender in one easy lesson. When pureeing the butternut squash in the is recipe I filled the blender 1/2 full as per the instructions. I then pureed the squash. It was very thick so I added a little more liquid and threw the switch. I heard a grinding sound and  noticed nothing in the blender was moving. I immediately switched the blender off. When I lifted the container off the base and found a bunch of ground up plastic. The teeth that make the blades turn were destroyed. Luckily I have a food processor and was able to finish pureeing the squash. Since the blender was a few years old we threw it out, as it turns out you can buy replacement gear and we could have just replaced that gear. We looked at the new models and they no longer have that type of gear to drive the blades.

This is a very simple soup with lots of flavor sweetness from squash, savory from red peppers, spice from hot sauce.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
1 2-3 lb butternut squash
2 red bell peppers, cut in half cored and cleaned, or used purchased
Liquid to make soup consistency you want. I like it thick, so I added 1 can flow fat condensed milk and some 1/2 and 1/2. You could add milk, vegetable or chicken broth or even water. The size of the squash will also make a difference in how much liquid you need, so you are going to have to use your judgment on this.
Dash of hot sauce.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut squash in 1/2 and clean out the seeds and stringy gunk. Cut each half into 1 inch pieces. Toss squash pieces with olive oil and place on cookie sheet. If roasting peppers toss them with oil but don't add them to cookie sheet yet. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes until squash is caramelized. Add the peppers with 25 minutes to go, but watch them so they don't burn (the skin might get black and start to peel). Remove any large pieces of burnt skin from peppers.

Add enough squash and some red pepper to blender to fill it 1/2 of the way. Add some liquid and puree. pour this into a saucepan. Keep doing this until all of the squash and red pepper has been pureed. Heat over medium heat until soup is hot. Add hot sauce until it is to your liking.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

I was chosen by  Colette from Cakes, Bakes and Other Bits  as one of her 5 Liebster Blog Award winners. Colette is a blogger from Ireland that I connected with after returning from my trip to Ireland. Colette's blog is about her travels around Ireland, an occasional savory recipe but mainly about baking. Thanks Colette for giving me the award.

This Award is about promoting smaller blogs with less than 200 followers, which you think deserves special recognition.

There are a few simple rules to follow. In order to accept the award, the recipient will:-

Thank the person who gave you the Award, and link back to that person's Blog

Copy and Paste the Award to your Blog

Choose 5 more blogs to award, and let the writers know by leaving a comment. Here are the 5 blogs the I selected.

Jenn and Seth from Home Skillet A mixture of sweet and savory recipes with good photography.

Heather from Pretty Peas A unique mixture of recipes and good photography.

Kathy from Easy Skinny Life Healthy recipes, exercise and other healthy tips and tricks.

Janis from Bite Me New England A very funny look at cooking by a lady who will cook anything.

Bill @ ShutterPilot This one isn't a food blog it is a photography blog that is just starting. Learn tips and techniques from a professional photographer. 

Valentines Day Desserts

Since I normally post healthy recipes or at least somewhat healthy, I was surprised how many decadent desserts I have posted in the last couple of years. Some I wrote, some I tested for Cook's Illustrated and some were created to make my wife happy. I am one of those people who looks at a dessert and puts on weight while my wife can eat 3 desserts and never gain an ounce. Here are my favorite desserts that are guaranteed to make your significant other fall madly in love with you. If they don't fall in love you must not have followed the recipe.

Nutella Ravioli
Nutella filled raviolis topped with a raspberry sauce and powdered sugar.
Nutella Topped Caramels
Caramels topped with Nutella and a nut or chopped nuts if you prefer.
Nutella Tart
A decadent tart filled with Nutella and topped with chopped nuts.
Chocolate-Raspberry Torte
A chocolate torte with a raspberry filling and decorated with raspberries and almonds.
A Dynamite Napoleon
Puff pastry, whipped cream, chocolate and berries.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nutella Ravioli

As most of you know today is one of the biggest days of the year. A day where people get together to celebrate a national past time... eating Nutella. Happy Word Nutella Day. I bet you thought I was going to say something about a football game that is happening today.
I normally don't make desserts, but with Valentines Day coming up and Nutella Day I decided to rerun this recipe. One of the few desserts I have ever made up.

Nutella Ravioli

5 oz frozen raspberries
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbs Nutella
2 tbs plain low fat yogurt
3 egg roll wrappers, cut in 1/2 (you could use wontons, but they maybe smaller so you may want to leave whole)
1 egg
1 tsp water
Fresh raspberries for garnish
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small pan put the frozen raspberries, sugar and cornstarch. Over medium heat warm the berries and smash them with a spoon. this will create a juice. When the juice starts to boil it will thicken because of the cornstarch. Pour it through a sieve to strain the seeds out. Use this is used to dribble on the plate as a garnish. Set this aside to cool.

In a small bowl mix the Nutella and the yogurt. Make sure it is completely mixed as you want it to taste like Nutella not yogurt with Nutella in spots. Set this aside.

Take the egg and crack it in a small bowl. Add the water and mix together.

Take the 1/2 sheet of egg roll wrapper and on 1/2 of that put 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of the Nutella mixture. Then take the the egg wash and spread around the Nutella. Now fold the other half of the wrapper over the Nutella and seal. Start by pressing close to the Nutella and work outwards to get rid of air pockets. Then take a fork and press down on the edges creating a patterned edge that will seal the Nutella in. After you have made all six of these place on a cookie sheet and place in oven. Bake until wrapper starts to brown, about 8 minutes. Note the egg roll wrappers get crispy, next time I am going to try a different type of wrap to see if I can get one that is not so crisp.

Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar, raspberry sauce and raspberries.