Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ravio ... sagna?

Makin' Ravioli? Or not?

I've been wanting to make homemade ravioli ever since it was a challenge on Master Chef. Can't beat the texture and taste of fresh pasta.

I don't have a pasta maker, but my Sis told me I could by fresh pasta sheets at a DeFalco's Italian Deli & Market. Great! I bought the pasta sheets and laid them out to start assembling the ravioli. Just as I turned my back to prep the filling, my "assistant" cut the pasta sheets into individual little squares! OMG! Breathe, OK, we'll make it work. Since I had leftover ground turkey and mushroom bolognese sauce I decided to do a spinach and cheese filling with ricotta and Italian 6-cheese blend, seasoned with garlic and a little cayenne pepper. Yum!

Here's where it all goes to heck: the pasta sheets were already cooked to al dente! I noticed they seemed rigid so I soaked them in warm water first and they did soften up, so I thought all was well. Far from it! As I attempted to crimp the edges, egg wash and all, the pasta just crumbled! It was horrifying. Now what?

To save this dish, I put 1 layer of pasta squares (lol) in the bottom of a baking dish then proceeded to dolop filling on each. I repeated until the pasta and filling were gone; got about 5 layers. I poured the bolognese over it all and baked it covered at 350º for 30 mins. Then covered the top with cheese and put it in at 425º until it was melted.

I gotta' say, this was quite definitely the best lasagna I've had! Mistakes WILL happen. Just roll with it and make it something spectacular!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dad's Blueberry Refrigerator Cheesecake

Who doesn't LOVE Cheesecake? Our Dad used to make the best no-bake cheesecake on the planet! I have never seen the recipe written down, but do remember peeking over the counter every time he made it. (I loved to lick the sweetened condensed milk can!)

I recently attempted to reproduce Dad's recipe from what I could remember as a little girl and it brought tears to my eyes! It had the same wonderful lemony-cheesecake flavor and brought back so many great memories. This is the stuff!

Dad's Blueberry Refrigerator Cheesecake
1 1/2 packages honey graham crackers (35 squares)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 blocks cream cheese*
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 sm. envelope lemon instant pudding
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1 can blueberry pie topping**

1. Crush graham crackers to a crumb consistency.
2. Add melted butter and cinnamon to the graham cracker crumbs and mix well.
3. Press into the bottom of a rectangular baking dish or two pie pans.
4. Bake crust at 350º for 6 minutes; allow to cool completely.
5. Beat cream cheese and vanilla on high until whipped; appx. 5 minutes.
6. Add sweetened condensed milk, pudding and milk and continue beating until well mixed.
7. Pour filling onto the graham cracker crust and smooth until even.
8. Refrigerate for 15 mins.
9. Pour blueberry topping onto cheesecake and carefully spread evenly.
10. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

* You can substitute for Neufchatel cheese for low-cal.
**Also great with cherry topping.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Miss B's 1/2 hour Skillet Chili

I recently mistook an aluminum foil-wrapped package of steaks for ground turkey so my whole dinner idea was scrapped! After a quick look through the refrigerator and pantry, it hit me ... turkey black bean chili! And it came together in less than one hour with 1/2 hour total cooking time! Here's how I did it:

Miss B's 1/2 hour Skillet Chili
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 c. chopped white onions
1 can chopped tomatoes, *chili flavored, with juice
1 can chopped tomatoes, *jalapeno flavored, with juice
1 can black beans, drained
1 sm. can fire roasted green chiles, chopped
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 minced jalapeno pepper (optional)
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
few dashes cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 bottle beer (Blue Moon, or any darker beer, or any meat stock)

* If you can't find the flavored chopped tomatoes, just use plain but increase the chili powder to 2 Tbs. and add 1 tsp. garlic salt. Should do the trick!

1. In a large cast iron skillet on med/high heat, add the ground turkey, chopped onions, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper and cayenne. Sautee, chopping the turkey down until it's browned (appx. 5 minutes).
2. Once browned, add all remaining ingredients into the skillet and mix well.
3. Reduce heat to med/low and simmer, stirring every few minutes, for 1/2 hour (or more, just keep an eye on liquid level). If you notice the liquid evaporating too quickly, add more beer! (or stock)
4. Serve! Suggestions: in a big bowl with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese. Also great over white rice. ENJOY!

This recipe is so versatile you could add any of your favorite ingredients. Try corn nibblets, chopped green or red peppers, chopped celery, chopped carrots, substitute ground turkey for ground beef or other chopped meat, substitute black beans for kidney beans, etc ... there are so many possibilities with this chili, just have fun with it!