Baked Flounder

This dish is elegant enough for guests or a romantic dinner for two.  Ready in under 30 minutes, it’s perfect for a busy weeknight.  Simple to prepare, with only a few ingredients needed to showcase the delicate flavor of the fish.

2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 Flounder fillets (about 12 oz)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • flour for dusting
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • fresh lemon slices
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • Italian parsley for finishing

Preparation:

Butter and flour a baking dish that is large enough to arrange the flounder in a single layer.  Don’t crowd the fish, use 2 pans if needed.  Pat the fillets dry and place in the baking dish.  Dust the tops of the fillets with more flour.  Dot the top with pats of butter and season with salt, pepper and paprika.  Top with lemon slices and pour the wine around the edge.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375º, reduce heat to 350º and bake 10 minutes more.  Garnish with Italian parsley and serve.

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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Dinner for two, Seafood | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini

Tortellini with a sausage and mushroom ricotta filling, topped with meat sauce.  Can you really make this at home?  Follow the step by step instructions and create your own Italian Sunday dinner.  It’s a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon and get the family involved.  I used baby bella mushrooms and sweet Italian pork sausage with reduced fat ricotta for the filling.  Substitute your favorite sausage and mushroom combination.

3-4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package baby bella mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 8 oz. part skim ricotta
  • 150 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 150 g. “00″ flour or bread flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • about 10 tbsp. ice water
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish
  • grated cheese

Preparation:

Let’s begin with the filling.  The ingredients should be completely cooked, drained and cooled before using.  Start by removing the sausage from the casing and cook with just a little olive oil, breaking up the meat with a spatula.   Remove from the pan, clean and slice the mushrooms, and cook in the olive oil and fat rendered from the sausage.  Process the sausage and mushrooms into a fine dice and drain in a colander.  You want to remove as much of the liquid as possible.

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Stir in the ricotta and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Combine the flour, salt and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix with just enough ice water to create a dry crumbly dough that just holds together when you give it a squeeze.  Press the dough into a ball and cover in plastic wrap.  After resting for 15 minutes, divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll out each piece into a thin sheet.  If using a pasta roller, roll out the dough to setting #5.

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Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to make 3″ squares.  Spoon about 1/2 tsp. of filling into the middle of each square.

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Brush the edges with water, fold over into a triangle and then wrap the ends around and pinch together.  Place the finished tortellini on a lightly floured baking sheet.

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Refrigerate the tortellini until ready to cook.  I made a simple meat sauce using more sausage to complement the tortellini filling.  Remove the sausage from the casing and cook on low heat in a sauce pan, breaking up with a spatula.  When the meat is browned add the tomatoes and remaining ingredients.  Simmer on low for 30 minutes or more.

To cook the pasta, heat a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil.  Carefully add the tortellini and cover so that the water returns quickly to a boil.  Cook for 4 minutes or less.  Fresh pasta cooks quickly, don’t overcook!  Drain and transfer to a serving platter.  Yum!

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Top with sauce, grated cheese and Italian parsley.

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This was so good!  Pure comfort food, delicious and filling.  I also made a loaf of bread served with dipping oil.  Don’t forget the wine!  Please comment, like and share ♥

 

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joycebug

 

 

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Grilled Meatball Pizza

I am addicted to pizza on the grill!  The wonderful crispy crust and smoky flavor are amazing.  Today I recreated one of my favorite restaurant pizzas, a multi-grain crust topped with meatball slices, onions, mushrooms and red bell pepper.  Feel free to take short cuts.  I made the dough, and the meatballs from scratch but I bought the pizza sauce.  This pizza cooks in just 10 minutes, so be sure to sautée the veggie toppings in advance.  Drain them on paper towels if necessary, to remove excess liquid.

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Ingredients:

  • pizza dough, enough for 2 crusts
  • 4 meatballs, sliced 1/3″ thick
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 cups baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into rings
  • olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded pizza cheese

Preparation:

To make the crust, I used my go to dough recipe.  It’s a multi-grain sourdough that makes a fabulous loaf of bread and a great pizza crust.  This recipe is just right for 2 pizzas, 12″ round.  Use your favorite bread dough recipe or buy your dough.

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For the topping, I made a batch of my Italian Meatballs, perfect every time!  One batch is enough for the pizza topping plus another pasta dinner during the week.

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Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a 12″ round.  Place each round on an oiled grill pan or use a pizza stone if baking in the oven.  Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

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Sautée the veggies in a hot skillet with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Spoon a thin layer of sauce over each pizza.  Not too much or the crust will be soggy.

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Top with meatball slices.  Now would be a good time to light your grill.  If baking, preheat the oven to 500º.

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Divide the veggies between the two pizzas and top with the cheese.

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Grill for 10 minutes on medium heat, or bake for 10 minutes at 500º.  The cheese will be melted and the crust cooked through and crispy on the bottom.  Check to make sure it doesn’t burn, especially when using a perforated pan like this one.  The second pizza will cook faster than the first, so check after 8 minutes.

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This was SO good!  By the time we finished the first pizza the second was ready to come off the grill.

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This is great party food and my new favorite summer meal.  Your family will love it!  Leftovers (if you have any) can be reheated on the grill or in the oven on a pizza stone.

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Posted in Bread, Comfort Food, Pizza, Sourdough, Whole Grains | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Healthy Lasagna with Turkey and Zucchini

For your Italian Sunday Dinner this week we are serving up comfort food made healthy!  This lasagna is loaded with freshly grated zucchini and minced veggies that literally disappear into the sauce.  The noodles are home made with good for you whole grains.  Guilt free indulgence all made with love

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For the Sauce:

  • 1 heaping tbsp. minced garlic (1 large clove)
  • 2 tbsp. minced celery (1 small stalk)
  • 1/4 cup minced carrot (1/2 large)
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion cut into small dice
  • 4 button mushrooms cleaned and sliced
  • 3 tbsp. red bell pepper minced
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • olive oil for browning

For the Noodles:

  • 207 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 207 g. bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 tbsp. ice water

To Assemble:

  • 8 oz. low fat ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Preparation:

Heat a heavy deep skillet on medium low and add a little olive oil.  Add the ground turkey, sprinkle with seasoning and begin breaking up the meat with a spatula and browning all sides.

Lasagna The Extruded Noodle 006aGradually add the veggies, allowing the liquid to evaporate between additions.  Season well with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, as much as you like.

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When most of the liquid has cooked out, add the tomato sauce and the stewed tomatoes.  I pulsed the tomatoes a few times in the processor to break them up.

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Now the sauce is ready for a long slow simmer.  I’m using a simmer mat to keep the sauce from burning (I am not being compensated to advertise this product, I just think it’s awesome!).  Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour.

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While the sauce bubbles away I’m making fresh lasagna noodles.  Of course you can buy them, choose a good quality whole grain lasagna.  Combine the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Pat the dough into a ball.  It will feel dry but hold together.

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Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  Each piece will become one sheet of dough.

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Flatten each section into a patty.

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Working with one piece at a time, use a pasta roller to create thin silky sheets.  I used my KitchenAid pasta roller attachment and rolled the dough to setting number 5.  Lay the sheets on lightly floured waxed paper.

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Use a pizza cutter to cut into lasagna size noodles.  They don’t have to be perfect, that’s part of the rustic charm of making your own.  You can boil the noodles for 1-2 minutes before assembling the lasagna, but this step is not necessary as long as you have enough sauce to thoroughly cover the noodles.  If using store bought pasta, cook ahead according to package directions.

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By now the sauce is ready and I have let it cool a little.  Transfer 1/3 of the sauce into a bowl and whisk in the ricotta.  To assemble the lasagna coat a 13″ rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.  Cover the bottom with sauce and begin layering the noodles, alternating the sauce with the ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle the sauce layers with the Italian cheese blend.

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You should have enough for 3-4 layers, finishing the top with sauce.  Sprinkle the top with the remainder of the shredded cheese and the breadcrumbs.  I used a knife to trim the outer edge of the noodles even with the pan, this step is partly for presentation but also keeps the edges from curling and burning.

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Bake for 30 minutes at 350º and finish under the broiler, 2-3 minutes on high.

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Here it is.  A little crispy on top with delicious cheesy layers.  Did I tell you the veggies would disappear?  They’re in there though, with all of their nutritious goodness.

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You will have a hard time not going back for seconds.  Even then, there is plenty to go around.  Leftovers freeze well too, I wrap in individual servings for a quick lunch or easy dinner.

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Posted in Casserole, Comfort Food, Dash Diet Friendly, Eat your Vegetables, Italian Sunday Dinner, Pasta, Whole Grains | Leave a comment

Apple Zucchini Bread

This beautiful loaf serves up the best of the season, the batter is loaded with grated apples and zucchini.  Way to sneak fruits and veggies into a dessert!  This is a great coffee cake and the leftovers are good for breakfast on the go!  I used an electric chopper to mince the apple and zucchini.  You can also use a hand grater.

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Dry Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8  tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp. egg whites
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups apple and zucchini, grated or minced fine
  • 1/4 cup low fat ricotta
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Preparation:

Butter and flour an 8″ loaf pan, and preheat the oven to 350º.

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Whisk together all of the dry ingredients.  Combine the wet ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Beat until smooth.

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Add the dry ingredients and blend just until moistened.

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Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.

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Cool in the pan for 1/2 hour.  It smells so good, you’ll have a hard time waiting!

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Remove from the pan and continue cooling on a rack.

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Look at the crumb, you can see the zucchini and apple!

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This is a very moist cake, everyone loved it!  Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature.  I don’t think this one will last the afternoon.

 

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Simple Pound Cake

For when simple is best.  A basic yellow pound cake dusted with confectioners sugar.  This is the kind of cake I remember having when we were growing up.  Flour, sugar, butter and eggs.  Just as it was made years ago, recreated today in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or substitute lemon extract)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • powdered sugar

You may be surprised to know that pound cake was traditionally made with no leavening agent.  That’s right, no baking powder or baking soda (you thought I forgot didn’t you?)

 

Preparation:

Butter and flour an 8″ loaf pan.  Use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to beat the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla and salt.  Switch to the beater attachment and add in the flour, mixing just until combined.

Pour into the prepared baking pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake at 350º for 60-70 minutes.  Check the cake after 1 hour, if the center looks very wet bake another 5-10 minutes.  Be careful not to over bake, if the center still looks a bit moist it will set as the cake cools in the pan.  After 15 minutes remove the cake from the pan and cool on a rack.  Before serving, dust the top liberally with confectioners sugar.

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There you are, simple and satisfying.  Enjoy a slice with your coffee.

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Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.  It’s even better the next day!

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Jack Daniels Green Beans

Eat your vegetables!  Fresh green beans from the farmers market get an interesting twist with a shot of Jack Daniels!  Use a stainless steel skillet (not non-stick) to caramelize the onions and bacon.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups green beans, washed, trimmed and halved
  • 1/3 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 strip of bacon, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Jack Daniels

Preparation:

Cook the onions in 1 tbsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. butter over medium low heat.  Chop the bacon into small pieces and add to the pan.  Cook and stir until the onions are nicely browned.  Add the green beans, tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

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Cook 10 minutes or until the green beans are crisp tender and the bacon is forming caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the Jack Daniels and use a spatula to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Stir 1-2 more minutes to allow the alcohol to cook off.  Serve immediately.

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A new way to enjoy one of my favorite veggies!  Everyone loved it!

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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Dash Diet Friendly, Eat your Vegetables, Farmers Market Favorites, Side Dish | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Triple Hog Grilled Pizza

The topping for this pizza was supposed to be a one time thing.  A way to use up all the leftover bits and pieces kind of recipe.  A lone pork chop, one Italian sausage, a few scraps of pancetta from another meal.  It all went into a spicy topping of mushrooms, onions and tomato.  Well, our first pizza on the grill was a hit!  So much so that I have made it again by request.  Here is my Triple Hog Pizza, it’s a pork story.

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 pork chop
  • 1 Italian Sausage, casing removed
  • 2 oz. pancetta cut into small dice
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce (or substitute BBQ sauce)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • red pepper flakes, as much as you like!
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded pizza cheese blend

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1-1/2 cups whole grain flour
  • 2-1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • olive oil for brushing.
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Preparation: Mix together the flours, yeast, salt and water.  Knead in a stand mixer for 5 minutes.  Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until doubled in size. Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 002a While the dough rises saute the onions and mushrooms in a skillet with olive oil.  Drain any excess liquid and set aside.

Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 013a Brown the meat in the same skillet.  Or, if you are using leftovers as I did the first time, slice into small pieces.

Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 021a When the pork chop is browned on both sides, remove the meat from the bone and slice thin.  Break up the sausage and dice the pancetta.  Return to the pan.  Add the tomato paste to the center of the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce, sugar and seasonings.  Cover and cook at a very low simmer for 2 hours, the sauce will be nice and thick. Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 005a When the dough has risen, gently deflate and use a spatula to scoop it onto a cutting board.  Divide the dough in 2.  Roll and shape each piece into a 12″ round. Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 010a Brush a pizza pan with olive oil and place one round of dough in the pan.  Brush the top with more olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  I’m using a grill pan for this pizza.  If baking in the oven preheat to 500º. Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 017a Spread half of the meat sauce, onions and mushrooms over the dough, leaving a 1″ border. Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 032a Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 021a Grill for 10 minutes on medium heat, or bake 15 minutes at 500º.

Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 041a If you haven’t had grilled pizza you must try it!  What’s so great about grilled pizza?  It’s the crust!  Crispy, crispy crust! Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 044a Serve the pizza on a cutting board.  Repeat the process with the second piece of dough. Triple Hog Grilled Pizza The Extruded Noodle 046a

Your family will be waiting anxiously for the 2nd round!

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Keep an eye on the grill, especially with the second pizza which tends to cook faster.  We actually liked it a little singed on the bottom.  A great pizza for a summer weekend.

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Turkey Rollatini

For this week’s Italian Sunday Dinner we are having Turkey Rollatini.  Tender breast cutlets, rolled and filled with prosciutto and cheese, simmered in a Marsala sauce.  Served over penne, this is a meal everyone will love!  Turkey cutlets are readily available, more affordable than veal and will stay moist in the cooking process.

Ingredients:

  • 4 turkey breast cutlets, 1/4 lb. each
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 6 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 2 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, small dice
  • 2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 14 oz. whole tomatoes in juice, broken up with an immersion blender
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • fresh basil
  • 8 oz. whole wheat penne or your favorite pasta

Preparation:

Start with 1 lb. of turkey breast, trimmed and sliced into 4 oz. cutlets.

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Place each cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and flatten with a mallet.  Be sure to use the flat side, not the dental side.  Pound the meat to a thickness of  less than 1/4″.  I called hubby into the kitchen to help me with this step!

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Layer each cutlet with 1 slice of prosciutto, and sprinkle with cheese and fresh parsley.  Carefully roll up the cutlet and secure with twine.  You can prepare ahead up to this point and refrigerate.

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Heat a deep skillet over medium low and add olive oil.  Dredge the bundles in flour, shake off the excess and brown on all sides, 2-3 minutes total cook time.

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Season with salt and pepper, remove from the pan and set aside.  The turkey will finish cooking in the sauce.

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Using the same pan, add more olive oil, all of the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Salt to taste.  When the onions have softened add all of the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid.

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Make a little space in the center of the pan.  Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.

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Stir the tomato paste into the onion mixture and add the wine, tomatoes and chicken broth.  Add back the turkey bundles, cover and simmer on low 20-30 minutes.  Be careful the bottom doesn’t burn.

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Cook the pasta to al dente.  If you have leftover prosciutto, toast up a few slices to use for a garnish.  It will crisp up like bacon.

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To serve, remove the rollatini to a plate.  Drain the pasta, add it to the skillet and toss with the sauce.  Finish with 1 tbsp. of butter.  Place the pasta on a large platter and arrange the Rollatini over the pasta.  Garnish with toasted prosciutto, more grated parmesan and fresh basil.

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Ahhhh, look how moist!  This meal is a success!

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No Italian Sunday Dinner is complete without a nice crusty bread to soak up the sauce, and don’t forget the wine!

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Pappardelle Bolognese

You never know what might happen when I have the day off!  This time we feasted on freshly made pappardelle pasta, topped with a traditional Bolognese Sauce simmered all day on the stove.  Yes it’s time consuming, you will invest an entire afternoon but what a meal!  Special enough for guests or a romantic dinner at home.  Here are the step by step, easy to follow instructions.  Take your time and don’t rush the process.

Yes, you can make this!

4 Servings.

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion minced, about 1 cup
  • 1 carrot minced, 1/2 cup
  • 2 celery stalks minced, 1/2 cup
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced, 2 tbsp.
  • 2 oz. pancetta, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 14 oz. whole tomatoes in juices, broken up with an immersion blender
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

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For the Pappardelle:

  • 140 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 70 g. semolina flour
  • 70 g. Italian “00″ flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6-7 tbsp. cold water

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Preparation:

Use an electric chopper to mince the carrots, celery, onion and garlic.  Chop the pancetta into fine dice or pulse a few times in the processor.  Heat a heavy sauce pan or Dutch oven on medium low heat.  Add the oil and butter and saute the vegetables for 5 minutes.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Add the pancetta and continue to cook slowly for 10 minutes more.

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Divide the ground beef and veal into 4 pieces and gradually add the meat to the pan, stirring and breaking up with a spatula.  Allow some of the liquid to evaporate between each addition so that the meat browns.  Season with salt and pepper.

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After about 20 minutes you will see that the meat is caramelizing on the bottom of the pan.

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Clear a spot in the middle of the pan and add the tomato paste.  Cook for 2 minutes.

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Stir the tomato paste into the meat and add the red wine.  Use a spatula to loosen up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan and stir them into the sauce.  Simmer 3 minutes.

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Now add the milk, tomatoes and chicken stock.

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Remember this gadget that I showed you a few weeks ago?  This is a heat diffuser, perfect for maintaining a long slow simmer without burning.

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Cover the pot but leave the lid slightly ajar so that the sauce thickens as it cooks.  Keep it on a low simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

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While the sauce cooks, make the pasta.  Combine the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Weigh the flour, accuracy is important.  I like to use a blend of 3 types of flour in my pasta dough, and up to 50% from whole grains.  You can use any flour combination, even all white flour if you prefer as long as the total weight is 280 g.  Use just enough water to form a dry shaggy dough.

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Press the dough into a ball.

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Divide the dough into 4 pieces.

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Take one section at a time and press into a disc.  Use a rolling pin or a pasta roller to roll each disc into a long thin sheet.  If using a pasta roller, roll out to thickness #5.  Lay the sheets on lightly floured wax paper.

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Use a knife to cut the sheets into 3/4″ pappardelle noodles.  I love to make pappardelle, and I have a special rolling pin that creates perfect even strips.  How cool is that?

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Hang the pappardelle noodles to dry for 30 minutes.  For food safety, refrigerate within one hour until ready to cook.  If you time things right they can go right into the pot.

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I’m getting hungry!  Heat a large pot of water, salt generously and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pappardelle, stir and cover so that the water returns quickly to a full boil.  Cook for 3-4 minutes total.  Fresh pasta cooks quickly, don’t overcook!

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Look at this dark, rich sauce!  The smell is amazing!

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Use a spider to gently remove and drain the pappardelle and arrange on a serving platter.

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Top with the Bolognese sauce, and serve with more sauce on the side.  Garnish with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and chopped Italian parsley.

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Oh my, this was an incredible meal!

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I was so proud of this meal, everyone loved it and I hope to make it again for company very soon.  Do try it at home!  You can make a double batch of sauce and freeze half for another meal.  Your family will love you

 The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug

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Turkey Tenderloin Kabobs

It’s a beautiful summer night and I made Kabobs on the grill.  Turkey tenderloin grills up tender and moist, and is a nice change from the usual pork and beef.  Easy to prepare and no marinade required!  Dinner for two.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. boneless turkey tenderloin
  • 1/2 Vidalia or sweet onion
  • 8 baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper or use your favorite grill seasoning (mine is from Williams Sonoma)
  • 1 cup cooked rice

Preparation:

The key to Kabobs is to cut all of the meat and veggies into even size pieces.  The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will cook.  I started my brown rice an hour or so before and diced the meat and veggies about 1-1/4″ in size.

I have a nice set of metal skewers for my grill, but bamboo skewers are fine.  Just be sure to soak them for at least an hour before cooking.

Thread the meat and vegetables onto 4 skewers.  Sprinkle with seasoning.

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Oil the grill and heat to medium low.  In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup olive oil and 1 tsp. grill seasoning (or use salt and pepper).  Place the kabobs on the grill and brush with the seasoned olive oil.

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Cover and grill the kabobs for 10 minutes total, turning every 2 minutes to evenly cook on all sides.  Brush with the seasoned oil each time you turn.  Be careful of flareups.

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Serve on the skewers for a beautiful presentation.

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Plated with rice.  Hubby dipped his in BBQ sauce.

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Here’s to grill season!

The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug

 

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Posted in Dash Diet Friendly, Dinner for two, For the Grill | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Crock-Pot Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shanks, braised all day in the crock-pot with onions, mushrooms, peas and barley.  An easy to make dish that you can put together in the morning and enjoy when you get home from work.   This is a hearty and filling dinner for two

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 lbs. lamb shanks (1 large, or 2 small)
  • olive oil for browning
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1-1/2 cups beef broth
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • Italian parsley for garnish

Preparation:

Heat a skillet and brown the lamb shanks in a little olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Transfer the lamb to the crock-pot.  In the same skillet, saute the onions and toss with the barley.  Season with salt and pepper and add to the lamb.

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Whisk together the wine, beef broth, Worcestershire and seasonings.  Pour over the lamb mixture.  Cover and cook on low, 8 hours.  Stir in the mushrooms and peas and continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes.

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Transfer to a platter and garnish with parsley.  The barley has absorbed and thickened the liquid to create a rich sauce.

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The meat will be falling off the bone tender.  Serve with crusty bread and a glass of red wine.  Delicious!

 

The Extruded Noodle ©

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Apple Walnut Torta

I am not usually one for desserts, but this Torta is really delicious and easy to make!  If you love apple pie this is a nice alternative, not as heavy and not too sweet.  It makes a beautiful presentation and a lovely non traditional birthday cake.  The recipe works best in a spring-form pan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 3 apples (I used Braeburn) peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preparation:

Peel and chop the apples, and toss with the lemon juice, brown sugar and toasted walnuts.

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Butter and flour a spring form pan (if you don’t have one, use a round cake pan).

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Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest.  Stir in the flour mixture and blend just until moistened.

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Transfer the batter into the pan and use a spatula to smooth it evenly like this.

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Spread the apple mixture evenly over the top and bake for 35-45 minutes at 350º.

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Time will vary, depending on the size of your apples so use a toothpick to check for doneness.  It was closer to 45 minutes in my oven.  The Torta should be slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan.

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Cool for 30 minutes on a rack then remove the spring-form.  Dust with powdered sugar. Isn’t that pretty?

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Here’s the crumb shot, nice and moist.  Served with vanilla frozen yogurt.

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You can make this!  Everyone will love it, so be sure to pin the recipe for your next celebration!

The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug

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Whole Grain English Muffin Loaf Bread

No doubt you have seen my English Muffin posts before, but here’s a twist on my usual recipe.  You know that I am all about the whole grains and in this recipe I use 100% whole grain flour.  But why make a loaf as opposed to individual English muffins?  Well, for one thing the dough gets handled a lot less, so it develops more of the beautiful air bubbles that create the characteristic “nooks and crannies”.  And think about the portions.  Big slices for big appetites.  Smaller, diet friendly slices for the weight conscious.  Everybody gets what they want. ;-)

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups whole grain flour, home milled or purchased (I used equal parts Spelt and Kamut®)
  • 2-1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups 1% milk
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp. cornmeal

Preparation:

Combine all of the ingredients through milk in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Knead for 5 minutes on low speed to form a heavy wet dough.  Don’t add more flour, you want the dough to have a batter like consistency.

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Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

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Here is the dough after 2 hours in the fridge.  If you’re in a hurry you can leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes, but a longer rest in the fridge gives the dough time to develop good flavor and texture.

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Prepare an 8″ loaf pan by coating with cooking spray and sprinkling the bottom and sides with 1 tsp. cornmeal.  Use a spatula to gently move the dough into the loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

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After 30 minutes, the dough has risen to fill about 3/4 of the pan.

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Preheat the oven to 375º and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

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Turn the loaf onto a rack and cool completely before slicing.  You can store the loaf at room temperature for 2-3 days.  Don’t worry, it won’t last that long!

 

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Look at the crumb!  I think I nailed the “nooks and crannies”!

Whole Grain English Muffin Loaf Bread The Extruded Noodle 006aAmazing flavor, good for you whole grains!  Simply toasted and buttered, breakfast fit for a king and queen!

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 The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug

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Sourdough Kaiser Rolls

My first attempt at Kaiser Rolls!  The soft enriched dough is made with a blend of whole wheat and white bread flour.  My shaping technique wasn’t perfect but the flavor was amazing.  This recipe makes 6 generously sized buns.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (fresh milled or use King Arthur)
  • 1-3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/3 cup 1% milk
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Preparation:

Combine the first 10 ingredients (through warm water) in the bowl of a stand mixer.  When thoroughly mixed knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes.  The dough will be soft and supple.  Place the dough in an oiled bowl (use about 1 tbsp. canola oil) and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for 2 hours.

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When the dough has risen, transfer to an oiled cutting board and divide into 6 equal pieces.

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Let rest for 10 minutes then shape each piece into a 12″ rope.

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To form the Kaiser rolls, tie each rope into a knot and then turn over and tuck the ends into the center.

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Place the shaped rolls on a cooking sheet lined with parchment and misted with cooking spray.

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Cover with plastic wrap and proof for another hour.  Preheat the oven to 425º.

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Brush the rolls with milk and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

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Bake for 15-17 minutes.

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Oh my goodness!

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Make burger night extra special!

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The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug

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Apple Ricotta Waffles

Sunday is waffle day at The Extruded Noodle.  I like to change up my waffles depending on what we have on hand in the fridge, and today I’m using cooked apples.  Banana, pumpkin and blueberry are some of my other favorites.  I always add 1/4 cup low fat ricotta to the waffle batter, it’s my secret ingredient for light fluffy waffles with a tender crumb.

I’m starting with a large apple, peeled and cut into small dice.  Melt one pat of butter in a small sauce pan, and cook the apple for 15 minutes on low heat.  Add a 1/2 tsp. of brown sugar and pinch of cinnamon during the cooking.  Add a little water if needed to keep the apples moist.  Don’t they look good?  It’s like apple pie filling!  Place the cooked apples in a medium bowl and mash slightly with a fork.  Set aside to cool or refrigerate overnight.

Apple Ricotta Waffles The Extruded Noodle 005aI’m all about whole grains, but for waffles and pancakes I use a combination of regular pancake mix and whole wheat pancake mix.  Measure 1 cup of each.  In a large bowl, whisk together the following:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup low fat ricotta
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups 1% milk

Add the pancake mix and blend just until moistened.  Fold in the apple slices.  Heat the waffle iron and cook for 3-4 minutes.  These need to cook just a little more.

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You will get about 6 waffles from this recipe.  I like to make a batch ahead of time and freeze them.  They can be reheated in the microwave, or the toaster if you like them crispy.

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I made this walnut topping one weekend and now it is required eating on Sunday!  Heat 1 pat of  butter in a small skillet and add 4-5 tbsp. chopped walnuts.  Cook on low, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and sprinkle 1/2 tsp. brown sugar.  Stir until the sugar melts.

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Apple Ricotta Waffles, topped with walnuts and a side of fresh fruit.  A delicious, healthy and satisfying start to your day.

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The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug

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Hand Rolled Fusilli

I have been practicing this recipe for the last few weekends.  The process of rolling out 1/4″ ropes of dough, cutting, twisting and shaping sections around a bamboo skewer is both relaxing and labor intensive.  No wonder they invented machines to do this!  The first time I spent several hours creating the pasta entirely by hand, my back and shoulders were sore!

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I told hubby that I would probably not make this shape again because it was too much work…… until I tasted it.  Oh my goodness!  These are SO good.

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So I started thinking, how could I speed up the process?  Then came the aha moment, when I realized that I could use my KitchenAid pasta press attachment to extrude the thin ropes.  See where I’m going with this?

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The bucatini plate is perfect for creating uniform strands of pasta dough, ready to twirl and shape by hand.

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Ingredients:

  • 90 g. finely milled whole grain flour (fresh milled or use whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 90 g. semolina flour
  • 27 g. Italian “00″ flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 5-6 tbsp. ice water

Preparation:

Combine the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add just enough of the ice water to form a dry crumbly dough.

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Press the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

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Divide the dough into small balls.

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Use the KitchenAid pasta press attachment with the bucatini plate to extrude the dough into long slender ropes.

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Now it’s time to get hands on.  Working with a few strands at a time, cut the ropes into 3″ pieces.  Use a bamboo skewer to roll each piece into a spiral.

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Continue rolling to the end.

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Press down firmly with the palm of your hand and roll the fusilli back and forth.

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After rolling you will have a thin ribbon of spiral shaped pasta.

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Line a sheet pan with wax paper or parchment and flour lightly.  As you finish rolling each piece, slide it off the skewer and lay it on the floured sheet.

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As you work, keep the dough strands covered with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.

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Can you believe that little ball of dough made all this pasta?

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Look closely, it has a beautiful golden color from the semolina and you can see the flecks of whole grain in the dough.

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Always follow food safety guidelines.  Pasta dough made with eggs should be refrigerated within one hour.  Keep the fusilli refrigerated until ready to cook.  

When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta and cover the pot so the water returns to a full boil as quickly as possible.  Cook for no more than 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Fresh pasta floats to the top when done.  Don’t overcook!

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Use a spider skimmer to gently scoop and drain the cooked pasta and place on a serving platter.  Look how the fusilli has held its spiral shape!

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Top with your favorite sauce, and finish with grated cheese and chopped parsley.

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I hope I’ve inspired you to give this a try at home.  If you don’t have a KitchenAid, rolling out the 1/4″ ropes by hand like I did the first time is a true labor of love, no special equipment required.  Your efforts will be rewarded with the most amazing flavor and texture!  Don’t forget the wine!

The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug

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Asian Chicken and Broccoli

Mmmmm!  This Asian inspired Chicken and Broccoli is better than any Chinese restaurant!  My version is lower in fat and salt, but big on flavor.  Mirin, ginger and sesame oil are among the key ingredients that should always be in your pantry.  I used boneless chicken breast and fresh broccoli crowns and served it over a bed of long grain brown rice.  You can change things up and serve it over noodles, or substitute shrimp or beef for the chicken.  3-4 servings, ready in an hour!

Ingredients:

  • 18 oz. boneless chicken breast
  • 4 cups broccoli crowns, cut into florets
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Mirin (rice wine)
  • 3 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup long grain brown rice
  • 2 tsp. butter

Preparation:

Melt 2 tsp. butter in a heavy sauce pan.  Add the rice and stir to coat for 2 minutes.  Add 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt.  Stir in 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, cover and simmer on low for 45-60 minutes.  I find that brown rice or any whole grain needs to be stirred a few times during cooking or it will stick to the bottom of the pan.  If you have this problem a diffuser can help to evenly distribute the heat and eliminate hotspots.

While the rice cooks, cut the chicken into 1-1/2 inch cubes and place in a bowl.  Whisk together the remaining 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes and the corn starch.  Drizzle 1/4 cup over the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.

When the rice is almost done, heat a large skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. sesame oil.  Add the chicken and brown on all sides.

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Remove the chicken and set aside.  It does not need to be 100% cooked through, as it will finish cooking when you return it to the pan.  Add another tbsp. olive oil and tsp. sesame oil to the pan along with the broccoli, onions, garlic and sesame seeds.  Toss well and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

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When the broccoli is tender, add the chicken back to the skillet and pour in all of the remaining soy sauce mixture and final 1 tsp. of sesame oil.  Continue stirring and tossing as the liquid thickens.  To serve, spread the rice on a large platter.

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Now spoon the chicken and broccoli over the rice for a beautiful presentation.

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I hope the pictures are making you hungry.  It tastes as good as it looks.  The next time you’re thinking of ordering Chinese why not try this instead?

The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug

Posted in Asian Inspired, Chicken, Chicken Dinner, Comfort Food, Under an hour | Leave a comment

Crock-pot Italian Sunday Dinner

Think you don’t have time to prepare a delicious Italian Sunday dinner?  With the help of your crock-pot we are going to create a wonderful meal that virtually cooks itself while you go about your busy day.  Just pick up the wine on your way home!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb. chuck roast
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup wine (use red or white)
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/3 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves

Preparation:

Crock-pots are wonderful, but there are a few things they can’t do, like caramelize meat and veggies.  Throwing all of the ingredients into the crock-pot is easy, but you won’t get the depth of flavor created by searing the meat first.  Take a few extra minutes and you won’t be disappointed.

Here is my chuck roast.  All of that nice marbling is going to break down into melt in your mouth tenderness, but first I’m going to sear the meat in a little olive oil.  Use a stainless steel or cast iron skillet, don’t use non-stick.

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There we are.  Season all sides with salt and pepper.

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Place the roast in the crock-pot.  Use the same skillet to saute the onions.

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Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up the caramelized bits.  Cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half.  Pour over the roast.

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Can you smell it?  Now that we’ve created the first layer of flavor let’s make the sauce.

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In a large mixing bowl, use an immersion blender to break up the whole peeled tomatoes.  Stir in the remainder of the ingredients.  Pour it over the meat and onions.

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Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours.  Now off you go!

pi5ed5d7T

Welcome home!  Your house smells amazing and your family will think you have been cooking all afternoon.  Let it be your little secret.  Set the table while you heat a large pot of salted water for your favorite pasta.  Cook according to the package directions and top generously with meat sauce.  Transfer the roast to a cutting board.  The meat will be falling apart tender, so you can either slice or shred it.

Crockpot Italian Sunday Dinner The Extruded Noodle 013aServe with the pasta, crusty bread and grated cheese.  Garnish with Italian parsley.

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Dinner is on the table.  Now it’s time to pour a glass of wine and relax.  Here’s to eating well after a busy day!

 

The Extruded Noodle ©

joycebug



Posted in Comfort Food, Crockpot, Healthy Italian Favorites, Italian Sunday Dinner, Pasta | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Seafood Scampi

My take on Scampi sauce, perfect for busy weeknights!  Seafood Scampi comes together in under 30 minutes and it’s so delicious!  I used shrimp and bay scallops, but you can substitute your favorite seafood or even use chicken.  I buy frozen shrimp and scallops to have on hand for quick meals.  Throw in frozen peas and canned diced tomatoes from your pantry and this one is a no-brainer.  3 Servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. medium shrimp
  • 6 oz. bay scallops
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 8 oz. 100% whole wheat spaghetti
  • Italian parsley for garnish

Preparation:

Boil water for the pasta.  In a heavy skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium low heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in the diced tomatoes, the wine and the seasonings, a big squeeze of lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. lemon zest.  Simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Seafood Scampi The Extruded Noodle 007a

When the pasta water is boiling add the spaghetti and cook to package directions.  Wait a few minutes then add the seafood and peas to the skillet.  You will want to cook the shrimp and scallops to cook for about 5 minutes.  Don’t overcook!  Drain the spaghetti and add to the skillet, tossing well to combine the flavors.  Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with the pan juices.

Seafood Scampi The Extruded Noodle 008a

Garnish with Italian parsley and more lemon zest.  Let me tell you, this meal got great reviews and there were no leftovers!  Busy cooks, this one is a must try!

The Extruded Noodle ©

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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Comfort Food, Pasta, Seafood, Whole Grains | Leave a comment