Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken Saltimbocca.  Tender slices of chicken breast, lightly sauteed and rolled with prosciutto, cheese and fresh sage leaves.  Served with a rich tomato cream sauce and a side of pasta.  Who said a chicken dish can’t be elegant?  It’s fast and easy too.  For dinner tonight, here is my take on an old classic.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken cutlets, sliced or pounded to 1/4″ thickness
  • 6 slices of good quality prosciutto
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Romano cheese, freshly grated
  • olive oil
  • seasoning

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced thin
  • sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup cream of mushroom soup

Preparation:

I purchased thin sliced chicken cutlets to save time.  If using larger boneless breasts, slice them yourself and pound to 1/4″ thickness.  Season the cutlets with salt and pepper, dredge them in flour and lightly brown both sides in olive oil.  The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point, we will finish it in the oven.  Don’t crowd the skillet, work in batches if needed.

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Remove to a plate and top each piece with 1 slice of prosciutto and a sage leaf.

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Sprinkle with shredded cheese, as much as you like.

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Roll up each slice and secure with toothpicks.  Top each with another sage leaf.  Place in a baking dish with a little white wine, and finish in the oven at 325º for 15 minutes.

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While the chicken is baking, make the sauce.  Using the same skillet, add olive oil, tomato paste, garlic and sage leaves.  Cook 1 minute.

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Add the wine and the broth, then whisk in the flour.  When the mixture is smooth, stir in the cream of mushroom soup.  Remove the sage leaves.

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I served the Chicken Saltimbocca with a side of rigatoni pasta and zucchini.  I cooked the zucchini right in the pasta water.

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To serve, remove the chicken from the oven and drizzle with tomato cream sauce.

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Toss the remaining sauce with the pasta and finish with more cheese and fresh parsley.

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There you are, an elegant meal ready in just 30 minutes.  Make it for your someone special.  You will get rave reviews, maybe a marriage proposal!

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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Chicken, Chicken Dinner, Comfort Food, Dinner for two, Elegant Dining, Italian Sunday Dinner | 1 Comment

New England Clam Chowder

I am a New England girl, born and raised in RI.  This clam chowder is better than any restaurant version, with a generous portion of clams in every bite.  Rather than cleaning and shucking fresh clams I took a shortcut and used frozen raw clams.  They are delicious and so much better than canned!  Remember to add the clams during the last 5 minutes of cooking so they will remain sweet and tender.  The consistency of this chowder is a bit thicker than a clear broth chowder, and if you can adjust it to your taste by modifying the water content.  I also lightened it up by using 1% milk with half and half, you can use all heavy cream for a richer texture.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. salt pork cut into small dice
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, small dice
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 24 oz. bottled clam juice (3 bottles, 8 oz. each)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 16 oz. container frozen raw chopped clams, thawed
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half

Preparation:

Salt pork is usually sold in an 8 oz. block.  This is enough for 2 pots of chowder, so I usually cut it into two pieces and freeze half for another recipe.  Chop the salt pork into small dice.

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Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot.  Cook the salt pork in the butter until the fat is rendered and the pork is browned, just like cooking bacon.

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Remove the browned bits of pork and drain on a paper towel.  Leave the fat in the pan.

New-England-Clam-Chowder-The-Extruded-Noodle-016aCombine the claim juice and water in a large measuring cup or pitcher and have it ready to pour.  Add the onions and celery to the pot and cook them in the butter and pork fat for 5 minutes.

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Sprinkle with flour and quickly stir to coat the onion and celery.  Immediately begin streaming in the clam juice mixture and whisk constantly until smooth.  Add the potatoes, thyme and bay leaf.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.  Add the clams, half and half and milk in the last 5 minutes of cook time, reduce heat and cook 5 minutes more on the lowest simmer.

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Notice I didn’t add salt.  The clams and salt pork are quite salty, so taste before you season.  Don’t forget to discard the bay leaf before serving!  Ladle chowder into shallow bowls and garnish with the reserved pork bits and fresh thyme.

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Like most soups, it’s even better the second day.  If you enjoyed this recipe, check out my other chowders here.  And for an extra special treat, try topping off your chowder with my Home Made Oyster Crackers.

 

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Gluten Free Modification:  Substitute 3 tbsp. gluten free flour for the regular flour.  All other ingredients are gluten free (check the label on the salt pork).

 

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Posted in Chowder, Comfort Food, Seafood, Soup | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Paella

Paella is a restaurant favorite of mine.  The blend of color, flavor and aroma in this Valencian rice dish is wonderful!  You may be thinking it would be difficult to recreate this magnificent dish at home, but it really isn’t.  Follow my step by step instructions and serve this up for your family tonight.  You do not need a paella pan, a large skillet will do the trick!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (or substitute Carnaroli)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 32 oz. carton fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • paprika
  • big pinch of saffron
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced into coins
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz. chicken breast, sliced into thin medallions
  • 8 oz. shrimp
  • butter
  • 2 tbsp. scallions (for garnish)

Preparation:

Start the rice 20 minutes before the other ingredients to allow for the necessary cook time.  Add butter and oil to a large nonstick skillet (mine is 14″) over medium low heat.  Brush or swirl it around to coat.

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Add the rice, bay leaf, thyme and garlic.  Sprinkle lightly with paprika.  Stir to coat the rice then add 1/2 cup of white wine.  Stir frequently until the wine is almost evaporated.

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Begin ladling in the chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly.  Add a big pinch of saffron with the first ladle of broth.  Saffron is a key ingredient in Paella and will give the rice a rich flavor and golden color.

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When the rice has been cooking for 20 minutes, begin adding the other ingredients, one at a time.  First the Andouille sausage, followed by the mushrooms.

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Next comes the zucchini, onion, pepper, and chicken.  As the vegetables release their liquid it will be absorbed by the rice.

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The shrimp goes in last as it only takes a few minutes to cook.  Finish with a pat of butter and toss well.  Don’t forget to pull out the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

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Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with scallions and more paprika.  This memorable dinner will be a hit with the whole family.  Thanks for stopping by today!

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Posted in Comfort Food, Skillet Dinners, Under an hour | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Homemade Hamburger Sandwich Buns

For your next cookout, showcase your burger creations with Homemade Hamburger Sandwich Buns.  The enriched dough bakes up into a soft bun that is so much healthier and better tasting than store bought!  Learn how to make them here.  Mix up the dough the night before and bake in the morning!  Never buy store buns again!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fully active sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • …………………………………………………….
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • …………………………………………………….
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 2 tbsp. buttermilk powder + 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • …………………………………………………….
  • canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds

Powdered buttermilk is great to have on hand for baking.  I always keep it in the pantry (refrigerated) for my enriched breads.

Preparation:

Stir together the starter, honey, 1/4 cup bread flour and 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 1 – 1/2 hours.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-005A Break an egg into the starter mixture.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-009A Whisk together thoroughly.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-011A Whisk together the remaining dry ingredients; flour, salt and instant yeast.  In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and water.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-013A With the dough hook attachment, alternately add the flour mixture and the liquid on low speed until incorporated.  Increase the speed and knead for 5 minutes to form a soft, supple dough.  The dough will form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-014A Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-020A The next morning, take the dough out and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-021A Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.  I weighed mine to be about 2.75 oz. each, but you can eyeball it!

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-024A Working with one piece at a time, flatten the dough with the palm of your hand and do a letter fold.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-026ARotate and fold over again.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-027ANow roll the dough in the palm of your hand to form a tight ball.  Set the shaped rolls on a baking sheet or use a bun pan.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-030AThis pan from USA Pans is perfect for making sandwich buns!

Cover with plastic wrap for a second rise, about 1-1/4 hours.  The buns will expand to almost fill the cups.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-034A Preheat the oven to 350º.  Brush the buns with a well beaten egg, and sprinkle with poppy and sesame seeds.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-037A I have one bun pan, so I baked in 2 batches.  The second batch were proofed on a baking sheet and then transferred to the bun pan for baking.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-042A Remove the buns from the pan immediately and cool on a rack.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-044A The buns freeze well, I wrap them individually in plastic wrap then place in a freezer bag so we always have them ready for lunches or burgers on the grill.

Hamburger-Buns-The-Extruded-Noodle-046A Soft enough to bite into, but sturdy enough to hold a big juicy burger with all your favorite toppings!

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Banana Bread

Banana Bread, simple and satisfying.  Even the pickiest of eaters will love this quick bread.  It is extra moist and flavorful thanks to the addition of Greek yogurt!  I used Oikos banana cream Greek yogurt, but if you can’t find it vanilla would be a good substitute.

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Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium ripe banana, well mashed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1 container (5.3 oz.) banana cream Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) softened butter at room temperature
  • cooking spray

I usually bake my quick breads in a Pate Terrine.  It has a cast iron bottom and enamel interior that make it superb for baking.  You can use any tea loaf or Pullman style loaf pan measuring about 13″ x 4.5″.  I love the presentation of a long slender loaf!  For a typical 8″ quick bread, just increase the baking time to an hour.  Use what you have and enjoy!

 

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Add the eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on low to break up the yolks.  Add the mashed banana and whisk 30 seconds.  Next add the vanilla, milk, oil, and yogurt and whisk until smooth.  Incorporate all of the brown and white sugar, and finally the softened butter (make sure the butter is soft and at room temperature, not hot or melted).  It is fine if you see small pieces of butter floating in the batter.

Now switch to the beater attachment.  Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix just until the batter is incorporated.  Don’t over-mix.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

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Mist the loaf pan with cooking spray.  Distribute the batter evenly and use the spatula to smooth out the top.  Bake for 50-55 minutes, begin testing with a toothpick at 50 minutes.

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Mine was done at 53 minutes.  The top should be moist and golden like this.

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Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely before slicing.

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Enjoy with company, or for lunches, breakfast and snacks.  You are ready for anything!

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You should get about 16 slices 3/4″ thick.  Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature 2-3 days.  For long term storage wrap individual portions in plastic wrap and freeze in a zip top bag.  If your house is like ours, you won’t need to worry about leftovers!

 

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Posted in Baking, Breakfast, Desserts | Tagged | 2 Comments

Braised Beef Short Ribs

I had a day off this week, so I made hubby one of his favorite slow cooked meals, Braised Beef Short Ribs.  The ribs were marinated in red wine with shallots and fresh herbs, then slowly simmered until the meat was tender and falling off the bone.  I served them over creamy whipped potatoes, with a side of oven roasted carrots.

2 Servings

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large beef short ribs
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary and chives
  • salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 cups stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
  • 2 tsp. Wondra flour
  • 1 pat of butter

Preparation:

Combine the wine, shallots, and herbs in a baking dish with a cover.  Add the short ribs and season with fresh ground pepper.  Cover and marinate the short ribs for 6-8 hours, turning every 2 hours.

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About 3 hours before dinner, pour the marinade into a sauce pan and keep warm.  Sear the ribs in a deep heavy skillet with 2 tbsp. olive oil.  You can also use a Dutch oven, or other heavy pan with a cover.

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Remove the ribs, and add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic with 1 tbsp. more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Take the skillet off the heat and pour in the reserved marinade.  Deglaze the pan, then add the vegetable stock, honey and ketchup.  Return the short ribs, cover and turn the heat down to the lowest setting.  You want a constant slow simmer.

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Friends, this is one of those kitchen gadgets you didn’t know you needed until you have one, it’s a simmer mat.  It will prevent hot spots, maintain that low steady simmer, and keep your rice and delicate sauces from burning.  It is perfect for recipes like this one, where braising is done on the stove top.

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Look!  After 3 hours of gentle heat, the meat is melt in your mouth tender and pulling away from the bone.

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The skillet liquid is full of rich flavor.  Strain some of it into a sauce pan and whisk in 1 tbsp. Wondra flour.  Cook over low heat until slightly thickened, whisking frequently. Finish with a pat of butter.

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I made individual serving bowls, and set each short rib over whipped potatoes, with a drizzle of the pan sauce.  Oven roasted carrots were the perfect accompaniment.  The garnish of fresh chives and parsley adds a pop of color and freshness.

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Needless to say, Mr. Extruded Noodle was very happy with his dinner and I’m so glad I had some time off to make it for him.  This was a nice end to the day and a delicious dinner for two.  If you like comfort food as much as we do see more great recipes here..

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Posted in Comfort Food, Dinner for two | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Orange Mojitos

What adult beverage goes with hot summer nights and dinner on the grill?  Mojitos!  They are so refreshing, and orange is my favorite variation of this classic drink.  I keep frozen orange juice cubes on hand so we have them ready when the mood strikes!  This recipe is for an individual serving so you can make one or several.

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Fresh mint is an essential flavor component of this drink.  I have some in my container garden, it is prolific and will come back year after year.

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Ingredients (per serving):

  • 3 slices of orange
  • 3 slices of lime
  • 1 tsp. powdered sugar
  • 3 orange juice cubes
  • 3/4 oz. rum
  • 3/4 oz. Triple Sec
  • Sprite
  • fresh sprigs of mint and mint leaves

Preparation:

Place 1 tsp. of powdered sugar in each glass.  Add several mint leaves with the rum and Triple Sec.  Gently crush the mint leaves with a spoon, or use a pestle to bring out the flavor.  Add the lime and orange slices with 3 orange juice cubes.

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Top off with Sprite and garnish with an orange slice and a sprig of mint.  Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

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This is a very refreshing drink.  Don’t skip the mint, it really makes it special.  You will breathe in the flavor before you even taste it.

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Cheers!

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Posted in Adult Beverage, Holiday Favorites | Leave a comment

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I think bananas and chocolate are just wonderful together!  In this recipe I used a ripe banana plus a scoop of banana cream yogurt with bittersweet chocolate chips!  Oh my!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. white sugaar
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup banana yogurt
  • 1 cup whole grain flour (I used a blend of freshly milled wheat, millet and sorghum)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

Preparation:

Combine the first 10 ingredients, through yogurt and whisk thoroughly to break down the mashed banana.

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Next, whisk or sift the dry ingredients together (flours, salt, baking powder).  Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  Don’t over mix.

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Fold in the chocolate chips, scraping the sides of the bowl just until any remaining flour is moistened.

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Preheat the oven to 400º.  Mist a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.  Spoon in the batter, about 1/3 cup each.

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Bake for 18-19 minutes.  Test with a toothpick.

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They are perfect!  Cool on a rack or bring them right to the table while they are still warm.

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Serve with butter, jam or enjoy as is.  They are a real treat for breakfast, lunch or snacks.  You can’t have enough muffin recipes, see more here!

 

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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Baking, Breakfast, Desserts | 1 Comment

Western Omelette Eggs in the Hole Recipe

Here is my rendition of this viral recipe that is all over Facebook and Pinterest.  It’s turning up on restaurant and diner menus everywhere we go.  No wonder, it is a delicious breakfast with a beautiful presentation.  To make it extra special, I used thick slices of my homemade Tartine Country Loaf.  Mr. Extruded Noodle said it was so good that it didn’t even need ketchup, now that is the ultimate compliment!

Serves 2 (or 1 if very hungry)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup ham steak, diced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large egg (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp. egg whites
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • seasoning (I used a salt, pepper and garlic blend)
  • 2 thick slices of bread
  • 3 tbsp. grated parmesan

Preparation:

Chop the ham and vegetables into small uniform dice, about 1/2″.  Season to taste.

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Add olive oil to a large skillet and cook the ham and vegetables.  Stir frequently as the vegetables release their liquid.  You want all of the liquid to evaporate, and the veggies to get a little browned like this.

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Remove the vegetables and add butter to the skillet.  Whisk the egg, whites and milk together and season to taste.  Cut out the center of the bread.

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Add the outside of the bread to the skillet.  Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture into the center.

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Now carefully pour the beaten eggs into the center and sprinkle with grated cheese.  If the eggs trickle underneath the bread and out the sides, use a spatula to trim and scoop the eggs back onto the veggie mixture.  This happened to me and it turned out fine.  When the eggs are set (2-3 minutes), take the center of the bread and place on top.

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Carefully flip the omelettes over to cook 3 minutes on the other side.  I used 2 pancake spatulas to hold the omelettes together while turning.

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This was a breakfast fit for a king!  Mr. Extruded Noodle loved it so much that I will be adding the recipe to our breakfast rotation.

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Kabobs Deconstructed

Summer days are here and that means dinner on the grill!  Kabobs are one of my favorite grill meals, but sometimes when I get home from work I just want to do something quick.  Threading meat and veggies onto skewers is great, but it does take time.  So here is an easy dinner with all the flavor components of a great kabob minus that extra step.  Also I got to try out my latest grilling accessory, reusable grill mats.  I love them!  They are nonstick, easy to clean up and reasonably priced too.  If you prep everything ahead of time, you can have dinner ready in under 30 minutes.  Now that is a very good thing after a long day at work.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sirloin tips, cut into cubes
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pack button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces
  • olive oil
  • steak seasoning, such as McCormick’s Montreal Steak

Preparation: Heat the grill to medium while you prep the meat and vegetables.  Try to cut everything to about the same size for even cooking.  My mushrooms were small so I left them whole, but if you have larger mushrooms then cut them in half.  Keep each ingredient separate (some take longer to cook than others), and toss each one with just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of steak seasoning.  There are many to choose from, but I am partial to McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning.  They have a 25% less sodium version which I really appreciate as I know we should be watching our salt (hehe).

When you are ready to begin, lay the grill mats across the grill, or use foil misted with cooking spray.  Give the cauliflower a 10 minute head start, as it will take the longest to cook.  Next add the onions and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Be sure to turn the vegetables every few minutes with tongs or a spatula.  Add the beef and mushrooms last.

Kabobs-Deconstructed-The-Extruded-Noodle-001a You can see where the cauliflower is developing a nice char, keep turning it so that it doesn’t burn.

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The beef will be cooked to medium in about 3 minutes per side.  You can increase or decrease the cooking time to your taste preference, we like it pink in the middle.  There you are, Kabobs Deconstructed!

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Transfer everything to a serving platter and bring to the table.  One thing about grilling outdoors, sometimes the food gets cold very quickly once you take it off the heat.  I like to pop my serving platter in the microwave for a minute before putting the food on it, it helps to keep everything warm for a few minutes longer.

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There you are, dinner is served and let me tell you, this was so good!  Now I know some of you are thinking wait, where are the carbs?  Worry not!  I served ours with a side of brown and wild rice, it just didn’t make the photo shoot.  You could also add some baby potatoes to the mix, give them a little head start in the microwave then finish them on the grill.  Please try the recipe and make it your own.  Let me know what you think!

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Chicken, Sausage and Rice Casserole

Chicken drumsticks and Italian sausage come together with other pantry staples to make a flavorful one dish meal.  I made this casserole last weekend and it got rave reviews!  It’s easy and economical.  The skillet goes from stove top, to oven to table for casual dining and easy cleanup.

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4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup long grain brown and wild rice
  • 3-1/2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 5-6 chicken drumsticks
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. Italian sausage, cut into thin coins
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ coins
  • sausage seasoning (The Spice House makes a good one)
  • 1/4 cup half and half, or milk
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

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Preparation:

Long grain brown rice takes about 50 minutes to cook, so start the rice first.  Simmer 1/2 cup rice in 1-1/2 cups chicken broth.  While the rice cooks, start the chicken.  I used a deep, cast iron skillet that can go from stove top to oven.  First brown the chicken on all sides in a little olive oil.  Then add 1/2 cup chicken broth, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

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Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate, remove meat from the bones and season.

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Drain all fat and liquid from the pan, add more olive oil and begin browning the sausage.  Add the onions and carrots and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season the vegetables.

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Add the rice.  It should be nearly cooked.

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Add back the chicken, 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, and 1/4 cup half and half or milk.  Stir well.

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Top it off with breadcrumbs and grated cheese.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350º.

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The liquid will bubble and thicken to create a nice sauce.  I like to finish it off under the broiler, 3 minutes on low.  Watch that it doesn’t burn.

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Mr. Extruded Noodle likes that crispy topping!  Let it rest a few minutes to set up, and bring it right to the table in the skillet.  Easy cleanup too!

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Yum!  Everyone wanted seconds!  I got an A+ for my efforts in this meal but you can see how easy it really is.  Be sure to pin this one and give it a try.

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Traditional Chicken Parmigiana

Wondering what to make for dinner tonight?  You can’t go wrong with Traditional Chicken Parmigiana.  It’s the classic dish that will please everyone in the family!  Chicken is my go to for Parmigiana, but veal or eggplant are equally popular, and good!

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • your favorite marinara sauce
  • shredded cheese (Parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar)

6 Servings.  You can easily double or triple the recipe.

Preparation:  Open up each chicken breast and cut in half.  Place each half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to under 1/2″ thickness with the flat side of a meat mallet.  For a shortcut, you can buy chicken cutlets that have already been cut to size.  They are a little more expensive but you will save some time.

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Set up three breading trays (or shallow bowls) with the flour, beaten eggs and a combination of Panko and seasoned Italian breadcrumbs.

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Dredge each cutlet in the flour, shake off the excess.  Next dip it in the egg, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture.  Repeat with all of the cutlets.

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Heat a large skillet with olive oil, use enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Don’t crowd the pan, add a few cutlets at a time and cook 5 minutes per side, or until they are nicely browned.  Add a little more olive oil as needed.  Repeat with the remaining cutlets.

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Place the cutlets in a rectangular baking dish or baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Heat the oven to 350°.  Spoon marinara sauce over the cutlets.

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Top with cheese and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the cheese is melted.

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Dinner is served and it is going to be delicious!  Serve it up with a nice salad and your favorite pasta.

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Leftovers can be served warm or cold.  I love to make extra for lunch sandwiches.  Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you have enjoyed this old classic!

 

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Grilled Beef Kabobs

Summer has finally arrived in RI and we are celebrating with dinner on the grill!  Beef kabobs, skewers of beef with mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper and sweet onions are brushed with seasoned olive oil and grilled for a simple, satisfying meal.

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Summer also means the Farmer’s Markets are open!  We are fortunate to live in an area where there are many local farms, and we support them as much as possible by purchasing locally raised beef and vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beef sirloin tips
  • 16 button mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. reduced sodium steak seasoning
  • skewers
  • cooking spray

Note: If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water at least 1 hour before cooking.  I am using flat metal skewers that are easier to handle on the grill.

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Preparation:  Cut the beef into uniform chunks 1-1/2″ in size.  Chop the zucchini, bell pepper and onion into 1-1/2″ pieces.  Cut mushrooms in half or leave the smaller ones whole, they will shrink on the grill.  Thread the kabobs onto the skewers, alternating the meat and vegetables. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.

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Heat the grill on medium.  Bring tongs, spatula and oven mitts.

Carefully coat the grates with cooking spray, watch for flare-ups.  Lay the skewers on the grill leaving plenty of space in between.

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Grill with the lid closed and turn the kabobs several times during cooking.  Meanwhile, get your side dishes ready.

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Grill for 8-12 minutes, depending on how well done you like your beef.  About ten minutes total cook time for medium.

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The vegetables should have a nice char and the beef will be pink in the middle.

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Easy, delicious and on the table in under 30 minutes.  Perfect for your week night menu!

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Whole Roast Chicken

Everyone loves a traditional roast chicken dinner.  Roasting a whole chicken is easy and makes a beautiful presentation.  Read about how to prepare a bird that is crisp on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside.  Lemon, garlic and fresh herbs star in this family favorite.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 pound roasting chicken
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 lemons
  • several sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion

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Preparation:

Wash and dry the lemons and herbs.  Peel the garlic cloves and slowly warm them in the olive oil over lowest possible heat.  A simmer mat is great for this application.  Turn them every 10 minutes.

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Leave the butter standing at room temperature until softened.  Chop half of the rosemary and thyme and add to the butter.  Zest both lemons and add the zest to the butter.

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Remove the giblets packet from the chicken.  Rinse the chicken, inside and out and pat dry.

Whole-Roast-Chicken-The-Extruded-Noodle-040Mist a large roasting pan with cooking spray and set the chicken breast side up.  Now cut the lemons in half and fit as many pieces as you can into the cavity of the chicken, along with the garlic cloves and remaining rosemary and thyme sprigs.

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Rub the butter mixture all over the chicken, be sure to coat the wings and legs.  Preheat the oven to 425º.

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Tie the legs together.  Quarter the onion and tuck slices under the chicken, along with any extra slices of lemon.

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Roast uncovered for 1-1/2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165º.

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The skin should be nicely browned.  Let it rest 10 minutes before carving.

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Can you see how moist the meat is?  We had a great dinner, with leftovers for another meal and sandwiches for lunch.  The remnants went into the crock-pot for soup.

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Not only was this a wonderful dinner, but you can see what a value the chicken was!  Many meals, nothing wasted.

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So now you know the secret.  A layer of fat on the outside and moist fragrant lemons on the inside makes the juiciest chicken ever.  Please do try it!

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Posted in Chicken, Chicken Dinner, Comfort Food, Gluten Free | Tagged | 2 Comments

Oven Fries

I rarely make fried food at home.  I love it, but it doesn’t love me!  Still, what goes better with a sandwich than fries?  Here is an oven baked version that you will love just as much, and I promise you won’t miss the fat!  Roasted on very high heat, with just a tiny bit of oil and sprinkle of cornmeal for a nice crunch.  They are easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes.  I baked my Oven Fries in a stoneware bar pan, which is ideal for this preparation.  Don’t crowd the pan, if you are doubling the recipe make 2 batches.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (I like Emeril’s)
  • 1 tsp. corn meal
  • cooking spray

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 500º.  Wash and dry the potato, and cut into thin strips no more than 1/2″ wide.  I left the skins on.  Place them in a large bowl and toss well with the olive oil, corn meal and seasoning.  Mist the pan with cooking spray and spread the fries in a single layer, try not to let them touch.

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Bake for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to brown all sides.

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Test with a fork, and bake a few more minutes if needed.

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There you are.  Everyone loves fries and here is a healthier version that you can feel good about.  Don’t they look delicious?

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Tartine Country Loaf Bread

This weekend I baked a Tartine style Country Loaf Bread.  It is a true sourdough, that means no commercial yeast at all.  Can you believe that a mere 1 tablespoon of sourdough starter will raise an entire loaf of bread?  I have never asked my starter to perform such a feat!  

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This is a 2 day process, so there was much anticipation about how the final loaf would look and taste.  I’m also showing the date/time of each step, so that you might envision how to fit this recipe into your busy schedule.  You do not need a stand mixer for this bread, although I used mine to mix the dough.  The dough is developed by a series of stretch and folds, rather than by kneading.  The loaf is baked in a Dutch oven, a heavy enameled cast iron covered pot.  

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Preferment:

  • 1 tbsp. active 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 100 g. warm water
  • 50 g. all purpose flour
  • 50 g. white whole wheat flour

Final dough:

  • all of the Preferment
  • 350 g. warm water
  • 350 g. bread flour
  • 150 g. white whole wheat flour
  • 10 g. salt

Preparation:

Saturday 9:00 am – Stir together the preferment ingredients, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 7 hours.  As the day goes on, it will become increasingly puffy and bubbly.

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Saturday 4:00 pm – Combine the final dough ingredients with the preferment in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.  Mix just until combined to form a wet shaggy dough, do not knead.

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Transfer to a bowl (no oil), cover with plastic wrap and let it rest 45 minutes.

Saturday 4:45 pm – Set up a large cutting board, I rubbed mine with just a tiny bit of olive oil to help with sticking.  Use a bench knife to stretch and fold the dough, then return it to the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Repeat this step every 30 minutes until 8 pm.

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Saturday 8:00 pm – Here is my Tartine dough, 12 hours into the process.  It is fragrant, smooth and silky.  You can hold this dough in your hands and literally feel that it is alive.  Now it will go into the fridge overnight to be baked in the morning.

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Sunday 8:00 am – Good morning beautiful!  Here it is, a perfect ball of dough, full of air bubbles.  Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 500º.  Place the Dutch oven into the oven while it is heating for 1/2 hour prior to baking.

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Sunday 8:30 am – Sprinkle the Dutch oven with cornmeal and use a stiff spatula to carefully nudge the dough from the bowl without deflating the air bubbles.  Gently place the dough into the Dutch oven, cover and return to the oven.  Reduce the oven temperature to 450º and bake for 30 minutes.

 

Sunday 9:00 am – Remove the cover and continue baking another 15-20 minutes.

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Sunday 9:20 am – Look at this magnificent loaf of bread!  Now transfer it to a rack, it will need to cool completely before slicing.

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After all the anticipation, we could hardly wait for dinner.  The crust crackled when I sliced into it and the crumb was open and soft.

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I could have made a meal of just this bread with some dipping oil!  It reminded me of how good bakery bread used to taste back in the 1960′s.  Really.

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Sourdough bakers,  you must try this method.  I think this is one of the best loaves I have ever baked!

 

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Beef Tenderloin Steak with Scallops and Risotto

Mr. Extruded Noodle and I really do eat like a king and queen.  Even on week nights!  Who said you can’t make an amazing dinner when you get home from work?  Check out this lovely recipe that is easy to prepare and ready in under an hour.  For a special touch I used Prosecco as an economical alternative to champagne (we already splurged on the tenderloin and scallops!) it gives a nice flavor to the risotto and the butter sauce.  If you can’t find it use a white wine that you can drink with dinner.

Dinner for two

Ingredients:

  • 2 beef tenderloin steaks, about 4 oz. each
  • 12 sea scallops
  • steak seasoning (I like McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak)
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 5 tsp. butter, divided
  • 2/3 cup Prosecco, divided (or substitute white wine, or champagne)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup Vidalia onion, minced fine, divided use
  • 1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Carnaroli rice (or substitute Arborio rice)
  • 4 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth at room temperature
  • 1 large broccoli crown, cut into spears
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish

Preparation:

Start the risotto first.  Heat 2 tsp. of butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat.  Add 1/4 cup of the minced Vidalia onions (and mushrooms, if using), and cook until they release their liquid.  Stir in the rice and toss well to coat the grains.  Cook for 1 minute then add 1/4 cup of Prosecco to the pan.  Stir until the liquid is almost evaporated.  Use a ladle to add 1/2 cup of broth to the skillet, stirring continuously until the rice absorbs most of the liquid, then continue adding one ladle of broth at a time, stirring until almost absorbed before adding the next.  Taste after about 30 minutes.  You will likely need most, but not all of the liquid.  When the rice is ready, remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with chives, transfer to a serving dish, cover and keep warm.

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Steam the broccoli while the meat cooks.  It will go very quickly!  Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium, swirl 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. butter in the pan.  Add the steaks to one side of the pan, and the scallops to the other.  Season lightly and cook 3-4 minutes, uncovered.

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Turn the steaks and scallops, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

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Remove the steak and scallops to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm.  Add 1 tsp. each butter and olive oil to the skillet with the remaining onions.  Cook 1 minute, then add the lemon juice and the rest of the Prosecco.  Stir together and allow the liquid to reduce by half.

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Drizzle sauce over the steak and scallops.

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Garnish with fresh chives.  Doesn’t that look mouth watering?

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The Prosecco sauce is delicious with both the steak and the scallops.

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Serve with the risotto and broccoli.

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This elegant dinner is on the table in about 45 minutes.  It was absolutely fabulous!  Treat your someone special to a great meal tonight.

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Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onions have hit the markets, and they are so appealing to the eye with their pretty greens attached.  The onions come in red and white, and I love both.  You might think that you need to remove the greens and discard them when you get home, but did you know they can make a nice addition to your soup stock?  I have made this soup a couple of times and it has a nice “bite” thanks to the simmered onion greens.  If you have a cold I can attest that this soup will hit the spot!  It is a simple recipe, and will only take 1-1/2 hours to prepare.

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Ingredients:

  • 49 oz. can fat free less sodium chicken broth
  • 3 spring onions with their greens
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • Sage, thyme and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of spelt orzo, or other soup pasta

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Preparation:

Remove the greens from the onions and wash thoroughly.  Dice the onions and set aside.  Add the greens to a large stock pot with the chicken broth.  Cover and simmer 45 minutes.

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Discard the wilted greens, then add the diced carrots, celery and onion to the pot.  Season with sage, thyme and fresh ground pepper.  Simmer for 30 more minutes or until the carrots are tender.

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You probably noticed that I did not add salt.  The onion greens, like all vegetables contain some level of salt, and I was surprised at how good the simmered broth tasted.  Maybe it’s the savory zing from the onions, but I thought the seasoning was just right.  You can adjust it to your own taste.

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Cook the orzo or other soup pasta in a separate pot to one minute less than package directions.  Drain and add to the soup.  Keep it on lowest heat until ready to serve.

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This is a nice light soup, and you can enjoy a cup with a sandwich or some bread on the side.  Even if it does not cure your cold, you will definitely feel better after a piping hot bowl of Spring Onion Soup.

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Banana Pumpkin Muffins

I  made a batch of muffins for our coffee this afternoon, and because I’m all about using things up I incorporated a couple of things that I had hanging out in the fridge.  A little pumpkin puree leftover from another recipe, a banana that is past its prime…  As a bonus, with such moist ingredients I knew I could omit the oil in this recipe.  The banana, pumpkin and eggs were enough to yield a nice moist muffin and we will save a few calories.  You will also notice that I didn’t overdo the sugar, and I used 1% milk.  I love to add just a pinch of cardamom to baked goods, it has a wonderful flavor and really brings out the sweetness.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole grain flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch (couple of shakes) of nutmeg and cardamom

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Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • cooking spray

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400º and mist a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.   Whisk together all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients, except for the milk in another.

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I milled 1/4 cup each of white wheat berries, sorghum and millet for my whole grain flour.  If you do not have a grain mill you can substitute any good quality whole grain flour such as Bob’s Red Mill.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients then add the milk.

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Stir and fold the batter together, just until moistened.  Don’t overwork it.

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Now spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan.

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You should have just enough to fill 12 muffin cups to within 1/2″ from the top.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.

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I can tell that they are done, but I always check with a toothpick to be sure.  I let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes then used a spoon to remove them.

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When the muffins have cooled you can cover them and store at room temperature for a couple of days.  They also freeze very well.  I wrap them 2 or 3 together in plastic wrap then store in a freezer bag.  They are delicious for breakfast on the go, lunches and snacks.

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Cranberry Orange Biscotti

Biscotti are the perfect dessert for every occasion.  They are a holiday tradition at our house.  There are so many variations of this twice baked Italian cookie, and Cranberry Orange is one of my favorites.  The flavors are perfect together and even better with the addition of toasted walnuts!

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Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest (or 1/4 tsp. orange extract)
  • 2 tbsp. Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1/8 tsp. orange extract

Preparation:

Toast the walnuts for 3-4 minutes on a baking sheet at 350º and coarsely chop.  Lower the oven temperature to 325º.  Give the cranberries 2-3 pulses in an electric chopper.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  In the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater attachment, cream together the softened butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, orange zest and Triple Sec.  Gradually add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time just until incorporated, and with the last of the flour add the cranberries and walnuts.

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Scrape the dough onto a cutting board and divide it in 2 equal parts.

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Press each section of dough into a long rectangle and roll it to an even 1/2″ thick.  Use a bench knife to even up the sides and the ends.  Lay each piece on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving space in between.

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Bake for 25 minutes at 325º.

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Cool 10 minutes and cut into slices 1″ thick, using a bench knife or a serrated knife.  Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their side.

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Bake for 5 – 10 minutes more, depending on how crisp you like them.  I find 10 minutes is about right for me.  For a softer cookie 5 minutes is enough.  For a nice hard cookie go the full 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake another 5 minutes.

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Cool the Biscotti on a rack.  You can enjoy them just like this, give them a dusting of powdered sugar or give them a light glaze as I did here.  Place a sheet of waxed paper underneath to keep your counter clean.  Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and orange extract.  Drizzle it over the Biscotti and let it set up for several hours at room temperature.  If you are in a hurry place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

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I love how fast and easy these Biscotti are to prepare, and everyone loves them.  They are made for dunking, so put the coffee on and enjoy!  I  If you liked this post, check out another favorite of mine, Chocolate Almond Biscotti.

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Posted in Baking, Desserts, Holiday Favorites, Under an hour | Tagged | 2 Comments