NY Strip Roast

Here is a very special dinner for all the “meat and potato” lovers out there.  Easy to prepare with only a few simple ingredients.  The fat cap on this cut of meat helps keep the roast tender and moist, and the rub adds a double dose of garlic flavor as both a mince and a paste.  Fingerling potatoes were the perfect accompaniment to this juicy roast.  I started the roast at 425º to get good color then turned the heat down for the remainder of the cook time.  This method worked well for both the roast and the potatoes.

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb. boneless NY strip loin roast
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • thyme
  • 1 pkg. fingerling potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/4 red onion

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Preparation:

Take the roast out of the refrigerator 30 minutes ahead, remove from packaging and pat dry.

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Make a paste with 2 of the garlic cloves and drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil.

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Place the other 2 cloves in an electric chopper with a handful of parsley leaves, black pepper, salt and 1/2 tsp. of thyme.  Drizzle with 2-3 tbsp. olive oil and pulse several times.

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Combine the garlic paste with the parsley mixture and rub it all over the roast.  Place the meat fat side up in a roasting pan lined with foil.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 425º.  Rinse the potatoes, peel and cut the carrots into chunks, and slice the onion.  Toss well with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.  Spread evenly in a baking dish and place in the oven 15 minutes before you start the roast.  You will want to stir them every 15 minutes or so, and add a little more oil if they look dry.

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Place the roast in the 425º oven uncovered and cook 20 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 325º and continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 140 for medium (130 for medium rare, 150 for medium well).  How long will it take?  About 15 minutes per pound, however this can vary greatly based on the size of the roast and your oven.  Use a thermometer!

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Our roast weighed 2.25 lbs and was cooked to medium after about 50 minutes.  When done, take the roast out of the oven and tent with foil.  Let it rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.  Turn the oven down to keep warm (170º) and leave the potatoes in the oven until ready to serve.

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Slice the roast and serve.  We both like it cooked to medium and this was perfect.

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Our colorful potatoes were nicely done, the onions have almost melted away.

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This meal was a special treat.  If you like gravy with a roast try my onion gravy and use beef broth in the recipe.  Truthfully the meat was so moist it didn’t need anything else.

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Marinara Sauce

Why can’t restaurants make a good marinara?  I’m often so disappointed when ordering a simple pasta dish like chicken and shells.  It’s the sauce.  You know, that bland watery tomato sauce straight out of the can with no seasoning?  Honestly, I want to just walk into the kitchen and show them how to do it.  Well, maybe I’ll just show you, it is not difficult to make a marinara sauce.  Of course you can start with canned tomatoes, you just have to jazz it up!  Use whole peeled tomatoes if you like it chunky, or plain tomato sauce if you prefer no seeds.  Use a combination of the two.  I confess, to this day I still prefer Hunts Sauce for my marinara, because that’s what my mother used and it brings back such happy memories of our Italian Sunday dinners growing up.  4 servings, but you can double, triple or more to feed a crowd.

Ingredients:

    • 1 large (29 oz.) can of plain tomato sauce, or whole peeled tomatoes
    • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
    • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar
    • fresh ground pepper, about 8-10 grinds
    • 3 tsp. dried basil
    • 2 tsp. dried oregano
    • pinch of red pepper flakes, optional but good!

Preparation:

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot and heat over medium low.  Add the onions and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently until they are translucent.

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Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, be careful not to let it burn.  Next add the tomato paste.  Make a space in the center of the pot and drop it in, and let it toast for a minute before stirring it into the onions and garlic.

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Using paste gives the sauce body and makes it less watery.

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Now add the sauce or whole peeled tomatoes, brown sugar, pepper, basil and oregano.  I do not add sugar to a meat sauce, but for a marinara I love just a tablespoon of sugar or brown sugar per can of tomatoes.

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Simmer on low for 30-40 minutes.  A simmer mat is great for maintaining a low, gentle simmer and you don’t have to worry about burning your sauce.

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What restaurant favorite will you make for dinner tonight?  How about spaghetti and meatballs?  Chicken and shells?  Now that you have a great marinara recipe you can recreate all your menu favorites right at home!

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Posted in Comfort Food, Dash Diet Friendly, Healthy Italian Favorites, Italian Sunday Dinner, Pasta, Under an hour | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Potato Chips

Crisp potato chips, hot out of the oven.  Better and tastier than store bought, with no preservatives and you control the salt.  Only 3 ingredients – potatoes, salt and cooking spray.  Kid friendly, even picky eaters will love them!  I used a mandoline to slice the potatoes paper thin, but you can do this with a good kitchen knife.  Potatoes can be peeled or not, I like mine with the skins on for extra texture.

2 – 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large russet potato
  • cooking spray
  • salt or seasoned salt (I like Lawry’s lower sodium blend)

Preparation:

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and mist with cooking spray.  Note: chips will brown faster when baked on foil, for a lighter chip use parchment.  Slice the potato paper thin, using knife or mandoline.

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Spread the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.  If you are doubling the recipe, do not crowd the pan.  Use 2 baking sheets.  Mist the tops with cooking spray and sprinkle with seasoned salt.

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Bake for 20 minutes at 425º, check them after 15 minutes.  This batch is perfect for me.

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Here is a batch baked on foil, see the difference?  Mr. Extruded Noodle likes them super crunchy like this!

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I love this side, especially on busy weeknights.  For more dinner ideas, check out my 30 Minutes or Less Meals and Side Dishes.

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Sweet and Savory Pork Tenderloin

This weekend I’m serving up a romantic dinner for two.  My Sweet and Savory Pork Tenderloin is rubbed with a paste made of mustard and maple syrup, then wrapped in bacon.  On the side, I continue the sweet and savory flavor palette with a medley of carrots and pears, cooked in the rendered bacon fat and garnished with crumbled bacon bits.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 4 strips of bacon, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. stone ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup, divided
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • black pepper
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal
  • 1 pear, peeled and sliced into wedges

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Preparation:

Cook 2 strips of bacon in a skillet (not non-stick).  Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels, crumble and reserve for garnish.  Leave the rendered bacon fat in the skillet, we’ll come back to that later.

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Pat the pork tenderloin dry.  Mix together 1 tbsp. mustard and 1 tbsp. maple syrup.  We were gifted some fancy stone ground mustard for Christmas but use what you have.

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Rub the pork all over with the mustard/syrup mixture, and set it on a baking pan.  Cut the remaining 2 slices of (uncooked) bacon in half, and wrap it over the pork.

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Use a meat thermometer, roast the pork at 375º to an internal temperature of 145.

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While the roast is in the oven, heat the skillet with the reserved bacon fat.  Add 1/4 cup diced onion, 1/4 tsp. thyme and a few grinds of black pepper.  Add the carrots, cover and cook 15-20 minutes on low.  Add the pear slices during the final 5 minutes of cooking.

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Remove the roast, tent with foil and rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.  I have a confession to make, we were so hungry we didn’t wait!

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To serve, slice the tenderloin and transfer to a platter.  Arrange the carrot and pear mixture around the meat, drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp. of maple syrup and top with crumbled bacon.

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Foodies, it was a fabulous meal!  Mr. Extruded Noodle was impressed, especially with the pear and bacon combo.  They go well together, who knew?

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Notes:

*A pork tenderloin weighs about 1 lb., but is often sold in a 2+lb. vacuum sealed package that actually consists of 2 thin tenderloins.  The tenderloins can be tied together for cooking, but I always separate and freeze them individually for 2 meals.

*Wondering about the pilaf in the final photo?  It’s sorghum, an ancient grain that is nutritious, economical and makes a great stand in for rice or barley.

 

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Posted in Comfort Food, Dinner for two, Elegant Dining, Gluten Free | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi, a romantic dinner for two that is so fast and easy you can enjoy it on a busy weeknight.  So go ahead, open a bottle of white wine, reserve 1/2 cup for the recipe and enjoy the rest with dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3/4 lb. medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 lb. spaghetti

Preparation:

If your shrimp is frozen, give it a quick rinse under lukewarm water.  Melt butter and olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium low heat.

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Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the diced tomatoes with their juice.  Season with basil and oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  A pinch of red pepper flakes if you like more heat.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

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While the tomatoes are simmering, cook the spaghetti.  At the very end of cooking add the shrimp to the skillet along with the white wine.  My shrimp were still a little frozen, that’s fine.

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Cover the skillet and continue cooking several minutes more, just until the shrimp turn pink.  Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will be tough.

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Drain the spaghetti, add it right into the skillet and toss well.  Cook 1 minute more to blend all the flavors.

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That’s it!  Did I tell you it was easy?  Transfer to a serving bowl and dinner is ready.

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If it were summer, I would garnish this with some fresh parsley from my garden.  Alas, it’s January so we will have to enjoy it as is.  Such a tough life we have!  That’s our dinner tonight friends, comfort food and elegant dining in 30 minutes or less!  Make it for your special someone.

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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Comfort Food, Dinner for two, Elegant Dining, Healthy Italian Favorites, Seafood | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Gnocchi with Chicken and Roasted Cauliflower

This skillet dinner is a family favorite and you have seen me prepare meals like this many times.  Notice anything different about the pasta?  Yes, it’s made from scratch and it is fabulous.  Now for the surprise, it’s gluten free.  Yes, it is.  Foodies, if you are gluten free and craving a pasta dinner I’ve got you covered!  With a handful of ingredients you can make a gluten free version of any fresh pasta right at home.  4 Servings.

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Ingredients:

For the pasta:

  • 3.75 oz. brown rice flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1.25 oz. tapioca starch
  • 1.5 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp. olive oil

For the skillet:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • 3 tbsp. all purpose gluten free flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • fat free, low sodium chicken broth about 1/3 cup
  • grated cheese, for serving

Preparation:

To make the pasta, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat together the eggs and olive oil and add to the flour mixture.  With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until a soft dough forms (about 1 minute). Press the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it rest 10 minutes.

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Lightly flour a cutting board and gnocchi board.  Use a bench knife to divide the dough into 4 even pieces.  Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest covered so that it doesn’t dry out.

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Roll each piece of dough into a long rope about 3/4″ wide.  Use the bench knife to cut the rope into 1/2″ pieces.

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Roll each piece of dough over the gnocchi board using a butter knife or your thumb.  Keep the board and your fingers floured so the gnocchi don’t stick.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and flour lightly.  Place the finished gnocchi on the baking sheet.  If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Always follow food safety guidelines, pasta made with fresh eggs should be refrigerated within 1 hour.

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Cut the chicken into 1.5″ cubes and toss with 3 tbsp. flour, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.  Let it sit at room temperature while you prepare the vegetables.  Chop the cauliflower and onion, and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Arrange it on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes at 400º.  Don’t skip this step, it adds so much flavor.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil for the pasta.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat.  Begin browning the chicken in a little olive oil.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning several times to brown on all sides.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like a little heat.

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When the chicken is almost done, cook the pasta.  Cover the pot if needed, to keep the water at a boil.  Remember fresh pasta cooks quickly, 3-4 minutes is all it takes.  It will float to the top when done.

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Add the roasted vegetables to the skillet along with a little chicken broth, folding gently with a spatula as the liquid begins to thicken.  Use a spider strainer to gently lift the pasta out of the water and add it to the skillet.  If too dry, add a bit more chicken broth or a ladle of the pasta water.  Toss gently and continue cooking 1 minute more.

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Transfer to a serving platter and top with grated cheese.

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There you are, fresh pasta, homemade, from scratch, and gluten free.  Thanks for stopping by today and hope you enjoyed our pasta dinner.  If you would like to make a traditional wheat version of this recipe made with semolina flour read about it here.

 

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Posted in Chicken, Comfort Food, fresh pasta, From Scratch, Gluten Free, handmade pasta, Skillet Dinners | 1 Comment

Baked Ziti with Sausage and Roasted Asparagus

I love casseroles!  This one is so delicious, made with Italian sausage, penne pasta and roasted asparagus.  But wait, there’s more, a bacon breadcrumb topping!  Be still my heart   Roasting the asparagus before combining with the casserole adds tons of flavor, don’t skip this step!

Ingredients:

  • 3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, (choose thin firm stalks)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese + more for serving

Preparation:

Render the bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp.  Add the Panko breadcrumbs and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently until the breadcrumbs have absorbed the bacon fat.  Transfer the bacon breadcrumbs to a bowl and set aside.

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Rinse and trim the asparagus, discarding the bottom 2″ of the stalk.  Chop the remainder into short pieces, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes at 425º.

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Add more olive oil to the skillet and begin browning the sausage, breaking it up with a spatula.  Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook over low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.

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Cook the penne to 2 minutes less than package directions.  Drain and add to the skillet, along with the roasted asparagus.  Whisk together the chicken broth and flour, and pour over the skillet.

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Stir and toss well until the liquid begins to thicken , then transfer everything to a gratin dish that has been coated with cooking spray.  Top with cheese, and the breadcrumb mixture.

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Lower the heat to 375º and bake 20 minutes more.  Watch that the breadcrumbs don’t burn.

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Serve with more grated cheese.

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Doesn’t that look delicious?  This was one good meal!  The little extra touches, like roasting the asparagus first, and making a bacon breadcrumb topping really make the dish special.  Try it and tell me what you think!

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Asian Beef and Broccoli

With just a handful of ingredients you can prepare a delicious, restaurant quality Asian meal right at home.  Petite sirloin (also called top sirloin) is a tender cut that is far superior to what is usually sold as “stir fry beef”.  It makes the dish and is well worth paying a little extra to purchase.  I used a stainless steel skillet (not non-stick) for quick cooking over high heat.

Dinner for 2

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. petite sirloin
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 bunch sliced scallions, divided
  • 5 minced garlic cloves, divided
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil, divided
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated to form a paste
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 large broccoli crown (about 2 cups)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 2/3 cup (uncooked) brown basmati rice

Preparation:

Measure and prep all of the ingredients ahead of time.  I used a zester to make a paste from the fresh ginger.

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For the marinade, whisk together 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 2 tbsp. scallions, 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 tsp. of sesame oil.

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Cut the sirloin (uncooked) into 1/2″ slices.  Pour the mixture into a zip top bag and add the beef.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

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Brown basmati rice takes longer to cook, so allow a 30 minute head start, cook according to package directions and keep warm.  Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet, watch closely that they don’t burn!  Set aside for garnish.

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Next, cut the broccoli into uniform pieces, leave some of the stem attached.  In the same skillet, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. sesame oil.  Add the broccoli, 3 tsp. garlic, 3 tbsp. scallions, all of the ginger and 3 tbsp. water.  Stir together and cook quickly for about 2 minutes.

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Set the broccoli aside on a platter while you finish the dish.

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Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and begin browning the beef.  Do not crowd the pan, do it in 2 batches if needed.  Discard the marinade.

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Season with red pepper flakes.  Return all of the beef and broccoli to the skillet and toss with 1/4 cup hoisin sauce.  Doesn’t that look good?

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To serve, spread the rice evenly over a platter and top with the beef and broccoli mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

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Friends, what a meal!  Mr. Extruded Noodle loved it, especially the tender beef.  I have another petite sirloin in the freezer so that we can do this again really soon.  Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you have enjoyed our Asian inspired dinner for two!

Note:  This meal can be made gluten free by choosing gluten free soy sauce and hoisin sauce.

 

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Posted in Asian Inspired, Comfort Food, Dinner for two, Gluten Free, Skillet Dinners, Stir Fry | Leave a comment

Twisted Rolls

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Time for holiday baking!  Make a batch of twisted sourdough rolls and serve them up for dinner this weekend.  Easy and fun to make, you can shape them into bread sticks or buns.  They freeze beautifully, so start baking now for the big holiday meal.  10 Rolls

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole grain flour (wheat, spelt, Khorasian wheat or combination)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup fully active sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. diastatic malt powder
  • 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1-1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. powdered buttermilk
  • 1-3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 beaten egg, for egg wash
  • sesame seeds, poppy seeds, coarse salt

Preparation:

Begin with a fully active sourdough starter.  If needed, take it out of the refrigerator ahead of time and begin feeding until it’s bubbly like mine.

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Measure 3/4 cup of the starter and add to the bowl of your stand mixer.  Drizzle with 1 tsp. of honey.

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Whisk together the flours, diastatic malt powder, instant yeast, salt and powdered buttermilk.  With the dough hook attachment on low speed, begin alternately adding the flour mixture and warm water until incorporated.  Increase speed and knead for 5 minutes.  The dough will be heavy and wet.

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Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place the bowl in a draft free area for a 3 hour rise.

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After 3 hours the dough has doubled in size.

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Transfer the dough to an oiled cutting board and perform a stretch and fold.  Then place it back in the bowl and cover for a second rise of one hour.

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Divide the dough into 20 pieces about 2 oz. each, and with oiled hands roll each piece into a 12″ rope.  Working with 2 ropes at a time, twist into a bread stick or shape into rounds.  Watch the video to see how easy it is!

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Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

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Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425º.  Just before baking, whisk an egg with 1 tbsp. water and brush the rolls lightly.  The egg wash gives the rolls a nice shine and helps the seeds adhere.

Twisted-Rolls-The-Extruded-Noodle-043aSprinkle the rolls with sesame and poppy seeds, and coarse salt.

Twisted-Rolls-The-Extruded-Noodle-047aBake for about 12 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool.

Twisted-Rolls-The-Extruded-Noodle-050aAren’t they beautiful?  Serve the bread sticks whole like this, or cut them into smaller pieces.

Twisted-Rolls-The-Extruded-Noodle-056aCheck out the nice soft crumb!  They are delicious and a little something special for your holiday table.

Twisted-Rolls-The-Extruded-Noodle-059aI hope you’ve enjoyed today’s bake!  If you didn’t catch the video, see it here.

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Posted in Bread, From Scratch, Sourdough, Today's Bake, Whole Grains | 3 Comments

Shrimp, Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables

Here is a weeknight dinner that is big on flavor.  Roasting the vegetables brings out their natural sweetness through caramelization.  It is a taste that you just cannot get from a stir fry.  Grilling the shrimp adds another layer of flavor.  I love using Delicata squash in my fall recipes.  It does not have to be peeled, and the beautiful striped skin roasts up tender and sweet.  Ready in about an hour, time well spent for a delicious meal made with healthy fresh ingredients.  Dinner for two.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. raw medium size shrimp
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Old Bay
  • butter
  • 1/3 cup uncooked long grain and wild rice mix (such as Lundberg)
  • 1-1/3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • seasoned salt (or salt and pepper)
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 parsnip. peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 sweet onion cut into slices
  • 1/2 delicata squash, halved and sliced, seeds removed

 

Preparation:

Cook the rice in 1-1/3 cups chicken broth, seasoned salt to taste and pinch of cayenne.  Peel and devein the shrimp, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with Old Bay and set aside.  Slice all the veggies 1/4″ thick (so that they cook evenly), toss with olive oil and seasoning.  Spread the veggies in a single layer in a baking pan and roast for 25 minutes at 400º.

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Transfer the cooked veggies to a serving bowl and keep warm.

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Heat a grill pan and brush with butter.  Cook the shrimp quickly, they only need a few minutes per side to turn pink and sport some nice grill marks.  To serve, I stirred the rice and veggies together and topped if off with the shrimp.

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Isn’t that beautiful?  This is a delicious weeknight meal that you can feel good about.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Posted in Comfort Food, Dash Diet Friendly, Dinner for two, Seafood, Under an hour | Leave a comment

Steak and Peppers

The colorful bags of mini bell peppers caught my eye at the market this week.  In shades of red, yellow and orange I knew they would make a beautiful fall plate.  This is an easy skillet dinner that I served over a bed of brown rice.  Dinner for two.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of tri-color mini bell peppers
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 12 oz. steak cut in 2 (London broil or sirloin)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • olive oil
  • steak seasoning

Preparation:

Cook the rice according to package directions.  Brush the steaks with olive oil and season both sides.  Leave at room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.  I had a 12 oz. London Broil, cut into 2 pieces.

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Cut the peppers into thin slices, removing stems, ribs and seeds.  Rinse well.

Steak-and-Peppers-The-Extruded-Noodle-002Toss the peppers and onions with olive oil and seasoning.  Heat a large skillet over medium and mist with cooking spray.  Add the steaks first then arrange the vegetables around them in a single layer.  Cook the steaks 5 minutes per side, uncovered (for medium).  Toss the vegetables every few minutes with tongs.  The peppers will be crisp and beginning to brown around the edges.

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To serve, spread the rice evenly on a serving platter.  Top with the peppers and steak.

Steak-and-Peppers-The-Extruded-Noodle-020Dinner is ready, start to finish in under an hour.  If you prep the veggies and cook the rice ahead of time, then you could be enjoying this meal in under 20 minutes!

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I love skillet dinners!  They are delicious and you can’t beat the easy cleanup of a one pan meal.

 

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Posted in Dinner for two, Gluten Free, Skillet Dinners, Under an hour | 1 Comment

Potato Matchsticks

For a nice change from the usual potato side, try making Potato Matchsticks!  With just a little extra knife work you can create this tasty side for your fall meals.  Shallots and carrot ribbons make it colorful.  I used a mandoline to create thin potato slices then finished them with a knife.  Tossed with olive oil and seasonings and roasted for deep flavor.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 tsp. garlic seasoning
  • black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Slice the potato very thin using a mandoline, then cut the slices into matchsticks.  Cut the shallots into thin slices and separate the rings.  Toss with olive oil, and season with minced fresh rosemary, fresh ground pepper and garlic seasoning.

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Peel the carrot into ribbons and add to the bowl with more olive oil.

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Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and spread the potato mixture in an even layer.

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Bake at 425º for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.

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Remove when the potatoes are cooked through, and the carrots and shallots are just beginning to brown around the edges.  Pick up the parchment and slide everything into a serving bowl.

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Hubby and I both thought this was delicious!  Ready in under an hour, this side pairs perfectly with burgers, steak, chicken and pork.

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Posted in #dashdiet, Comfort Food, Dash Diet Friendly, Gluten Free, Side Dish, Under an hour | 2 Comments

Spooky Meatball “Eyeballs”

I’m having a little Halloween fun in the kitchen making Spooky Meatball “Eyeballs”.  Little one bite meatballs are easy to make party food that will give everyone a smile.  Of course they are delicious!  You can use your own meatball recipe here or follow mine.  I always make my marinara from scratch, but I will not be offended if you take a shortcut and use jar sauce.  Just have fun!

 

Eyeballs-The-Extruded-Noodle-20171021_181857Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray
  • 6 slices of provolone
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • 3 cups marinara

 

 

Preparation:

Whisk together the egg and the tomato sauce.  Add the ground beef and breadcrumbs and use your hands to combine it all together.  Form 28 small meatballs and place them on a baking sheet lined with foil and misted with cooking spray.  I used a coffee scoop to measure the meatballs, about 1-1/2″ diameter.

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Broil the meatballs on low for about 9 minutes total, turning once.

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Let the meatballs cool for a few minutes.  Set up a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and mist with cooking spray.  Use a spoon to transfer the meatballs to the baking dish.  Most of the fat will remain behind on the foil.  Now top each meatball with about 1 tablespoon of the marinara (for the blood!)

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Cut small circles of provolone for the eyes.

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Top each meatball with cheese and an olive slice to make the “eyeballs”.

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How cute is that?  You can make the recipe ahead to this point and refrigerate until party time.  Bake, broil or microwave to heat them up and serve with a side of warm marinara for dipping.  I had too much fun making these!

Happy Halloween from The Extruded Noodle!

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Posted in Appetizers, Holiday Favorites | Leave a comment

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.

Chicken-Saltimbocca-The-Extruded-Noodle-027A

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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Posted in Bread, Sourdough | 2 Comments

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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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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