Dutch Oven Country Style Ribs

When country style ribs are on sale you can be sure that Mr. Extruded Noodle will be coming home with a big family pack!  So what to do when winter is here and the grill is covered with snow?  Make these mouth watering Country Style Ribs in a Dutch oven.  A long slow cook time on low heat yields moist, falling off the bone tender meat.

Dinner for 2.



  • 2 large bone in country style pork ribs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • cooking spray


Whisk together the seasoning ingredients and rub all over the ribs.  Mist the Dutch oven with cooking spray and add all of the diced onion.  Place the ribs over the bed of onion.  Do not add any liquid.  Cover and bake for 1-1/2 hours at 250º (yes, that’s 250º, not a typo).


You can see how the onion and juices from the meat have created their own liquid.  As the liquid evaporates it will condense on the cover of the pan and drip back down to baste the meat.  Brush with BBQ sauce, cover and return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.


When the ribs are done, meat will easily pull away from the bone.  It will be moist and tender.


Plate each rib and spoon some of the onions over the top with their juice.  Serve with more BBQ sauce.


Even in winter you can still enjoy a great BBQ dinner.  Bring it indoors and enjoy Dutch Oven Country Style Ribs no matter what the weather.


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With a little corn bread and baked beans you have yourself a great winter BBQ dinner.




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Posted in BBQ, Comfort Food, Dinner for two | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Breakfast Muffins with Dried Fruit

Over the holidays we were gifted a beautiful dried fruit tray (thanks Uncle Dan and Shirley!).  Since then I have been on a muffin kick, trying out different fruit and grain combinations.  Here are 2 of my favorites so far.  Dried fruits can be a little tricky to work with, as they absorb moisture from the batter and you can end up with muffins that are on the dry side.  Prevent this by adding the dried fruit to the wet ingredients first, and letting it soak for 10-15 minutes before folding in the flour mixture.  First up is a banana muffin with dried fig and apricot.  In the second recipe I use dried apple and dates.


Recipe#1  Banana Muffins with Dried Fig and Apricot


  • 1 cup whole grain flour, milled from white wheat, millet and sorghum
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot, fig and prune


In this first recipe the addition of ripe banana was just the thing to produce a moist, mildly sweet muffin.  I used a blend of white wheat, millet, sorghum and all purpose flour.  1 cup whole grain blend + 1/2 cup all purpose flour.  For the dried fruit I used apricot, fig and prune.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and honey.  Switch to the paddle attachment and beat the egg mixture with the ripe banana.  Stir in the oil, vanilla extract and milk.  Use an electric chopper to mince the dried fruit and add it to the egg mixture.  Let it soak for 10-15 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 400º and mist a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.  Whisk together the dry ingredients, spices and sugars.  Gently fold together the wet and dry ingredients, just until moistened.


Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake 15 minutes.



Recipe #2  Muffins with Dried Apple and Date


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup low fat ricotta (or sour cream, or yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup dried apples and dates


For the second recipe I used a blend of whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour.  For the dried fruit, I used apple and date.  Follow the same steps as above.  Combine the wet ingredients, add the dried fruit and allow it to soak for 10-15 minutes.  Fold in the dry ingredients, just until moistened.  Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 15 minutes at 400º.


Serve warm with fresh fruit for an easy breakfast.  Pack them for lunch, or enjoy with your afternoon coffee.


The muffins freeze well, so you can make a big batch and defrost them during the week for breakfast and snacks.  They won’t last long!


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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Baking, Breakfast | Leave a comment

Shrimp with Wild Rice

Shrimp, sprinkled with Old Bay® seasoning and quickly sauteed in butter is served over a bed of wild rice.  There is no reason you cannot have a healthy home cooked meal during the week.  It doesn’t get any easier than this!  Dinner for 2.


  • 14 oz. large raw shrimp
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Old Bay® seasoning
  • 1/3 cup long grain and wild rice mix
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. butter


I usually buy raw, frozen shrimp.  It’s more economical and I can defrost just the amount that I need for dinner.  Measure a little extra to allow for thawing and peeling.  Place the shrimp in a colander and rinse under cold water.  Peel off the shell, leaving the tails on.  Run a sharp knife down the back of the shrimp and remove the black vein (yes, I know it’s not a vein #keepitclassy).  Rinse well, drain and sprinkle the shrimp with Old Bay.

Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a sauce pan with a tight fitting lid.  Add the rice, and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast.  Add the broth, salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and simmer on low, for the time indicated in the package directions.

When the rice is ready, melt 2-tbsp. of butter in a nonstick skillet.  Add the shrimp and cook 2 minutes, turning frequently.  Sprinkle more Old Bay.  Shrimp is done as soon as it turns pink.  Spread the rice in a layer on a serving dish and spoon the shrimp over the rice.




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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Dinner for two, Seafood | Leave a comment

Turkey Meatballs

Foodie friends, when you feel like having a little “Thanksgiving Lite” try these Turkey Meatballs.  The flavors of sage, thyme, onion and celery mirror the big Thanksgiving dinner in a fraction of the time.  A little ricotta in the mix keeps the meatballs nice and moist!  You are going to love this easy entree!  Complete the meal with a side of stuffing and drizzle of turkey gravy.



  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup low fat ricotta
  • 1/2 stalk celery, fine minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, fine minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1-1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs, divided


Use an electric chopper to finely mince the onion and celery.  Combine all of the ingredients through poultry seasoning in a bowl and mix thoroughly (use your hands).  Add the breadcrumbs a little at a time, using just enough to bring it all together.  I used about 1 cup.  Line a baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.  Spread 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs in a bowl or plate.  Form 1 dozen meatballs, roll each meatball in the breadcrumbs and arrange on the baking sheet at least 2″ apart.  Broil 5 minutes on high, turn and broil another 5 minutes.


With dinner on the table in under a half hour, you will want to add this to your weeknight rotation.  Everyone will love it!


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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Comfort Food, Holiday Favorites | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

There are so many good cooks in our Extruded Noodle family.  Credit for this recipe goes to my cousin Donna, who made this delicious soup for our Christmas dinner. ♥  Sweet and savory come together in a smooth puree of butternut squash and pear, with just the right balance of onion and garlic.  A drizzle of half & half, stirred in at the end is the perfect finish.  Start the New Year with a comforting bowl of soup that is good for you!



  • 4 cups chicken brothbutternut-squash-and-pear-soup-the-extruded-noodle-017a
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 2 pears, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup half & half


In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil and butter.  Add the remaining ingredients through Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until soft.  Remove from heat, puree and stir in the half & half.  Serve with a garnish of fresh sage.




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Special thanks to my cousin Donna for this recipe 
Posted in #dashdiet, Comfort Food, Dash Diet Friendly, Eat your Vegetables, Soup, Under an hour | Tagged | 1 Comment

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti are at the top of my list of treats to bake for Christmas visits and gifting.  Everyone loves this traditional Italian cookie, even Santa!  There are so many variations of biscotti but this one is my favorite.  Each year my Chocolate Almond Biscotti get rave reviews from family, friends and co-workers.  You will be surprised at how easy they are to make, learn how here!


  • 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. rum extract
  • 1/4 tsp. orange extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips


Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 350º.  Set them aside to cool then coarsely chop them, just a few pulses to break them up a bit.


Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and dry spices.  Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and the extracts.  Beat well then incorporate the flour mixture just until moistened.  Last add the nuts.


Preheat the oven to 325°.  Divide the dough into 2 pieces, and roll each into a log.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the logs about 2″ apart.  Pat and press each log to about 1/2″ high and 4″ wide.  An easy way to do this is to cover the logs with another sheet of parchment and use a small rolling pin.


Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before slicing.  Use a serrated knife or a bench knife to slice the biscotti about 1″ thick.  If you like a softer cookie, stop here.


For a crisper cookie return the slices to the baking sheet cut side up, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  For extra hard cookies (great for dunking), turn and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.


Arrange the biscotti on a cooling rack over a sheet of wax paper to keep the counter clean.  Let them cool completely before frosting.


Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.


Now for the finishing touch.  Use a 1/2 teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate over each cookie.


Let the biscotti stand at room temperature until the chocolate is completely set, then arrange on a platter.


Now that you know how easy it is to prepare this holiday treat, start your own Christmas tradition and bake up a batch for gifting your family and friends.

 Merry Christmas



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Posted in Baking, Desserts, Holiday Favorites | Leave a comment

Soft Sourdough Loaf

Look at that gorgeous loaf, all tricked out in sunflower and sesame seeds!  Every loaf I bake is a little different, but when something this good comes out of the oven I want to be able to recreate it again and again.  So with that in mind, I always keep a notebook in the kitchen to jot down my ingredients and preparation.  I’m glad I did!


The ingredients are similar to my other artisan loaves, but this a softer bread with a delicate crust.  I have made it a few times now and it has quickly become a family favorite.


  • 1/3 cup red wheat berries
  • 1/3 cup white wheat berries
  • 1/3 cup spelt berries
  • 1/3 cup Kamut (Khorasian wheat) berries
  • 1-1/4 cups + a little more of bread flour
  • 3/4 cups fully active sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. diastatic malt powder
  • 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • a little less than 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • sunflower seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • tbsp. whole milk


I milled 1-1/3 cups of grain to yield 1-3/4 cups of whole grain flour.  You can substitute 1-3/4 cups purchased whole grain or multi grain flour.  Together with the bread flour there is just a bit over 3 cups total.  Whisk together the whole grain flour, bread flour, salt, diastatic malt powder and instant yeast.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sourdough and honey.  With the dough hook attachment, gradually add the flour and water on low speed, alternating flour and water until it is all incorporated.  Increase the speed to #3 and knead for 5 minutes.

The dough is soft and supple, but should completely pull away from the sides of the bowl.


Use a dough scraper to transfer the dough to an oiled bowl.  Turn the dough to coat.


Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and set it in a warm spot to rise for 3 hours.


Perform a stretch and fold, and shape the dough into a long rectangular loaf.

I used a perforated loaf pan because it was the shape I wanted.  Often I sprinkle the pan with cornmeal to crisp up the bottom of the loaf but I omit that here.  Instead I lined the pan with parchment paper.  Don’t oil the parchment.

Cover the shaped loaf with plastic wrap for a 2nd rise, about 45 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 425º.  Set up a jelly roll pan on the bottom shelf and fill with 1/2″ of water to create steam.  Set the top shelf several inches above.


Brush the risen loaf with milk and sprinkle with sunflower and sesame seeds.  Just before placing in the oven, use a sharp knife to score the loaf down the center, about 1-1/2″ deep.


Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Your nose will tell you when it’s done!  Let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then turn it out onto a rack.  Try to wait several hours before slicing, if you can resist!


Look at the beautiful open crumb!  I served ours with dipping oil at dinner and we toasted it for breakfast the next day.


I know this bread will be a regular at our Sunday dinner table!  I hope you have enjoyed Today’s Bake.  Your comments are welcomed!




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Posted in Baking, Bread, From Scratch, Sourdough, Today's Bake, Whole Grains | Leave a comment

Chicken Fried Rice

The next time you are craving Chinese food, try this delicious homemade version of everyone’s favorite, Fried Rice!  I had leftover chicken in the fridge but you can use pork, beef or shrimp.  For best results, cook the rice in advance and keep it refrigerated until ready to prepare the dish.  4 servings.


  • 3/4 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • salt
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 3 cups leftover cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup pancetta cut into small dice
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 tbsp. mirin
  • 4 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste



Use brown rice for a healthy whole grain option.  Simmer the rice 45 minutes in 2-1/4 cups water, pat of butter and pinch of salt.  Cook the rice at least several hours ahead of time and refrigerate until cold.


Whisk the egg with one tbsp. water.  Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a large skillet and pour in the egg.  As it cooks, turn and cut into small pieces with a spatula.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.


Render the pancetta, then add the onions.  Cook in the rendered fat, about 5 minutes.  Add the shredded carrot, garlic and ginger and stir fry 2 minutes more.


Add the cooked chicken with 1 tbsp. each of sesame oil and mirin.


Add the rice and peas, 1 tbsp. sesame oil and 2 tbsp. soy sauce.  Spread the mixture out in the skillet and stir fry several minutes longer.  Add back the egg and toss until combined and warmed through.


Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Stir in 2 more tbsp. soy sauce.  Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.


This was a fun dinner, a little different from my usual!  My family gave it 2 thumbs up.




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Posted in Asian Inspired, Chicken, Comfort Food, Skillet Dinners, Stir Fry | Leave a comment

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sausage and Pancetta

Pumpkin Ravioli was the star of this week’s autumn inspired Italian Sunday Dinner.  I served it in sage infused butter sauce and tossed it with sausage coins and rendered pancetta.  Oh my!  Toasted pignoli, fresh Italian parsley from my container garden and grated cheese complete the dish!

Special Tools: I used my KitchenAid® pasta roller and a ravioli mold to make this pasta.

yield, 4 servings (about 48 ravioli)


For the pasta dough:

  • 100 g. “00″ flour
  • 100 g. semolina flour
  • 100 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 12 tbsp. ice water

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup fat free ricotta
  • 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage cut into coins
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, cut into small dice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 12 whole fresh sage leaves
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. toasted pignoli (pine nuts)
  • fresh Italian parsley
  • grated cheese for serving

Preparation: Drain the pumpkin and ricotta in a fine mesh sieve or use a colander lined with cheesecloth.  The filling should be firm, not watery.

Italian Sunday Dinner Featuring Sage The Extruded Noodle 001a

Add the spice, whisk together and refrigerate.  It may not look like enough, but each ravioli will need only 1/2 tsp. of filling.

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Combine the pasta dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add the ice water 1 tbsp. at a time, until you have a shaggy dough that holds together when you give it a squeeze (think pie dough).


Press the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.  This allows the flour to hydrate and makes the dough easier to work with.  Divide the dough into 3 pieces and flatten each into a disk.

Pumpkin Ravioli The Extruded Noodle 016a

Roll out each piece into a long thin sheet.  I used my KitchenAid® pasta roller attachment and rolled to setting #5.  Use any pasta roller, or your rolling pin.

Pumpkin Ravioli The Extruded Noodle 020a

Lay the sheets on a floured dish cloth or wax paper, and sprinkle the top lightly with flour.  Trim the ends even.

Pumpkin Ravioli The Extruded Noodle 026a

Lightly flour the ravioli press.  Working with one sheet at a time, cut the sheets of dough to length.  Keep the remaining sheets covered with a dish towel so that they don’t dry out.  Lay one sheet of pasta over the press and fill each mold with a heaping 1/2 tsp. of filling.


Set up a small bowl of water.  Dip you finger (or use a small brush) and lightly moisten the edges of each square.  Lay another sheet of pasta over the top and use a rolling pin to seal and separate the edges.


Gently separate the ravioli and lay them on a lightly floured dishtowel, or sheet of wax paper.


Continue with the remaining sheets.


Refrigerate the ravioli until you are ready to cook.


Toast the pignoli in a stainless steel pan (not non-stick), just until lightly browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside.


Heat a large non-stick skillet and add the pancetta.  Cook it down, rendering the fat.  If pancetta isn’t available, you can substitute bacon.


Cut the sausage into coins and brown in the same skillet.  When cooked through, remove the sausage and pancetta, and drain on paper towels.  Wipe the skillet clean.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil for the ravioli.


Melt a stick of butter in the skillet.  When the butter begins to simmer, the solids will separate and rise to the top.  Skim off the solids and discard.  Add the sage leaves and stir to release their essence.  Drop the ravioli into the boiling water and cover the pot so the water returns to temperature.  Set the timer for 3 minutes.  They will float to the top when done.


Remove the sage leaves from the butter sauce and add the sausage and pancetta back to the skillet.  Lift out the cooked ravioli with a spider strainer, and add them to the skillet.  Use 2 spatulas to gently turn and coat the ravioli with the butter sauce.


Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with toasted pignoli, chopped parsley and grated cheese.


Foodie friends, this dish is a must try!  I hope you enjoyed our Italian Sunday Dinner and that you found some inspiration here today.


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Posted in Comfort Food, fresh pasta, From Scratch, handmade pasta, Italian Sunday Dinner, Pasta | Leave a comment

Cornbread Stuffing

For me, the best part of Thanksgiving dinner has always been the stuffing.  Here is my moist and delicious “in or out of the bird” recipe, starting with homemade cornbread.  Forget the packaged stuffing that is loaded with sodium and preservatives, from scratch is best!

Cornbread Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • cooking spray

Stuffing Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cubed cornbread
  • 1/2 lb. sausage, casing removed
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 2 small apples, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. sausage seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • sage and thyme


Make the cornbread one day ahead.  Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, milk, and oil.  Stir together the wet and dry ingredients, just until moistened.  Coat an 8 x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 425º for 20 minutes.  Cool in the pan.  When the Cornbread has cooled, cut into 1″ cubes.

Thanksgiving Dinner The Extruded Noodle 010a

The next day, make the stuffing.

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Cook the bacon in a large skillet.  Remove and drain on paper towel.  Cook the sausage in the rendered bacon fat, breaking it up with a spatula.  When completely browned, remove and drain on paper towel with the bacon.

Thanksgiving Dinner The Extruded Noodle 019a

Chop the sausage and bacon into 1/4″ bits.  Add 2 tbsp. butter to the skillet.  Add the onion and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Sprinkle with sausage seasoning.  Add the celery and apple to the skillet and cook 3 minutes more, with additional seasoning.  Add the sausage and bacon back to the skillet and toss well to combine.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  You can prepare up to this point the night before and refrigerate.

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When cooled, stir in the cornbread cubes.


Lastly, whisk together the egg, milk, and broth with a pinch of sage and thyme.  Pour over the cornbread mixture and toss well to until everything is moistened.


To stuff or not to stuff?  You decide.  Always follow food safety guidelines.  If you stuff the turkey, do so just prior to roasting.


I had enough to fill the turkey and a little extra.  For those who prefer out of the bird, spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray and spread the stuffing evenly.  Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges.


Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you enjoyed this post.  As we prepare to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, I wish you all a day that is blessed with love, good food and a thankful heart.  Happy Thanksgiving!    



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Posted in Baking, Comfort Food, Holiday Favorites | 1 Comment

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

Welcome fall with this hearty and flavorful soup that will warm you to your toes!  I’m on a barley kick this month and it’s a great addition to this soup.  Also featured in the recipe are mushrooms, I used a combination of dried porcini and fresh baby bella (cremini) mushrooms for a more intense flavor.  Finally, in addition to beef broth, which can be home made or readily purchased, I’m using a cup of beef stock that was reserved from another meal, a bone in chuck roast that I had braised over a bed of carrots, celery and onion.  I strained the liquid, reduced it by half and froze it for future use.



  • 1/4 cup dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 lb. stew beef cut into 1″ dice
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1/4 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 oz. fat free, low sodium beef broth
  • sage and thyme, to taste
  • 1 cup baby potatoes, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked barley
  • fresh chives for garnish


Good quality dried mushrooms are a must have in your pantry.  These are imported Porcini mushrooms, and they are wonderful.


To reconstitute them, simmer gently in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes.  Then strain the mushrooms through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the liquid.


Chop the mushrooms and they are ready to use.


Here is my beef stock, defrosted and fat skimmed from the top.  It is going to give our soup that simmered all day flavor in just a few hours.


Chop the stew beef into small dice, and brown it in a heavy stock pot with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Remove the browned beef from the pan and set aside.


Add more olive oil, and begin cooking the carrots, celery and onion.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir for several minutes, until the onions are translucent.


Stir in the fresh mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the reconstituted porcini mushrooms, along with their strained cooking liquid.  Add the beef stock, beef broth, garlic and potatoes.  Return all of the browned stew beef to the pot.  Season the soup with sage and thyme, to taste (I like about 1/2 tsp. each).


Cover and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.  While the soup is simmering cook the barley according to package directions.  Add the barley to the soup during the last 30 minutes of cook time.


Doesn’t that look great?  Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with fresh chives.


This is one of my favorite soups.  It’s very filling and you can make a meal of it along with some thick slices of country bread.  Barley is a very versatile grain and you may see it turning up in some of my stews this season, or even milled into flour for one of my bread recipes.   Thanks for stopping by today and hope you found some fall cooking inspiration!



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Posted in Comfort Food, Soup | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Horn of Plenty Pumpkin Pasta

For an autumn inspired Italian Sunday Dinner I’m making pumpkin pasta with a ridged, horn shape.  The dough is enriched with egg and pumpkin puree, imparting a rich golden color.  The pasta was hand rolled on a bamboo mat to create the deep ridges.  It was a labor of love that turned out absolutely delicious.  In keeping with the season I’m calling it Horn of Plenty Pumpkin Pasta.  I topped our Cornucopia with a Harvest Pasta Sauce full of fall veggies like butternut squash.  Here’s how to make it.  6 servings.



  • 100 g. semolina flour
  • 100 g. 00 flour
  • 100 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 8 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 tsp. salt


Combine the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  You will notice that there is no water listed in the ingredients.  The egg and pumpkin are enough to moisten the flour.


Press the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Let it rest for 20 minutes.  The rest time allows the flour to fully hydrate, and it will be easier to roll and shape.


Use a bench knife to divide the dough ball into 4 pieces.


Work with one section at a time, keeping the rest covered so it will not dry out.  Roll each piece between your palms, into a long rope 1/2″ thick.  Cut the rope into 1/2″ pieces.


Roll each piece into a ball.


Place a ball on the bamboo mat, and roll it out with a dowel or wooden skewer to create ridges on one side.


Mr. Extruded Noodle made me a 1/2″ wooden dowel to use for my pasta creations.  If you don’t have one, you can use a pencil (a new, very clean pencil) or a wooden barbecue skewer.


Once you have created the ridges, roll the dough around a skewer, ridged side down.  Keep the opening narrow on one end and wide on the other to create the horn shape.  Press down with the skewer to seal the edge.


I promise, once you have done a few you will begin to pick up speed.  Watch!


Place the finished pasta on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and dusted with flour.


Follow food safety guidelines!  Pasta made with eggs should be refrigerated within one hour.  When you are ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta and cover, so it will promptly return to temperature.  Cook 3 minutes.  Fresh pasta cooks quickly, don’t overcook!  It will float to the top when done.


Drain and transfer the pasta to a large serving platter.  I love these!


Top with your favorite pasta sauce and grated cheese.


Learn how to make this chunky Harvest Pasta Sauce here, made with butternut squash, pumpkin and carrots!  What a meal this was!  I hope you have enjoyed our Italian Sunday Dinner.  Thank you for stopping by today and please check out my other Handmade Pasta, all from scratch made right here in my kitchen.



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Posted in Comfort Food, fresh pasta, From Scratch, handmade pasta, Healthy Italian Favorites, Italian Sunday Dinner, Pasta | Leave a comment

Harvest Pasta Sauce

Foodie friends, this pasta sauce truly captures the colors and flavors of the autumn harvest!  It’s thick and chunky, loaded with veggies!  Make it this weekend for your Italian Sunday Dinner.



  • 3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh ground pepper
  • 1 sweet Italian sausage (4 oz.), sliced into 1/4″ coins
  • 1 boneless chicken breast (12 oz.), sliced into 1/4″ medallions
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar



Brown the chicken and sausage in a little olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Dice the vegetables and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes at 425º.


Heat the tomatoes in a heavy sauce pan.  Season with basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder and fresh ground pepper.


Stir in the cooked chicken and sausage.


Finally, stir in the roasted vegetables, pumpkin puree and 1 tbsp. brown sugar.


Cover and keep on a very low simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Serve a generous amount over your favorite pasta with grated cheese and fresh parsley.


Everyone loved this sweet hearty sauce, it was the perfect topping for my homemade pumpkin pasta.  That’s coming up in another post!



Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you have enjoyed this recipe.  It’s easy to make so give it a try for your next pasta dinner.




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Posted in Comfort Food, Eat your Vegetables, Healthy Italian Favorites, Italian Sunday Dinner | 1 Comment

Roasted Delicata Squash

Delicata Squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables.  It’s only in season for a short time, so  when you see one at the market, be sure to snap it up!  Delicata Squash is aptly named.  It is sweet tasting, easy to slice and seed, and you can eat the skin!  My favorite preparation is a simple toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and oven roasted.  You can add other veggies as I have for a fall inspired vegetable medley.


To prepare, use a sturdy knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds then cut into 1/2″ slices.


Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer in a baking pan.  Add other veggies like Brussels sprouts, red onion, or potato.  Use a large enough pan so that the vegetables are not crowded.


Roast for 30 minutes at 425-450, stirring every 10 minutes.


The veggies should be browned and nicely caramelized.


Enjoy this delicious side with all your favorite fall meals!



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Posted in #dashdiet, Dash Diet Friendly, Eat your Vegetables, Farmers Market Favorites, Side Dish | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Polenta!  In a bowl or on the grill, this humble porridge is simple comfort food at its best.  This weekend I made Polenta 2 ways.  First, a warm creamy bowl topped with Crock-Pot Braised Beef for our main course.  The next day, as a side dish to go with our barbecue dinner.  Gruel or grill, here’s how to make it…



  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to taste



The cooking method is very much like making risotto and will take a full 40 minutes.  Heat 5 cups of water in a sauce pan.  In a second sauce pan, combine 3 cups of the heated water, salt and bay leaf.  Gradually stream in the Polenta, whisking with each addition.  Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring frequently.  As the liquid becomes absorbed, add the remaining water 1 ladle at a time.  Continue to stir the Polenta frequently until it reaches the desired thickness, about 40 minutes.  At the end of the cook time, remove the bay leaf and stir in butter and Parmesan.  Yes, it’s that easy.  So now that you have made a batch of Polenta, how will you serve it?


You could serve it in shallow bowls with extra Parmesan as a side dish.  Or, enjoy it as a main course, topped with Crock-Pot Braised Beef for dinner.  Check out the link for the beef recipe, this is what I made and Mr. Extruded Noodle thought it was very good.


What a meal!  But what about the leftovers?  Once cooked, Polenta will begin to firm up almost immediately.  Before that happens, pour it into a baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Cover and refrigerate.


The next day you will easily be able to slide out the Polenta, peel away the parchment and lay it on a cutting board.  Slice into wedges.


Now out to the grill.  Lightly oil the grates and grill the wedges for about 6 minutes per side.


I made a grill meal of  Ribs, zucchini and Polenta.  Here is our Italian barbeque!


I thought the grilled Polenta was delicious, and this was my favorite version.  It was pretty tasty dipped in BBQ sauce. :-)


I’ll definitely be making this again over the winter months, and can’t wait to experiment with different ways to serve it.  Now that you know how easy it is to make Polenta, stir up a batch at your house this weekend.



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Posted in Comfort Food, For the Grill, Italian Sunday Dinner | 3 Comments

Crock-Pot Braised Beef

Fall is here and with it a return to comfort food.  Soups, stews and braised dinners will be on the menu as we welcome cooler weather.  Today I’m making a Braised Beef dinner in the crock-pot that will be served over a warm bowl of Polenta.  This is a simple dish to prepare.  Go about your day as the crock-pot transforms a tough cut of beef into tender, melt in your mouth goodness.


  • 2 lb. chuck roast (pot roast)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 large cans plum tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • salt and pepper


Mist the crock-pot with cooking spray.  Cut the onion, celery and carrots into large chunks and layer them in the bottom of the crock-pot.


Season the roast with salt and pepper, then brown it in olive oil on all sides.  Place it in the crock-pot on top of the veggies.


Add the red wine and garlic cloves, then cook on low for 10 hours.  Turn the roast occasionally, spooning the liquid over the meat.


An hour or so before the meat is done make a tomato sauce.  Break up the tomatoes with an immersion blender and season with garlic, basil, oregano, and freshly ground pepper.  Simmer 45 minutes.  When the beef is ready, remove from the crock-pot, slice and top with the tomatoes.  How good does that look, served over a bowl of warm Polenta?


When your beef is done cooking you will be left with a good amount of liquid in the crock-pot.  Don’t throw it away!  It will make an amazing stock for your beef based soups and stews this winter.  Strain it through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and freeze it for another meal.  Wondering about Polenta?  Learn how to make it in my next post!


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Posted in Comfort Food, Crockpot | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Tri Color Cavatelli

Cavatelli is one of my favorite pasta shapes and today I made a batch using tri-color dough.  I have been wanting to try this for a while and had a great time making the red and green dough and shaping the pasta.  I used spinach puree to create the green dough and sun dried tomatoes for the red.  The Cavatelli had a nice chewy consistency, the spinach and sun dried tomato imparted beautiful color to the dough.  I used a small food processor and a gnocchi board to create this pasta.  Here’s how…


  • 100 g. 00 flour
  • 100 g. semolina flour
  • 100 g. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 eggs, about 6 tbsp.
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ice water
  • baby spinach, large handful
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • extra 00 flour for rolling the Cavatelli



Whisk together the flours and salt, then divide the flour mixture into 3 equal parts.  Beat the eggs and set aside.  Steam the spinach for 5 minutes then drain well, press with paper towels to remove more of the moisture.  Cool and puree the spinach and set aside.  Drain the sun dried tomatoes, puree and set aside.


In the bowl of a small food processor, combine 1/3 of the flour mixture and 2 tbsp of egg.  Pulse several times, adding 3-5 tbsp. ice water, 1 tbsp. at a time, just enough to bring it together into a rough dough.  Press it into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.

Next, combine 1/3 of the flour mixture, 2 tbsp. of egg and 3 tbsp. of the sun dried tomato puree.   Add ice water 1 tbsp. at a time to bring the dough together.  You will need much less water (or none) depending on the amount of moisture from the tomatoes and oil. Press the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.


Finally, combine the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture, 2 tbsp. of egg and 3 tbsp of spinach puree.  As before, pulse and add ice water 1 tbsp. at a time to bring the dough together.  You will need less water because of the moisture from the spinach.  Press the spinach dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.


Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.  Lightly flour a large cutting board.  Working with one color dough at a time, divide the ball in half and roll each piece into a 1/2″ rope.


Use a bench knife to cut the dough into 1/2″ pieces.


Use the bench knife to roll each piece over a floured gnocchi board to create the ridges.


Lay the cavatelli on a floured baking sheet.


Let the pasta dry a little.  Be sure to follow food safety guidelines and refrigerate fresh pasta within one hour if you are not going to cook it immediately.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta, stir and cover so that the water returns to a boil quickly.  Cook for just 3 minutes.  Set your timer, fresh pasta cooks very quickly, don’t overcook!


Drain the cooked pasta and transfer to a serving platter.  Aren’t they beautiful?


Top with your favorite marinara sauce and grated cheese.


I must say this was one of my more impressive meals!  It was oh so delicious, a simple marinara was all it needed to dress these pretty dumplings!  I hope that you enjoyed this week’s Italian Sunday dinner.


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Posted in Comfort Food, fresh pasta, From Scratch, handmade pasta, Healthy Italian Favorites, Italian Sunday Dinner, Pasta | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Italian Sourdough Loaf

Today’s bake is a gorgeous Italian Sourdough loaf.  Baking on very high heat creates the hard crust and soft interior, just like the loaves we would buy at the Italian bakery when I was growing up.  Just be careful you don’t set off the smoke alarm like I did!  Sometimes my baking can really cause a commotion!  Hubby was a little miffed about having his nap interrupted, but he soon forgave me.  I mean look at that loaf!  


Baking with sourdough has become a passion of mine over the last few years.  Most of my bread recipes begin with this magical culture and similar ingredients.  The loaves take on their final form with different shaping methods, baking temperature and finishes.  Brushing the dough with water, milk or beaten egg will also change the color and texture of the crust.  


This loaf begins with freshly milled whole grains. 1/3 cups each of white wheat, red wheat, spelt and khorasian wheat to yield 1.75 cups of whole grain flour.  To that we add 1.25 cups white bread flour for a total of 3 cups flour.

Whole Grain Pull Apart Rolls The Extruded Noodle 007a

The dough ingredients are kneaded for 5 minutes in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.  The dough requires a 2 hour first rise.  A stretch and fold is performed, followed by the final shaping.  After a 30 minute proof, it is brushed with beaten egg whites, sprinkled with sesame seed and with 1 long slash down the middle it goes into a 500º oven.  Yes, that’s hot!  After 10 minutes turn the heat down to 475º and continue baking for another 20 minutes.


I have found that it is best to have the stove vent turned on high, doors open and ceiling fans running throughout the preheat and bake.  Otherwise prepare to fan that smoke alarm!

Here’s the recipe:


  • 1/3 cup white wheat berries
  • 1/3 cup red wheat berries
  • 1/3 cup spelt berries
  • 1/3 cup kamut berries
  • 1-1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. diastatic malt powder
  • 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp. softened butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 3/4 cups sourdough starter
  • 1-1/3 cups warm water
  • olive oil
  • egg white, for brushing
  • sesame seeds
  • cooking spray
  • cornmeal



Mill the grain to yield 1.75 cups whole grain flour, or substitute your favorite purchased whole grain flour.  Whisk it together with the bread flour, salt, diastatic malt powder, and instant yeast.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the starter, honey and butter.  With the dough hook attachment, gradually add the flour mixture and warm water on low speed until combined.  Increase speed and knead the dough for 5 minutes.


Transfer the dough into a large oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel, and let it rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.


Stretch and fold the dough, then shape it into an oval.  Place the loaf in a baking pan or baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with corn meal.  Use parchment paper if you prefer, for easy cleanup.  Mist a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover the loaf with the oiled side down (so it doesn’t stick) and proof for 30 minutes longer.  Preheat the oven to 500º.


Slash the loaf down the center with a sharp knife, about 1″ deep.  Brush with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake at 500º for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 475º and continue baking for another 20 minutes.


The crust will be hard and sound hollow when you tap it.  Transfer the loaf to a rack and let it cool completely before slicing.


Serve with a good olive oil for dipping.  Jazz it up with grated cheese and red pepper flakes.  I like to infuse my oil with garlic cloves and fresh rosemary leaves.


Enjoy this loaf with your Italian Sunday Dinner, it’s great for dipping and soaking up sauce.  Try it toasted for breakfast, it’s divine!  You can store it at room temperature for 2-3 days, but it probably won’t last that long.  I hope you’ve enjoyed Today’s Bake!



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Posted in Bread, From Scratch, Healthy Italian Favorites, Sourdough, Today's Bake, Whole Grains | Leave a comment

Bread baking 101 – How to Perform a Stretch and Fold

In many of my bread posts the directions include performing a “stretch and fold”.  This process encourages rising by redistributing the yeast in the dough.  If you have ever wondered about this technique here is a step by step picture guide.  Flour your hands and let’s get started!  This dough has been rising for an hour or more.

Gently deflate the dough and transfer to an oiled (or floured) cutting board.  Stretch and pat the dough into a rectangle.

Multigrain Sourdough Boule The Extruded Noodle 037a

Now fold the left side over, like a letter fold, and use the side of your hand to press it into the dough.

Multigrain Sourdough Boule The Extruded Noodle 038a

Fold the right side over and press.

Multigrain Sourdough Boule The Extruded Noodle 042aRotate the dough 180º, stretch and fold the dough again.  Here’s the stretch.

Multigrain Sourdough Boule The Extruded Noodle 045a

And the left fold.

Multigrain Sourdough Boule The Extruded Noodle 046a

And the right fold.  See how I tucked the ends in?

Multigrain Sourdough Boule The Extruded Noodle 048a

Now turn the dough over seam side down and return it to the bowl.  Depending on the recipe you may perform one or more stretch and folds throughout the rising process.  The final dough is ready to be shaped into a boule or loaf.

Multigrain Sourdough Boule The Extruded Noodle 050a




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Posted in Bread, Instructional | 3 Comments

Ringed Loaves

Hello foodie friends and bread lovers!  This post is for you!  For Today’s Bake I will be showing you how to create these beautiful ringed sourdough loaves.  The dough is made with 60% freshly milled whole grain flour and 40% white bread flour.  I proofed the loaves in ringed banneton baskets to create the distinctive floured rings.  See how to make the dough, shape the loaves and bring it to the table.





  • 2/3  cup spelt berries
  • 2/3 cup kamut berries
  • 2/3 cup white wheat berries
  • 1/3 cup sorghum
  • 1-1/2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1-1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. diastatic malt powder
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • cornmeal



Be sure your starter is fully activated like mine (pictured above), all those lovely bubbles are a sure sign the yeast is ready to go to work.  Mill the grains to yield 2-1/3 cups of whole grain flour, or substitute an equivalent amount of purchased whole grain flour.  Make an autolyse by stirring together 3 tbsp. of the whole grain flour with 1/2 cup of hot (not boiling) water.  Cover and set it aside for 20-30 minutes.  Whisk together the remainder of the whole grain flour, bread flour, instant yeast, salt and diastatic malt powder.


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the starter, honey and the autolyse.  With the dough hook attachment, gradually mix in the flour mixture and warm water.  Use enough water to form a soft dough.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  It should form a ball around the dough hook but be elastic enough to stretch, like this.


Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and set aside to rise for 3 hours.


After 3 hours, the dough has puffed up and doubled in size.


Gently deflate the dough and turn out onto a floured cutting board.  Divide the dough in half with a bench knife.  Stretch and pat each piece into a rectangle.


Do a letter fold.


Now rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold it again.  Turn the dough over and shape it into a tight ball.


When both pieces have been shaped, create the ring by pressing your thumb and forefinger into the center of each ball and rotating the dough in a circular motion.


Here is the shaped ring loaf.


I proofed my loaves in a ringed banneton basket.  If you don’t have one you can proof the loaves on a floured baking sheet with a small pyrex bowl in the center to maintain the ring shape.


Cover with plastic wrap and allow the loaves to proof for 45 minutes.  They will nearly double in size again.   Preheat the oven to 425º.


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, mist it with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Carefully invert the loaves onto the baking sheet.  Try to do it all in one motion and give the baskets a sharp tap to release the loaves.  This one is perfect!


Bake for 30 minutes at 425º.  Cool for 2 hours before slicing.

Ringed-Loaves-The-Extruded-Noodle-051I love making loaves like this when we have company.  For a nice presentation slice one loaf and bring the second loaf to the table on a cutting board.  I served the bread with a good olive oil that I infused with fresh garlic and rosemary sprigs.


Everyone loved the bread!  We had a few leftover slices for breakfast and snacks.


I hope you have enjoyed Today’s Bake and will stop by for more of my delicious breads and rolls!  I love creating breads in all shapes and sizes so there is something for everyone.



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