Monday, April 27, 2009

Spazghetti Sauce

Spazghetti Sauce
From: SpazCat

0.5 - 1 lb. ground beef
1.5 chopped onion
3-5 cloves garlic

Simmer all this together until the beef is browned and the garlic is soft.

1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 15-oz can tomato paste
1 cup water

Add to above, stir, cover, cook 15 minutes

Add spices--this is the most important part. The ones I always use are:
basil--about a pinch
sage--about half a pinch
thyme or oregano--a pinch
parsley--three pinches
black pepper--upend the shaker and go to town (I love black pepper)
ground cloves--just a touch of this

Stir again, cover again, cook another 15-30 minutes. It gets better as it ages, so definitely make enough for leftovers.

I'm serious about the cloves. That's the most important secret ingredient. It brings all the flavors together.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Middle Eastern French Fry Sammiches

Middle Eastern French Fry Sammiches
From: Lissla Lissar

Buy pita (thin pita will work best), make tahini sauce (tahini, garlic, water, cumin, salt, chopped garlic, a little sugar, blend) and use tzatziki or lemon/garlic/olive oil for sharpness.

Go to your nearest fast food joint with good fries. Take the sauces and the pita, or get takeout and bring them home. Lay pita flat, fill with fries, drizzle sauces on top, wrap it up. Eat it.

Got the idea from the newish John Thorne book, Mouth Wide Open, and the tahini sauce recipe from Eat Me.

I figure it's mildly more healthy than the traditional British chip butty, but I'm probably delusional.

Gnocchi Nicoise

Gnocchi Nicoise
Shared by: taxi78cab
From: Food Network


From: taxi78cab

- 12 oz lasagna noodles, cooked to al dante and drained. I like the whole grain ones - they work well for this.
- 16 oz part-skim ricotta
- 1 egg
- couple handfuls shredded parmesan
- spices for filling: powdered onion, powdered garlic, dried thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, etc.
- 8 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- tomato sauce, homemade or jarred is fine, probably 24-32 oz.

If you're making your own sauce, start it first so it has a chance to simmer a bit. I like to saute onions and garlic, add in a little red wine, then add crushed and/or diced tomatoes. Yesterday I used one big can and one regular can. Not sure on the sizes. Then let simmer for 45 min to an hour or until everything else is ready.

Boil the noodles to al dante. (Don't overcook 'cause they'll get baked too so you want them to start off kind of firm.) Drain and lay separately on a rack, foil, parchment, or waxed paper so they don't stick together. They can sit for a while while you prepare everything else.

Thaw the spinach in the microwave if necessary and drain and wring out in a towel or paper towel. Get as much excess liquid out as possible. Combine the ricotta, spinach, egg, parmesan, spices as desired (make sure to add a decent amount of salt and at least some spices here or the results will be way too bland).

When the sauce is nicely simmered (or the jarred sauce is open), spray a 13x9 pan (or two 8x8 or other small pans... I prefer to do two small pans 'cause this freezes really well so I can have it again in a couple weeks with no prep work. Plus, one little pan feeds two of us for one meal plus one person's lunch.) with Pam. Spoon about 1/2 a cup of sauce into each pan or a cup or so into the bottom of the big pan.

With your noodles laid out in front of you, spoon some of the filling into each noodle. If they're all separate and you have the room, spoon filling onto all the noodles at once so you know you have enough on each one. If you want them extra cheesy, sprinkle some grated mozzarella over each one. Then roll them each up and place them seam side down in the pan. I usually put 8-9 in each of the two pans.

Pour the remaining sauce over the top, making sure to cover each roll so they don't dry out. Sprinkle some shredded/grated mozzarella over the top.

Bake at ~350 for ~45 min to an hour or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and turning golden. If you want to freeze one pan, do so BEFORE baking. Then take it out of the freezer, cover it with aluminum foil, and put it, frozen, into a cold oven. Turn the oven on and let it heat up as the oven heats up. From the freezer it takes about 90 minutes to thaw and heat up. Then uncover it and let the top brown up for about 15 min.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ham and N.O.T. Soup

Ham and N.O.T. Soup
From: swampbear

3 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced (I keep mine with the peel you might not. I won't judge. Well, within your hearin' anyways.)

1/3 cup celery, diced (Not necessary but if ya got some celery hangin' around use it.)

1/3 cup onion, finely chopped (The onion is necessary so get choppin'!)

1-2 cup ham, diced and cooked (or be lazy like me and buy it already cooked!)

3 1/4 cups water

2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules (or a couple of those cube thingys)

1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)

1 teaspoon pepper (If you're feelin' adventurous throw in a little cayenne pepper on top just for kicks)

5 tablespoons butter (Yes, butter! Put that margarine back in the fridge!)

5 tablespoons flour (Self-risin' or All-purpose, whatever ya got)

2 cups milk

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (Extra, extra sharp is good but if ya want it more mellow, that's your business. Ok, actually, some Swiss and Provolone together is pretty good too)

Combine potatoes, celery, onion, ham, and water in stockpot and bring to boil.

Then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender.

Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper.

In separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook stirring constantly until thick.

Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form and all milk is added. Continue to stir until thick (4-5 minutes)

Add in cheese and stir until melted.

Stir the cheese mixture into the stockpot and cook until heated through. It gets thicker as it cools.

Alternate Method:

Dump everything except the butter, flour, milk and cheese into a slow cooker and let it go to town on low for three to four hours, then do the stuff the recipe says to with the butter, flour, milk and cheese and add to the soup. It's the lazy easy way!