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Easy Homemade Noodles & Noodles Napoli

November 08, 2008 By: Brook Category: Kids in the Kitchen, Recipe Categories:, Recipes by Main Ingredient, Rice and Pasta, Side Dishes No Comments →

Make-and-Serve Your Own Homemade Pasta Noodles
What kid doesn’t like noodles and what kid doesn’t like playing with flour, and dough, and all that messy stuff! So grab your family, and let everyone get into the act—mixing, and rolling, and messing and drying. Be sure to have your camera handy for some memorable pictures—after a few batches. You’ll all be pros!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
A floured surface and a rolling pin

Mix the flour and salt and form into a pile. Make a well in the center. Put the eggs, oil, and water in the well. With your hands, start pulling the flour into the well, mixing and pulling, mixing and pulling, until all is blended into dough.

Form the dough into a ball and knead for 5 minutes on a floured surface. Divide dough into quarters and work with one quarter at a time (keeping the rest of the dough covered).

On a floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough in rectangular form as thin as you can get it. Gently fold the dough in thirds; and using a sharp knife cut the layered dough into 1/4 -inch wide strips. Gently unfold the strips to their full length and lay them on a towel or hang them over a hanger, to air dry for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile bring your largest pot of boiling water to a boil; add a little salt; add in the noodles. Cook just until al dente about 3 to 5 minutes. (Remember, fresh noodles cook faster than packaged/dried pasta noodles.) Drain and toss with melted butter, a little chopped fresh parsley, and grated Parmesan cheese; or serve with a favorite spaghetti sauce.

If you find that you and your kids love making your own pasta noodles, invest in a pasta machine that will automatically roll and cut the dough for you! You can store freshly made, uncooked pasta (wrapped) in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for several months. It also might be fun to look into making different ‘flavors’ of pasta, by adding herbs and spices to the dough.

Example recipe using homemade noodles:

Noodles Napoli

8 ounces broad noodles, cooked al dente and drained
2 cups chopped ham or chopped cooked chicken
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter

Grease a 9 x 13 –inch baking dish. Layer 1/3 noodles, 1/2 the cooked meat, 1/3 noodles, remaining meat, last third noodles. Beat eggs, milk, and cream well; pour over casserole. Top with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake in 350° oven for 30 minutes.

Vinaigrette Salad & Dressing Tips

November 08, 2008 By: Brook Category: Kitchen Basics, Recipe Categories:, Salads, Side Dishes No Comments →

1) In a small lidded jar, vigorously shake your vinaigrette dressing until emulsified.

2) Use a little Dijon-style mustard (1 to 3 teaspoons) not only for flavor, but to bind and
thicken the dressing as well.

3) Use dressing at room temperature; if stored in the fridge—take out and bring to room
temperature before using.

4) Re-shake and lightly dress the salad just before serving.

5) Dressing your salad is an instance when “less is more”—you don’t want an “oil slick” or
“puddle” at the bottom of your salad bowl!

6) Salad greens should be washed and patted or spun dry (remember oil and water do not
mix!), so the dressing adheres better to dry lettuce. Salad greens may be washed and patted
dry ahead of time; placed in the salad bowl in the fridge; and covered with damp paper
toweling—your greens will be crisp and clean and waiting for you at dinner time.

7) Toss the greens lightly with dressing, drizzled on just until greens are lightly coated and
glossy. Serve.

Example easy vinaigrette recipe:
Simple Vinaigrette (serve over mixed leafy greens)

5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fines herbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Pinch sugar

Shake all ingredients in a small, tightly lidded jar until blended. Use at room temperature. Re-shake just before dressing the salad. Use just enough to lightly coat the greens and make them glossy. Toss the salad as close to serving time as possible.


Mix 2 parts oil with 1 part vinegar (some people prefer 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar for a little less tart dressing)

Blanch / Blanching

November 08, 2008 By: Brook Category: Cook's Glossary, Recipe Categories:, Recipes by Main Ingredient, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetables No Comments →

Blanching is a quick-cooking process in which food is briefly plunged into boiling water to partially cook for a minute or two, then immediately transferred to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

Example recipe, using blanched or par-boiled broccoli:
Batter-Fried Broccoli

8 servings

2 pounds broccoli (use the florets and very tops of stems)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 ounces Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

Parboil (blanch) the broccoli florets for 2 or 3 minutes to tenderize but not fully cook. Set aside to evaporate and dry. (Broccoli must be dry, or batter will not stick.)

Meanwhile mix remaining ingredients to make a batter. Heat 4 to 5 cups of vegetable oil to 350° in a deep fryer. Batter the broccoli to coat and deep-fry, in batches, for about 3 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Serve hot as is or with assorted dips, such as a ranch-style dressing or mustard-mayonnaise.

Note* If you do not have a deep fryer, such as a FryDaddy™ or a FryBaby™ an electric-skillet will do just fine. Make sure you get your oil up to temperature and hold it there, frying small batches at a time, so as not to cool down the oil. This will keep your batter from absorbing too much oil and becoming soggy.

Example recipe, using blanched asparagus:
Asparagus-Prosciutto Appetizer Spears

Fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and blanched
Cream cheese
Prosciutto (imported Italian salt and air-cured ham)

Trim asparagus by “snapping” off woody ends. Plunge into boiling water until crisp-tender. Immediately plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry. Spread middle-third of each spear with a little cream cheese and wrap in thinly sliced prosciutto ham to cover the cream cheese. Arrange on serving platter.

Apple Rings

November 08, 2008 By: Brook Category: Recipe Categories:, Side Dishes No Comments →

Apples, peeled, cored and sliced about 1/2 inch thick rings
Brown sugar

Sauté apple rings in skillet with melted butter until tender (just need a few minutes). As they sauté sprinkle with a little brown sugar to glaze. Turn with a spatula. Serve warm as a garnish with pork instead of traditional jarred applesauce.

Granny’s Apple Cake

November 08, 2008 By: Brook Category: Dessert Recipes, Recipe Categories: No Comments →

Makes 10 servings

11/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash nutmeg or ground clove
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
2 cups, peeled, shredded apples
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional. I don’t put in nuts.)
1 egg white, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Fold in apples, nuts, beaten egg white, and oil to make a thick batter. Pour batter into a non-stick sprayed 8 x 10 -inch baking pan, 10 -inch spring-form pan, or Bundt® pan. Bake in 350° oven for approximately 35 minutes, or until done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or room temperature, as is or with ice cream or whipped cream.

Potato Puff

May 08, 2008 By: Brook Category: Meatless, Potatoes, Recipe Categories:, Side Dishes No Comments →

6 servings

When you want something easy yet elegant, this potato dish uses the convenience of instant potatoes.

3 eggs, separated
2 cups instant mashed potatoes, prepared according to box directions and still warm
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon season-salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

For garnish:
Chopped fresh chives at serving time

Beat egg whites until stiff but still moist; set aside. Beat egg yolks until smooth; set aside. Prepare instant mashed potatoes; set aside. Now fold the beaten yolks into the potatoes; next the sour cream and seasonings till blended; and lastly, gently fold in the egg whites to lighten the mixture. Transfer mixture to a buttered 2 -quart casserole or soufflé dish. Bake in 350º oven for 45 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped fresh chives and serve as a nice alternative to traditional mashed potatoes.

Easy-Style Homemade Pot Roast of Beef

May 03, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Beef, Dinners, Slow Cooker Recipes No Comments →

6 to 8 servings

2 to 3 pounds round steak, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
¼ teaspoon each: dill, chives, parsley, sweet basil, dry mustard
1 cup water
1 tablespoon grape jelly
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in ½ cup water

Place cubed meat in slow-cooker crockery pot. Mix the rest of ingredients
together, stirring well and pour over meat. Stir again well to coat all. Cover with
lid and cook on low setting for 5 to 7 hours, or until meat is very tender. Serve
the meat and sauce on rolls. (Can shred the meat if desired.)

RUSH HOUR TIP… using dark brown sugar in your recipes adds depth and a nice caramelizing flavor to sauces and glazes.

Veggie Packets

April 15, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Vegetables, Vegetables 1 Comment →

Slice and dice a mixture of potatoes and vegetables, add a dab of butter and fold into a tightly-sealed aluminum foil packet. Place packets in with roasts during the last hour of cooking. Experiment with adding different herbs, salt and pepper for seasoning.

Simple Sloppy Joes

April 14, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Beef, Sandwiches 1 Comment →

3/4 pound ground round
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
4 hamburger buns, toasted (I like to use whole wheat)Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add bell pepper, celery, onion, and garlic; cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in water and next 7 ingredients (through mushrooms); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. Split buns and toast. Spoon 2/3 cup meat mixture onto bottom half of each bun; cover with top half of bun.

Sara’s Crockery Chicken

April 11, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Dinners, Slow Cooker Recipes No Comments →

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
4 stalks celery, cut in 1/2
1/2 large onion, quartered
2 cups water
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, to be divided
1 tablespoon garlic pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen or thawed)

Place vegetables in bottom of slow cooker. Add water, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, and the garlic pepper. Place chicken on top of vegetables and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of Italian seasoning and the red wine vinegar. Cook on high for 1 hour and low for 4 to 6 hours. Or cook on low setting only, for 6 to 8 hours.