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Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’

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.

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.

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.

Easy Fried Rice

March 30, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Rice, Rice and Pasta No Comments →

6 servings

2 tablespoons oil
2 green onions with tops, diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
4 cups already cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon each: soy sauce and oyster sauce, or more to taste
Salt and pepper (optional)

Heat oil in skillet (or wok). Add the green onions (and peas if using them) and cook 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice and cook, tossing well, till heated through and coated–about 2 minutes more. Move rice to side of pan. Add beaten eggs to center of pan and cook and stir until scrambled. Once the eggs are scrambled, break them up and toss to mix with the other ingredients in pan. Season mixture with soy sauce and oyster sauce to your liking. Adjust with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste if you wish.

Note* Diced cooked meats (such as roast pork, ham, or chicken) may be added to this dish, to turn it into a more substantial entree, rather than a side dish. If doing so, add the meat and about 1/2 cup chicken or beef broth to further flavor and moisten the rice.