Saturday, May 21, 2011

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Croissants

So last night I had planned to make Bryan a dessert of mango sticky rice, and then I realized we didn't have lite coconut milk, and his brother decided to come watch movies with us and his limited palate would not have enjoyed the rice I am sure. So, in the end it all worked out, but there I was in the kitchen trying to figure out what to make with the ingredients at my disposal. When I saw the tubes of crescent rolls in the fridge my first thought went to a trick I learned in college to make donut holes and roll them in confect sugar. But I was trying to be a bit more creative than that. I recalled my friend recently went to Epcot and I advised her to stop by France and visit the bakery for a croissant. She not only did that but had a croissant with chocolate in it. And lets see, nothing goes better with chocolate than some creamy peanut butter :)

  • tube of crescent rolls
  • peanut butter
  • semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat to 375
  2. Unroll the dough
  3. Place a smear of dough on the wide side
  4. Top with a small pile of chocolate chips
  5. Roll it up from the wide side to the thin side
  6. Curve it like a crescent
  7. Bake in oven as directed
  8. Serve and enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli in Pink Sauce

Oh new love of my life, butternut ravioli. I can almost still taste you. Yum. I can't wait til lunchtime when I can demolish the rest of you. I have been waiting for a while to make this but ohhh it was worth it. Did it really take 3 hours to cook... almost... but totally worth it. And I have a plan for next time, make puree in batches and freeze them, make dough in batches and freeze them, makes for a quick installation time of less than an hour for this recipe. Plus it will likely take much less time now that I have a handle on it. Plus the Rays game was on, so there were moments I was leaning over the kitchen counter to watch a play. Anyhow - enough for excuses lets get to the instructions and pictures. Click the links in the ingredients to get the recipes for the components.

  1. Start out by throwing the butter, onion and garlic to sautee in a pan over medium heat
  2. After a few minutes and the onion is translucent throw in the puree and mix well
  3. Once the puree has dried up a bit, after 3-5 minutes go ahead and add the cream
  4. Mix the cream in well and cook for about 3 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add in the cheese and nutmeg to taste and continue mixing well
  7. Cool completely
  8. Once the filling has cooled, scoopy it into your pasta dough cuts and seal the edges completely 
  9. Once your raviolis have been filled and sealed, let it sit about 5 minutes before boiling
  10. Carefully place your raviolis into boiling salted water
  11. Within 3-4 minutes the raviolis will pop up indicating that they have completed cooking, remove and drain completely.
  12. Heat up your pink sauce and serve over the raviolis.
  13. Enjoy :)

Whole Wheat Pasta Dough from scratch

My name is Kim and I am a pastaholic. Growing up in an italian family always has this common thread: pasta. As an adult I have been surprised to learn that not everyone has pasta with every meal, and can sometimes go a whole week without pasta at all. Perhaps this is why us italian girls keep a little chunk on.

Anyhow, as an adult I have also found that it is important to keep cholesterol low and carbs low, which also means switching from the white smooth pasta to whole wheat pasta. I am embracing this wholeheartedly and have even enjoyed the added flavor of a whole wheat pasta and am looking forward to more ways to get creative with it.

I surprised myself this week when I realized that I had never made pasta from scratch before. Sure I have helped my mom/relatives make some but never on my own. Well this has officially come to pass. And while easier than I thought it would was also a bit of a chore. Will I do it again? Heck yea!

  • 1C whole wheat flour
  • 2.5 egg whites
  • splash of salt
  • 1T milk (if you are making a stuffed pasta, of course I use skim organic)
  • If you are feeling creative you can add completely drained spinach to make it green

Making the Dough Balls
  1. Work on your counter-top or another nonporous location 
  2. Pour the flour as a mountain on the counter
  3. Create an inner volcano area to place the eggs
  4. Careful not to let it all run off, smoosh it together and let the flour start soaking it in
  5. Throw in your splash of salt to add some flavor, and certainly the spinach here if doing so
  6. Start kneading and working the dough here, adding the milk carefully if using it
  7. Spend at least 10 minutes working and kneading the dough with the palm of your hands to ensure a proper blend
  8. When you are getting towards the end the dough should become elasticy. You can bounce it off the counter if you're not careful. However throwing it and kneading should continue until it is smooth, elastic, and a proper dough consistency.
  9. Place the dough in a plastic wrap/bag and lock airtight for 30-60 minutes. This process will release the glutin and it should become softer and easier to work with. You will likely want to separate these dough balls into workable sizes perhaps the size of a tennis ball.

Cutting into Pasta
  1. Once you can more easily depress the doughballs you will want to get ready for pasta prep
  2. If you have a pasta machine you can use that at this point otherwise follow the instructions here
  3. Remove a doughball, keeping the rest tightly wrapped until you are ready to work with it.
  4. Use a wooden rolling pin well caked with flour to roll it out until it is almost paper thin. It is a balance here because if it is too thin you will have trouble holding the filling if you are making a stuffed pasta. 
  5. Go here for nonstuffed pasta
    1. For nonstuffed pasta leave it to dry on a kitchen towel for 15 minutes before making your cuts
    2. After about 15 minutes you can start your cuts using a sharp knife
    3. After cutting let it sit at least 5 minutes before boiling. Or if you would like uncooked pasta can sit in a pantry for over a month if you sit it in an uncovered bowl mixed up like a birdnest, just make sure its completely dry before storing like this.
  6. Go here for stuffed pasta
    1. Once it is flattened to your desired thickness start cutting your pasta pieces. So many options here. For raviolis you can cut into squares to prepare for folded triangles, you can make circles for more of a tortelini experience... Regardless if you are working with stuffed pasta you want to do this quickly while the milk is still keeping it sticky enough to close.
    2. For stuffed pasta as soon as you cut, spoon your filling, fold it over, and completely seal the edges, place it on a plate to prepare for boiling

Roasted Butternut Squash Puree

This is a key ingredient in Butternut Squash Ravioli, but can also be made into soups and sauces and pretty much anything your heart desires. Enjoy and certainly comment if you have a new idea to use the puree in.

  • one large butternut squash 
  • 4T butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • honey
  • Cinnamon
  • berbere
  • splenda

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Start by halving the squash lengthwise
  3. Scoop out the strings and seeds to leave a clean vegetable
  4. Rub the inside of the squash down with butter and pepper, salt, and a hunt of berbere
  5. Place the squash open side up on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until you can easily push a knife through the skin
  6. Cool the squash until you can handle holding it
  7. Scoop the flesh out of the squash into a food processor
  8. Puree the squash, juice, honey, cinnamon, splenda, and any spice to taste you like, I added some more berbere and some cajun red pepper spice
  9. Pulse until smooth, if you need you can splash more oj to make it smoother

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spicy Baked Plantain Chips

The sweetest boy in the world happens to enjoy a potato chip here and there. With the mischievous grin as he knowingly opens a bag of chips in front of me raising an eyebrow to see if I complain... and I always do. So in my crusade against the trend of diabetes in his family I try to keep him and myself on a healthier diet. In keeping with that - here is the next attempt I made, my failures, and success. :)

  • Green plantains 2/3
  • cajun spice
  • berbere
  • salt & pepper
  • evoo

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Prepare baking pans greased with evoo/something lowcal
  3. Use a knife to peel the plantain. When I read this direction in multiple recipes I laughed and said - well Ill just peel it like a banana. Giggling at my own naivety I grabbed a small knife and started peeling away after my failed attempt at finger peeling.
  4. After you have peeled your plantain getting down to the fruit of it, go ahead and slice it. While I started paper thin I started chunking them up a bit realizing it would need some oomph to get a real crunch, and the thin but thick ones did turn out best in the end, and most like the plantain chips I have bought in a store.
  5. After your slices are sliced, throw them in a bowl with a splash og evoo, and spicing to your liking. I tried some with honey and splenda and some with spicy peppers and such. Mix with your hands.
  6. Throw the slices on the baking pan. They can touch but make sure they don't overlap.
  7. Keep a close eye here. Cook until the edges brown. Can vary but should be about 8-16 minutes depending on the thickness of your slice.
  8. Remove and let cool and harden.
  9. Serve immediately or throw in a bag, they will save for a couple days.

Spaghetti Squash in Red Sauce

In hopes of finding a healthy alternative to the scores of pasta this italian girl and her family eat every year I turned to spaghetti squash. At a farmers market last week I saw it and instantly knew my husband needed to try this. In the end - I picked an awfully small squash and let my husband eat the concoction while I ate leftovers. So you may want to try to get a larger size squash.

  • spaghetti squash (a big one)
  • onion
  • garlic
  • diced tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • basil

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Prepare baking pan with a splash of evoo
  3. Cut squash into two halves and remove the seeds
  4. Place squash open side down on baking pan
  5. Place into oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until you can insert a sharp knife through the skin fairly easily
  6. Remove squash from oven and let it cool until its easy for you to hold it
  7. Sautee vegetables minus tomatoes in evoo on a skillet while you are waiting
  8. Scoop the stringy pulp going with the grains from the squash pulling strips out
  9. Mix squash pulp with vegetables and add the tomatoes
  10. Top with parm if you like and serve :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

VeggieLoaf (MeatLoaf without the Meat)

I am not going to lie. This did not turn out as yummy as I had hoped. Fortunately Bryan loved it anyhow (hes the best) and ate two whole helpings. My problem with it was that it wasn't firm enough. I think next time I will try to find some more ingredients that could firm it up a little, maybe less egg.. or try to dry out the eggplant and tofu more. I will let you know how it turns out next time I give this a whirl. Do you have any ideas for a loaf recipe? share them in the comments!
  • eggplant (2)
  • 1/2C cashews/peanuts
  • 1lb firm tofu
  • 8oz mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1C wheat germ
  • 1C old fashioned oats
  • 1T whole wheat flour
  • 1T breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggwhites
  • spices of your choosing (parley/tyme/rosemarry/basil/etc)
  • red pepper (or what i put in everything i cook - berbere)

  1. preheat oven to 400
  2. use the food processor to grind up the nuts, eggplant, tofu, mushrooms, and garlic
  3. mix it in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients
  4. pour it into a loaf pan and bake in oven for 60-75 minutes
  5. 10 minutes out pour some tomato sauce on top of the loaf and continue baking

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Veggie Paella

In hopes of making vegetables more interesting for my husband (and me) the past few weeks I have come up with a few new fun recipes.

One of the most fun for me was the veggie paella. I think I have had paella one other time in my life, my first week of college at University of Florida.

My parents took me out before they left me at the dorm, for my last yummy expensive meal before becoming a poor college student.

And I had the yummiest concoction of goodness called Paella. This week I attempted a veggie paella and hope to perfect it in days to come. If you have a fun paella recipe link/post it in the comments.

  • evoo
  • vegetarian sausage
  • tofu
  • garlic
  • artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1C squash
  • 1 C zucchini
  • 1/2 C carrots
  • 1 Bunch asparagus
  • 1C frozen peas
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • paprika
  • bay leaves
  • parsley
  • black pepper
  • 2C cooked brown rice
  • 1/2C veggie broth

  1. Sautee proteins in evoo with garlic
  2. add veggies and continue to sautee and spice
  3. add diced tomatoes and simmer until the liquid dissipates, spicing to taste
  4. add rice and broth and continue to simmer until the liquid is absorbed
  5. remove from heat and serve :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Veggie Pot Pie

I happen to be married to the sweetest boy in the world. The sweetest boy in the world, despite being a carnivore, happens to delight in my meatfree cooking.

However, his favorite all-time meal happens to be chicken pot pie. I decided to take it on last week and make him a veggie pot pie.

Not only did he love it, and eat way too much way too quickly, he is begging for an encore. Join me in this yummy delight. I am going to try adding other meat alternatives next time. Tell me in the comments how you make your potpie.
  • spray butter
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 cup of carrots chopped
  • 1 container of mini-bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup skim organic milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup green bell peppers chopped
  • chives
  • parsley
  • 1T vinegar
  • 1T egg white
  • 1 pastry dough
  • vegetarian protein (i used boca sausage but plan to try again with tofu, chicken strips, boca crumbles)
  1. preheat oven to 400
  2. sautee protein and vegetables in spraybutter.
  3. after about 10 minutes they should be soft, sprinkle with flour and spices 
  4. cook for about 5 more minutes or until coating is no longer white
  5. insert cream of mushroom and milk slowly, bringing heat down to medium
  6. remove from heat and add vinegar, herbs, and pepper, turn mixture into baking dish
  7. whisk egg, 2t water and a punch of salt in a bowl
  8. cut dough to fit over baking dish, folding into the dish
  9. brush egg wash over dough and cut slits in the top to vent
  10. bake until crust is golden brown about 30 minutes
  11. remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes
  12. Serve and Enjoy :)


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