Archive for the 'MY SECRET RECIPES' Category

Recipe: My Ricotta Gnocchi

|April 29, 2012|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

My Ricotta Gnocchi

approx. 15 oz. ricotta – I say that because that is the approximate amount I get from making my homemade ricotta
2 large eggs
about 1 c. flour – enough to make a soft dough
pinch salt

Combine and work as my potato gnocchi.

repost from my potato gnocchi –

Add about a cup of flour and couple eggs, pinch of salt. Using a pastry scraper for this makes it easy.

As far as adding the flour goes, you don't want a tacky dough and it all depends on the weather, humidity, etc.

Once my dough is ready I cut off a piece and roll by hand into a long rope, cut in about 3/4-inch pieces.

Many shape the dough pieces using the tines of a fork – my family has what we call "gnocchi thumbs" that do a fabulous job without the fork.

Cook in boiling water (like any pasta – boil the water, add salt and return to a full boil) in batches if necessary. They will float when done. Drain and continue to use in your recipes.

Recipe: My Potato Gnocchi

|April 22, 2012|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Gnocchi has always been one of my favorites – and it is so easy to make –

I love them in sauce, soups, casseroles and salads!

Once again, forgive me for the measurements, I never learned to measure – unless of course you call using a coffee cup and and dessertspoon measuring like mom, gram, great-gram, etc.

Boil about 2 pounds potatoes in salted water – russets are nice for this, peel, mash while hot.  Don't over-mash – just remove the lumps.  Allow to cool a bit (you don't want to cook your eggs when you add them).

Mash – yes, mash and not with a potato masher – use a fork – no I do not like the "ricer routine" – to us it's a waste of time.  

Add about a cup of flour and couple eggs, pinch of salt.  Using a pastry scraper for this makes it easy.

As far as adding the flour goes, you don't want a tacky dough and it all depends on the weather, humidity, etc.

Once my dough is ready I cut off a piece and roll by hand into a long rope, cut in about 3/4-inch pieces.

Many shape the dough pieces using the tines of a fork – my family has what we call "gnocchi thumbs" that do a fabulous job without the fork.

Cook in boiling water (like any pasta – boil the water, add salt and return to a full boil) in batches if necessary.  They will float when done.  Drain and continue to use in your recipes.

Recipe: Homemade pizza, ricotta cheese

|November 8, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Today I made some pizza dough to make a nice old-style Napolitan pizza.

Dissolved my yeast in warm water in a large bowl, added just a tiny bit of sugar, water, oil, flour and salt.

After the first rise, I separated the dough into portions. One went into a large (food grade) plastic bag – leaving plenty of room at both ends for it to rise in the refrigerator; placing a  twist tie at the very end of the bag for closure. Gently place on a tray and slide into the refrigerator and DO NOT DISTURB at all. That is for tomorrow's pizza.

Since it is dough for pizza – it doesn't need to rise a second time. So I spread my dough in my tin (today I used a jelly roll pan), greased (grease for a soft-bottomed crust, do not grease for a crunchier bottom), and drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top.

I opened a large can of crushed tomatoes and cooked them with diced onions; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, and a bit of marjoram. Simmered to thicken a bit; cool before spreading on pizza. The rest is in the refrigerator for tomorrow's pizza. A light sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano and a sprinkle of dry bread crumbs.

Now that is the way pizza is supposed to be made!

While that was being made, I made my ricotta cheese. Look – I couldn't beat the price. I found whole milk for $1.68 per gallon at WalMart. I didn't have buttermilk so I used about 1/4 cup of white vinegar; stir and bring to simmer. By the time the temperature of the milk hits about 175 to 180* F. you will see the whey and the curds separate. Transfer curds to a cheesecloth-lined strained (several layers of cheesecloth) – drain off liquid but don't press the curds. Place over bowl and bring up ends of cheesecloth and tie; allow to drain overnight in the refrigerator (make sure to have a deep bowl so that the liquid is not touching the cheese). I'll have about 4 cups of homemade ricotta cheese for tomorrow's lasagna.

You can't beat homemade and you can't beat the price!

Since the oven will be on tomorrow, I'll make my homemade bread in the morning and time it so that it comes out of the oven just in time to slide the lasagna in. A large salad of greens with a nice homemade vinaigrette and we will be happy. I have our big meal planned for some time between noon and 1 in the afternoon; pizza for the later meal with chicken wings. Hey – it's a great way to watch a football game!

Recipe: ITALIAN FRIED DOUGH WITH HONEY

|November 8, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

One of gramma's favorites –

 
Well – not only was it one of her favorites but everyone in the family looked forward to these!

ITALIAN FRIED DOUGH WITH HONEY

These are to die for!!

In saucepan, boil 1 c. wine, 1 c. oil and ½ c. water; remove from heat; let cool.  Add 1 T. cinnamon, 1 T. ground cloves, 1 T. vanilla, grated rind of one orange; mix well.

Add enough flour to make a stiff dough; knead well; cover with bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll and cut into strips.
Place strips in hot lard (oil); fry; drain.

Heat honey with ground cloves; place fried strips in honey mixture; remove and sprinkle with hundred thousands.

Recipe: Broccoli Soup in a jiffy

|October 14, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

No I have not gotten rid of the "bug" yet – and I probably will have it the rest of my life or as long as I hang around my babies.  Their entire school is contaminated – I swear it – and it's going 'round and 'round.

So it's the quickest way to make broccoli soup for me right now!

In my soup pot:

2 qts. cold water

1/2 diced onion

2 large carrots – cut any old way today

9 chicken bouillon cubes

cracked black pepper

parsley

just a bit of Kosher salt

Just bring to a simmer and allow to simmer until carrots are crisp-tender.  I don't want them mushy. 

Then add:

1 bag (16 oz.) frozen broccoli cuts

Heat until hot and then pour in the milk; and as I have said before – just heat through – do not boil milk.

No – I did not puree it.  That is not how I wanted my soup.

Add some crackers and a quick an easy broccoli soup for all!

 

Recipe: soup in a hurry –

|October 9, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Who has time for anything these days?

Yesterday was one of those days – and it seems like lately just about every day is a "rush" day.

After taking the babies to school I ran to the market to get milk. I wanted soup but I would have to make a soup that can be done in a hurry. No time for all the straining and skimming, etc.

So while I was at the market I grabbed a package of polish kielbasa. Easy and fast soup.

I had so much to do and no time for anything – so I ran in the door after going to the market, hung up my coat and put my keys and purse away. Put away the milk, washed my hands and grabbed a large soup pot, filled with cold water and placed over medium heat on the stove. Immediately dropped in 6 chicken bouillon cubes. Grabbed an onion out of the fridge – I had about 3/4 of a medium sweet onion from making salad the day before,pulled the carrots and the celery out of the drawer, washed a couple stalks of celery and 3 large carrots; cleaned the carrots and sliced; sliced the celery adding a healthy dose of fresh celery leaves – minced and diced the onion. Not much Kosher salt is needed because of the bouillon cubes.

Sliced a half of the 3-pound package of sausage and added to pot with parsley and cracked black pepper.

Bring to simmer over medium heat – very little skimming with this – and when the sausage was cooked through, added egg noodles and chopped green cabbage. Cook until noodles and cabbage are tender.

My actual prep time was less than 10 minutes!

Served with Italian bread for soppin'.

Recipe: Baked Fish, Tater Wedges, Slaw, My Bistro Tart

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Of course, it's Friday. A no meat day in our home. We still carry out this tradition.

It's also damp and cold – a perfect day to put the oven on – and – it's healthier to bake fish than to always have it deep-fried.

I've made my coleslaw early today –

Creamy Coleslaw

2 pounds of cabbage
2 large carrots
Minced red and green bell pepper for color and presentation (not quite half of each)
1 small onion
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 cup milk – I use whole milk in all my cooking and baking
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled is fine)

Shred cabbage and carrots with a grater or food processor.
Finely chop onion, or process in food processor. Combine cabbage, carrots, belln pepper and onion in a LARGE bowl.

Thoroughly mix remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage mixture and stir well. Refrigerate 2 hours, over night is even better, stir before serving.

My "fish butter" is made and in the refrigerator ready to go:

4 teaspoons butter (not margarine)
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
A grind of black pepper from the pepper grinder

And the lemon is cut into slices; covered and in the refrigerator.

I've also made my coating for my fish and it's in a shallow dish covered with plastic wrap until I'm ready to bake the fish which is basically homemade bread crumbs combined with My Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning:

1/2 cup fresh ground black pepper
1 cup Kosher salt
1/3 cup dried lemon peel (you know I make my own)
1/4 cup dried minced onion (I make my own)
1/4 cup dried minced garlic (I make my own)
1/4 cup dried parsley leaves (I make my own)

Stir all the ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

All I need to do for the fish is to rinse it off (I wash everything!) and pat dry, dredge in a flour mixture of flour, some Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper then press into coating and place on lightly oiled baking sheet – 350* F. 10 to 15 minutes (depending ont he thickenss of the fish).

I'll scrub my taters and leave the peels on and cut into wedges. I'll toss them in a bowl with melted butter, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh minced parsley, a bit of dried basil. Place skin-side down on lightly oiled baking sheet – and since these take longer I'll have them on at least 45 minutes or more before the fish goes in the oven.

My "bistro apple tart" sounds good as well –

I just roll my crust out and place on a large baking sheet; place my cut apples (using My Apple Spice Mix – posted in my blog here) in the center and pull the edges up, folding over about 2 inches coming up the apples. Center apples are not covered. Bake at 350* F. until a beautiful light golden brown and the apples are tender.

I use a double crust recipe (I don't like thin crusts) and if you want you can place the tart on parchment paper to make it easy to remove from the baking sheet to wire rack to cool. Try serving with warmed caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream; top with chopped walnuts, if desired.

And don't be afraid to add craisins, raisins, or nuts to your apple filling.

I've got rye bread which I'll slice thick and heat in the oven while the fish is baking. It's much better than toasting the bread – takes longer – but it's really good with a good bread – try it!

Recipe: Creamy Onion Soup

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 This Sunday I came down with the flu – hit me dang hard too.

Definite soup time!

Thank heaven I had homemade broth in the freezer to use – it made making a pot of soup so easy.  Just added my noodles and veggies.

For the past couple of weeks I have been craving onion soup – a nice bowl of hot, steaming, creamy onion soup.

Finally today, I felt up to making it – I still feel like crap and look like crap – but my soup was good – easy to make, easy on the budget, and so good.

 

I started by melted a knob of butter in my pot, adding a rough grated carrot, a stalk of celery (diced), chopped fresh celery leaves and a small cooking onion.  I let the cook just a couple minutes, adding a spoon of flour and let that cook an additional 2 minutes.

Added 6 cups water and some instant chicken bouillon; fresh cracked black pepper (which I was quite generous with to help clear up my chest), some Kosher salt, parsley, and a bit of garlic powder.

Added my diced onions and brought to a boil – let it boil about 5 minutes and then reduce the heat so that it simmers slowly for about 25 minutes – just enough to make the onions the right tenderness for me.

I then added a handful or so of instant potato flakes to use as a thickener and let that simmer for 5 minutes before pouring in approximately a cup of milk – allow to heat through BUT DO NOT BOIL!

This really helped open my chest and I am not as congested – onions and cracked black pepper – just what the doctor ordered!

(Dr. Mama, that is!)

Recipe: remember the ham salad?

|August 26, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

As you've already seen – I made my ham salad not long ago (a couple posts down from here) and of course, as always, there is never any waste when that is made. Just like ham salad – I made bologna salad – you can use it for so many things. Stuffing pita breads, making sammies or hoagies, served as a spread for crackers, bagel chips, etc., stuff into tomatoes, etc.

So easy to make – and of course – it doesn't last long around here.

I purchased a whole bologna at the market (which I shared with someone else so they could make this as well) and we enjoyed bologna salad!

Just like making the ham salad, cut bologna into chunks and mince in the food processor.

Mince an onion as well and add sweet pickle relish – salad dressing or mayo to desired consistency and enjoy with bread and butter pickles!

At this time of the year, when there is so much to do for the holiday and so much baking – it's nice to have something like this that you can make a quick lunch, dinner or a snack with.

Recipe: before Thanksgiving – Ham Salad – from 11/2010

|August 26, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Before Thanksgiving it is so hectic for me. All the scrubbing and cleaning, windows, curtains and all, plus the menu planning, who's who, etc. and I just need more time to get everything done. And it always comes together for me.

The Sunday before seems to be the last day of making a big meal for us to enjoy until the big "stuffing" day.

On this day I made a pork steak dinner – just look under Pork, Yams, Potato Dressing – it's there.

Then it's "cheater" meals until Thursday.

The Monday before Thanksgiving I pick up the last of what I need – and in my travels I purchased a 3-pound canned ham. Great for sandwiches – and ham salad. That is always popular around here. Always rinse off well and pat dry with paper towels.

What I like about it – it's easy to make and you can add as much as you want of anything you want in it – and it's a great sammie-stuffer, or can be used as a spread for crackers, bagel chips, etc., or use to stuff tomatoes, celery, pita breads; you can turn it into a sub/hoagie by adding lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, etc., or you can serve it on lettuce leaves for a nice salad. There is so much you can do with a salad like this.

Here's my minced ham, minced onion, sweet pickle relish –

Once mixed – I can eat this with a spoon and I'd be in heaven!

Ham Salad

Deli/cooked ham (leftovers are good for this)
Sweet pickle relish or chopped sweet pickles
Onion and/or celery
Mayo or salad dressing

Mince your ham in your food processor; occasional lumps are okay – they taste good! Add enough sweet pickle relish, minced onion and/or celery, and mayo/dressing to make it the right consistency.

Will last in the refrigerator for 3 days, covered. Unfortunately – mine NEVER lasts that long!

Served on a nice deli rye with pickles and olives – Yep – I can do this quite often!

I hope you try it! Make it for yourself, your family, or for your next party as a spread.