Photo Friday

Felt Pasta
This is what I’ve been up to this week. Can you believe this is made of felt??? It looks so freaking real. I still can’t get over it. It’s all going in a mini colander, wrapped in cellophane for Noah’s Easter basket. I decided last year I wanted to have something handmade in the kids Easter basket every year so when I came across this idea on Pinterest, I knew it would be the perfect gift for Noah this year. He loves playing with his kitchen and pretending to be a HuHot chef (his favorite restaurant). I think I’m going to cut some long strips to resemble linguini too.
Felt Pasta
I used this tutorial for the bowties and they were incredibly easy. I did them by hand since the felt was pretty thick after being folded and I didn’t want to break the needle on my sewing machine. The ravioli were made using this tutorial. I just made up the tortellini but there were a lot cuter versions on Pinterest. Noah won’t know, or care, that they don’t look just right so I’m good with them. Hope this inspires you to do a little DIY this weekend.

Sugo Sauce

Sugo Sauce 1
Joel and I went out on a date last month and we ate at one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town. When we go there, I always get the same thing. It’s just so good I can never bring myself to order anything else. But this time I was determined to go out of my comfort zone and get something totally different.

Red sauce is not my favorite, I know, how un-American of me. That combined with not being a huge fan of chocolate should get me thrown out. Anyway, it’s something I have to be in the mood for to really enjoy. Well, when I read the description of a sugo sauce made with cabernet, spicy sausage and pepperoni over penne I was won over. I had never had a sugo sauce before and was intrigued. I’m so glad I tried it and knew right away I would have to try a version at home.
Sugo Sauce 2
For this recipe, I skipped the sausage and pepperoni since I was serving it over homemade ravioli and thought that was decadent enough. This is a really simple recipe using common ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Onions and garlic are sautéed then simmered for an hour with whole tomatoes, herbs and a good amount of red wine. The result is a rich, full sauce with a hint of red wine in the background. From what I can find, a chunky sauce seems pretty traditional but that just doesn’t fly around here so after simmering I zapped it in the blender until smooth. Do whatever floats your boat. Or whatever doesn’t elicit complaints.
Sugo Sauce 3
I can’t wait to try this with spicy sausage and diced pepperoni, served over fresh linguini.

Sugo Sauce
recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup red wine

1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add remaining ingredients to onions and garlic. Using a potato masher, break up the tomatoes. Simmer on medium low for 1 hour. If you like a chunky sauce, it’s done. If you prefer a smoother sauce, fish out the bay leaf and pour sauce (in batches) into a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached. Serve over pasta.

 

Homemade Ricotta Ravioli

Last week I registered Noah for Kindergarten. Yesterday, he had his pre-Kindergarten check up. Is this real life? I know us moms say this constantly, but where has the time gone?

It’s seriously hard for me to comprehend that he will be in elementary school in a few short months. He will be away from me for 6.5 hours on a regular basis. Someone get me a paper bag because I’m having a hard time breathing. My heart feels heavy.

I know it will be nice to have a break. I know I will get to spend quality time with Hannah like I was able to with Noah when it was just him. There are days now that I think Kindergarten just can’t come fast enough. But when you sit down and think about it, when you set it in motion, then it hits and it hurts. My awesome friend sent me this article today and by the end I just couldn’t keep it together. Truth. It was perfect and horrible timing. Gah, the feels.
Homemade Ravioli 1
You know what helps with all those feelings. Homemade pasta. Better yet, homemade pasta stuffed with cheese. My name is Meg and I’m an emotional eater.

These delicious pockets of goodness are started with my homemade pasta and a simple 3 ingredient filling. I swear, I will never purchase store-bought ravioli again. The pasta is so tender and the filling is light and creamy. Carbs and cheese all rolled into one, emotional eating at its finest. Don’t judge.
Homemade Ravioli 2
They do take some time to make but trust me, they are completely worth it. Next time around, I’m going to make a double batch since I will already be taking the time to make them, then freeze half so we have them ready for a busy night.

For now, you can find me with a plate of these. Or a package of frozen thin mints. Or both.

Homemade Ravioli

1 recipe homemade pasta, rolled out into sheets (one setting thinner than recipe states)
1 cup ricotta
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1. Combine ricotta, egg, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

2. Lay out a pasta sheet on a floured surface. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling about an inch apart on the front half of the pasta sheet. Fold the top of the dough over the filling. Press firmly around filling, ensuring that it is completely sealed and no air bubbles remain. Using a ravioli cutter, press down firmly around ravioli. Lift and place on a floured baking sheet. If you don’t have a ravioli cutter, you can cut squares using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Keep covered with a clean kitchen towel until ready to cook.

3. To cook, place in boiling water and simmer until they start to float (it took 2 minutes for me). If you want to freeze them for future use, place them in the freezer on the floured baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for 4-24 hours. Place in a labeled freezer bag.

 

Recipe Updates

As I make recipes that I’ve shared in the past, I’ve been updating photos to help with the appeal of the posts. These are all great recipes but the photos definitely didn’t do them justice. I asked on Facebook if you all would be interested in seeing what I’ve updated lately and I got some positive reviews so here it is. I’m still learning a lot when it comes to food photography but I think I’ve definitely improved! I’ll randomly share these posts after a few recipes have been updated. For now, I have two yummy updates to share with you.

These Broccoli and Four Cheese Calzones are pretty intense. I mean, four cheeses, you can’t really go wrong with that. I originally made this recipe in June 2011, only months into starting my blog. An oldie, but a goodie.
Broccoli and Four Cheese Calzones 4
If it was up to Noah, he would eat these Mini Corn Dogs all day, every day. This recipe was also written in 2011 and has stood the test of time. We don’t fry often but when we do we savor these little nuggets of goodness. The original photos were seriously awful. They were taken at night with my terrible kitchen lighting and the flash on my camera to illuminate them. Definitely not my greatest work! But now they are shining with natural light and have some fun props to add visual interest. Looks like I’ve learned a little something in four years.
Corn Dogs 3
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Let me know if you would like to see more of these types of posts.

Photo Friday

St. Patrick's Day
Look at my sweet little leprechauns. I’m one lucky mama to have these two although they have given me a run for my money this week. Toddler teething is no joke.

After a little Facebook poll, I’ve decided to update some of my old posts and photos. There are a lot posts from the beginning with less than stellar photos and after making them many times, I have tweaked the ingredients a bit. So keep an eye out for that.

That’s all I’ve got for you today folks. We’re going to have some gorgeous weather this weekend and I hope you all do too! Yay for it finally being Spring.

Bacon and Brown Sugar Baked Beans

Bacon and Brown Sugar Baked Beans 1
Now that the weather is finally getting bearable, I have grilling and cookouts on my mind. Basically, my favorite part of summer. There’s nothing better than getting together with family and friends, throwing some burgers and corn on the grill and some cool refreshing salads. Well, baked beans make any barbeque better. These are our favorite recipe but I decided to change it up a bit and try something a little different recently.

Joel grew up on those baked beans so he was very leery of something new and I have to say he didn’t totally embrace them but I thought they were a nice change of pace. This recipe is definitely more on the smoky side of things versus the super sweet version we’re used to gobbling down. That is due to the fact that barbeque is used, in addition to other ingredients, to make the sauce. It adds some extra flavor and zing and it makes these beans customizable depending on your taste. If you’re a KC bbq fan like us, use your favorite sweet sauce (this is what we love) or if you like it spicy go that route. It’s all up to you and the sauce you choose really dictates the direction of these beans.
Bacon and Brown Sugar Baked Beans 2
I’m kind of cursing myself right now because the thing I’ve been craving the most since going vegetarian for Lent is a big, juice bacon cheeseburger. And now I can’t stop thinking about them. That would be so good right now with a side of these beans and some cucumber salad. How many more days until Easter? And is it appropriate to have a burger for breakfast that morning?

Bacon and Brown Sugar Baked Beans
recipe slightly adapted from The Recipe Girl

6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
3/4 cup barbeque
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like things)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
3 (15 ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until slightly browned. Add the onion and cook until softened and bacon is crisp, another 4-5 minutes.

2. Place bacon and onions into crockpot. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon 1
We don’t go to Chinese buffets too often but one of my favorites that is always there is crab rangoon. I’m a sucker for cream cheese and anything fried. Man, the crispiness combined with the smooth, creamy filling is just incredible. I’ve professed many times that I’m all about salty and crunch, gets me every time.
Crab Rangoon 2
Every once and awhile, when we’re feeling particularly gluttonous, we make a big Chinese feast. It usually consists of Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp, Mongolian Beef or Beef and Broccoli, fried rice and these crab rangoon as an appetizer (because clearly that’s not enough food…). It’s always glorious and delicious and upset stomach inducing, but totally worth it. I’m not even going to mention how many of these we can take down.

Crab Rangoon

12 oz. imitation crab, finely chopped
8 oz. cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. wonton wrappers
egg white
sweet and sour sauce, for dipping

Place crab, cream cheese and garlic powder in a food processor until well combined. Place egg white in a small bowl. Fill each wonton wrapper with a tablespoon of filling and dab egg white on the corners of the wrappers. Fold two ends together, then the other ends to make a little package. Make sure they are completely sealed. Fry at 350 degrees F until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve with sweet and sour.