Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


Leave a comment

Italian Meatballs

img_4050I have recently made a few new recipes.  Two of them by Bobby Flay – and both of them outstanding! This one is for Spaghetti and Sauce.  We LOVED the meatballs!  I will be making them again in the future – maybe even in bulk to freeze them for the future.  I did  not use veal as it is sometimes hard to find.  I doubled the recipe because we had more than 4 people eating dinner… Now I wish I had made even more!

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

adapted from Bobby Flay

Serves 8

Meatballs Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced and sauteed
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil/canola oil

Homemade Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid, pureed in a food processor
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 small bunches fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • basil leaves for topping, optional

Instructions:

For the meatballs:

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, eggs, grated Parmesan, cooked garlic, dry bread crumbs, minced fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.  Use two large serving forks to break up the meat and mix all the ingredients until it is evenly seasoned.  Do not overwork it as it will become tough.  Form 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs with your hands.

Heat a non stick skillet with 1 cup of cooking oil over medium high heat.  Cook the meatballs in batches, turning them over with tongs and continue cooking until golden brown. You do not need to cook them through entirely, as you simmer them in the sauce.  Drain the meatballs on a wire rack for a few minutes while you finish cooking the remaining meatballs.

For the sauce:

In a large stock pot, cook the onions in olive oil over medium heat and cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add processed tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the sauce to a boil and add in the browned meatballs.  Reduce the heat to just a simmer and cook the sauce and the meatballs for 45 minutes or longer.

Serve over cooked pasta and top off with basil and additional grated Parmesan cheese.

Printable Recipe

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Macaroni and Cheese

IMG_6928I purchased an arsenal of cheeses recently and wanted the gooey goodness of macaroni and cheese.  The four cheeses I used were Fontina, Gruyere, White Cheddar, and Romano.  I topped the macaroni and cheese with fresh breadcrumbs.  Baked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 °F.  It did not take long for the vultures um I  mean family members to descend upon it and finish it off.

Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Goodcookbecky

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cup milk, heated in microwave 2 minutes
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 oz grated Fontina cheese
  • 3 oz grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3 oz grated white cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz Romano cheese
  • 8 oz cooked elbow macaroni (just underdone)
  • Topping:
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from French bread)

Instructions

Cook the elbow macaroni according to instructions, but drain before they are completely cooked through, but no longer crunchy.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat to melt it.  After the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and salt.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add the warm milk to the roux slowly, whisking constantly to get the lumps out.  Cook until it is bubbly and begins to thicken.  Reduce the heat.

Add the grated cheeses and stir until the cheese is melted. Turn the burner off. Combine the cheese sauce with the drained elbow macaroni.

Butter a baking dish and pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared dish.

Sprinkle the top with the remaining Romano cheese.  In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake in 375 °F preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and toasted.

Printable Recipe

 

 


Leave a comment

Veal Parmesan

IMG_0203My husband requested Veal Parmesan for his birthday celebration.  I love veal, but it is hard to find.  I have a wonderful little market nearby though that believes in good customer service, and have fantastic quality foods available (Baron’s Market).  They were kind enough to special order it for me.  It made my entire family happy!

Okay, on to the Veal Parmesan.  I looked for a recipe online and the recipe by Emeril Lagasse had one of the highest ratings.  I read the reviews and adjusted the seasonings to be less spicy as some reviewers said it was too spicy.  Here is what I did, I left the seasoning in the sauce the same, but breaded it in the classic European way, salt and pepper on the Veal, pounded thin – dredged in flour, then egg and milk, and plain breadcrumbs, frying them in hot canola oil on both sides.  I served this over cooked angel hair pasta, the sauce, the cutlets, a little more sauce and fresh mozzarella finished off in the oven to melt the mozzarella.  It was not a cheap meal to make, but it was for a special occasion and the 22 dollars spent of the veal was spread over a family of 5- and 7 servings once you take into consideration that you would easily pay 20-25 dollars per serving in a nice restaurant for a single serving it was almost a bargain!  For the budget conscious out there, you can make the same dish using chicken cutlets. If you are sensitive to spice, feel free to reduce the red pepper flakes by half.  It does have a nice kick to it still.

Veal Parmesan

adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Source: (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/veal-parmesan-recipe/index.html)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 8 thin veal cutlets, about 2 1/2 ounces each
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup plain dry bread crumbs (add more as needed)
  • Vegetable oil

Sauce:

  • 1/4 lb pancetta bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic, about 3-4 cloves
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-oz) can Italian-style tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Instructions:

For the sauce (can also make ahead of time):
In a large sauce pan cook the pancetta bacon in 1 Tbsp of oil.  When it is cooked to a golden brown, remove the bacon from the pan.  Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook until it is translucent for about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute.  Add the wine and deglaze the pan stirring bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, basil, parsley, oregano, and dried pepper flakes to the saucepan.  Bring the sauce to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the cooked pancetta back to the sauce.  Keep the sauce over low heat while you are making the veal cutlets.
For the cutlets:
Pound the cutlets out with a meat mallet between two layers of plastic until they are 1/8″ thick. Season the cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper.
Prepare three bowls: 1 with all purpose flour (seasoned with 1 tsp salt if desired), 1 with egg and milk whisked together with a fork, and the last bowl with dried breadcrumbs.
Dredge the seasoned cutlets first in the flour, then in the egg mixture and lastly in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides in each before moving to the next.
Heat a large non stick skillet that has about 1/4 inch of oil in it over medium high heat.  I like to drop a breadcrumb in the oil to test if it is ready to fry the veal- if it sizzles it is ready.  Then fry 3-4 cutlets at a time in the skillet, turning after 2 or 3 minutes (when the breading is golden brown on the bottom) and fry other side until golden brown.  Remove the cutlets to a wire rack over a baking dish and place in a warm oven to keep warm while you cook remaining cutlets.
Cook your choice of pasta, according to package directions.  I used angel hair, but Emeril used herbed egg noodles.
Top each cutlet with a spoon full of sauce and place a slice of fresh mozzarella on each cutlet.  Place the veal cutlets that are now topped with mozzarella under a broiler to allow the cheese to melt, watching carefully.  To serve: arrange the pasta on the dinner plate.  Ladle some sauce on the pasta.  Top the pasta with the veal cutlet.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired and a little fresh basil, cut in ribbons.


Leave a comment

Panera’s Mac and Cheese

I don’t know a bout you, but I love Panera!  I love their sandwiches, soups, and sides.  Their macaroni and cheese is quite outstanding and creamy.  After ordering the side recently I went home wanting to find a copycat recipe for the dish.. but I didn’t have to… as it turns out, Panera is quite willing to share the recipe with everyone.  I made it too – I did not have the exact cheeses – I used yellow American cheese instead of white American cheese, and it still turned out quite close to the one they sell.  They use shells in the recipe, but you could use any pasta you like. The surprising ingredient in the Panera recipe is a dash of Frank’s Hot Sauce.  It is very subtle though.

Here is a link to Panera’s Recipe.


2 Comments

Baked Ziti

I think the last time we had Ziti, my husband cooked it!  At that time, I was in bed recovering from a very painful spill  down the stairs of my house – I do not care to repeat that – the falling down stairs on my back part – not the hubby cooking part – he did a fine job- he just prefers to program computers – and THAT is something I can’t do!  I love to cook! It has been 2 years since my fall and I am doing much better now, though I still have not learned to walk – that is.. I fell again this summer, but did not injure myself nearly as badly this time! I am a klutz!

I found this particular recipe in Cook’s Country: Best Potluck Recipes (pages 114-116) link

I adapted the recipe a little, because it was meatless, and my husband loves meat in his Ziti.  The other change I made was I used Ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese (it is a texture thing for me).  The recipe was easy to follow , though it had a lot of steps, but the results were very good.

Baked Ziti

adapted from Cook’s Country  Best Potluck Recipes (p 114-116)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 oz) container Ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided use
  • salt
  • 1 lb ziti, or other tube pasta
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped, divided use
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 8 oz whole milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 inch dice (not pre-shredded)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F and adjust the oven rack to about the center position.

In a medium bowl, stir together the Ricotta cheese, eggs, and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions, until it is just underdone.  Drain and set aside (in the colander).

In a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the garlic for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.  Stir it the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.  Add the oregano and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes over medium low.  Turn off the heat and add 1/2 cup basil and sugar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In another skillet cook the ground beef seasoned with 1 tsp of salt.  Cook until done and drain off any fat.  Set aside.

With heat off, stir the cream and cornstarch in the stockpot you used to boil the pasta (so you don’t have to dirty any other dishes).  Turn the heat on to medium and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened.  Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the heat source.  Add in the cheese mixture and 1 cup of the sauce, half of the mozzarella dices and drained ground beef.  Add the pasta to coat it thoroughly. Pour the Ziti into a 13×9″ baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the casserole.  Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Spray a piece of tinfoil with cooking spray (to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil during baking), and cover the casserole tightly. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 for 30 minutes and then remove the foil, return to oven to bake another 30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.  Let sit for 10 minutes after baking.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp of chopped basil. Serve with fresh French Bread or garlic bread and salad.

Printable Recipe

 


Leave a comment

Desperation Dinners

Desperation Dinner: You know this kind of dinner.. your pantry has some ingredients but not enough to make something you have in mind.. so you substitute.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not work.  This is one that worked and boy did it ever work!  My family loves Lasagna, but I had neither ground beef or sausage to add to the filling and we didn’t want just plain or just spinach lasagne – no, that is too close to being healthy!  We like to live on the side of not good for you!  Well, actually, we are in process of changing that… but last year we lived!!!

My brother was in town for Thanksgiving – he lives in Harrisburg, PA and we do not see him very often.  Since he is single, he comes to see us about every other year.  He had a craving for lasagna, but I did not have the meat as I mentioned before… but I did have this: Pepperoni!  I made the lasagna as usual, except used pepperoni instead of the sausage.  Baked it as usual and the result was wonderful!  It is now my families favorite lasagna.

Pepperoni Lasagna

by goodcookbecky

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 (28 oz) cans spaghetti sauce (I like Hunts Traditional in the can- sometimes on sale for a dollar)
  • 1 (9 oz) box Barilla No Boil Lasagna (or other pasta will work- even the ones you should pre cook but you don’t have to trust me)
  • 1 (15 oz) container Ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (4 oz) package Hormel sliced pepperoni
  • 1 (16 oz) bag Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

I like to use my large pampered chef stoneware casserole. The sides are over 2 inches and the lasagna so far has never bubbled over like it has in a pyrex dish- but you still can use it, just place a cookie sheet under it if that is all you have.  The beauty of the stoneware is that you do not have to spray it with non stick spray.

To make the lasagna, ladle half a can of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of your baking dish.  Place the (uncooked) lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, slightly overlapping.  Combine the ricotta cheese, egg, oregano, basil and half the Mozzarella cheese in a bowl and spread half of the cheese mixture over the lasagna noodles.  Top with half of the pepperoni slices.  Ladle the remaining sauce from the first can of spaghetti sauce.  Top with noodles.  Repeat layers.  End with lasagna noodles, pasta sauce, and remaining Mozzarella Cheese.  If you would like an extra crunch add about 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.  Uncover and cook until the cheese is melted for another 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cover with foil again and let sit for about 10-15 minutes.

Printable Recipe


Leave a comment

Italian Sausage over Pasta

Quite a few years ago, we had dinner with some friends and they made a wonderful sausage dish that can easily adapted to what you have in your fridge.  It works really well with peppers, onions, zucchini, but also could go with mushrooms or eggplant.  Feel free to change it to suit your own family’s tastes.  It looks lovely over tri-color Rotini Pasta.

Italian Sausage over Pasta

Serves 6

  • 1 (12 oz) box tri-color Rotini Pasta, or other pasta
  • cooking oil
  • 6 mild Italian Sausage links
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (yellow, or orange or red) sliced thinly
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced into coins
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Heat a large non stick skillet, over medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil to the skillet and brown the Italian sausages, turning from time to time to brown until cooked through.  Remove the sausages and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the skillet if needed.  Saute the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are cooked to your liking.  Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Heat through.

To serve: Top the pasta with cooked sausage and ladle the vegetable tomato sauce over the sausage and pasta.  Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Printable Recipe