Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Homemade Egg Noodles for Soup

No noodles for your soup? No problem! 
These homemade egg noodles come together quickly with just two ingredients and some muscle! 


A few weeks ago I was making a pot of my Homemade Chicken Soup when I walked to my pantry to grab a bag of egg noodles only to find I didn't have any!!! I really, really wanted noodles with my soup but did not feel like going back to the store in the cold rain.

So what's a girl to do? Make her own, of course!


I don't know why I decided so quickly that I'd make my own. I have never made my own pasta before, I don't have a pasta attachment, and I had no idea if it would be quick and easy or a big project.

Luckily, after just a bit of research, I realized I could do this quickly using a rolling pin, pizza cutter and some muscle. There are many different recipes out there, some using a dough hook, some using beaten eggs, some adding butter and or milk. Since it was my first time I went with a basic recipe using just eggs and four.


These aren't the prettiest noodles - they are more rustic - but you can't beat homemade noodles.

I learned a few things making these noodles. First, I really need to work on my upper body strength!! Rolling takes a lot of muscle, but then again I'm not that strong and I NEVER use a rolling pin so I'm not used to the motion.




 Second, you really want to get the dough thin and even. A few of my noodles were thicker on the ends or in the middle, so they didn't cook evenly.


Finally, along the same lines as rolling the dough out evenly, cut them evenly. All of your noodles should be the same width.



You can cook these noodles long or cut them into smaller shapes - it's up to you, what you prefer, and how you will be using them.

So the next time you are in need of noodles, give these a try!

Homemade Egg Noodles for Soup
Source: The Pioneer Woman
Note: this is for 2 people. The Pioneer Woman's rule of thumb for the recipe is # eggs = # ppl, and 1 c flour per every 2 eggs.

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 c all purpose flour
Make a well in the center of your pile of flour and crack in your eggs. Slowly mix together with your hands. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead (roll, punch, push, etc.) by hand until dough becomes smooth and pliable, adding flour to the board as necessary.

Let the dough rest for a little while before starting the next step - rolling. 

When you’re ready, roll it out using a rolling pin on a floured surface as thinly as it’ll go. 

Cut the dough into noodles (strips) using a knife or pizza cutter. 

Place the cut noodles on a floured surface and allow them to dry before cooking. 

To cook the noodles, just boil them in salted water for 2-3 minutes. Fresh noodles cook very fast so be careful not to overcook! 


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Homemade Chicken Soup

A homemade chicken soup with a healthy yet rich broth. 
If you haven't made chicken soup from scratch before, you have to try it - it's so easy! And if you HAVE made it, you have to try my trick for the most amazing broth. Read on! 




Homemade chicken soup is the ultimate healthy comfort food. Just smelling it simmering away on the stove makes you feel warm and relaxed. I love this soup so much that I have been making it every 2 weeks this fall and winter. 


There is nothing hard about making chicken soup from scratch. Its basically chicken, veggies and herbs simmered in water. 

But to give my chicken soup a richer flavor, there are two things that I love to do - 

First, browning the chicken and then deglazing the pan ensures that you get the most out of your chicken, and way more flavor than just simmering your chicken. 



Second, I puree the veggies once cooked and then add them back to the broth. This is still a broth based soup, but just a touch more thick and velvety from the pureed veggies. And just look at that color!


I use 2 split chicken breasts to make 6 servings of soup. Just 2 chicken breasts give you a lot of meat, so I'll often use 2/3 of it for serving in the soup, and then turn the rest into chicken salad for 2 lunches. So 8 servings of food from 2 chicken breasts that cost me $8? Can't beat that!


One final tip - if you like to eat your soup with noodles, cook the separately. If you cook them in the broth they will soak up (waste) too much of your broth. I made homemade noodles for the first time to go with this soup. Only 2 ingredients and no pasta attachment needed, just a rolling pin! Check out the recipe for the noodles here!

Homemade Chicken Soup
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

Ingredients

  • 2 bone in split chicken breasts
  • Approx 1/2 tsp each salt, black pepper, dried thyme, poultry seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped (including the leafy ends)
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
Directions
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan
  • Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, thyme and poultry seasoning. Add the chicken to the pan and brown, approx 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a large soup pot. Take 1/4 c of your water and add it to the saute pan over high heat to deglaze the pan, scraping up all of the brown bits. Once you have scraped everything up, pour this water over the chicken in the soup pot.
  • Add your chopped veggies, the rest of the water and the bay leaf to the soup pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 hour.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate; let cool and then pick all of the meat off.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer all of the veggies to a blender or cup of a handheld stick blender. Puree until smooth, and then return the puree to the broth. 
  • Adjust salt and pepper if needed before serving. Serve with chopped chicken and (optional) noodles. 








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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The perfect cookie - Snickerdoodles

Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and with just the perfect amount of sweetness and cinnamon, Snickerdoodles are my absolute favorite Christmas cookie. Look how beautifully fluffy they are! 



My dad has been making snickerdoodles for years. A few years ago I told him I was going to try making them myself and he seem surprised. He knows I'm not a baker so he warned me that snickerdoodles are hard cookies to make. I took that as a challenge.

I knew that the key ingredient in snickerdoodles was cream of tartar. This special ingredient is what separates snickerdoodles from other sugar cookies. The cream of tartar is what gives them their tangy chew, everything I love about a good snickerdoodle.


I didn't find these cookies to be difficult at all, and my daughter had the best time coating the cookies with cinnamon sugar. These cookies will always be on my Christmas baking list!


Snickerdoodles
Source: Real Simple

Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Directions
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
  • With an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and 1 c of the granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine the cinnamon and remaining 1/4 c of granulated sugar.
  • Form cookie dough into balls (each equal to 1 level Tbsp). Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on parchment lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart.
  • Bake until the edges are golden, 12-14 minutes.
  • Cool slightly on the baking sheets, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.





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Friday, November 4, 2016

Cheese Tortellini Primavera in a Light Garlic Cream Sauce

Cheese Tortellini with Fresh Vegetables in a Light Garlic Cream Sauce - A quick and easy meal that comes together in 20 minutes! 

Yes, you read that correctly. 20 minutes! 

Tortellini is a great pasta to use when you need to cut down on cooking time. Where other pasta shapes can take 8-12 minutes to cook, you will have perfect tortellini in about 5 minutes. 

As far as timing, chop your veggies and get out your other ingredients while the water is coming to a boil. Once the water boils, toss your veggies in for one minute. Blanching the veggies will cut down on your sauteeing time. Then, you make the sauce when you drop the tortellini. The sauce and tortellini will be done at the same time, and then all you need to do is toss it all together. 

This is a great Meatless Monday meal, a perfect quick weeknight dinner, and makes great leftovers (if you have any!) for lunch the next day. 





print recipe

Cheese Tortellini Primavera in a Garlic Cream Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 small head broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 each red and green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 12oz bag of frozen tortellini
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Splash of white wine
  • 1/2 c low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 c light cream
  • A few pinches each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning (like McCormick's Perfect Pinch)
  • 1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once it is at a full boil, toss in the broccoli and carrots. Cook for one minute and then remove with a slotted spoon into a colander and run under cold water. Drain well. Return the water to a boil and put in the tortellini.Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until the tortellini pops to the top of the water.
- Heat olive oil in a large saute pan.
- Toss in the onions and garlic; saute 1 min.
- Add the broccoli, carrots, red and green pepper, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning; saute 1 min.
- Add the white wine, stir for 20 seconds before adding the broth. Bring to a gentle simmer and then add the cream and Parmesan cheese.
- Drain the tortellini and add to the veggie/sauce mixture. Toss and serve.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 Servings

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Buffalo Chicken BLT Wraps

Restaurant-style wrap with crispy chicken tenders tossed in buffalo sauce, cold lettuce and tomatoes and smoky bacon. 



When you go to your neighborhood restaurants - you know, like quick, casual places, nothing too fancy, good food and big portions - do you have a favorite thing to order or do you always try something new? I love trying new things, but at some restaurants I have a favorite dish and order it every time we go.

A local bar and grill has a chicken wrap on their menu that I just LOVE. It's a pretty straight-forward wrap with buffalo chicken and veggies, so I decided to recreate it at home. I added bacon though because, well, bacon!!




I fried up the chicken while the bacon was cooking, and that's pretty much all the prep that goes into this dish. 

My key to crispy chicken tenders with breading that stays put intstead of sliding off the chicken when you take a bite is simple. Cornstarch. Instead of using flour as your first breading step, use cornstarch. Your breading will stick to your chicken in a thick layer and won't go anywhere when you cut it or take a bite. 



Look at how beautifully crunchy and crispy that chicken looks!

Once the chicken and bacon are cooked, you simply layer your wrap with greens, bacon, tomatoes, and the chicken tossed in buffalo sauce. Drizzle on a little ranch dressing and wrap it all up.

For a pub style meal at home, give this chicken wrap a try!







print recipe

Buffalo Chicken BLT Wrap

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs, Boneless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • A few pinches each Salt and pepper
  • 1 c Cornstarch
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 c Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp each Spices (onion powder, garlic powder)
  • 1/4 c Vegetable oil
  • 8 slices Bacon, cooked
  • 2 cups Lettuce/greens of your choice
  • 1 large Tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 c Buffalo sauce
  • 4 Tortilla wraps, large
  • 1 Tbsp (per wrap)  Ranch dressing
Instructions
- Set up your breading station: put cornstarch in first bowl, beaten eggs in second, and breadcrumbs seasoned with onion and garlic powder in a third. Place paper towels on a large plate and top with a cooling rack. - Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat - Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Roll in the cornstarch, shake off any excess. Coat with egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs, fully coating the chicken. - Place the chicken in the pan and fry for 4 minutes until one side is golden brown. Flip and brown the other side for 4 minutes. Check temperature - chicken should reach 170 degrees. Cook until the chicken is at the correct temperature. Transfer to the cooling rack. - Toss the chicken with buffalo sauce - Assemble the wrap by layering greens, bacon, tomatoes, chicken and some ranch dressing. Fold in the ends and roll, tucking the ends in as you go so you end up with a nice, tight burrito shaped roll. Slice in half and serve.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 wraps




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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Spinach-Artichoke Grilled Cheese


Crisp, buttery grilled bread stuffed with creamy melted cheese and a 
hot and bubbly spinach artichoke spread. It's like everybody's 
favorite party dip in a sandwich. 


My weekday lunches usually consist of a big salad, a bowl of homemade soup or a healthy, homemade wrap. On the weekends I'll splurge a bit, especially on lazy days with nowhere to be but home. 

I love a good grilled cheese sandwich, but wanted something more decadent, something cheesier and messier. My spinach-artichoke dip is so freaking delicious, and has inspired other recipes like these stuffed shells, so why not turn it into a sandwich? 




Thick sliced bread is a must for this. The outer layer gets buttery and crisp when grilled, while some of the bread stays fluffy and soft, soaking up all of that cheesy goodness. 



In addition to the creamy dip, I layered on sliced Fontina cheese, a cheese with a mild nutty flavor that melts fabulously. 



If you love spinach-artichoke dip, and you love grilled cheese, I promise you will love this sandwich.






print recipe
Spinach-Artichoke Grilled Cheese
Crisp, buttery grilled bread stuffed with creamy melted cheese and a
hot and bubbly spinach artichoke spread.
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 c Spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 14oz can Artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp Cream cheese, softened
  • Pinch each Salt and pepper
  • 4 Thick slices Crusty Italian bread
  • 2 TBSP Butter
  • 4 slices Fontina cheese
Instructions
Heat olive oil in a small saute pan. Add the garlic and spinach, season with salt and pepper and saute until the spinach has wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the artichokes and cream cheese. Stir until completely mixed.Spread one side of each slice of bread generously with butter. Heat a large griddle/grill pan. Add 2 slices of the bread, butter side down. Top each slice of bread with half of the spinach-artichoke mixture followed by 2 slices of Fontina cheese, and then put the other slice of bread on top, butter side up. Grill until browned, about 3 minutes, and then flip and cook until browned. Slice and serve.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 Sandwiches




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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Fried rice no rice! And no, you won't miss the rice.



Ricing cauliflower for fried rice is something that has been on my list to try for a while now, but I just haven't put it on the menu or taken the time to come up with a recipe. Last week I was doing some work around the house with The Chew on in the background when I heard Clinton Kelly start to talk about making fried rice with riced cauliflower. I had to stop to see if it would be a recipe I'd want to try and it was - simple flavors and not overwhelmed with other veggies, just carrots and baby bok choy.


A half of a head of cauliflower made so much fried rice - probably 5 servings. The cauliflower was a nice substitute for rice - not the same by any means, but it really held up and took on the flavors of everything I added. What a great, healthy alternative to traditional fried rice!


Cauliflower Fried Rice
Slightly adapted from: Clinton Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower cut into small florets
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, minced
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy, thinly sliced 
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced on a bias
  • 1/2 c edamame 
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • Optional: chopped mint leaves and chopped roasted peanuts
Directions
  • Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped; set aside.
  • Heat the sesame in a large skillet over high heat. 
  • Add 3/4 of the green onions and all of the garlic and ginger; stir until fragrant. 
  • Add the carrots and bok choy; cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Add the cauliflower, edamame and soy sauce. Stir until everything is combined. 
  • Serve topped with the cilantro, lime wedges, chili garlic sauce and the rest of the green onions. 




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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Shredded Flank Steak for Tacos (Slow Cooker)


The main thing I use my crock pot for is making shredded meat - pulled pork, shredded chicken, and shredded beef. And most of those things get used for tacos because tacos are awesome! I may have a slight taco obsession...

But in all seriousness, taco night is a great night in our house. The only thing we all need to agree on is the meat. After that, everyone can choose their own tortilla - I prefer corn, Jon prefers flour and the little one prefers crunchy. Same goes for the toppings - we all dress our tacos differently. My favorite toppings are pickled red onions, cilantro, queso fresco and some fresh lime juice - how about you?




On this taco night I chose to go with beef and picked up a nice flank steak. The preparation is easy - just rub it up with a nice spice mixture and put it in the slow cooker with a few more ingredients. Let it cook for several hours, shred with a fork and serve. 

When I make shredded meat I always make enough for at least 2 nights. One night we'll have tacos, and then we can have tostadas, nachos, sandwiches, or something completely different all together, like a pasta or rice bowl. 

I can check off so many boxes with this recipe - prep ahead, easy, weeknight meal, makes great leftovers, and makes everyone happy! 

Shredded Flank Steak for Tacos
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

Ingredients
  • One 2-lb flank steak
  • Spice mixture - 1 Tbsp each chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder; 1 tsp each oregano (or Mexican oregano), salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper. 
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes with juices
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 8 oz low sodium beef broth or cooking stock
Directions
  • Mix all of the spices and rub all over the beef
  • Put the beef in your slow cooker and add the tomatoes with juices, jalapeno, white onion, cilantro, lime juice and broth.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours and turn to low for 4 more. 1 hour before serving, shred the beef with 2 forks. Keep on warm until ready to serve. 

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