Linguini Bolognese Alfredo

Linguini BologneseI think most Italians make Bolognese without Alfredo! Typically the sauce is made with a generous amount of ground meat, beef, pork, and or sausage! When I served this in the restaurant for whatever reason it always had Alfredo. The alfredo gives it a whole other element of richness. I made this today because I had a very lean day of vegetable soup and fresh fruit. I felt okay about a high fat supper. Especially since now they are saying “Fat doesn’t make you Fat, sugar does”. Works for me. Our household has been avoiding sugar, milk, and wheat among other things. I actually made my alfredo with almond milk instead of cream. I also, used Jovial brand Einkorn flour Linguini. Einkorn isn’t like other whole wheat. It’s the original ancient grain, untouched, unmodified and really good for you. If you get the chance do a little research on it.

Bolognese Sauce

In a medium sauce pot on med heat sauté until tender…
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. olive oil

add:
1 lb. uncooked ground beef, cook through
add:
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon basil or julienne fresh basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 Carton Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
simmer on med, stirring frequently until water has absorbed, 20 min or so.

While the Bolognese is simmering make the Alfredo sauce
Alfredo sauce recipe here

Make your Pasta, any package of pasta you like. It doesn’t have to be a string pasta like linguini or spaghetti, it can be Penne, Pappardelle or Ziti. Cook by the package instructions. When ready drain and top with a good portion of the meat sauce and then add a ladle or two or three of Alfredo. Shave some fresh Parmesan cheese over top. Serve with garlic bread if you like. Now grab a glass of red wine like one of my favorites… Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon and Enjoy!

Grilled Marinated Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb ChopsMarinated Lamb chops are some of my families favorite things. If you are contemplating what to make for a family dinner here’s a thought…Aside from being delicious and easy to eat like a little lollipop, they are a great item for a holiday dinner for two reasons. One…They are an item that gets cooked outside on the grill, good for me because no mess in the kitchen means less cleanup and Two…I don’t have to cook the main course. I usually prepare the marinade 3 days ahead of time and get them marinating. This in an of itself, is a blessing, more time for me to put more effort into my side dishes, desserts, and decor. It really does take the pressure off.

Last christmas we had Lamb chops. I made them because my brother TJ and my son Eric absolutely love them. I probably bought too many but I wasn’t sure how many to make since they are small and each lamb chop is like two bites. However, 4-5 per person is more than enough. Some people will only eat 2-3 and others may eat 5-6, but it all averages out. And, if you have numerous side dishes like I always do, you will be doing the right thing by only allowing for 5-6 per person. It was pretty funny last year, everyone on my brothers side of the table was trying to make him look bad by piling all of their lamb chop bones on his plate at the end of the meal. As I began to clear the plates and his plate was handed to me, my eyes grew really big and my mouth dropped open. I’m thinking he ate like 15 chops only to hear his exclamation…UHT! Everyone exploded into laughter as you would need to know my brother to understand this to be funny!

Grilled Lamb Chops

Two large Ziploc Bags
2 lemons
1 1/2 cups of Olive Oil
1 bunch of fresh Rosemary, stems removed and chopped really finely with a knife on a cutting board, almost to a powder
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. black pepper
8 fresh cloves of garlic minced
2 racks of Lamb chops left whole to marinate and be grilled (I buy the airtight pkg. of two racks of lamb at Sam’s club.They sell them in grocery stores usually 1 rack to the pkg. They are pretty expensive but they are definitely cheaper by the two pack. 1 rack will serve two people and cost you about 7-8 dollars per person.)

Marinade
open both ziploc bags and juice a lemon into each bag
add 3/4 c. olive to each bag
add 3 TBSP chopped rosemary to each bag
add 1 TBSP salt and pepper to each bag
add half of the minced garlic to each bag
mix well and add 1 whole rack of lamb to the bag, massage the marinade into the lamb.
Each day leading up to the day you cook them, take them out of the refrigerator and massage the marinade, you may have to let them get to room temp for an hour or so.
Place back in the fridge and on the day you will be cooking them take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temp before grilling them.

Ready to Grill
Preheat your grill as hot as it will go. 500 degrees is ideal. Place the racks on the hottest spot and get the outside good and crisp fast on both sides so the inside stays rare or medium-rare.
This will not take that long if you get the grill really hot. Remove the racks and let them rest in a warm place for about 10 minutes, slice them into chops, arrange on a pretty platter and serve.
If you desire, serve them with a bernaise sauce or make a delicious drizzle with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.

This entree will surely please even the fussiest of guests. It really isn’t any more expensive than a prime rib or a seafood meal. Go ahead and splurge, you deserve it.

Meatballs

mb2This week we had an Italian Feast on Memorial Day! Made all the favorites! Eggplant Parmesan, Arancini, Cavatelli, Tomato sauce, Sweet Italian Sausage, Broccoli Rabe Chicken Sausage, and Jumbo Meatballs! Served up with some crusty bread and a Pepperoni Pizza that we brought back from New York for an appetizer. Finished up the dinner with Cannolis and Italian Cookies for dessert! Such a whirlwind with family everywhere and the little ones running around that I took no pictures. Only thing I took pictures of was the meatballs because I made them earlier in the day. The kids were so well behaved, they made a little fort behind the couch with blankets and pillows. They colored pictures and used my IPad and played. They also ate really well and especially loved the meatballs, so, meatballs it is. Just a note about stale bread. I always take bread that is left over, stale, no good bread. I cut it up and lay it in a sheet pan to dry. When dry, throw it in a large Ziploc bag. I always have bread crumbs and stuffing mix handy. I also cut up bread and bag and freeze to save for bread puddings.

Meatballs

1 lb ground Beef
1 lb ground Veal
2 cups cubed Stale Bread any kind or Croutons
1 cup Half and Half or Milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 cloves chopped fresh garlic
1 handful of fresh parsley chopped
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup hot water

butter for frying

In a large bowl, add the cubed bread and milk and let soak for 15 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, (except for the water and butter) along with the meat and mix just until mixed. Add the water and mix in. Roll about 6 meatballs the size of your fist, Get a skillet hot on med high heat. Add butter, and meatballs, begin frying them, lower the heat if necessary. Let them get crisp and brown before trying to flip them over. You need to be very gentle with them or they will break apart. Once they are flipped over, cover with a lid and let them steam and fry at the same time. When they are browned and firm remove. Add more butter if necessary and remaining meatballs until all are cooked. Place them gently into a simmering pot of tomato sauce. Let them simmer for a hour or more in the sauce. Simmering in the sauce is not necessary. They can be used immediately, refrigerated or frozen. If you want to do a test fry before frying all the meatballs, it’s a good idea so, you can adjust the seasoning if needed.

Alfredo Sauce

A lot of people like Alfredo sauce. It’s a tad bit unhealthy as we all know, but rather delicious! The one that I used to make at the restaurant was very fluffy and lighter than the average. There are a few reasons for that. Parmesan cheese can be very sharp in flavor and it’s difficult to use enough of it to thicken cream. To cut down on cost and to get better thickening ability, we add flour to the cheese. It actually makes for a milder flavor and allows the garlic to shine through. In a restaurant, you always have a large amount of bulk items ready to go. Staples, as they say. One of our staples was a big container of melted butter, seasoned lightly with lemon juice, and parsley.  This was used in everything that required butter. I would say the ratio is, 1/2 stick or 2 oz melted of butter to 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice and 1/4 tsp parsley, and always stir well before using. The next very important staple is Parmesan Cheese. Ratio: 1/2 cup parmesan cheese to 2 tsp all purpose flour, mix well. One more staple for this recipe, salt mixture…1 c. of sea salt with 1/2 tsp white pepper mixed well. You can use black pepper if you want, white pepper is much stronger so you can double the black pepper. For this double serving of alfredo you will only be using a pinch or two of the salt mixture. Okay now we are ready. This will be two servings.

Alfredo Sauce

In a Saute pan, place on burner on medium heat.
add:
2 oz. well mixed lemon butter mixture
1/2 tsp minced garlic or 2-3 cloves chopped
2 good pinches of salt and pepper mixture
1 cup heavy cream
simmer until hot…
add 1/2 cup or more of parmesan cheese mixture, add until you achieve the thickenss of the sauce you prefer
using a wire whip stir together. Turn off heat. Immediately, pour over hot cooked pasta.

Variation: Add any cooked vegetables you like such as broccoli or asparagus. Warm them before adding to the alfredo and fold them in at the last minute.

Braised Short Ribs

IMG_0416We were given some short ribs by our friend Cindy. She was having trouble cooking them and decided to give them to us. Brian cooked them up and we were in awe, so good. So, we passed on the recipe to our friend and she cooked them. We no longer receive anymore short ribs from their cows. Now we have her and her husband raise cows for us so we can get our own short ribs. This recipe is very easy and the ribs are just falling off the bones and the sauce is so flavorful. Served on pappardelle pasta is my favorite way to serve this dish, but it would be great on any pasta. If you prefer potatoes, just throw them in the pot an hour and half before its going to be done and it will be awesome. Rice would be great also, especially sticky white rice or my favorite sprouted brown rice by Annie Chun. The other thing I would like to add. This dish is very adaptable. If you like turnips or any root vegetable, add them. Whatever you like, then add it. Just consider the cooking time. For instance, I would love frozen peas in here, but you would only want to add them 5 min. before serving.

Braised Short Ribs
Cooking time 4-5 hours stove top. Crock pot 7-9 hours

4 sections of beef short ribs with 2-3 ribs per section
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. diced celery
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced onions
1/3 c. Olive oil
2 bay leaves
3-4 garlic cloves minced
3 c. Beef stock
1 c. Red wine any dry wine you would love to drink.
1 box Pomi diced tomatoes
4-6 large carrots peeled and cut in half
1 lb pasta
optional: 4-6 small potatoes peeled and left whole. If you have large potatoes cut them into 2-3 pieces, you just want them to be the same size so they cook evenly.
1 can white beans, great northern or white kidney.

Directions:
In the pot you plan to cook this dish in…
add 3 tbsp olive oil and get the oil very hot. Med high heat.
Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and brown on both sides.
Remove the ribs and set aside.
Add the diced veggies and the 1/3 c. Oil
Cook the veggies for 7-10 minutes,
add the minced garlic, cook 1 minute
add the beef stock, red wine, bay leaf and tomatoes
add the short ribs back to the pot, submerge them into the liquid
Cover the pot and cook on med heat for approx 2 hours, stirring frequently. If you find that there is sticking on the bottom of the pan, lower slightly to prevent burning.
After 2 hours add carrots and potatoes
Cook on med heat or a tad bit lower for 2 more hours.
Remove bay leaves and discard
Add rinsed white beans, stir in and let sit 5 minutes to heat through.
20 minutes before done, boil pasta and serve over pasta.
The flavor should be great, but if it isn’t add a little “Better than Bouillon Beef base”. You most likely will not need it.  And remember every great meal deserves a great glass of wine. My personal favorite, again…Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon…Enjoy!

 

Crazy Good Meatloaf

IMG_1762This recipe was created specifically for my husband Brian’s fishing trip. We had a cow raised this year by a friend and we have a lot of hamburger in our freezer. So, when he said he was responsible for a dinner, I suggested meatloaf. I never make meatloaf because I am just not a fan. I decided to start looking at different recipes on the Internet. I came across several ideas, a few of which I combined and then added my own twist. The thing I dislike most is when meatloaf is solid and firm. I always add soaked bread to my meatballs and it makes them soft, so in this recipe I decided to add sauteed vegetables as well. I know you are probably going to wrinkle up your nose when you see the leeks, but I assure you, you will never know they are there. They are from the lily family, but they are super mild and tender and sort of resemble an onion. I absolutely love them in everything, especially soup. They look like a really large scallion and you only use the white bottom part and slight bit of the green. You will be happy that you made this meatloaf and even the fussiest of children will eat it.

Meatloaf
Serves 8 people
350 degrees/50-60 minutes

3 cups of chopped, cubed bread (use optional leftover rolls, pita – whatever)
1 cup of milk (any milkfat ratio is acceptable)
Let the bread soak up all the milk. Set aside.

1 large Leek split in half twice and then diced
1/2 green pepper (finely chopped)
1/2 red pepper (finely chopped)
6 medium mushrooms (or 12 stems chopped very fine)
1/4 cup olive oil
Saute for approx. 15 minutes, stirring constantly until very tender. Turn off heat and let cool.

3.5 lbs. ground beef
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp southwest seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp of dried parsley or a handful of fresh-chopped
4 eggs
In a large bowl use a KitchenAid mixer (or mix by hand) and mix the ingredients above

1 lb Bacon (uncooked)
When completely incorporated, add in the sauteed vegetables, mix thoroughly and then fold in the bread and milk. It’s okay if there are small chunks of bread visible – they are really flavorful after they have been cooked. Shape on a sheet pan into a football shape with square ends and completely wrap with bacon, tucking in the edges.

1/2 cup BBQ sauce (your favorite one)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
Mix and spread all over the top and sides of the bacon-covered loaf generously.

Bake until done. I like to insert a knife into center and test the temperature in the middle against my lip. If the knife is hot then its probably cooked in the middle. Otherwise a thermometer works really well (“medium well” is between 150-165 degrees Fahrenheit).