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Monday, February 22, 2016

Italian Ricotta Cheese Dumplings

Ricotta dumplings on a plate
I’m always on the lookout for new and easy recipes, and when I saw this recipe on the Mr. Food segment of our local news network I just knew that I had to try it.

I don’t ever remember my grandmother or mother making these. After watching this I immediately began looking through all of their hand written recipes, but could not find it, so I decided to add this one to my Italian recipes.

Since I was making this for just two people I cut their recipe in half and slightly changed the spices. The original recipe will yield about 60 dumplings this is great if you have a large family or are expecting guests.

Here is what I used:

1 cup or 8oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
1 egg yolk lightly beaten
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons parsley (Freshly chopped)
2 cloves garlic, minced

I changed the ingredients slightly but followed their instructions, and here is how:

In a large mixing bowl, I combined the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and flour. Mix until it forms a ball, the mixture will be soft and a little sticky.

Then using a teaspoon I dropped them onto a cookie sheet dusted with flour, trying to do my best to make them oval shaped. When I was finished I dusted the dumplings with more flour.

Dropped onto a cookie sheet
The best I could do at making oval shaped
Now drop these in a large pot of salted boiling water 15 at a time, when they come to the top boil for about 4 more minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon into a bowl or strainer, I think a strainer is best.

In large skillet, melt the butter, add the garlic and parsley. Add the dumplings, salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium heat turning them as they cook, until golden brown.

Dumplings cooking in the skillet

dumplings out of the skillet

I added some extra Parmesan cheese on top and served, you can even add your favorite marinara sauce if you like. If you’re having some guests over for dinner you might want to impress them with this Italian delight. Serve with a nice wine and salad for a complete meal.

This is how I made these tasty little dumplings. Here is the link to the Mr. Food recipe.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pie Crust Cinnamon Bites

Pie crust cinnamon bites
Pie Crust Cinnamon Bites
Whenever my mother made pies she would make these tasty little treats with any left over pie dough. Lately after I eat dinner I’m always looking for something sweet to eat, well who am I kidding it’s really not lately it’s all of the time.

The other night after dinner I was looking for something sweet, only to find nothing in the house to satisfy my sweet tooth. 

 Since I didn’t make any pies and have any leftover pie dough, I did however have a store bought pie crust in the refrigerator, I thought perfect this won’t take long at all.

Now I have to tell you that I didn’t really measure the ingredients below I just added them to my liking.

Here is what I used:

1/2 stick butter (melted or you could substitute milk for the butter)
Brown Sugar
White Sugar

I unrolled the pie crust and brushed it with the melted butter. I then added the brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon, again add as much as you like enough to cover the pie crust.

Then I rolled it up into a log pinched the ends to prevent all of the good stuff from oozing out, of course some will ooze out and that is okay. Then brush the top with more of the melted butter, sprinkle more brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon on top.

I placed this on a cookie sheet with parchment paper (recommended so you don’t have to clean the cookie sheet) and baked it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then cut these treats into 6 pieces.

This makes for a quick and easy sweet little snack, maybe not as good as my mother’s but I think that she would approve.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Oatmeal Caramel Apple Cookies

Oatmeal cookies on a plate
Anybody that knows me well knows I do love my sweets, and cookies are no exception. One of my favorites is oatmeal raisin, but a while ago my daughter brought home these oatmeal caramel apple cookies from Bob Evans Family Restaurant, and they were delicious. I looked for the recipe on their web site but couldn’t find it.

So I decided to try and duplicate these tasty treats, and proceeded to make a list of everything that I needed.

Here is what I used:

1 large Granny Smith apple (yielded 2 cups peeled and diced)
1 cup Kraft Caramel Bits
2 stick butter (softened and cut into small pieces)
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
3 cups Quaker Oats (Uncooked Quick or Old Fashioned)

The first thing I did was peel and diced the apple, I tossed the diced apple in a bowl with the cinnamon and brown sugar and set in the refrigerator while I prepared the other ingredients.

prepared apples
Prepared Apples with brown sugar and cinnamon 
I added the white sugar and butter into my Kitchen Aid mixing bowl and turned it on low speed.

Next lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla and add it to the bowl, then add the flour, oats, and baking soda continue mixing on low speed. Then I added the caramel and apple mixture continuing to mix on low speed.

Drop onto a cookie sheet with a tablespoon, I used parchment paper on my cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I let them cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before placing them on a rack to cool completely.

cookie dough dropped onto cookie sheet
Dropped onto cookie sheet with tablespoon
This recipe yielded me a little over 40 cookies and has apple and caramel in every bite. But here are a couple of changes I would make the next time:

  1. Instead of dicing the apple I would shred it using a cheese grater.
  2. I would press the caramel bits into the cookies after dropping them onto the cookie sheet, about 2 or 3 of them in the center.

I’m well on my way to eating all of these so I probably won’t make them again for a while. So if anybody tries this recipe with these changes please let me know how they worked out.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Taralli - Italian Mini Bagels or Pretzels

Taralli Italian Bagels in a basket
Italian Taralli Cookie Recipe

While I’m still in the mode of dusting off old family recipes, I found this Italian Taralli cookie recipe that my mother made every year around Easter. I have no idea of the significance of this recipe to Easter, so if anybody has an answer feel free to leave a comment.

These are also called taralli Italian pretzels or taralli Italian cookies, but I always called them mini bagels.

All I know is that whenever she made these tasty snacks they didn’t last very long and I was always begging for more. So I had to give this a try, and I wasn’t disappointed, the smell and taste quickly brought me back to my childhood.

There are many variations of this tasty Italian snack from sweet to savory. Our recipe is on the savory side using fennel seed, and black pepper. If you type a search for Taralli you will find many different recipes, I’ve never tried any of the sweet ones maybe next time.

Okay here is what I used for these mini bagel appetizers:

1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm water (not too hot)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup dry white wine (room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon black pepper

How I did this:

Add the flour, salt, pepper, and fennel seed to a large mixing bowl, and mix these dry.  Dissolve the yeast in the warm water add to the flour along with the dry wine and olive oil. Knead until the dough is smooth if the dough is too sticky just add a little more flour. Now set the dough aside to rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes I divided the dough into two equal pieces, and cut off small pieces and rolled a small log about 5 inches long, then connected the two ends to make a small bagel shape. This yielded 54 small tasty Taralli. The amount may vary based on the size you make; they don’t all have to be the same size unless you’re a perfectionist.
Start a pot of water and bring it to a roaring boil. I dropped 10 at a time into the water, they will sink to the bottom and come right back to the top. I removed them with a slotted spoon and placed them on a clean cloth.

Now it’s time to bake them, I preheated the oven to 325 degrees. Place them on cookie sheets with parchment paper and baked two sheets at a time, one on the middle rack and one on the top rack for 30 minutes. Then switched them and baked for another 20 minutes until they were golden brown.

These things are great to snack on all day long, pour yourself a nice glass of wine and enjoy these taralli Italian cookies. I’m sure the sweet version will be great with coffee or tea.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Spinach Pizza Greens

Pizza Greens on a plate
This is an old family recipe, one that my grandmother made and one of my favorites. My grandmother called them pizza greens, and I like to keep these old recipes alive.

I’ve had them on my list to make for quite some time now, so I decided it was time to dust this one off.  Pizza greens from my grandmother’s kitchen to yours.

They consist of seasoned spinach wrapped in wonderful sweet and soft dough. The original recipe calls for cake yeast, which is very hard to find so I had to convert it to dry yeast. If you have read one my previous post All Purpose Dough Recipe, this is not the same dough this dough is much softer and sweeter.

Here is how we make this dough:

5 cups all purpose flour
2 package dry yeast
1 egg Beaten
¼ cup white sugar
½ stick butter
½ cup water (lukewarm)
1 cup warm milk (not too hot)

Add the flour, salt, and butter to a mixing bowl; I use my KitchenAid Stand mixer for the dough. Mix the sugar with the lukewarm water, add the yeast, milk and egg. Add this to the flour mixture and knead until smooth. Cover and let the dough rise.

The Spinach Filling:

1 bag (16oz.) frozen chopped spinach
2 cloves garlic diced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed hot pepper (optional)
¼ cup Grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Coat the bottom of a skillet with the olive oil, add all of you seasonings and cook until spinach is warm.

Cooking the Spinach

 I pulled off pieces of the dough and rolled them to about 6 x 6 inches. Fill them with 2 tablespoons of the spinach filling. Fold over each side and pinch the dough together, pinch to corners and fold up, then flip over onto a greased cookie sheet.

Adding the filling
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are golden brown.

Ready for the oven
What I like about this recipe is that there are so many options to add to the spinach filling, such as mushrooms, sausage, ham, and pepperoni; you decide the options are endless.

This recipe yielded me eight nice pizza greens and I had enough dough left over to make six sandwich buns.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.
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