Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grilled Gnocchi with Roasted Pepper Sauce!

In last month's Food Network Magazine, there was a pull-out for 50 things you can grill. One of those things was gnocchi, and we really wanted to try that since we have grilled ravioli in the past and really enjoyed it. We also decided we would serve this when we host Father's Day next weekend, so we had to test it out first.

So off we went to the Italian supermarket that is a short walk from the house. We packed up the baby in the stroller and jaunted over to see what we could find. The fresh gnocchi in the refrigerated section was kind of expensive per box to try out, since we weren't sure how it would go. But we found packaged gnocchi in the pasta aisle and I figured I could cook it according to directions first and then let it dry, and then grill it. (That worked well by the way).

We decided to try spinach gnocchi. Next time we will probably buy the fresh stuff, especially since they have so many more flavors of gnocchi!

So this afternoon, when I went to google "grilled gnocchi" just to see if there was anything I should do to it before putting it in the grill basket, I came across this post here. The sauce looked really delicious and super easy to make, especially since I had everything in the house! Well, almost everything. The recipe called for a red pepper.. and I had yellow, so I figured I would try it anyway. It came out well, except for the color, which kind of looked like baby vomit or dog food. Bright red from a red pepper would be much more appetizing and I will definitely use that next time!

Anyway, this sauce was So easy to make, which is good since I have a 10 week old who is in a really bad mood today and don't have long spans of time to do much. So my husband sliced the pepper for me, and grilled it (which took him about 10, 15 minutes, max), and I did the rest in the blender in about 5 minutes.

Here is the recipe - I highly recommend it!  


1 Cup cashews (I used roasted because that’s what I had on hand, but you’ll get a lighter flavor if you choose raw cashews)
1 roasted red pepper (medium size pepper)
1/4 Tsp paprika
1/4 Tsp garlic powder
Sprinkle of cayenne and black pepper
3/4 cup milk (any kind)


Mix all the ingredients in a food processor or blender except the milk, and slowly add the milk for a creamier consistency.

 ** Note, I didn't use the whole 3/4 cup milk.. I added it slowly and when it got as loose as I wanted it, I stopped adding.

 Also, I added a touch more paprika and garlic powder for a tad more flavor.

 This sauce paired with the spinach gnocchi was DELICIOUS! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gnudi! My first recipe post baby!

I'm back! Sort of, anyway. Lil baby boy was born the first week of April and I don't really get to do much these days except wash bottles, do baby laundry and calm the little crying machine. But luckily my mother-in-law comes out on Tuesdays to play with the baby so I get some time to myself... and today, I cooked gnudi (pronounced nude-y).

My husband and I had been watching The Best Thing I Ever Made on Food Network and Scott Conant made gnudi with a mushroom sauce. Here is Scott's recipe: gnudi. It looked great! (Well, minus the mushroom sauce because my husband isn't a fan of mushrooms). And it seemed really easy to make. Plus, I had a HUGE tub of ricotta cheese that I needed to use by June. We always tend to waste ricotta because I buy it for one recipe and then it goes bad. But this time, I got one for free at the supermarket (and a huge tub) and I didn't want to waste it! I had already made calzones two weeks ago (recipe to come eventually) so I needed some more ricotta based recipes.

I actually had never heard of gnudi before. Gnudi is a type of gnocchi made from ricotta cheese and a little bit of flour. The result is a dumpling that some describe as "nude" ravioli, or filling without the pasta — that is to say, light, fluffy, and creamy. Scott's recipe used spinach and Parmesan cheese too and it was delicious!!

Prep time was supposedly 15 minutes, but it is only 15 minutes if you have all your ingredients assembled and water boiling. So my prep time was more like 40 minutes. The recipe suggested making one test ball to make sure it didn't fall apart in the boiling water. Of course mine did, but that just meant I needed to add more flour and breadcrumbs into the gnudi mixture. No big deal - I did and the next test ball was great!

My husband and I needed a sauce for the gnudi since we weren't making the mushroom one, so I made two. I made a garlic butter sauce with crushed red pepper and parsley flakes, and well as doctoring up some store bought red sauce with some crushed red pepper, black pepper, parsley flakes and garlic powder. Both sauces tasted great with the gnudi, but my husband liked the garlic butter one a little more. I

 think this will be a recipe I will make when I buy ricotta... now I just have to figure out if you can make a batch and freeze them. I know you can freeze ravioli, so I am guessing these can be frozen as well. I'll have to try it!

Here is the recipe for the gnudi (not the mushroom sauce). I actually made the full batch and followed it exactly.  


1 pound cow's milk ricotta, drained in a strainer for at least 2 hours (um, yeah, I drained it for like 20 min)
1/4 cup spinach, sauteed and finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
2 egg yolks
Olive oil, for coating
4 tablespoons melted butter, for re-heating  


Mix the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, flour, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and eggs together.

Make 2 small balls and test cook by placing them in boiling water until they float, then shock in iced water. Taste. If they are too soft and don't hold together, add more flour or breadcrumbs and test again.

Portion all of the gnudi and roll into balls.

Cook in boiling water until they float, about 2 minutes, and shock in iced water. Coat in olive oil and reserve until ready to serve.
For reheating: Reheat the gnudi in a pan with salted simmering water and the melted butter.

I love trying new things! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

An Eating With A Review - Ginza! (Japanese Restaurant)

My husband and I were driving around on Saturday running a random errand when we drove by a new restaurant that popped up by the mall near us. Actually, at first we weren't entirely sure what it was - it was a big shiny silver building that said Ginza.

We assumed it was a restaurant, but since we never read out local penny saver papers, we had no idea any new restaurants were opening in our town. So we drove around to the front, saw it was indeed a restaurant and that it was open. Naturally, I whipped out my phone and googled it and saw it has just opened the week prior and it was Japanese food.

We decided it would be our "last" meal out before the kiddo arrives. The baby is already over-due so we have an end date where he will be forcefully evicted so we pretty much figured we would be okay going out Sunday night since this kid has made no effort to remove himself from my body yet. And we were right.

I'm glad he stayed in though - this place was DELICIOUS! We had looked at the menu online on Saturday ( and while it was 85% sushi (which we don't eat) there were enough appetizers and kitchen entrees that we would have been fine.

So, we splurged for our last night out. My husband got the roasted butternut squash soup to start, and I got the chicken salad. Both were delicious, but the salad was a typical salad... the soup however, was AMAZING. We were a little hesitant because it is infused with coconut curry and young soy beans (edamame), but you couldn't detect the coconut curry at all. We polished off the soup (it was large enough for us to share) and ate some of my salad, but opted to take that home instead.

We also had sweet potato tempura and beef negimaki for other appetizers. The beef negimaki (beef scallion roll with teriyaki sauce) was seriously amazing. It was a strip of beef wrapped around scallions and it was so tender that it just melted in your mouth. The sweet potato tempura was delicious as well, but the beef was the top winner in this set of appetizers!!

Lastly, we ordered a teriyaki combo platter for us to share. We got chicken and steak which came with some vegetables as well. While it is hard to "mess up" teriyaki, theirs was done very well and the teriyaki sauce was not overly salty and just very, very good. We were very satisfied with everything we ate, so we DEFINITELY want to go back!

Plus, as a nice surprise, they are doing 15% off all "grand opening" on all dine in and take out orders. I am sure that was advertised somewhere, but we didn't know so we were excited. We're already wondering when we can get back there, but with the little guy arriving in just a few days, we'll probably just be taking in from there instead. Which is fine, but we will lose the ambiance of the restaurant (which is gorgeous, BTW. We felt like we were in a Las Vegas establishment instead of on Long Island).

All in all, we were very happy with our choice for a last meal out before the kiddo. And, we will definitely be going back for a long time to come, so I hope they do well!

Check them out, and if you are in the area - GO!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Apricot Barley Casserole

I love mushroom barley from a local chicken establishment near us called Zorns. I really do. It's my favorite side.

And I also love mushroom barley soup! it's one of my favorites that I oddly picked up in sleepaway camp of all places, while growing up.

But, I had never made barley myself. So when my husband and I were in the grocery store picking out rice that was on sale, I happened to see the barley was 99 cents and we decided to buy it and give it a whirl.

I found this recipe on my favorite recipe website, It seemed easy to make. I didn't change much except leaving out the nuts (only out of sheer laziness) and I halved the recipe. Half of this recipe still made PLENTY for my husband and I.

Oh, and the other change was using regular white onions instead of green onions (scallions) because our scallions had wilted and I didn't feel like going to buy more. (What? I am 9 months pregnant with a baby who doesn't want to come out, sue me!) The regular onions worked just fine with the dried fruit.

It took about 15 minutes to dice the apricots and onion, and then just about 10-15 minutes to do the stove top work. Letting it bake in the oven was obviously the longest part, but at least I was able to go do other things. This is definitely a delicious and easy dish to prepare on a weekend and eat during the week.

My husband and I both ended up loving the taste of this side dish and I will definitely make it again!

Ingredients: (this is the full recipe)

2/3 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds (I omitted)
1/4 cup butter, divided
2 cups pearl barley
1 cup sliced green onions (I used white onions)
7 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins (I actually used regular raisins)


In a large skillet, saute nuts in 2 tablespoons butter until lightly browned; remove and set aside. (Since I omitted the nuts, I immediately started with the butter, onions and barley).

In the same skillet, saute the barley and onions in remaining butter until onions are tender.

Add broth; bring to a boil. Stir in the apricots, raisins and reserved nuts.

Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 1-1/4 hours or until barley is tender.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eggplant, Tomato & Parmesan Slices!

The other week I was at a farmer's market type grocery store and they had some great looking eggplants on sale for 99 cents a pound. I decided spur of the moment to pick a small one up for my husband and I to have for dinner that night.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with it and then I remembered I still had half a can of diced tomatoes left from another recipe I made a few days prior. An idea started to form.

I sliced up the eggplant into rounds and lightly salted it. Then I put the diced tomatoes in a bowl and mixed in some garlic, crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning.

Then I lightly grilled the eggplant to soften the slices and began to construct my slices with cheese and tomato.

The result was delicious! It was very eggplant Parmesan-like but not quite. My husband and I really enjoyed this quick and easy dinner. My only regret was that I didn't make enough to freeze for after the baby comes.

Oh well, it was easy enough to make that I think we can get by!

This was my own "recipe" so I don't have exact measurements for the recipe below. Use ingredients to taste.


Diced tomatoes
garlic powder
crushed red pepper
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese


Slice eggplant into round circles and lightly salt each slice. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mixed diced tomatoes in a bowl with the garlic, crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning. Set aside.

Fire up a grill pan on the stovetop and pour a tablespoon of olive oil on it. Lightly grill the eggplant slices until slightly tender.

Top each eggplant slice with shaved Parmesan cheese, tomato mixture and a few strands of mozzarella cheese.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes (or until cheese is melted and slightly golden) at 350 degrees F.

Serve hot and enjoy!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Turkey Pasta Casserole!

I am really behind on recipes. Well, not really. I have 3 I haven't posted, but otherwise I haven't been cooking much. I've been getting ready for this baby, who, is due today but is deciding to just not show up. So I figured I would post some recipes finally.

A few weeks ago I made a turkey pasta casserole. This is actually one of the dishes I made for my husband and I to eat after the baby shows up - we currently have a large batch of it in the freezer. It was a brand new recipe, so risky to make a large batch before tasting, but I made a small batch along with it that we ate that week and luckily, we really enjoyed it.

It's pretty simple to make! I made it one night after work. 9I also forgot to take a picture of the finished product, so the picture is the little bit of leftover we had that I brought for lunch one day! ha!)

I actually don't think I made any changes to the recipe. If I did, it was using a mix of tomato sauce and ketchup instead of just straight ketchup. I can also see making this dish with using tomato sauce and mozzarella to make it more Italian.

It came out well. The recipe is below. Enjoy!


1 pound spaghetti
1 pound ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups ketchup
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown turkey over medium heat. Remove turkey from skillet to a large bowl; do not drain any grease left in skillet.

Add onion and bell pepper to skillet; saute until softened.

Add garlic to saute for 2 minutes and add tomatoes; mix well and remove from heat.

Add vegetable mixture to turkey and stir in ketchup to coat; mix well.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish, spread mixture and top with spaghetti and cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted; serve warm.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Baked Potato Puree - an Original recipe!

So, tonight I was finally creative with cooking again. I've been cooking a lot, just nothing "new" because I have been busy cooking and freezing old favorites to pull out and eat once the Lil Man decides to grace us with his presence.

But today, I did something new, and it was my own original recipe.

See, we had a jicama in the house that I was planning on making a puree with. But I pulled it out of the fridge today and there was mold on it! Darn! I also learned after googling that jicama's are good for 3 weeks, but have to be kept in a cool, DRY place. Oops. Lesson learned.

So, we had one potato left from the same shopping trip and I didn't want THAT to go bad too so I decided to make a puree with that. First I started to try and find recipes but realized I could probably pull something off by myself. And I did. I made a baked potato puree.

It turned out great! My husband loved it, and it is something different to do with potatoes. The whole process took me about 30-40 minutes with peeling the potato, boiling it, and then pureeing it with some other ingredients in the blender. But I was very proud of it!

So here is the recipe!

Ingredients: (sorry, no exact measures, I was playing around)

1 potato, peeled and boiled
sour cream - about 1.5 TBSP
shredded cheddar - about 2 TBSP worth, maybe a dash more
scallions - chopped (to taste)
margarine or butter (melted about 2 TBSP)
bacon bits (i used imitation, to taste)


First, peel and boil your potato. Put some salt in the water as it boils to give the potato some taste.

After 20 minutes, take the potato out of the water and carefully cut it into smaller chunks. Place that in the blender along with the rest of the ingredients.

Puree until smooth.

Enjoy hot!

Simple and easy... and delicious!