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Showing posts from February, 2011

La Trattoria de Gemignani - 4 Cheers

Last Saturday evening, Ron and I were going through the exercise we often do while deciding where to go out to dinner.  Living in such a small town, we are limited in our restaurant choices.  While we often go to Gemignani's for lunch, I don't know that I have ever had dinner there.  We arrived at about 6:00, which is earlier than normal for us.  The place was busy, there was pleasant music playing to set the ambiance:  some Sinatra, some big band, and it was loud enough to create a good mood.

We sat in a booth near the window and ordered a bottle of Mirassou Pinot Noir, 2009 ($19).  We were still undecided on our meal choices so figured a Pinot Noir is light enough for a pasta dish and also works with a heavier dish.  Mirassou makes a decent wine, from central California.  It's also very reasonably priced.  Their Chardonnay is also very good.

I decided on the Smoked Salmon Linguine ($15) and Ron chose the Lasagna Bolognese. ($10)  Ron also ordered a tomato basil soup and a…

Will, Future Foodie! (aka Quick and Amazing Pasta Sauce Blog)

Will always loves and always asks for my Mom's spaghetti sauce.   He likes it even more then the Bolognese sauce I make (but today I found out only because it is so much quicker - when he is hungry, he doesn't want to wait 2 hours).  I make her version sometimes.  It is very good and super quick and easy (20 mins) where mine takes a full 2 hours.  I had misplaced the recipe for it so Will called Grandma tonight to get it.

He wrote it all down and then handed me the recipe.  I said "Ok, Will why don't you make it for us tonight?"

Will prepared the entire meal:  cooking the pasta sauce, including taste testing for perfect spices, the boiling of the pasta, getting the dishes ready etc  -  all  with good timing.

While he was cooking he was so excited and kept saying that he was so glad he would never starve (or be stuck eating Ramen noodles and mac and cheese) now that he can make the sauce.  He also said, "This is so easy.  All you need is burger and everyth…

Do Real Men Eat Tofu? Heck ya!

This is the dish that the hubby requests the most, seriously, at least twice a month.  It is a spicy, healthy veggie dish that is so satisfying.  Who says real men don't eat tofu?

Foodie Mama's Spicy Tofu and Veggie Lo Mein:

1 - 14 oz package Extra Firm Tofu, trained
1 - 16 oz package Lo Mein Noodles
2 T Dark Sesame Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 t Salt
2 heads Baby Bok Choy, cut like celery stalks, against the grain
1 Bag Baby Spinach Leaves
1 T Sugar
3 T Sambal Oelek (chile paste)
2 T Lemon Juice
2 T Sweet Bean Sauce
2 T Soy Sauce (low sodium preferred)

Wrap the tofu with paper towel and weight with a can or heavy dish to extract water, about 20 mins.  Cut tofu into the size desired.  I prefer larger pieces, 2 inces by 3/4 x 3/4 inches or so.Cook Lo Mein noodles according to instructions on package.  Drain and reserve cooking liquid.Heat sesame oil in pan over medium heat.  Add garlic to pan, cook 30 seconds. Add bok choy and spinach, cook until spinach is wilted. Add 1/2 C …

Mushroom & Garlic Bowties

No one in my family likes mushrooms except for me, so when I make this dish it lasts me several days.  Yummy!

Mushroom & Garlic Bowtie Pasta:

12 oz package Bowtie Pasta (Use whole wheat for a healthy version)
2 T Butter
8 oz (or more) Mushrooms (I used Crimini, but any will work), stemmed and sliced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 T Flour
2 C Milk
1 T Dijon Mustard (I used moutarde avec herbs de Provence) see figure 2 - only because I love it.
1/2 t Salt
1 - 15 oz can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 C finely shredded Parmesan Cheese
Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degreesCook pasta according to package instructionsIn a large pan, melt 1 T of the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes until mushrooms begin to soften.  Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring to combine with mushrooms.  (see figure 1) Transfer mixture to a bowl. Place the remaining 1 T of butter in the pan and melt over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux.  G…

Christmas Eve 2010 - in Memory of Grandma P (1927-2010)

My Grandma and Grandpa always hosted Christmas Eve Dinner at their house for as long as I can remember.  I am the oldest of 9 Grandchildren and I fondly remember every Christmas Eve spent at my Grandparents' house for a great Italian dinner with all the aunts, uncles and cousins.

I know it is already February but it took me a while to get to this blog.

When we moved back here in 2004, I started having the traditional Christmas Eve dinner here at our house.  My Grandma's health was not the best and it was harder for her to host the 30 plus people and do all the cooking.  I definitely had some big shoes to fill.  She was a wonderful cook.  This past Christmas was the first one without Grandma P.  She died in January of 2010. 

I usually always make most of her recipes anyway, but this year I decided to make everything that was perfected by her, from the appetizers to the dessert. A lot of these recipes can be made ahead to save time in the kitchen during the festivities.

We miss…

Foodie-licious Cabbage Rolls

I found a recipe for cabbage rolls in an issue of Martha Stewart Living about a year ago and just loved them.  I probably have made them at least a half dozen times since and have modified the recipe to make it my own.  These are simply fantastic, one of my very favorite.  They are topped with my Marinara Sauce featured in a previous blog The link is here.--->>> Foodie Mama's Marinara Sauce. The sauce recipe can be cut in half.

The majority of my recipes are very easy to prepare.  And I would not say this is difficult, just a bit time consuming.  Give yourself at least two hours to make this delicious dish.  It can be prepped the night before and baked the following day as well.  A lower fat version can be made by using all lean ground beef, skipping the ground pork.

Keep it yummy,
Foodie Mama

Cabbage Rolls:

1 qt Marinara Sauce (see link to Foodie Mama's Marinara Sauce above)
1 Large Head Cabbage, 2 - 3 lb (I used Savoy but any will work)
12 oz Ground Pork
12 oz Grou…

Hearty Beef Stew

Beef Stew is a favorite of my family and it is so easy and comforting on a mid-winter day.  It is so simple to make with the exception of chopping the veggies, but it is well worth it.  This is another recipe that seems to get tweaked a little every time I make it.  I used to like it with more flour, now, I prefer to make it with a more clear broth.  I often make this the night before and then put it in the slow cooker the next day (low for 1 hour and then warm all day) to further tenderize the meat.

Foodie Mama's Beef Stew:

1.5 - 2 lb Stew Meat (I used pre-tenderized meat from the supermarket)
2.5 lb Potatoes, cubed  (I used red potatoes with the skin left on; any potato, peeled or unpeeled will work)
5-6 Carrots, chopped (I used a half bag of baby carrots to save the chopping!)
1 Rutabaga (about 1 lb) peeled and chopped
1 C Beef Broth
2 T Dehydrated Onion, minced
2 t Salt
2 t Pepper
1 t Garlic Powder
2 T Flour for thickening  (I used Wondra for less lumps)

Brown the stew meat o…

Super Bowl 45 Chili

We decided to make chili today in honor of the Super Bowl.  It is a simple and comforting dish that can always feed a crowd.  Here is the recipe that Ron and I use - it seems like every time we make it we tweak it a bit differently.  Ron always likes a bit more heat than me. 

Go Pack,
Foodie Mama

Game Day Chili:
1 1/2 Lb Lean Gound Beef
1 T Dehydratded Onion, minced
1 t Salt
1 t Pepper
1 T Sambal Oelek (ground fresh chili paste)
1 t Louisiana Hot Sauce (not tobasco)
1 6 oz Can Tomato Paste
1 8 oz Can Tomato Sauce
1 16 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 16 oz Light Red Kidney Beans
1/2 c Water

Brown the ground beef.  Add onions, salt pepper, Sambal Oelek, hot sauce and stir.  Simmer approx 10 mins.  Add tomato paste, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.  Stir and simmer approx 10 mins.  Add kidney beans, undrained,  and water  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 30 mins. Serve with a garnish of shredded cheese and some crusty bread for dunking.  This makes about 8 servings.  Recipe …

Foodie Mama's 'Colossal' Meatballs with Marinara

Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my favorite meals.  I make the marinara sauce several times a month for a quick meal, but the addition of the meatballs makes it more special.  These giant meatballs are made healthy with wheat germ as the filler, but breadcrumbs could easily be substituted.  Poking holes in the meatballs allows the marinara to soak in.

Foodie Mama

Marinara Sauce:
4 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 T Dried Basil
1 T Dehydrated Onion, minced
2 Large Cans (28 oz) Crushed Tomatoes
2 C Water
2 t Salt
1 t Black Pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir until brown, do not burn.  Add basil, onion, salt and pepper and stir.  Add tomatoes and water.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 mins.  More salt can be added to taste.

Foodie Mama's Colossal (they are huge!) Meatballs:
2 lb Ground Beef (you can also substitute 1# ground pork or 1# ground Italian sausage along with #1 beef)
4 Garlic Clov…

My Very 'Non-Gourmet' Pizza Casserole - Will's Favorite

Whenever I ask Will what he wants me to make when I am planning meals for the week, he always says Pizza Casserole.  So I made it for him today.  He also requested, "Please have it ready after school."

This is super easy and very kid friendly.  This version makes a ton - two big pans.  You can half it for a smaller group.  I may freeze one and save for this weekend's Super Bowl Party!  Will be bloggin on that next week....

Pizza Casserole:
(Note:  for a lighter version, use turkey pepperoni, low fat cheese and whole wheat pasta)

2 lb ground beef
2 T dehydrated onions, minced
4 small cans tomato sauce
1/2 C water
1/2 t garlic salt
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 oz of sliced pepperoni
4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
2 packages elbow macaroni

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet.  Drain.Add minced onion, tomato sauce, water, garlic salt, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.Mea…

Typical Chilean Breakfast - For One

Yes, another Chile blog.  Well not really about Chile itself, but about breakfast in Chile.  As I have previously blogged about, breakfast in Chile is a light meal consisting of milk, coffee or tea, juice and bread or toast. They are accompanied by marmalade, manjar (dulce de leche), butter, cheese, ham or other meat, butter, avocado and tomato.  Sometimes we had some fresh fruit as well.

These are foods I eat all the time (with the exception of dulce de leche) but somehow it seemed different and unique.  I loved it;  I think mainly because it was eaten as a family; a time to all get together in the morning to discuss the plans for the day.

I set a 'table for one' this morning and made myself the typical Chilean breakfast and talked to myself about my plans for the day:  work, pay bills, make dinner...sigh, not the same without the whole family.  It tasted better in Chile....

Have a great day and eat your breakfast!

Yours in Food, 
Foodie Mama