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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Creamy Garlic sauce over Grilled Chicken and Home Made Egg Fettuccine

My husband, who travels far from home for long periods of time for his job, is home and hasn't had a good home cooked meal in quite some time. He, as I've mentioned before, is a pasta lover. Since my parents got me a pasta cutter for Christmas, I thought I'd make him some homemade fettuccine for dinner tonight.

I made a light wheat pasta last time and so I decided to try a recipe for egg pasta this time. I also made the pasta much thinner than last time which made it so much better. Then I topped it with some grilled chicken and a creamy garlic sauce that I whipped up really quick. I have to say that I was speechless over my own meal. Yup. I'm tooting my own horn. It was delicious. Looking at the pictures of it, my mouth is watering all over again. My true success was that my husband loved it.

Pasta Recipe and Instructions (using a Kitchen Aid mixer and it's Pasta attachments)

4 Large Eggs (if you don't have really large ones, use 5 like I had to)
1 tbs water
3 1/2 cups of sifted all purpose flour (because I added an egg, I also ended up adding 2 tablespoons of flour)
1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a mixer bowl (I use Kitchen Aid). Attach the flat beater and mix on speed 2 for about 30 seconds.

Replace flat beater with a dough hook and "knead" at speed 2 for roughly 2 minutes.

Hand knead dough for 1-2 minutes. 

Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Dividing in 4 to 8 pieces, roll your dough through the flat roller attachment first. Do this several times, folding each sheet in half just to make sure there are no holes in the dough sheet.

Then, pass each sheet through your chosen pasta cutter, in my case, the fettuccine cutter.

Cook pasta (in water boiling with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt) for about 4 minutes or until it is at your preferred tenderness.

Grilled Chicken:

Using a indoor grill press, grill one chicken breast seasoned with coriander, paprika, salt and pepper.

Creamy Garlic Sauce:

4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 whole chives, chopped
2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a pan. Saute garlic and chives on a low-medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a slight bubble, stirring frequently. Serve over pasta and grilled chicken. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


SO AMAZING! And yes, I'm tooting my own horn again.




Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pesto Chicken with Home Made Light Wheat Fettuccine

One of the other amazing gifts my parents got me for Christmas was the pasta roller/cutter attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I think they know I like to cook :) I was SO excited about this one, especially since my husband is a total pasta lover. I like to make my husband foods that he loves. Seeing him happy makes me happy.

My first attempt was a little shaky. I've never seen any one make pasta before other than Gordon Ramsay on Hell's Kitchen. That man makes anything concerning food look as easy as tying your shoes. But I learned what to improve on and made some pretty tasty pasta in the meantime.

Using the recipe from the Kitchen Aid pasta cutter manual:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
4 large eggs
2 tbs water
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1) Place flours, eggs, water and salt in mixer bowl. Mix for about 3 seconds.

2) Now using a dough hook, knead dough for about 2 minutes.

3) Remove from bowl and hand knead dough for about 2 minutes.

4) Divide into eight pieces, role with the dough roller attachment and then use what ever pasta cutter attachment you desire.

5) Cook pasta in boiling water until noodles are tender (took me about 5 minutes).


I'll make the pasta thinner next time but I was amazed, after I figured it all out, how easy it is to make your own pasta.

While the pasta was mixing, kneading and cooking, I made my pesto (basil, butter, garlic, almonds, Parmesan cheese and a dash of olive oil together), which for whatever reason didn't get as smooth as usual but I actually liked it "chunky". I browned some butter in a pan, threw in a chicken breast, seasoned it with salt and pepper and cooked.

I topped the pasta with the chicken and pesto. It was DELICIOUS! So simple and for the most part, fairly healthy. I was concerned about the kids eating the pasta. They like strange things and this wasn't strange but to my delight, they loved it. Score!







I'm a sucker for a sandwich.




I love sandwiches. I think it must be a hereditary thing. My dad LOVES sandwiches. Hogies specifically. I can't help myself though. Give me a good sandwich and I'm in momentary heaven.

We had prime rib for Christmas dinner. It was a holiday first for us. We usually do a Honey Baked Ham. This year, knowing my husband has been working SO hard, I thought we'd switch it up. We still went with the Honey Baked company though. Not to say anything negative about their company, but I don't think we'll get a prime rib from them again. It just wasn't our thing. We LOVE their hams though. Anyway...

There was a huge hunk of meat left over and I was so excited to try to make sandwiches out of it. I made a REALLY simple sandwich but it was delicious.

My parents left these odd "buns" at my house when they came to visit so I thought I'd use them up. They're multi grain thin sandwich buns. Not bad. I sliced up the prime rib really thin and laid it on the bottom half of a bun in a baking dish. Then I topped the meat with spinach and provolone cheese. I baked this at 350 degrees until the cheese was melted.

It was incredible. I was pretty excited that I had several days worth of these sandwiches. I didn't have to add any sauces or anything. All the flavors worked pretty well together and I loved it.

Sometimes it's the simple things that taste the best.

We All Scream for Raspberry Vanilla Almond Ice Cream!

My parents give some of the coolest gifts. This year, among many awesome presents they gave me for Christmas, they gave me an ice cream maker. It's the extension piece that attaches to my Kitchen Aid mixer. Thankfully, my husband also got me a new gym membership for a gift because this thing makes ice cream so stinkin easy to make that I'll be doing it all the time.

One of the things I like about Kitchen Aid mixer attachments is that they have recipes in the back of their instruction manuals. So I don't have to worry about trying to use a recipe not really intended for this piece on my first go around.

The recipe I chose from the back of the manual was for French Vanilla ice cream. I decided that I wanted to change it up a little (we're not a "vanilla" kinda family) . Instead of adding as much vanilla extract as it calls for, I added some raspberry extract as well. I also added a tiny bit of food coloring and almonds that I crushed up. It was amazing. I was surprised at how much this ends up yielding but at the same time, I'm thrilled. I've got a huge container of ice cream in my freezer right now!

Ok, first things first, the bowl has to be frozen for at least 15 hours. I didn't realize this and was a little bummed when I went to make the ice cream and realized I couldn't until the next day. Whatever. Now I know and the bowl stays in the freezer waiting to be filled with creamy deliciousness.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of half and half
8 egg yolks
1 cup of sugar
2 1/2 cups of whipping cream
3 tsp vanilla
2 tsp raspberry
3 drops of red food dye
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 cup of crushed almonds (more would be fine, I just didn't feel like cracking any more)

Directions (and I'm loosely quoting this from my Kitchen Aid manual):

1) In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the half and half until very hot but not boiling. Stir often.

2) Place egg yolks and sugar in mixer bowl. Stir at low speed (on speed 2 for Kitchen Aid mixers) for about 30 seconds. Gradually add heated half and half till blended and thicker.

3) Once blended, return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat but not boiling, stirring constantly (seriously, constantly... it'll burn... trust me...)

4) Transfer heated mixture to bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix together.

5) Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

6) Assemble ice cream bowl and mixing paddles. Pour in ice cream mix and turn on to a low speed for 15-20 minutes or until it's reached the desired consistency.

7) EAT!!!

Oh man. SO GOOD!!! I have to say that home made ice cream like this has ruined me. It's so much creamier than any ice cream I've ever gotten at the store. It's amazing. And I think I'm going to go grab a bowl now. I like that with this recipe though, you can add pretty much whatever you want. You can change up the extracts or add cookies or other kinds of nuts. I'm looking forward to trying some of the sorbet recipes in the back of the manual though. I LOVE any kind of desert made with fresh fruit!

If you don't have one and you can afford to buy one, get an ice cream maker attachment for your mixer. It'll be a great investment, especially if you have kids!