pasta

Easter/ Spring Pierogi

Easter/Spring Pierogi

I already enjoy making pasta with veggie- based dough. The colors are so pretty, and I love the way they taste. So, since it is almost Easter, I went a step further and used my veggie-based dough to make pierogi.

They remind me a little of Easter eggs. They came out so nice, I will be making them on Easter.

I used a potato and cheese filling, so that part is pretty traditional. The pierogi are also a nice choice for a meat-free dinner.

I served them with sauteed onions and sour cream.  Here is the recipe for all.

 

Easter/ Spring Pierogi

 All of the vegetable doughs were mixed using a food processor. If you want to mix them by hand- puree the veggies first.  Once the doughs are made allow them to rest at least 30 minutes. Since veggie pasta dough tends to be a little softer than traditional pasta- I actually prefer to make them a day ahead and chill. Chilling the dough, even for an hour, will help. The traditional pierogi dough was mixed in a stand mixer.

To make the pierogi a little sturdier, you can also make regular pierogi dough and mix a little of that dough in with the veggie-based doughs.

When ready to roll out your dough, grab a hunk of each dough and press them together. If the the dough is a little sticky that will help. Then on a floured surface roll out to the desired thickness. Folding and rolling a couple of times helps to mix up the color pasta better. I use a template to make my pierogi- but you can cut them out with any round cutter or even a glass or jar. Spoon filling of your choice on center of dough circle. Fold dough in half over filling and press edge with fork to seal. Wetting the edge of the dough will help the dough to stick. Don’t overfill or pierogi will split. Test a couple first to get the hang of it. Place a few at a time into salted boiling water and cook until they float. You can eat them as is, or brown cooked pierogi in butter in a skillet. Serve with grilled onions and/or sour cream. We would often make a larger batch and then freeze them, uncooked, on wax paper-lined baking sheets. When frozen they would be transferred to a freezer bag or container. Place right from the freezer into boiling water when ready to use.

 

Carrot Pasta

1 c. flour

1/2 t. dried dill

1/3 c. carrot puree

1-2 T. water, if needed

   Beet Pasta

1 c. flour

1/2 t. dill

1/3 c. beet puree

1-2 T. water, if needed

Spinach Pasta

2 c. flour

1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, cooked, drained, reserving some of the liquid

Mix this dough as for other pastas, but don’t be too quick to add reserved liquid. While kneading you’ll get water out of the spinach. May require more kneading and rolling than other pasta doughs. Be patient, it’s worth the work.

Classic Pierogi Dough

2 c. flour
1 t. salt
½ c. water (you can also use half milk and half water)
1 egg
Mix all ingredients together and knead on floured surface until smooth. Cover and let rest at least 15 minutes. Roll out thin and cut into circles. Re-roll scraps. You should get between 20-30.

 Pierogi Filling

1 lb. Potatoes, peeled and boiled
4 oz. cream cheese – normally I would use farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese, but cream cheese was what I had
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Mash potatoes with other ingredients and season to taste.

I usually add some chopped sweet onion to my filling, but one of my guests isn’t crazy about onions, so I am leaving them out. Feel free to add some, if you like.

Pasta with Spinach and Bacon

Pasta with Spinach and Bacon

Pasta with Spinach and Bacon

The addition of bacon gives this dish a lovely, smoky flavor. That is one of the nice things about bacon. Even a small amount adds a lot of flavor to food. In this recipe a simple pasta dish with tomatoes and spinach is changed completely by the addition of the bacon. It could be considered a side dish, but can be a main dish as well. Start to finish this one takes about 20 minutes to make.

 

 

Pasta with Spinach and Bacon

1 (12 ounce) package pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place bacon in the skillet, and cook until browned and crisp. Add garlic, and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until heated through.
Place the spinach into a colander, and drain the hot pasta over it so it is wilted. Transfer to a large serving bowl, and toss with the remaining olive oil, and the bacon and tomato mixture. Serves 4.

Warm Pasta Salad

Warm Pasta Salad

Warm Pasta Salad

I love to make this salad when I have really good tomatoes. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes. The base of the salad is a mixture of tomatoes, mushrooms, onion and some seasonings which are allowed to blend together in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to have your salad toss the cold tomato mixture with fresh cooked hot pasta. The pasta tomato mixture is served right then, warm and fragrant. I often sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on the top, or serve on the side. I do sometimes serve the salad cold.

Warm Pasta Salad

1 lb. Plum tomatoes, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
4oz. Fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped
1 T. dried basil                                                                                                                                        1 T. capers, optional
1 t. dried oregano
½ c. olive oil
¼ c. red wine vinegar
3 T. balsamic vinegar
Dash of hot red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
1 lb. Uncooked pasta

Combine all ingredients, except pasta and chill overnight. Cook pasta, drain and toss with tomato mixture. Mixture should be served right away . Serves 6.

Vegetable and Pasta Skillet Dinner

Vegetable and Pasta Skillet Dinner

Vegetable and Pasta Skillet Dinner

If you are trying to get your family to eat more vegetables this is a great way to do it. Lots of veggies with pasta, this is a simple dish that can be a side dish or a vegetarian main dish.

Vegetable and Pasta Skillet Dinner

1 (16 ounce) package whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons  sugar
3 T. oil
3 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms, use whatever mushrooms you can find
1 cup shelled edamame (green soybeans) I use organic
3/4 cup  cashews
In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the broccoli, carrots, pepper, mushrooms, shelled edamame, and cashews. Sauté 5 minutes. Mix in the sesame oil sauce. Cover skillet, and cook 5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender but crisp. Serve over the cooked pasta or toss the pasta right in the skillet and heat through.  Serves 4-6.

Chicken with Pasta

Chicken with Pasta

Chicken with Pasta

Simple can be so good. When I am pressed for time I often go to skillet meals. Something I can make quickly with plenty of flavor and not too much clean up afterwards. This chicken and pasta dish is one of my favorites. Great when I have company for dinner and I need a nice dinner- pronto.

Chicken with Pasta

8 ounces dry penne pasta
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 c. chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes- I had home-canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup medium-dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the penne pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and reserve pasta Whisk the cornstarch and chicken broth together in a bowl until smooth. Set aside until needed.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chicken; stir and cook until the chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onion, and pepper; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth mixture, oregano, basil, and wine, if desired. Stir in the cooked pasta, and simmer over medium heat until thoroughly heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4-5.

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