spinach

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.

Homemade Spinach Pasta

Homemade Spinach Pasta

I do enjoy making homemade pasta. This spinach pasta is one of my favorites. The flavor and color is so fresh. I normally use frozen spinach, but since I had a big bag of fresh spinach, I used it for my pasta.I just cooked the spinach, drained it and chopped it up.

Any time you are making fresh pasta with vegetables in the dough, you have to allow for that added moisture. Be patient when kneading the dough. You will likely have to knead the dough longer than an egg based pasta dough. It is worth the effort.

 

Spinach Pasta

 

2 c. flour, plus extra for rolling

1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, cooked, drained, reserving some of the liquid, or 12 oz. fresh spinach, cooked and chopped

Combine flour and spinach, kneading until dough is smooth and elastic. 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 dough. Be patient, it’s worth the work. The finer the spinach is chopped, the better the dough will come together.

Add a little spinach liquid, if needed, to hold dough together. You may wish to mix the dough in a mixer or food processor. Cover dough and let rest 15-20 minutes before rolling. Under kneading your dough will result in coarse, crumbly pasta. This batch makes just under a pound of fresh pasta. Serves 3-4.

Roll dough out on well floured board or with a pasta machine until desired thickness in reached. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into strips or whatever shapes are desired. You might want to let the noodles dry 1-hour or more before cooking, but this is not necessary. Pasta can be hung to dry or separated and allowed to dry flat on a table. When pasta is not hanging to dry it must be turned occasionally to dry evenly.

Cooking time varies with which pasta shape you make and how thick you cut your pasta. Most fresh pasta is cooked very quickly- a couple of minutes at most.

Although you may hear otherwise, homemade pasta, even when dried, should be frozen for long term storage. Storing at room temperature can lead to spoilage. Fresh pasta can also be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

 

 

 

Chicken Florentine Soup

Chicken Florentine Soup

Chicken Florentine Soup

This was one of those spur of the moment recipes that really exceeded expectations. I just had a few ingredients to start with- one of those times when you look through the fridge for inspiration and get lucky. I knew I was making soup and that I had chicken  and chicken stock. Adding onions and carrots to soup- pretty standard for me.  I’ve been on a spinach kick lately so that seemed like a natural addition as well. Found a few mushrooms I’d forgotten about and put them in, too. For some reason it was such a perfect combination. I love when it works that way. I am also happy when I remember to write down what I did so I can make it again someday- and share the  recipe with all of you. So here is the recipe.

 

Chicken Florentine Soup

2 T. oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin
6-8 cups chicken stock
1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, cubed – I used thighs
1-2 c. sliced mushrooms – I used the baby Bellas
8 oz. fresh spinach, washed well
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce

Heat oil in soup pot and cook onion until tender. Add carrot and cook a few minutes more. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 10 minutes. Add chicken and mushrooms and cook 10 minutes longer. Add spinach and cook 5 minutes more. Adjust seasonings and serve. Makes 6 servings

 

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.

Spinach and Mushrooms Quesadillas

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas

We made these in class last night and I thought I’d share the recipe with you. These quesadillas are really good- made with a combination of Portobello mushrooms, spinach and cheese they are rich and packed with flavor. I just cooked them in a skillet for class but you could also bake them in the oven or brush with oil and cook them on the grill. We didn’t serve them with anything, but I could see having a fresh salsa on the side.

 

 

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas

1 (10 ounce) package chopped spinach
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 portobello mushroom caps, sliced                                                                                            salt and pepper to taste
4 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Prepare spinach according to package directions. Drain and pat dry. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and mushrooms, and cook about 5 minutes. Mix in spinach, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Place an equal amount of the mixture on one side of each tortilla. Top with equal amounts of cheese. Fold tortillas in half over the filling. Heat oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Place quesadillas in the skillet, and cook 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges to serve.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

The cold winter this year has really got me craving comfort foods. Also have a real taste for some childhood favorites. My mother used to make some really good quiches. Always a home made crust. I used what I had on hand the other day to whip up this quiche. Thought of her when I made it.

 

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

1 unbaked pie crust

1 T. oil

1 small onion, chopped

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

salt and pepper to taste

1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

4 oz. diced Swiss Cheese

2 T. flour

1 c. milk or half and half

3 eggs, beaten

In skillet saute onion in oil until tender. Add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and set aside. In 9-inch pie pan place the crust. Toss cheese with the flour and place in crust. Add the spinach mixture. Combine milk with the eggs and pour over the spinach mixture. Place pan on a baking sheet to collect any drips and place in a preheated 400 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes then turn down over to 325 and continue baking until quiche is firm near the middle, about 25-30 minutes more. To test for “doneness” insert a butter knife about an inch from the center of the quiche. If it comes out clean the quiche is done. Serves 4-6.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

 

 

Won Ton Appetizers

Won Ton Appetizers

Won Ton Appetizers

For a recent Chinese New Year dinner I was in charge of appetizers. I ended up using won ton wrappers for 3 different dishes. I made Sesame Spinach, Honey-Ginger Chicken and Crab Rangoons. I wrapped each of them up differently so they would look nice on the platter and be easier to identify. Serve with assorted dipping sauces and soy sauce.

 

 

Sesame Spinach Triangles

oil

1 small onion, chopped fine

12 oz. fresh spinach, cooked, chopped  and drained or 1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed, cooked and drained

1/2 c. chopped water chestnuts

2 T. oyster sauce

2 t. sesame oil

1 t. hot sauce

won ton wrappers

Heat oil in skillet and cook onion until tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients, except won ton wrappers. Adjust seasonings, if needed. Allow mixture to cool. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of a won ton wrapper. Moisten edges with a little water and fold over to form a triangle. Press to seal edges. Place filled triangles in 375 degree oil and fry for about 2 minutes or until golden.

Honey Ginger Chicken Won Tons

1 c. cooked diced chicken- I used thighs

1/4 c. minced celery

1/4 c. mayo

2 T. honey

2 T. dried minced onion

1 T. hoisen sauce

1 t. fresh grated ginger

salt and hot sauce to taste

won ton wrappers

Combine all ingredients, except the wrappers,  and mix well. Place 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each won ton wrapper. Moisten edges with a little water. Fold in 2 corners to meet in the middle. Starting at one of the remaining corners fold up and over and form into a roll. Press to seal edges. Fry in hot oil ( 375 degrees) for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.

Crab Rangoons

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

1 (6 ounce) can crab meat, drained and flaked

2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce

won ton wrappers

 Combine all filling ingredients and chill until ready to use. Place 2 teaspoons of filling onto the center of each wonton skin. Moisten the edges with water and bring 2 corners together. Bring the other 2 corners up and press all together to seal. Press all seams to seal. It should look like a little bundle.  Fry in hot oil until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.

Sesame Spinach Triangles

Sesame Spinach Triangles

Honey Ginger Chicken Rolls

Honey Ginger Chicken Won Tons

Crab Rangoons

Crab Rangoons

 

 

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