• Spinach Ravioli and Red Sauce

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    We love to make fresh pasta. It tastes really good and the kiddos enjoy making it. To get some veggies into the kiddos, we decided to make a spinach pasta and stuff the ravioli with ricotta and spinach. If you don’t have a pasta machine or the attachment for your mixer, it’s worth investing in. This ravioli recipe is our family’s creation and the sauce is based on Lidia Bastianich’s marinara sauce recipe. It’s excellent!

    Marinara Sauce:

    • 2 28 ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes (such as Cento)
    • 8 garlic cloves smashed with the back of your knife
    • a few TBSP olive oil
    • 8 large basil leaves, chopped
    • Sugar and salt optional

    Assembly:

    Heat olive oil in pan. Add smashed garlic. Saute garlic for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes with their juices. Use a potato masher or large spoon to smash the tomatoes. Simmer, periodically smash the tomato mixture, until sauce thickens. Once sauce thickens, taste and see if you need to add any seasoning. Depending on your tomatoes, you may want to add sugar or salt. Add basil prior to serving.

    Spinach Pasta Dough:

    • 4 cups semolina flour
    • 1 9 ounce bag of fresh spinach leaves, blanched
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 2 tsp salt

    Make the dough:

    Combine all ingredients in food processor, and process until dough is well incorporated and forms a ball in the food processor bowl. Note: this recipe is sized for a 14 cup Cuisinart processor. If you have a smaller processor, process in 2 1/2 recipe batches.

    Knead the dough:

    Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for 3 minutes or until smooth and elastic. The dough should come cleanly away from the surface. If it is too wet, incorporate flour 1 TBSP at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. If the dough is dry and crumbly incorporate water until it is pliable.

    Create sheets of pasta:

    Follow the instructions on your pasta maker regarding the size of the dough that can go through the roller. Roll pasta out to medium thickness sheets (3 on the KitchenAid roller.)

    Ravioli Filling Mixture:

    • 1 15 ounce container of Ricotta Cheese
    • 1 package of frozen spinach, cooked in microwave for 3 minutes
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    Assembly:

    Open spinach package and place on microwave save plate or bowl, and cook on high for 3 minutes.

    Drain spinach completely. Use a towel or paper towel to get the spinach as dry as possible.

    Combine cheese, spinach, egg and salt, and set aside.

    Making ravioli:

    Note: There are many ways to do this, and we will take pictures next time to make the process easier.

    Using a dough scraper or knife, shape a sheet of pasta into a rectangle and cut the piece to a manageable width for your workspace.

    On the left side of the half of the sheet closest to you, place a heaping teaspoon of filling so that the edges of the filling are 1/2 inch from both the bottom and side edges. Moving right, place a heaping teaspoon every 1.5 inches, with the edge of the filling 1/2 inch from the bottom edge.

    Brush an eggwash along the side and bottom edges of the pasta sheet. Brush the eggwash halfway between the filling as well.

    Fold the top half of the sheet over the bottom half. Press down around filling to force out air and seal dough. Using a ravioli wheel, cut along side and bottom edges of sheet and in between the filling in order to create individual ravioli.

    Cooking:

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water liberally. After the water returns to a boil, cook ravioli for 2 and 1/2 minutes (if freshly made) or for 3 minutes (if refrigerated.)

    Drain. Plate with sauce. Serve.

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  • Steak Salad with Queso Fresco

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    We received a cheese cookbook to review: Cheese, Glorious Cheese! If you like cheese, you’ll love this cookbook. As in this recipe, cheese isn’t always the star ingredient, but the cookbook and the recipes are still very good.

    This salad is excellent. Quite refreshing and will be really nice on a summer day. It’s not a heavy salad, but it’s still very filling. The recipe calls for steak, but you could easily substitute chicken if you prefer. The chipotles give this salad a kick, but it’s not too spicy, because the sweetness from the honey balances the smoky kick of the chipotles.

    The salad is also really easy and quick to prepare, which is a big plus in my book!

    Chile Glaze:

    • 1/2 of a small 7 ounce can of chipotle chiles in adobe
    • 1/4 cup honey

    Assembly:

    • Pour the chipotle chiles with adobo sauce and the honey into the food processor. Process until smooth. You can also use a blender.

    Salad Dressing:

    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 4 TBSP lime juice
    • 1 TBSP Chile Glaze
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    Assembly:

    • Combine the olive oil, lime juice, chile glaze, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify.

    Steak Salad:

    • 1 pound flank steak
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1 head of romaine lettuce
    • 1 small red onion (we used 1/2 of the onion)
    • 1/2 red pepper (we used the entire pepper)
    • 1/2 green pepper (we used the entire pepper
    • 1/2 small jicama
    • 2/3 cup black olives (we omitted)
    • 1 to 1.5 cups tortilla chips
    • 3/4 crumbled Queso Fresco
    • 1/2 cup corn, roasted (we added)
    • 1 avacado, diced (we added)

    For the Steak and Corn:

    • Rub both sides of the meat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear both sides, and turn the heat to medium. Brush the remaining chile glaze onto the meat while it’s cooking, and turn it often so the glaze caramelizes on the meat. Cook 8-10 minutes.
    • For the corn, take a piece of foil and spray with nonstick spray, then place on the grill with the steak. Corn is done when it’s hot and has a roasted taste. If you’ve never grilled corn or corn on the cob before do it, because it’s delicious!

    Assembly of Salad:

    • Cut the lettuce
    • Slice the onion, peppers, jicama, and olives thinly about 1/4 inch thick
    • Dice the avacado
    • Place chips in a plastic bad and press down on them with a rolling pin to crush them into small pieces (we just served the chips on the side)
    • Slice the steak thinly
    • Combine the lettuce, onion, peppers, jicama, olives, corn, avacado, and steak in a large salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss well. Add the chips and the cheese.

    ENJOY!

    Cookbook:

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    Steak Salad:

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  • Best Banana Bread

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    This banana bread recipe is a family recipe and family favorite. I got the recipe from my mom, and she got it from my grandmother, and once I got it, I made a few changes. This banana bread is really good, and every time I make the bread it reminds me of my childhood.

    You can lighten this recipe up by substituting applesauce for the oil.  Tastes just as good!

    Ingredients:

    • 3-4 ripe bananas, mashed (or increase to 5 bananas and decrease oil to 1/4 c.)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or substitute 1/2 ┬ác. applesauce or use 1/4 c. oil)
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 eggs beaten lightly
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 1/2 TBSP milk
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I usually omit)

    Directions:

    • Blend mashed bananas, eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla.
    • Sift dry ingredients together (flour through baking powder) and add alternately to the wet ingredients with the milk and lemon juice.
    • Stir in nuts if desired.
    • Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
    • Place in a cold oven. Set oven to 300F and cook for about 90 minutes (start checking at 75 minutes), or until loaf tests done.

    Best Banana Bread
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