Honey-Chipolte Meatballs

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Sweet and spicy with a tangy punch, these honey-chipolte meatballs are a flavor blaster to any dish.  They will ramp up pasta or sandwich.  Within ten minutes, you’ll have a delicious dish that shine.  Turkey is a great substitute to ground beef with less calories and saturated fats; turkey is even juicier than chicken, so the meatballs won’t dry out.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used turkey sausage instead of ground turkey.  Remove the turkey from the casing and it acts just like paged ground turkey.
  2. I added purple peppers to the mix along with onion for an extra crunch.
  3. Instead of cider vinegar, I used red wine vinegar.  You just need the acidity to balance the sweetness of the honey and spiciness of the chilies.
  4. Be sure to brown the meatballs in a pan before placing them in the oven to prevent them from drying out.
  5. Placing them in the oven allows the turkey to cook through without burning the outside.
  6. Be sure not to burn the sauce by constantly stirring the mix of meatballs in the sauce.  Tip the pan to allow the sauce to gather in one spot.  Then, spoon it evenly onto all
    the meatballs.
  7. I used about 2 sausages and made 8 meatballs, about 4 meatballs per sausage.

honeychipoltemeatballs

These sweet and spicy meatballs will make your mouth sizzle.  They pair well with pasta or as a hoagie with peppers and onion.  It’s a new way to enjoy turkey with flavor that will blow your taste buds away.  Try it the next time you want to spice up your bland pasta.

Leave a comment with how you enjoy ground turkey.  Follow other recipes and dishes on my Pinterest.  Be sure to check back next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

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Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne

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The few times I enjoy pasta I love to use pesto. From ordinary pesto to out of the box recipes, there are variations for all foodies. Roasted red pepper and basil pesto can compliment a volume of dishes. Pasta can be so bland, but elevate it with pesto; chicken can be boring, but change normal with pesto. I enjoy the added note of half and half to create a creamy texture. It softens the dish and creates a tasty dinner for friends and family.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Toasting your pine nuts accentuates their nutty flavor.roastedredpepperpestopenne2
  2. I used a fresh bell pepper. Char the pepper stovetop or broil it to produce a roasted, fresh flavor.
  3. Using fresh basil is the only way to make a pesto.
  4. Olive oil creates that creaminess ideal in pesto and facilitates cohesion among the ingredients.
  5. I used half and half, but you can use heavy cream or evaporated milk in exchange. The point is to add a creamy thickness to your sauce.
  6. I oven roasted a few chicken breasts in place of the rotisserie chicken. It is healthier because there is less butter, and you are using only white meat.
  7. Adding fresh basil on top of the finished dish enhances the brightness of the pesto.
  8. I topped the dish with sun-dried tomatoes; however, roasted or halved cherry tomatoes compliment the dish as well.
  9. I used a hand food processor leaving my pesto chunkier than normal.

I’m a huge fan of red bell peppers; I’m a huge fan of pesto; I’m a huge fan of splurging on pasta. This recipe delivers on all notes of flavor. With a few easy steps and ingredients, you can stretch your wallet without stretching your waistband. Enjoy a splurging pasta dish with the notes above and learn to love eating healthy.

Leave a comment with your favorite pesto recipes. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Fava Bean Ravioli

favabeanravioli4We are getting downright crazy with this recipe.  It can tend to be a little more work than one might anticipate, so read the entire contents before deciding to attempt this fava bean ravioli.

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If you haven’t made your own pasta, then start by reading the link here on how to create your own pasta.  The main idea behind this ravioli is creating the stuffing, which means you can’t make boxed pasta.  Well you could, it just wouldn’t have the stuffing or awesome satisfaction of
pasta making.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Fava beans are the beans
    inside edamame.
  2. No only do the beans need to be shelled from their pods, but they need to be shelled again after blanching from the thin layer that holds the bean together.
  3. The shelling process can be tedious and takes time, so make sure to give you plenty of time to complete this dish.
  4. It is important to shell the beans because it makes the dough less grainy and provides a smooth textural aspect to the dish, as would the garbanzo beans for making hummus.
  5. Save as many fava beans as you’d like to accompany the dish, but have enough to create a balanced filling.
  6. The filling ingredients can all be added to a food processor to blend.  Once blended it should easily mold into tiny balls between your hands.
  7. Lay one sheet of dough down placing the filling wide enough to give room for the ravioli. Then, place the second sheet on top to cover the filling.favabeanravioloi2
  8. You need to release all the air from the ravioli so that no water will penetrate the dough.  Start from one side to the other and be sure to smooth the ravioli.
  9. Be sure to pat the filling down slightly which will allow the dough to release more air.
  10. Cut them to shapes and set aside to dry out while you complete the
    ravioli making.
  11. Homemade ravioli will take ½ the time to cook than store bought.  It will change in color and float to the top when cooked through.
  12. Spoon them out carefully and add them to the pan with veggies.

The dish is decadent and filling.  You can make quite a bit of ravioli for large crowds or freeze some for later.  If you want to halve the filling, make half the amount of ravioli and use the rest of the dough for more types of pasta.  Since pasta takes more work to make you mine as well use all the dough while you’re in the process.

Now, you have the satisfaction of a great meal and healthier pasta that you accomplished in making.  Again, check out my pasta blog for tips and tricks.  If you want to skip the filling and pasta making, then substitute cheese ravioli in place and keep to the veggies.  You’ll still have a delicious meal and a majority of the flavors in place.

Leave a message below with your thoughts and ideas about other ravioli fillings.  Follow my Pinterest for more delicious recipes.  Be sure to check back next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Homemade Pasta

pastamaking2Making pasta was a process I never thought I would accomplish.  Watching cooking shows with chefs under extreme pressure botch their pasta, I was sure it would be too hard to ever achieve.  However, after visiting my sister I have a new found thought process into making pasta.  It’s called “TAKING YOUR TIME!”

Pasta can’t be rushed and jimmy rigged.  It needs time to sit and rest allowing that gluten to gather.  We used our pasta dough for fava bean ravioli, which will show up in another blog later this month.  But, the recipe for ravioli and other types of pasta can be the same.  We used the dough, explained today, for spaghetti you won’t forghetti, farfalle, and the ravioli.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. We used two types of flour: semolina and cake flour.  Semolina flour is used most oftenwhenmaking pasta.pastamaking3
  2. You can use any type of flour it will just affect your dough in various ways.  So, find the dough that works best for you and stick to it.
  3. Eggs are important as a binder for the flour in your dough.
  4. Mix the dough and then let is rest.  Resting is important!!!! The process allows for the gluten to begin forming.
  5. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape, often giving the final product achewy texture.
  6. Once the dough has sat, knead it.  You cannot over-knead the dough because you’ll just add more gluten to the dough.
    (That’s a good thing!)
  7. When done, the dough should be able to be cut without one seeing any gas bubbles or chambers in the dough.favabeanravioli5
  8. Section the dough into 4-8 sizeable pieces and begin the process of
    thinning it.
  9. The sections that are not being used need to be wrapped back up and covered with a wet cloth.  You don’t want your dough to become too dried out and hard.
  10. Start off on the 1 setting, folding it like an envelope after each time through, until you have a piece that has no cracks or tears.
  11. Slowly begin taking the pasta through one notch higher at a time.  Be sure to allow a little slack at the top to avoid rippling.
  12. I recommend not going higher than 5 or 6.  At this point the dough is not too thick for chewing purposes, but not too think that it begins to tear.

There are a dozen possibilities after making the dough. If making spaghetti, place the dough through a cutter and hang to dry; if making farfalle, cut to sizable pieces and begin folding it accordion stylealong the middle while spreading the sides wide; if making ravioli, place one piece atop the other after laying the filling in place.  There are a dozen possibilities after making the dough.  Be sure to let the pasta rest and harden before adding to boiling water (about one hour).

pastamakingBe sure to use the pasta you’ve made within the next 48 hours to prevent it from spoiling.  Any type of dough should be used quickly because of the egg components required for making them.  Impress your guests and dinner friends with an enjoyable dish that is easy to make.  After trying your hand at a few recipes, you’ll be a natural like my sister, Jp.  I believe a pasta maker was the best birthday gift I’ve gotten her.  If you plan on making pasta as much as she does, I suggest investing in a pasta machine to quicken the process; however, you can make it without the machine.  In replace of the machine you can roll the dough by hand and cut it to your desired width with a pasta cutter.

So many helpful tips to keep in mind, yet don’t be overwhelmed the process is easier than it sounds and you’ll manage to handle it like a pro.

Leave a comment below with the types of pasta you’ve decided to make.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes to try.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.