Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I got out of my comfort zone, slowed down and took some time in the kitchen. This one actually took me two days to put together. I prepped the gnocchi a couple nights ago, freezing it in preparation for tonight. Then tonight I actually put it all together.

So the first part of it, the gnocchi has to be boiled. What’s really cool is that you know it is done when it floats to the top! Then all the gnocchi has to be cooled before it can be put with the sauce. The next step is to brown the butter. This part is a little tricky. It has to bubble and bubble, and then it gets little brown bits on the bottom. At the same time, the massive amount of bubbles go down, and then it begins to foam. Throw the sage in and it’s like throwing a dead man’s toes into into a cauldron – it freaks out and gets some serious bubbling action going!

Half of the sauce and half of the gnocchi get put into a fry pan to saute. It gets a little brown, a little crispy, and smells really good. The sage gets crispy, and the gnocchi carmelized.

So I topped the final product with some parmesan cheese. When munching on it, it’s not too terribly bad. It’s just not something¬† that I would necessarily make a go to meal. The sage is crunchy, but kind of strong. The texture isn’t bad at all. There are always some things that don’t quite turn out as good as you hoped, and unfortunately this is one of them. But it’s all the better for experience!

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Challenge

I’m issuing myself a challenge, and any of my readers – whoever you may be! – are welcome to help! My challenge is that I want to cook something new, out of the ordinary, and deliciously tasty, at least 3 times this week. I have all these great recipes that I’ve collected from various sources, but I’ve never tried. I keep going back to my old stand bys. While that’s not a bad thing – it gets a little boring. So I want to actually use those recipes, try them out, and maybe discover a new favorite dish? Though I don’t think that’s going to happen because my ultimate comfort food will always be that that reminds me of home – Dad’s dish he calls Junk, and Mom’s homemade Enchiladas.
So if you have something you’d like me to try – I definitely do not mind being a guinea pig. My biggest issue, is that I don’t want to spend $100 on ingredients. I’m still living on a budget, and unfortunately, not all of that budget gets to go to my culinary budget. Keep it under $30 on unique, not everyday ingredients please!

Cin cin! Here’s to a challenge I hope is super tasty!

Comfort Foods

Rachel Ray gave me a new twist on one of my favorite comfort foods – mac and cheese. I saw on her newest show where she made a crab cake mac and cheese, and I knew that’s what I was having for dinner the next night.

The final review: It was great, and it’s still in my fridge because it makes a HUGE portion! There were a couple things I will tweak the next time I make it though. Instead of Gruyere cheese, I’m thinking Havarti, and instead of dollar store hot sauce – definitely going to just use spices and some ketchup with vinegar. Same effect, different flavor. But overall pretty tasty, and good for multiple rounds.

So my other comfort meal of the week, was a new one actually. Steak. But with Gaelic Sauce. I have learned that I have been cooking steak entirely wrong forever! I’ve always put the steak in a dry pan to sear it, and it’s come out chewy and somewhat dry.

This time, I seasoned the steaks – really well – and then when I put them into the pan, I put in a little bit of butter and some oil. So now the steaks have something to hold in the juices. And it makes a fantastically crispy shell to hold in the yumminess.

The gaelic sauce was a mix of the pan juices, whiskey, and cream, and then I added in some onions and mushrooms – because onions and mushrooms taste good on steak. It simmers until it thickens, and then the sauce goes over the steak. And it tastes really good with seasoned french fries!

Spaghetti alle Vongole

I made a resolution this year that I wanted to blog more. But that means I have to cook more – and not just stuff that I make all the time. Well, here’s one that I’ve never made, but every time that we go to our favorite Italian restaurant, this is what I order. The fact that I made my favorite pasta dish from a restaurant and it came out super tasty is super satisfying!

When I was thinking about the taste of this dish, I kept thinking it had cream. I was wrong! The “sauce” for this (it’s not really sauce-y it’s more just flavor) is actually white wine based with a lot of garlic. No wonder I like it so much. But everything I’ve ever heard about cooking with wine says two¬† things – always cook with a wine that you’ll drink; and make sure when adding wine to a pan that you take it off direct heat first, unless you don’t like your eyebrows.

You can find the recipe for it here. And that glass of wine next to the bowl in the picture? Moscato d’Asti. It’s a sweet dessert wine, and one of my the only types of wine that I can drink without cringing. I’m not the type of person that has to match the wine to the dish. I know what I like and that’s what I’ll drink!

If you travel on over to my bibliography page, you’ll find my reference to Bella Online – where I found the recipe.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

The perfect end to a hectic week!

So my apartment has been torn apart for almost a month now – but we’re not going to go in to that. Basically, my kitchen is in a shambles, there are a ton of things in boxes, and it makes it hard to cook a really scrumptious meal. But, take one pan, one casserole dish, a spoon and knife…Oh my goodness the possibilities.

This is hearty, makes a lot, tastes DELICIOUS and is somewhat healthy. What’s not to love?

So, I used chicken thighs. I’m sure you could use chicken breasts. But I like dark meat. Wait. I need to back up. Start by chopping up garlic, onions and bell peppers. Add in a small handful of chopped sweet yellow peppers (like the kind they put on your sandwich at Subway), and saute together for a bit. Add in the chicken, that’s been all chopped up pretty. Then goes in a bunch of paprika, some cilantro, garlic powder, a dash of red pepper flakes and a couple tablespoons of hot sauce. (No it’s not spicy it’s delicious!)

So all this gets cooked up together until the chicken is done and it’s all bubbling away in the sauces. Then goes in some salsa, a can of chopped tomatoes, a can of corn and of course cheddar cheese. Proceed to bubble.

Get a big casserole dish, and put some tortilla chips in the bottom. Smush them all up so they are semi flat. Then pour the hot, bubbly, yummy goodness over top and level it out. Pour more cheese over top, cover with tin foil, and bake 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Let rest 5 minutes and enjoy!!

If I had sour cream in the house, I’d probably put some on top. But I didn’t.

Please do try this and please tell me how it is!