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    Sometimes things just pop into my head and sometimes something I’ve sampled brings a flood of ideas. This one is a combination of the two. At a demonstration one of the store managers cooked up a large dish of dumplings with mushroom sauce somewhat of a European entrée. I thought about making a similar item and came up with this offering.

    You will need:

    Gnocchi — 1 LB. — If you make your own that’s great however for those that either don’t have the time nor knack there are a few frozen varieties that can be purchased at most stores. If you can’t find frozen some manufacturers make a dried version.
    Mushrooms — 1 LB. — Use either button or crimini or a combination of the two.
    Marsala Wine — 1/4 cup (approx)
    Stock &#151 chicken, veal or vegetable depending on your personal taste, I wouldn’t use beef as it would overwhelm the mushroom/marsala taste.
    Heavy Cream — 1 cup (approx.) — if you want a lighter sauce you can use half and half or milk.
    Shallots — 1 TBSP finely diced.
    Butter/Olive Oil — 1 TBSP each

    Depending on which gnocchi you use timing here is flexible. You want the gnocchi to be ready just as you are about to finish the sauce which will take about 15 minutes or less to prepare.

    Clean the mushrooms of any excessive dirt and cut into pieces that are about the same size as the gnocchi. In a saucepan large enough to hold all of the mushrooms heat the oil and butter over medium/low heat, add the diced shallots and cook just until they turn a little translucent, don’t overcook them. At the mushroom pieces and cook until they give off most of their liquid, add the marsala wine and cook just long enough to burn off the alcohol. You want the sauce to be a little liquid so if it gets a little too dry add some of the stock. Turn off the heat and add the cream/milk stir to combine then add the cooked gnocchi. Enjoy!

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    Summer is just around the corner, picnics and barbeques are already going strong. Here is a light, easy to prepare slaw that will liven up any gathering. This recipe will make enough for 4 people.

    You will need:

    Apple — one/4 servings, use a sweet variety I used Pink Lady.
    Pear — one/4 servings, make sure it’s ripe I used a Bosch for this version.
    Lime Juice — one medium/4 servings should be enough
    Habanero Pepper — one small/4 servings.
    Fresh Mint Leaves — approx. 1/4 cup/4 servings
    Kiwi — 2 small/4 servings
    Onion — 1 TBSP/4 servings very finely diced, use a sweet variety such as Walla Walla or Vidalia as an alternative you can use a red onion.
    Olive Oil — approx. 1 TBSP/4 servings
    Sea Salt — just a pinch or two

    Use a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Cut all of the fruit into 1/8 inch sticks, roll all of the mint into a log and finely chiffonade. Finely dice the habanero pepper and onion. Add the olive oil, salt and mint to the bowl mix well, add the lime juice and stir once more. Add the apple, pear, onion and pepper stir all to combine. This slaw is best if you let all of the flavors marinate for an hour or so then Enjoy!

    Stuffed Chicken Breast

    I suppose you can call this recipe Chicken Cordon Bleu which technically it is here is my version with a little twist. At one of the food demonstrations I provide an associate was passing out samples of that good old snack “string cheese” and handed me one to try. Since I’ve had string cheese before so I decided to take it home and create a recipe. This recipe will take a little effort but is well worth it.

    You will need:

    Chicken Breast — 6 to 8 oz/per serving. boneless and skinless.
    Ham Slice — one/serving, use a good quality of your choice but stay away from those that have water added.
    String Cheese — one stick/serving
    Egg — one large/serving
    Dijon Mustard — one tsp/serving
    Flour — enough to dust breasts
    Bread Crumbs — enough to coat breast – I use a Panko style crumb.
    Plastic Wrap &#151 enough to wrap the breast.

    Using paper towels pat the chicken breast dry then lay flat on a cutting board, place hand flat on top of the breast and with a sharp knife, preferably a boning knife, insert as close to the center of the breast as possible making a slit at least one inch wide. Slowly push blade into breast using your hand to “feel” it go into the bird. Carefully work the blade around the inside of the breast creating a pocket. After you create the pocket, insert your index finger into the pocket to enlarge without breaking through the meat. To make sure that you do not contaminate the chicken use a rubber glove or wrap you finger in cling wrap/plastic wrap. Set aside.

    Place one slice of ham on a work surface, pull apart the string cheese thin enough to cover the slice then tightly roll the ham to form a tight log. Carefully insert the ham log into the pocket of the breast until it is completely inside. In a receptacle large enough and deep enough to hold chicken add egg and dijon mustard and whisk well. In two separate receptacles add flour in one and bread crumbs in the other. Dredge the chicken breast in the flour, dip into the egg/mustard mixture then dredge with the bread crumbs. Place the coated chicken onto a sheet of plastic wrap tucking the thinner part under the thicker part. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 15 minutes to one half hour. This will help set the coating reducing the possibility of the coating falling off during cooking.

    Place approximately one TBSP of oil, I used olive, into an oven proof sauté pan large enough to hold the breast(s). When the oil starts to shimmer add breasts and brown on all sides. Place sauté pan into a preheated (350 degree) oven and finish cooking. Enjoy!

    Cabbage/Peppadew Slaw

    What do you make when you have about a half head of Savoy cabbage, not enough for a whole meal, some Peppadew peppers again not enough for anything substantial? Well you make this recipe.

    I like using savoy cabbage in recipes since there isn’t as much liquid in it as there is in the good old fashioned head you are used to, so if you don’t have the savoy the only thing you need to do before putting this together is to put the shredded cabbage into a strainer/colander placed over a bowl, toss it with a good handful of salt so that any excess moisture wicks out. Rinse the cabbage before adding it to this slaw, don’t worry it doesn’t absorb any salt. This recipe will serve at least 4 people.

    You will need:

    Savoy Cabbage — one half head, shredded
    Peppadew Peppers — two or three medium sized, finely sliced/diced
    Carrots — One medium sized, shredded
    Mayonnaise — 1/4 cup
    White Vinegar — 1 TBSP
    Sea Salt/Pepper — to taste

    In a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients place cabbage, peppers and carrots, toss or stir to combine. Add mayonaise, vinegar, salt and pepper then stir to combine completely. I think you’ll like the combination of flavors this slaw has to offer. Enjoy!

    Super Easy Hard Boiled Eggs

    You’ve most likely seen or heard tons of ways to cook the perfect hard boiled egg. Some are easy some not so much. This one, my tried and true version, makes it so easy everyone can get the perfect egg, whether it’s one or a dozen.

    Place egg(s) in a high sided pot large enough to hold them all in a single layer. Fill pot with just enough water to cover by two inches. Set a timer for 20 minutes and put on stove with the heat turned to high. As soon as water starts to bubble reduce to medium. Immediately after the 20 minutes has ended carefully drain the water from the pot and then bounce the eggs in the pot to slightly crack them, fill pot with ice cold water.

    By cracking the eggs in the pot it allows the cold water to get under the shell making them easy to remove. That’s it. Done.

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    I developed this simple recipe years ago but never put it into Let’s Eat. I am sure your guests will love it even those finicky kids.

    You will need:

    Baby Carrots — 1 lb bag, alternatively you can use large carrots cut diagonally into bite size pieces.
    Maple Syrup — Approximately 1 cup – use the real stuff here folks not that “pancake syrup” you find in stores, it’s all high fructose corn syrup with no maple anything in it.
    Butter — 5 TBSP make sure you use unsalted.
    Sea Salt/Pepper — to taste.

    The first step is to steam the carrots. Steam until a sharp knife goes in easily about 1/4 way through to what is called just “al dente”. You want to maintain the some of the crunch. In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the carrots in a single layer heat the butter until just melted. Add the carrots simmer on low until the butter coats the vegetables. Add the maple syrup and simmer until the syrup reduces by half.<.p>

    If you don’t have equipment to steam the carrots add enough water to the sauté pan to just above half their thickness, cover and let cook until most of the water has evaporated add the butter and maple syrup then proceed as stated above. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can do them ahead of time, keep at room temperature until you are about to serve, return to the sauté pan and heat them up.

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    I had a half empty or is it half full box of ditalini sitting on the shelf where I keep all sorts of pasta extruded pastas. I decided to use it for dinner and went to the freezer where I knew I had left over Who makes viagra professional thinking to bake some sort of baked item and all I was missing was the cheese. I walked to my nearest grocer, not my favorite but didn’t feel like getting in the car for only a couple of items. They DO have a nice cheese department and decided to get some ricotta, parmesan, asiago and romano as all of them work well in baked goods.

    When I got home I realized that after opening the container I had purchased Ricotta con Latte instead of Ricotta. I had never used it but seeing the creaminess of the cheese I thought it would work. The end result came out pretty good and I think you and especially your kids will find it well worth the effort

    You will need:

    Ditalini &#151 1 pound
    Ricotta Con Latte — 1 16 oz container.
    Who makes viagra professional — you can substitute 1 LB ground beef or pork and tomato sauce just sauté the meat and combine with the tomato sauce.

    Prepare the ditalini according to package instructions, strain but do not rinse. Return pot to heat and add the ragu or meat/tomato sauce mixture and heat until thoroughly warmed, remove from heat. Add the ricotta to the mixture and combine completely then add the pasta and combine thoroughly. Place mixture into a lightly oiled, oven proof baking dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes. I think you will enjoy the finished product.

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    A good ragu is always a welcome addition to anyone’s repertoire. This recipe comes from my desire to use a portion of the Maitake mushrooms that I had freeze dried from the past seasons harvest. Of course if you are fortunate enough to have a fresh supple they can be used as well, additionally a good substitute would be portabella. For purpose of this recipe I’ll use the generic term mushroom(s) instead of being specific. Make a batch and then use some and freeze the rest.

    You will need:

    Italian Sausage — 1½ lbs bulk.
    Fresh Mushrooms — ½ lb. chopped.
    Shallot — 1 medium size finely diced.
    Fresh Oregano — 2 TBSP
    Fresh Marjoram — 2 TBSP
    Olive Oil — 4 TBSP
    White Wine — ¼ cup – a good Chardonnay works well
    Heavy Cream — ¼ cup
    Tomato — 1 26oz can diced or crushed – San Marzano Plum work best.
    Sea Salt/Ground Pepper — to taste

    In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients heat two tablespoons of olive oil until it dances/shimmers. Add bulk sausage (if you can’t find bulk at your grocer purchase links and remove from casing) and using a potato masher start breaking up the meat continue sautéing until most of the pink is gone do not brown completely or the sauce will be too dry.

    Remove sausage from the pan, drain and set aside. Add 1 TBSP to the sauté pan heat to shimmer then add the mushrooms. Cook until all of the moisture exuded from them is evaporated. NB: Not all mushrooms have the same moisture content for instance Maitake and Portabella have less than Button or Crimini.

    Remove mushrooms fro the pan and set aside. Add 1 TBSP Olive oil and sauté the shallots until they are just translucent then add the sausage and mushroom to the pan stir to combine. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium high and add the white wine, cook until the mixture is somewhat dry. Add the heavy cream, stir well to combine and cook until the mixture is somewhat dry. Add the tomatoes, stirring to combine and cook until they break apart. If you think the ragu is too dry you can add some tomato sauce but not enough to make it soupy.

    Brussels Sprouts with Chestnut Sauce

    The first time I made this recipe was for a family holiday dinner. I went through the trouble of making everything from scratch including the preparation of the chestnuts for the sauce. It was quit time consuming so I wanted to get this down to as simple a process as possible. I found that you can use canned chestnuts without losing too much of the flavor. For those of you who aren’t too excited about Brussels Sprouts try this recipe I think you might become a convert.

    For the Sauce:

    • Chestnuts — ½ pound
    • Beef Broth — 2 cups
    • Garlic Clove — 1 crushed
    • Sea Salt — 1 tspn
    • Fresh Nutmeg — ¼ tspn
    • Unsalted Butter — 2 TBSP
    • For the Sprouts:

    • Brussels Sprouts — 4 Cups fresh or 2 10 ounce packages of frozen

    In a sauce pot large enough to hold all of the chestnuts combine them with the beef broth and garlic then simmer until chestnuts are completely softened. By using canned chestnuts this shouldn’t take too long. Press entire contents of the sauce pot through a strainer return to pot and simmer until it thickens slightly, add nutmeg and butter and set aside.

    Remove outer leaves of sprouts as these are tough and rather bitter. Cut off a little of the stem end and make a cross mark about ⅛” deep. In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the sprouts place them along with enough water to cover by 1 inch, cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes until a knife point goes in easily. Remove all excess water from pan then add the Chestnut puree.

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    First in our Holiday Series. You can use the search box on this site to find other Holiday recipes.

    Making a great squash ravioli can be a daunting task. Making homemade pasta isn’t in most peoples repetoire so here is a simple way to enjoy the great taste of homemade without the hassle.

    What makes this so easy you may ask, simple we used won ton wrappers instead of homemade pasta. Won Ton wrappers after all are a flour based product not unlike Italian pasta just a tad thinner. The only thing you need to worry about is keeping them covered when using so they don’t dry out, simply put a damp towel over the exposed wrappers then when finished wrap the unused portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    At the bottom of this recipe see a couple of alternative seasoning options for a totally different ravioli.

    NB: The ingredients list do not show quantities as the portions will depend on the size of the squash you are using.

    For the filing:

    • Wonton Wrappers
    • One medium sized Butternut squash
    • Ricotta Cheese — enough to equal ⅓ the volume of squash.
    • Olive Oil
    • Fresh Nutmeg
    • Sea Salt/Pepper
    • Pecan Pieces

    For the sauce:

    • Heavy Cream
    • Fresh Sage — chiffonade
    • Sea Salt/Pepper
    • Fresh Nutmeg

    A medium sized squash should produce 3 dozen ravioli.

    Using a very heavy knife cut off a small slice on the round bottom of the squash. Place the squash upright on a board and carefully cut it in half down the middle, lengthwise. Butternut squash has a thick skin so it might take a little muscle. With a spoon scoop out all of the seeds, coat lightly with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place the squash in a preheated 350° oven and bake until it is very soft, the time needed will depend on the size of your squash. While the squash is baking place ricotta cheese in a strainer and place over a bowl to remove excess liquid. When the squash is fully baked remove from the oven and let cool completely.

    In a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients add the squash, the cheese, ¼ cup pecan pieces, Fresh Ground nutmeg (use sparingly so as not to overpower the squash) about ¼ tsp. Mix well. On a flat surface place two rows of wonton wrappers, place one tablespoon of the squash mixture in the middle of each wrapper in the first row, with a brush or your finger coat all of the edges with water. Take a wrapper from the second row and place over filling pressing down around the filing to eliminate any air pockets. Continue with remaining wrappers and filling.

    At this stage you can either cook the ravioli and add to the sauce or place on a cookie sheet, freeze for future use.

    In a stock pot large enough to hold the ravioli, boil well salted water, add the ravioli and cook until they float. In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the ravioli place heavy cream and heat until it simmers slightly, add a dash or two of fresh ground nutmeg, the sage and continue to cook until the sauce starts to thicken. Once the sauce thickens add the cooked ravioli spooning the sauce over each.

    Alternative herbs and seasonings.

    • Replace the nutmeg in the mixture with fresh ground ginger.
    • Replace the nutmeg and pecan pieces with crushed Amaretti Cookies.
    • Replace the nutmeg and pecan pieces with curry powder
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