Category Archives: Recipes

Have you ever made your own noodles? Several years ago our youngest son went to visit his oldest sister. While there the two of them took a pasta making class. My son came home inspired and it wasn’t long before we had our own pasta maker. I’ve made noodles a couple of times but my son is the one who is the best pasta maker! He can make a batch of noodles in no time, I wish he was around more often to make fresh pasta for us! There is nothing like a fresh batch of noodles with some homemade sauce.

First the noodles:

Making noodles you basically need two ingredients, 200 grams of tipo “00” flour and 2 eggs.  Place the flour on your counter, make a well in the center and crack the eggs into the flour. Using your fingers work the eggs into the flour, a little at a time until everything is combined.

noodles

Knead dough until everything is combined.

Knead the dough until it is a smooth lump of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for ½ hour to chill.

noodles, prudent living

Knead dough until it is smooth.

 

There are many ways to use your fresh pasta. We have made fancy lasagna noodles.

prudent living, gardening

Basil Lasagna Noodles

One of our favorite ways to enjoy fresh pasta is in this recipe for Homemade Noodles with Peas, Asparagus and Pancetta.

While the dough is chilling make your sauce.

3 oz pancetta or bacon, chopped (Op)
1 ¼ pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of frozen peas (do not thaw)
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup whipping cream
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon peel
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh Basil, divided

Cook pancetta in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

bacon

Drain pancetta on paper towels.

Pour off all but 1 tsp drippings. Add asparagus to drippings and sauté for 3 minutes. Add peas, scallions and garlic and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

asparagus, peas

Vegetable mixture.

Following the directions from your pasta maker form your noodles.

homemade pasta

Forming the noodles.

pasta, prudent living

Homemade Noodles

Add to boiling water and cook just for about two minutes and drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Add the vegetable mixture, ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid, ½ cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, half of the parsley and half of the basil. Toss, adding more cooking liquid if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle pancetta, remaining parsley and basil over the top. Serve, passing additional Parmesan if desired. Bon Appetite!

noodles, pasta

Homemade Noodles with Peas, Asparagus and Pancetta

 

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Do you like to give homemade gifts for Christmas?

gift giving, prudent living

A perfect gift!

I love both receiving and giving homemade gifts. Do you have friends and family that like to cook? Then a gift of homemade Vanilla Extract will be a perfect gift idea. Once you realize how easy Vanilla Extract is to make you will never go back to buying it from the store!

Each batch does take six months to make so now is the time to get started if you plan to give it away as Christmas gifts!

Homemade Vanilla

Homemade Vanilla

To start your own batch you will need:

A large jar (a gallon or less, depending on how much extract you plan to make)
Vodka (the inexpensive stuff is fine)
Vanilla Beans (which I ordered through Olive Nation)
Kitchen Shears

vanilla extract, vanilla beans

Vanilla Beans

Begin by cutting through each bean lengthwise, leaving about an inch at the top of each bean so they stay together.

homemade vanilla extract

Cut vanilla bean.

Place all your beans into your jar. Fill the jar with vodka.

Vodka, vanilla beans, homemade vanilla extract

Pouring vodka into the jar.

Put the lid on and store in a dark place for 4-6 months. Occasionally check the jar out and give it a shake.

homemade vanilla extract, frugal tip

Homemade Vanilla Extract in the works.

Once the time period has passed, strain out the vanilla beans using a coffee filter lined colander. Bottle the extract in dark amber bottles and you’re ready to give it as gifts and start cooking with it yourself! Once the Vanilla Extract is bottled create your own labels for the perfect gift!

Homemade Vanilla

Homemade Vanilla

 

1 gallon of vodka takes 80 vanilla beans
½ gallon of vodka (1.75L) takes 40 vanilla beans
1 quart of vodka takes 20 vanilla beans

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Peak growing season for strawberries is April through June, so the strawberries in your grocery store should soon look especially appealing to eat (not to mention more appealing in price too!). As you try to decide how you want to take advantage of this sweet, delicious fruit, look to expand your repertoire with some fun new recipes:

1. Strawberry Smoothie – Throw some greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, peanut butter, and honey into your blender for a treat that’s easy on the taste buds and the waistline.Strawberry smoothie

2. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries – This old classic is great for any occasion, whether it is a family barbeque, a dinner party, or a romantic date night. Try using white chocolate and changing the color to match the occasion.

3. Strawberry Spinach Salad – Toss with spinach, chicken, candied almonds, red onions, and mandarin oranges for a fresh side dish or simple meal.

4. Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt – You’ve been dying to get your homemade ice cream maker out since you put it away in the fall. Break it out and make a strawberry creation first.

5. Strawberry Bruschetta – Spread goat cheese on grilled bread and top with sliced strawberries. Add some mint or basil leaves.

6. Strawberry Pancakes – Prepare the batter like normal and then after you pour the batter on the pan, add slices of strawberries to be cooked into the pancake.

7. Strawberry Guacamole – Mash together some avocado, strawberries, mint, and lime juice for a tasty variation on the classic. Eat with tortilla chips!

8. Strawberry Applesauce – Warm strawberries and then mash them into applesauce. Eat alone or serve on top of baked chicken or pork tenderloins.

Close up of strawberry applesauce in a white bowl

9. Peanut Butter and Strawberry Toast – A fresh take on the traditional PB&J. Toast your bread to your heart’s delight and then spread it with peanut butter and add sliced strawberries.

10. Strawberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake – After preparing your cheesecake, add a white chocolate spread and top with strawberries for an added kick.

11. No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake – This easy, tasty treat is simply made with layers of strawberries, whipped cream, and graham crackers. Leave in your refrigerator overnight and voila! Top with more strawberries and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

12. Strawberry-Yogurt Popsicles – Mix sliced or mashed strawberries with your favorite yogurt and pour into popsicle molds. Leave in freezer until solid and then enjoy!

13. Strawberry Syrup –  Pour over breakfast foods or even use as an ice cream topping.

14. Sugar Strawberries – Toss in sugar and let them sit for at least a half an hour – add to anything to make it even sweeter.

15. Oatmeal or Cereal – Don’t forget strawberries are great additions to your morning oatmeal or breakfast cereal. Slice them up and simply mix in.

16. Fruit Salsa – Use strawberries as a base and add more fruits and sugar. Make cinnamon sugar chips to use as the vehicle to get this delicious treat to your mouth.

17. Fruit Pizza – Begin with a sugar cookie base and add whipped cream and yummy strawberries on top, along with blueberries, kiwi, or other fruit.

Homemade Natural Fruit Pizza with Frosting and Berries

Homemade Natural Fruit Pizza with Frosting and Berries

18. Strawberry Scone – Take your usual cranberry or blueberry scone recipe and substitute in strawberries instead.

19. Strawberry Sweet Rice – Combine chilled rice, heavy cream, strawberries, sugar, and salt. Yum!

20. Strawberry Water – If you are looking to increase your water intake, try adding some sliced strawberries and mint to your water bottle! Soak overnight for even more flavor.

21. Strawberry Parfait – Create layers of berries and either whipped cream, yogurt or a ricotta mix for a great treat or breakfast item.

22. Strawberry-Avocado Salsa – This more savory salsa goes great on chicken, fish or pork tenderloins.

23. Strawberry, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Pizza  – Top your favorite pizza crust with olive oil, lemon juice, strawberries, pistachios, and goat cheese.

24. Grilled PB and Banana Split Sandwich – On your favorite bread, slather some peanut butter, honey, semisweet chocolate chips, sliced strawberries, banana slices, and pineapple jam. Then grill away!

25. Strawberry Limeade – For a refreshing drink, mix sliced strawberries, fresh mint leaves, lime juice, agave nectar, and sparkling water.

As you make your tasty strawberry treats this season, keep in mind age appropriate foods for those you are cooking for. For example, as mentioned here, though strawberries are delicious and nutritious, their acidic levels can be detrimental to little teeth, so be sure to feed your child strawberries with other foods to dilute this effect.

 

Have fun with your new strawberry creations! Bon appetit!

Guest post by author Alyssa Craig.

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Sometimes a recipe is so good you just have to make it more than once! This is a delicious cake that brings a taste of summer to your table!Light Lemon Pound Cake

Light Lemon Pound Cake

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 egg
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cup (60z) fat free lemon yogurt

Glaze:
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/3 cup dried apricots, finely chopped

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites and egg, beating well. Add the lemon juice and the extracts.

In a separate bowl combine the flours, baking powder, salt and backing soda; add to the butter mixture alternately with the yogurt.

Pour into a 10 inch Bundt pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until done. Cool for ten minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the glaze: Whisk the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel until blended. Stir in the apricots. Drizzle over the cake.

This cake is delicious with fresh strawberries and lemon sorbet!

Light Lemon Pound Cake

Light Lemon Pound Cake

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It won’t be long before I’ll be enjoying our own blueberries. In the meantime I’m enjoying this delightful salad with a delicious blueberry vinaigrette. I love the colors of this salad and the fresh flavors, perfect for an easy supper. Serves 4.

Tip: Enjoy chicken on the grill the night before, grill extra chicken to enjoy on this salad the next day!Blueberry & Chicken Salad

Blueberry and Chicken Salad

Blueberry Vinaigrette:

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup blueberry preserves (preferably homemade)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. ground mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
Dash pepperBlueberry & Chicken Salad

Salad:

Salad greens
1 cup blueberries
4 oz of mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 grilled skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz each), sliced

In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Divide the salad greens among four plates.Blueberry & Chicken Salad Top the greens with sliced chicken, blueberries and oranges. Whisk vinaigrette and drizzle over the salads; sprinkle with the cheese and serve.Blueberry & Chicken Salad

 

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I love homemade lasagna and have shared several recipes for various lasagnas in the past. One of my favorite recipes is Basil Pesto Lasagna. If you use your own homemade pesto, mozzarella and ricotta you have a real winner! This recipe was adapted from one I found on Epicurious.com. I decided to make two small 8×8 lasagnas so I could freeze one for later.

First make a white sauce:

2 Tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk for one minute. Add milk and wine and whisk until smooth. Cook until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat. Whisk in Parmesan cheese and salt.lasagna, prudent living

For the filling:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped onions
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-10 oz packages of frozen spinach, drained well

Heat the oil in a separate pan. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are soft, about 2 minutes.onions, garlic, saute Add the spinach stir until well mixed. Mix in 1 ½ cups of the white sauce.spinach lasagna

For the lasagna:

Lasagna noodles
28 oz of fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese
Basil pesto

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2 inch-baking dish (or use two 8×8 pans).

Mix ricotta and Parmesan together. Mix in egg.

Spread ½ cup white sauce thinly over the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the spinach mixture over and sprinkle with1/3 of the mozzarella. Top with noodles and half of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle half of the pesto mixture evenly over the ricotta. Continue layering with noodles, remaining spinach mixture, 1/3 cup mozzarella, noodles, remaining ricotta mixture and then remaining pesto. Top with the last noodles. Spread remaining white sauce over the top, sprinkle with mozzarella. Cover the dish with a piece of buttered foil.

Bake lasagna until heated through and bubbling at the edges, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the foil.

Remove foil. Broil lasagna until top is browned in spots, turning dish occasionally for even browning, about 4 minutes. Let stand a few minutes to set up.

Serve and enjoy.

homemade lasagna, recipe box

Pesto Spinach Lasagna

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