Roasted Garlic, Sausage & Spinach Raviolis with a Sage Garlic Butter Sauce

2013-03-08 17.33.38My daughter Marley has a great baking blog and she makes sure her readers understand her liberal use of vanilla and they love her for it.  I realize that I am the same way with garlic in my cooking as she is with vanilla in her baking.  I just can’t get enough garlic.  I LOVE GARLIC.

I am grateful for the snow day today that left me with a day to do what I have been yearning to do for months… make homemade raviolis!

Food is about family, and many members of my family contributed to today’s meal in some way…

Marley helped make the pasta.  In reality she let me help and do enough to have participated but she is magic when it comes to dough and she made a great pasta dough.

Lisa helped by buying me a Kitchen-Aid appliance for rolling out the pasta and a ravioli tray to help make perfect raviolis and make sure they close and stay closed while they are cooking.  My last all-by-hand batch had several raviolis that exploded their contents while boiling.

My Italian mother-in-law Midge helped by walking me through the steps to making perfect pasta and gave me the confidence to try pasta making on my own.

Roasted Garlic, Sausage and Spinach Raviolis with a Sage Garlic Butter Sauce

garlic-roasting-in-the-toaster-oven-photoStep 1.  Roast a ton of garlic cloves – You are going to need about 15 cloves of roasted garlic between the filing and the butter sauce. Cut 15 cloves in half and brush with olive oil and place on a tray or aluminum foil in the toaster oven until they are light golden and smell yummy.




Step 2. Sage Garlic Sauce – Cut a stick of butter into several pieces and place in a sauce pan on very low.  To it add:

  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sage –  powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Sage – dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon good Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 7 cloves roasted garlic

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Let this mixture simmer over very low heat for 20-30 minutes for the flavors to fully marry.  At the end add one tablespoon grated pecorino cheese and one tablespoon cold butter in small pieces, and place in your Ninja or food processor and blend until there is a nice even consistency.  Return to sauce pan and let this rest until just before eating when you will need to warm it again slightly.



Step 3. Filing –  Cook one pound sausage in a frying pan.  Remove sausage and drain.  Keep about one tablespoon of the sausage drippings and mix with a little water and cook the spinach in the same pan. Place the sausage, remaining roasted garlic and spinach in the food processor or in your ninja in batches and beat until nice and fine but not quite puree. Finally mix in 2 cups ricotta cheese and 1/2 cup grated hard cheese.

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Step 4. Pasta -(Marley mostly made the pasta…)

Clean then flour your counter space.

Place 4 cups all purpose flour on the counter (after you clean it) and make a well.

Into the well crack 6 eggs, and USING YOUR HANDS mix the eggs into the flour.  This is a little tricky, but if I can learn to do it, anyone can.

Keep a little water near by in case you need a little extra moisture.

Get the egg and flour incorporated and then continue kneading for 10 minutes.  The pasta dough will be very elastic and after 10 minutes of kneading it will have a nice satin finish.

Cut the final dough ball into 4 pieces and place these on the counter until a bowl to set for one hour.

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Step 5. I got a kitchen aid and the pasta attachments as a gift, and please don’t tell my MIL but it works so much better than the old fashioned type that attached to the table and used a hand crank.  The stainless steel rollers and cutters are the same but it works so much nicer with the kitchen aid.  Roll out your pasta ball and for the raviolis we are going to use a 6″ wide pasta sheet and use our old world ravioli mold.

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Step 6. Fill the Raviolis – It takes a very small amount of the filling to fill the ravioli.  Especially using a mold and rolling pin, if you over stuff them the excess filling will get all over the place.  It is about a generous teaspoon of filling in each ravioli.  With the mold you lay the bottom sheet down, make a pocket, fill each ravioli, cover with a second sheet and rolling pin the layers together.  If you are hand cutting your ravioli’s make sure the edges are well sealed!  Once you have filled and cut the raviolis place them on a floured cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for 5 minutes.  This will make them cook so much nicer!


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2013-03-08 16.43.08 Step 7. We even have enough left over to make some fettuccine



Yummy Winter Goulash

On a cold winter day when I am working from home -yes it is Sunday and I am working, but the view is gorgeous outside, the house is warm and I am craving something yummy and warm for dinner.  I have never made Goulash before and thought I would give it a try.  Since I have never made this I started with a recipe and Tyler Florence has a good beef goulash recipie I will “start with”:,1946,FOOD_9936_22294_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html

Yummy Winter Goulash

Step 1. Fry up 4 pieces of bacon, drain and set aside –  and cook up 1.5 pounds of nice ground beef, drain fat.

Step 2. When the beef is fully-cooked, reduce heat to low, sprinkle 3 Tablespoons flour over the beef and stir until fully mixed in.  Then add:

  • 1 teaspoon sea saltmeat-peppers-goulash-photo
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 3 Tablespoons Hot Hungarian Paprika

Mix these spices in nicely then add:

  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

Mix well, still over low heat, then add:

  • 2 can Diced Tomatoes (about 20 oz total)stewing-goulash-photo2
  • 2 cups beef broth, low sodium

Mix well.  Bring mixture to light boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours uncovered.  If your mixture has too much liquid make your pasta in the next step VERY al dente and it will absorb any excess liquid.  If you mixture is the right consistency, make sure to fully cook pasta in next step.

Sgoulash-ready-to-servetep 3. When you are about 40 minutes from serving, cook up your pasta.  I have open beef broth so I am going to cook the pasta in it.  I don’t like pasta mushy so I will cook my pasta al dente even a minute or two less than directions and then let them soak a while in the mixture to take on the yummy flavor.

BBQ Spinach Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes, and Brussel Sprouts

meatloaf-servedThis is my favorite meal.  I worked this meatloaf recipe so many different ways until I got it just the way I like it (and the family too!)  The secrets are a spinach rue in the meatloaf and homemade Ethiopian BBQ Sauce on top (or your favorite BBQ sauce). Soft and delicious and just a spicy hint for complexity of flavors – or as my family teases me for saying… layers of flavor. My goal is always complex tastes with layers of flavor and they have each been asked as I work my recipes through…can you make out the layers of flavor? Now they may just say yes because that is the only right answer.

BBQ Spinach Meatloaf and the Roasted Potatoes

Step 1. The Meatloaf and potatoes need to go into the over together and they each need to cook for 60 minutes at 350.  So I make them together….

  • 1 small onion, nicely dicedmeatloaf-rue3
  • A couple pinches of Kosher Salt and Pepper (this is the only salt in the meatloaf)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder


cut-potatoesStep 2. While the onions are cooking (low and slow) I wash and quarter a bag of Baby Yukon Potatoes. Mix a teaspoon of each Salt and Pepper, 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, 1/8 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon powdered rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder) Set to side. This is for the potatoes not the meatloaf.

meatloaf-rue-2Step 3. Back to Meatloaf prep. Once the onions are translucent, add 1/4 cup of flour and whisk it in.

Then add:

  • 1 cup milk or light cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Whisk constantly over low heat until it is thickened.



Then add:

  • 1 cup spinach, very finely chopped

meatloaf-rue-spinach meatloaf-rue-with-spinach

Once the spinach is incorporated, turn off the heat.

Step 4: To assemble the meatloaf, mix:meatloaf-mixture

  • 1 1/3 – 1 1/2 lbs Meat – Ground Beef (or better yet a mix of beef, pork, and veal)
  • 2 eggs
  • The spinach rue from above (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 Tablespoons BBQ Sauce

mixing-meatloafMix this all up well.  Really Well. Your hands are the best tool for the job, but a wooden spoon will work if you don’t want to use your (clean) hands.



Step 5: Cover a cookie tray with parchment paper. Dump the mix onto the paper.  Shape into a loaf (or whatever shape your heart desires) Set to side for a minute.

meatloaf-blob-mixed-preloaf-shaping meatloaf-loaf

Step 6: Potato Prep resumes…. Pour a few glugs of olive oil over your potatoes, add the spice mixture you made in Step 2 and cover with another bowl and shake these two like a bartender mixing a drink.

spicing-potatoes shaking-potatoes

Step 7. Reset the loaf shape to your meatloaf.

Step 8. Place both in the oven at 350. Both need to cook for 60 minutes.

meatloaf-covered-with-bbqStep 9. At 30 minutes cook time, remove both potatoes and meatloaf. Mix the potatoes. Cover or Drench the meatloaf with BBQ sauce. Place back in oven to finish cooking.



brussel-spouts-photoStep 10. Start the brussel sprouts.  I use a frozen bag, thawed and cooked in butter and garlic on low and slow.




Step 11. With about 5-10 minutes left give the potatoes another mix and add some French’s French Fried Onions to the top of the meatloaf as a garnish.


Step 12. Remove Meatloaf from oven to set for 10 minutes before serving.

meatloaf-servedSERVE your family.  They will love the meatloaf even if they don’t like spinach.

Cook On!





Leftovers Quiche – Sausage, Roasted Red Peppers, and Onions

I call this leftover quiche because I often make quiches to use leftovers or things I have too much of in the fridge or freezer.   I also usually make two sometimes the same or sometimes different depending on what I have that needs to be used up.  We eat one for dinner and then Lisa and the kids enjoy having another for breakfast and lunch.  They never go to waste. Sometimes I use true leftovers.  Other times I use a whole bunch of “almost gone” things from the fridge.

quiche-photoRoasted Red Pepper and Sausage Quiche

For this quiche, our neighbor Cathy had brought us a GIANT jar of roasted red peppers.  She had used a few and brought us a nearly full 64oz jar.  Needless to say, that is a lot of red peppers and no matter how hard I tried to use them up there always seemed to be a lot leftover.

I also had a pound of yummy ground pork from Predels and I thought that might go nicely with the red peppers and some sauteed onions.

Step 1. Cook the ground pork until done.  Drain the fat BUT DON’T CLEAN THE PAN. Set cooked pork aside.

Step 2. Cut and saute onions and garlic in the pork pan with some butter and a glug or two of olive oil.  Add all my diced roasted red peppers.

Step 3. Mix about 4 eggs per quiche with a half cup of greek yogurt and a half cup of cream or milk.  Add a cup of cheese per quiche.  Use a variety of cheese; cheddar, gruyere, swiss, parmesan… anything strong. Add some garlic power, onion powder, pepper, salt and any spices you like… beat well for about 1 minute.

Step 4. Place pie crust in pie pan.  Place layer of sausage, layer of pepper and onions and top with egg mixture.

Step 5. Sprinkle some nice spice on top of the uncooked quiche; paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, etc. whatever you like or whatever compliments the leftovers you have used.

Step 6. Cook at 375 for about 40-50 minutes.  Let set at least 10 minutes before serving.

Step 6. Serve with nice bread or a fresh garden salad.

Healthy. Yummy. And a clean fridge….

Pork Fried Rice – Inspired by leftover pork chops

pork-fried-rice-photoSo we had a great meal at my mother-in-laws house for Saturday night dinner.  Great food, great company, and lousy football – the Ravens won…. oh well.

Besides my mother-in-law, there were just the four of us and she made about 35 pork chops.  Yes, I am exaggerating but not by much!  She made enough scalloped potatoes and sides to feed a small army.  The she insisted we bring the leftovers home.

Ok… but what in the world do you do with leftover pork chops????

I couldn’t think of a thing. Thank God for Google. All I had to type in is “what can you make with leftover pork chops?”   Suddenly .0288865 seconds later I had over one million solutions at my fingertips. I didn’t look at them all.  I didn’t need to.  I saw Pork Fried Rice and I knew that would be a hit in my house.  I redid my search this time with my specific dish in mind and I looked at a few but in the end… Martha won.  I selected this recipe as my guide:

I heated 2 approximate tablespoons of peanut oil in my closest wok like pan. When it was good and hot, I threw in a mixture of 3 eggs, lightly shaken with a tablespoon of soy sauce. I turned the heat down some and I let it cook until set.  Folded it up and transfered it to the cutting board to cool.

I added 2 approximate tablespoons of peanut oil, let it get nice and hot, and threw in a tablespoon of diced ginger, 4 cloved chopped garlic, a handful of diced onion, and the chopped up white part of a bunch of scallions, nice and hot mixing it up for a minute or so.  I added the infamous pork chops (chopped, although that seems like a given, into small semi-bite size pieces.) Lastly I threw in 2 handfuls of the grated carrots, and mixed it up so that everything got hot and no more.

Then I added 2 very generous cups of cooked rice – (more like 3), the chopped up egg thing I cooked earlier, and a few light shakes of the soy sauce.  A minute or so later I turned off the heat, added half a bunch of chopped green scallions and covered to set for a minute or two.

I served it with somewhat over cooked and almost mushy steamed broccoli – that wasn’t the design, but I was far too focused on mixing the pork fried rice and about two minutes after the timer went off I realized I forgot to turn off the water under the broccoli.  Darn it.

Cook On!