From kids to the kid at heart everyone enjoys a nice big bowl of spaghetti (and bolognese sauce) and why not – its quick, easy, cheap and delicious! But much like breakfast cereal, I’ve always struggled with cooking the perfect ratio of noodles to sauce and I’m left with a hefty helping of delicious bolognese. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation here are five delicious ideas for your left overs that will have you cooking up extra sauce in anticipation of these recipe remixes!
1. Sloppy Joe Sandwiches with Toasted Garlic – Turn last night’s dinner into tomorrow’s lunch. Simply reheat bolognese on stove top (cooking down the liquid if too saucy). Meanwhile, drizzle a hamburger roll (or kaiser roll) generously with olive oil, sprinkle with minced garlic and lightly toast. Use broiler or toaster oven on broiler setting to crisp up the insides without burning the outsides. Spoon a hefty portion of bolognese on toasted bread (squish down if your old-fashioned like me) and enjoy!
2. Homemade Chili – With leftover bolognese you’re already more than half way to a warm bowl of chilli. Simply reheat bolognese adding canned crushed, peeled tomatoes, a can of drained, rinsed kidney bean, sprinkle with cumin, paprika, black pepper and salt to taste. Bring to a bowl and enjoy with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese on top.
3. Homemade HotPockets – Spoon small amounts of leftover bolognese and shredded cheese into pre-made puff pastry squares. Seal tightly by firmly pinching edges and bake to directions on pastry package or until golden brown. Try to enjoy without burning your tongue.
4. MeatLover’s Pizza – Layer bolognese sauce on pizza crust (use store-bought to save time) as you would plain tomato sauce. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheese and add your favorite meaty toppings.
5. Freeze It! – Make a bolognese so delicious you don’t have the hearty to transform it unto something else? Throw it in an air-tight container and freeze it for later. Your future-self will thank for such an awesome meal with practically no effort!
Posted by Admin on August 10, 2012
The art of improvisation is a defining quality that all chefs share and it is a quality that I am trying to exercise in my own kitchen.
My latest the act of improv: Rice Remix!
For some reason I can never seem to make the perfect amount of rice for two. The excess of rice then sits in the fridge just long enough for me to forget the day it was actually made. Ultimately the trash can ends up having a hearty meal. For some, this is no problem at all, just microwave and reuse, but I absolutely hate reheating old rice. Its hard, its dry and its just not what an aspiring master chef would eat! I have made fried rice from time to time but it requires a lot of ingredients that I don’t always have. As a home-schooled chef I had to figure out what to do with all that extra rice.
This week I was caught in my usual rotation of rice from refrigerator to garbage when I actually thought up something really great to do with it. I turned my day old rice into Spinach Sauteed Rice. It was so simple, super delicious and took 12 minutes! I’m actually looking forward to the next time I make too much rice!
Spinach Sauteed Rice:
Defrost and squeeze excess water from frozen spinach.
Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a saute pan.
Saute spinach until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the day old rice, chopping up any large chunks with the pot spoon.
Add 2 tbs of butter to the pan. (You can skip this step if you like but it makes a huge difference.)
Add dried ingredients and your favorite seasonings. I used parsley, oregano, and a bit of cumin.
Saute the rice and spinach together for about 7-10 minutes.
As I said improvisation is key so use whatever ingredients you like and have one hand.
Posted by Admin on December 9, 2011
Italian Cafe on the street of the Festival
Moving through the masses while contemplating what to eat first.
On Sunday I found myself in Manhattan with lots of extra time on my hands so I did what I always do when I’m in the city with spare time: I wandered around aimlessly! J I’ve found there is always something to do in the city if you look hard enough but on this particular Sunday I didn’t have to look hard at all because my stomach’s GPS was in full effect. A quick left off of Broadway and I found myself in foodie heaven; my stomach lead me straight into the heart of the San Gennaro Festival. This is one of my favorite events to visit in the summer and I was right in time to take part in the last day of the 11-day festival. San Gennaro, the longest running festival in the United States, features blocks and blocks of streets in Little Italy adorned with arches of red, white, and green wreaths to set the stage for vendors of all kinds. With craft sellers, games, music and of course tons of food it’s all too easy to get lost in the celebration.
The main attraction is centered on Italian street food but being that it takes place in New York City you can experience foods from all sorts of countries and cultures. Have a look and the photos I snapped while strolling though and experience the wonder that is the San Gennaro Festival:
I decided it was only right to start the Festival off with a tasty Italian bite...Zeppoles!
What a yummy decision. Fried sweet dough covered in confectioners sugar and served in a brown paper bag for shaking it up.
A myriad of Italian sausages to choose from grilled right in front of you and topped with peppers.
Have a hankering for some fresh oysters?
- Have them shucked freshly by a large Italian guy!
Although not Italian these Arepas are one of my favorite things to eat at the Festival. Cornmeal tortillas filled with mozarella and grilled. These are hard to pass up!
You can't have a NYC food festival without some authentic NYC pizza!
- Turkish stand grilling Gozleme (Phyllodough stuffed with cheeses andvegetables) grilled on a traditional turkish Saj.
Pick a pickle
Corn with melted cheese and spices. Yum
Cannolis were abundant!
I had never seen these before: Red Velvet sandwiches!
A refreshing pick me up.
Top it all off with a pina colada served in a coconut shell!
You can't have a Italian festival without a tomato or two
I can’t wait until the San Gennaro Festival to roll around next year!
Posted by Admin on September 29, 2011
Well doctors are finally catching up to what many healers worldwide have known for centuries: food is Mother Nature’s medicine. Used correctly, the bounty of edible remedies that surrounds us can sustain health. I am very pleased that western medicine has begun to explore this fact in recent decades and I was doubly ecstatic when I saw that Dr. Oz actually created an episode surrounding this principle. With such a following I was happy to think of how many people nationwide he was introducing to this holistic way of thinking. To understand that your health is in your hands and the food you eat is your first line of defense. We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat” probably a million times but we seldom think about how true that statement really is. I want to take some time to introduce to you a couple examples, discussed on the Dr. Oz show, of how real this statement is and how a change in diet can mean a change in your life. Take a look at the kick-ass cancer fighters found in everyday foods:
Endive: a mysterious vegetable to most of us is easy to get at the local market and even easier to cook with. It’s a leaf vegetable part of the chicory family that can be eaten raw as part of a salad or cooked in a myriad of simple ways. You’ll be able to tell it from other leafy greens because it looks like an un-blossomed flower. Research done in the Netherlands, among 62,000 women, showed a 75% risk reduction of cancer when consumed raw. How does it do that? Endive contains kaempferol, an organic cancer fighter that actually causes ovarian cancer cells to die, isn’t that amazing it kills cancer cells (serious OMG! moment), and it the basis for many cancer drugs. You can also find kaempferol in other greenery, such as, spinach, kale, and broccoli. The Dr. suggests eating ½ cup twice a week.
Fish: We always hear that eating fish is good for you. We should all swap out our red meat for it and something about Omega-3. Well omega-3 is so important because it is an anti-inflammatory. If you didn’t know, chronic inflammation is the cause of many serious illnesses, cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease; the list goes on and on. Eating foods that are naturally anti-inflammatory keeps your body in balance and out of the constant state of inflammation most of us are in, unbeknownst to us. Let’s also not forget that omega-3 has many mental health benefits also. You can rest assured all that fish oil your mom made you take when you were a child was actually beneficial. A study conducted in Northern Italy showed at 30% cancer risk reduction. Eat those 2-3 servings suggested a week to get the full benefits.
Onions: This was very surprising for me to hear. I love onions and I put them in practically everything so I was excited to know I was on the right track! Onions, specifically red onions, show a cancer risk reduction of a whopping 73%. Onions contain flavonoids, the same antioxidant that has made dark chocolate so popular. Try to use them as much as you can when cooking so you can soak up all the benefits. You could maybe even swap out that nugget of dark chocolate for and onion wedge, ok, ok maybe not.
These three foods are just a speck on the tip of the iceberg in the sea of what eating natural foods can do for our body and mind. So next time you take a bite of food think of it as what it truly is, your body’s medicine, the major ingredient in the recipe for a health body. I hope these facts were eye opening for you!
Posted by Admin on September 19, 2011
Posted by Admin on September 13, 2011
I’ve been learning tons of techniques and working hard to broaden my cooking horizons and although I’ve made some pretty delicious dishes I wish they would look more like the plates at the end of those cooking show competitions. The way your food looks is as important as how it tastes so I tried to figure out what takes a plate from average looking to irresistible and although I don’t have any formal cooking experience I think I cracked the code. Here are some simple tips that will take your already special dishes the extra mile and have people thinking you spent years at Le Cordon Bleu!
1) Use White Plates to make you Food Pop!
2) Bigger is always better. Choose bigger plates so you have room to get creative and don’t overload your plate.
3) Don’t be afraid to use your hands. When watching cooking shows or competitions you will notice that chefs use their hands when plating, this provides more control than, lets say, tongs. Just wash your hands thoroughly before and after.
4) Showcase the star of your dish. Protein is usually the start of many dishes, plating it on top of a base like the starch will really make it the star of the show, and brings me to my next tip…
5) Plate up! try to get some height to your dishes. You can stack your meal like mentioned above or lean your protein up against your starch, or even create a mound or peak with your rice or mashed potatoes.
6) Strategically use sauces. Carefully spooning sauces in the middle of the empty plate can create a nice background for plating your meal, conversely, plating the meal then drizzling sauces around the empty spaces of the plate gives a nice visual.
7) Revisit the color wheel. Garnish with complementary colors, for example adding sprigs of fresh green parsley to those red meat dishes, will make your dish visually appealing.
8) Wipe up when your done. Use a clean towel to wipe up any splatter on the plate that may have occurred so that your finished product looks perfect.
The first fish/rice dish is plated in the standard manner that we all are familiar while the second is plated in a professional manner using the techniques described above. Both dishes are probably tasty but which would you rather try???
Posted by Admin on September 12, 2011
I love Worcestershire sauce; it’s an easy way to add complex flavor to simple dishes! It’s super versatile and holds up well to all types of meaty dishes and at about $4 a bottle its also really cheap so its a staple in my pantry. The ingredients are a bit peculiar: vinegar, molasses, sugar, anchovies, water, onions, salt, garlic, tamarind, cloves, and chilli pepper, but the flavor they create is unmatched. I always throw a couple splashes of it into my go to dishes like meaty spaghetti sauce and its usually pretty amazing but a couple of days ago I learned a very serious and vital lesson that I feel compelled to share:
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT! BURN THE WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE!!!!
Yesterday I was making a burger to satisfy my boyfriend’s protein fix and made an utterly fatal error! As I usually do when I’m making a frozen burger, I threw the patty in the pan added some spices and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce but instead of covering the pan to lock in the moisture like I usually do I haphazardly forgot to and instead went straight to the fridge to gather some accompaniments. Before I knew it the ice, turned water, evaptorated and the warm aromas of sizzling meat and Worcestershire sauce morphed into a burning menace the likes of pepper spray! Vinegar, the main ingredient, took over the air and in less than 30 seconds, my lungs! I was in the midst of a coughing fit with Mickey, my 8lbs chihuahua who frequents the kitchen when I’m cooking. My boyfriend came out to see what the commotion was all about and couldn’t help but joining in on the coughing fest. Quickly as I could I doused the pan with cold water,opened the doors and windows and evacuated the kitchen! Needless to say, my bf settled for a bowl of cereal. So here’s my public service announcement to all: Save you lungs and Don’t burn the Worcestershire sauce.
Until next time: keep it cooking!
WANT TO MAKE STUFFED SHELLS TONIGHT?
Posted by Admin on September 11, 2011