Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tortellini Alla Panna

Alla Panna is cream sauce. So this is Tortellinii alla panna - tortellini stuffed with cheese, in cream sauce, with sausage, mushrooms & peas(optional). Simple, yet elegant dish that is palate and crowd pleaser and doesn't make a big hole in your wallet! Now that's what you need in these trying economic times.  I also make this whenever I am crunched for time.  Same thing happened Saturday evening. Normally I make an elaborate 3-course meal for Saturday night dinner.  This past Saturday was a rush rush.  Didn't have much time to sit down and enjoy a large meal as we were going to the church right after the dinner is done.  We were only allowed about 30 minutes for having our dinner. So I made this wonderful, satisfying, one pot pasta dish and  some balsamic glazed carrots to round out the meal.
Tortellini Alla Panna
1 lb. fresh tortellini(you can use ravioli)
1 lb. hot Italian Turkey sausage, casing removed
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
Garlic, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1-2 cups half n half
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to:
In a sauce pot, melt butter, add onion and garlic, cook till onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant, for about 4-5 minutes.
Add flour and cook further till the raw flour smell disappears.
Crumble the sausage, add to the onion-garlic mix and cook till sausage is brown. Add more oil if it sticks to the bottom of the pan.
Add mushrooms, cook till golden brown in color.
Add salt, pepper, half n half and simmer till the sauce thickens.
In the meantime, cook pasta per package directions.
Transfer the cooked pasta in the sauce pot, toss and serve hot with the baguette(you need it to wipe the plate clean!)
For the glazed carrots, slice baby carrots in half, toss with balsamic vinegar,salt, pepper, a  bit of oil. Roast in hot oven till caramelized and tender.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Good-for-you Oatmeal Muffins

These are serious muffins! If you want to eat healthy first thing in the morning and at the same time need something as a grab and go breakfast, you are at the right place. For so long, this dreaded natural flavor oatmeal bag was staring at me. I tried once to eat with some cinnamon sugar and dried cranberries and fresh apples, it was ok. It didn’t wow me nor did I want to go back to it. It seriously lacked something. And then one fine morning, it hit me! I thought let’s make muffins. Let me just use more oatmeal as possible and see how it turns out.  Turned out, they were plain delish!  Give it a try. You will feel good and your body will thank you for taking good care of it!

Here’s how I made it.

Good-For-You Oatmeal Muffins
1 cup quick, uncooked oats
½ cup AP flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cardamom
¼ cup milk
½ cup sugar
3 tsp vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

How to:
Pre heat oven to 400°F.
Line the 6-cup muffin tray with paper liners or lightly spray with oil.
Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another.
Pour wet ingredients in dry ingedients bowl and gently stir until the dry mixture is moistened.
Fill the cups almost full, and bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops are nicely brown.
Cool on wire rack for 5-10 minutes.
Serve warm with pat of butter.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nutella Crepes


I made this for one Sunday breakfast. I love crepes. I love nutella. Never had them together before. Now that I did, I am hooked! It was divine. I know I will be making this a lot for sure.
Crepes can be intimidating to a few people. It’s really very easy to make. You really throw in measured ingredients which are handful in your blender and let it do the rest of the job. And the best thing is, you can make a whole lot of crepes and freeze them. They freeze beautifully. So make once, eat more than once. And we all know crepes are such versatile. From breakfast to dessert, you can use those pre made crepes. So what are you waiting for?
Here’s how I made it.

Nutella Crepes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan
Nutella, as much as you want!
Sliced almonds(optional)

How to:

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds.
Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat.
Pour ¼ cup of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly.
Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool.
Continue until all batter is gone.
After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months.
When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.
For Nutella crepes, place 1 crepe on a plate, spread Nutella on it. Roll up and serve.
I added sliced almonds in mine for that crunch.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Katori Chaat

This is for my sister! She loves chaats. I don’t. I sometimes make it just so that it gives the necessary change to every day food. Hubby likes to have it too. This was on back of my mind for a long time. Somehow didn’t get to it. Finally this past weekend, I was able to make these katories and immediately we devoured them as chaat. Chaat part was the easiest part. Making katoris were a bit time consuming as I had to roll the balls thin and then I was baking them. But the end result was oh so good.

Here’s how I made it.
Katori chaat
For katoris(baskets)
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup Crisco shortening(butter or oil would be good too but shortening, without any water content makes the crispiest thins)
Salt to taste
About ¼ cup water

For chaat:
2 medium potatoes, boiled and cubed
Sweetened yogurt
Cilantro pesto(mix 1 cup cilantro, 3-4 cloves garlic, salt and pepper with water and blend until smooth)
Tamarind sauce(homemade or bottled)
Garlic sauce(mix 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper powder with 1 tbsp water)
Optional garnishes like thin sev(indian noodles), boondies etc.

How to:
For katoris:
Pre heat oven to 400° F.
Prepare smooth dough with flour, salt and Crisco.
Make about 1” big balls, roll them thin to 2” discs.
Place the discs in either mini muffin tray or small brioche moulds.
Press lightly so that the discs turn into cups.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on the wire racks.
These can be made 1 week or so advance and stored in an airtight container.

When ready to eat, mix chaat ingredients, spoon on the baskets and enjoy.