Simple advice for a better life.

Pasta e Fagioli – Light Recipe

Pasta e FagioliThis cold weather calls for a cup of hot, hearty soup, so Pasta e Fagioli is a perfect solution.

Being of Eastern European background, I enjoy homemade  soups anytime, but especially on cold winter days.

Pasta e Fagioli, is one of my favorite Italian soups, so today I am posting its lighter version recipe, made with ground turkey, less beans, and low fat cheese.

 

Pasta e Fagioli - Low Fat Recipe

Serving Size: 6-8 servings

Pasta e Fagioli - Low Fat Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Turkey, ground
  • 4+ cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth (32 oz)
  • 1 tsp. Basil, dried
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 30 oz. Crushed Tomatoes (2- 15 oz cans)
  • 2 Tbs. Tomato Paste (I use Contadina Italian Style)
  • 2 Carrots, shredded
  • 2 Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 15 oz can of Great Northern Beans, rinsed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp.Oregano, dried
  • 3/4 tsp.Thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. Dry Wine (red or white)
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Low fat cheese, shredded (Swiss, Havarti, Gouda)
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (small cut - Elbow, Ditalini, Shells)

Instructions

  1. Place 1 Tbs. of olive oil in a sauce pan, add ground turkey, and saute for 15 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Drain and discard any excess fat. Remove meat from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add another Tbs. of olive oil to pan, add onions and saute until translucent.
  4. Add garlic and leeks, and saute 1 minute.
  5. Add carrots and celery, and cook 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
  6. Remove from heat. Mix veggies with ground turkey. Set aside.
  7. Pour the Vegetable or Chicken Broth into a 6 quart pot, and bring to boil.
  8. Add the turkey/veggie mixture, and bring to boil.
  9. Turn the heat to medium, and continue simmering.
  10. Add the Crushed Tomatoes, Beans, Oregano, Thyme, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, and wine.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Mix tomato paste with 1/2 cup of water, and add to the soup. Simmer 2 minutes longer.
  13. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove and discard Bay Laves.
  14. Remove from heat.
  15. Serve hot with 2 Tbs. of pasta per serving, topped off with 1 Tbs. of shredded cheese.

Notes

To make this recipe even lighter, this soup may be served without any pasta. It still tastes wonderful.....very full body and delicious.

http://suburbangrandma.com/recipes/pasta-e-fagioli-light-recipe/

 

 

 

Ukrainian-Meatballs-Eastern Europeans like their meatballs served with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and a side dish of well seasoned sautéed cabbage.

You might think this is a strange combination, but it’s just a matter of acquiring a taste for it, and loving it.

Meatballs and cabbage stew is another interesting dish you might think is different, yet very tasty.

Today I will share my recipe for the Ukrainian Meatballs with Mushrooms.

This recipe yields 4-6 servings.

Meatballs Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground meat (I prefer meatloaf mix – pork/beef/veal)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Mushroom Gravy Ingredients:

  • 10 oz white mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (trim off the stem ends)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Canola or Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Half and Half
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. Dill weed, fresh or dried
  • 1/2 tsp. Maggi Seasoning, optional

 Meatballs Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, egg, milk, seasoning, salt, pepper and Parmesan Cheese.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and saute the onions, until translucent.
  3. Add the chopped garlic, and saute for 1 minute longer.
  4. Add onion to the seasoned mixture.
  5. Mix in the meat, to incorporate all ingredients into uniform paste.
  6. From 1.5 inch size meatballs, and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminium foil, greased with cooking spray.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake 10 minutes on each side,  turning once.
  8. Remove from oven, and transfer meatballs into a medium pot.  Set aside for now.

Mushroom Gravy Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan
  2. Saute onions until golden.
  3. Add the chopped garlic, and saute a minute longer.
  4. Add sliced mushrooms, and saute until they begin to release their juices (5 minutes), stirring often.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a small cup or bowl, combine the cream with flour, to form a smooth mixture.
  7. Mix the cream/flour mixture with the mushrooms.  Bring to boil.
  8. Pour mushroom gravy over meatballs,  and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  9. Season with Dill Weed, and Maggi seasoning.
  10. Serve hot, over mashed potatoes, or your favorite pasta.

Enjoy!

 

 

Birthday Party AppetizersWhether you are cooking at home, dining out, or ordering take out, there are almost always some leftovers to deal with after the fact.

There is nothing wrong with having leftovers.   After all, you spent time and money on this food, so you deserve to enjoy it to the last morsel.

Some prepared dishes are not suitable for later use as a leftover…they lose their taste and texture, so it is best to just part with them right there and then.

Numerous others, on the other hand, are still great for at least one or two meals, or even to be frozen for that rainy day when you have no time or desire to cook.

Some people do not like leftovers, and never keep them.  However, if you are like me, you don’t mind them, and feel that you get your money’s worth if you use them.

Most Europeans don’t believe in leftovers….maybe because they hardly ever have any.

They serve their meals already preportioned per plate, and make just enough to feed the crowd they accounted for.  The portions are large enough to satisfy the consumer, so there is no need, or room, for seconds.  Therefore, there are no leftovers.  Any remaining food on each plate, which hardly ever happens, is discarded.  It is almost impolite to ask for a “Doggie Bag”.

Here in the USA we have no problem asking the waiter/waitress to pack up our leftovers to take home with us.

It is very important to keep track of your leftover food in your fridge, which is one of my pet peeves.  I almost feel like I am a fridge police, whether it is at home or at work.

There is nothing worse than seeing “old” food sitting in the fridge way past its safe consumable time.

My personal time line for using up leftovers in up to 3 days…4 being the absolute max.

Now I will share my best way of using up leftovers, and keeping your fridge fresh, and ready for restocking.

Since most of us work full-time, and don’t have much time for cooking during the week, we prepare extra food on weekend, to hold us over for couple of days.  Then by mid-week, it’s time for some take out.  By Thursday we have leftovers to use, or lose.

I consider Thursday  a “Leftover Smorgasbord Dinner Day”.  We pull out all the leftovers from the past few days, and add something new if needed, and call it a day.

Everyone is to create their own plate of food from the smorgasbord spread available.  We also use disposable dishes and utensils that day, to save time on clean up effort.  Whatever food is remaining after this dinner, gets discarded for good.

This is the BEST way to free your fridge of leftover food, and to prevent any food from hiding in there for too long.

Since we have no dishes to wash on this day, we devote our time to cleaning up the fridge, and getting it ready for fresh food from Friday or Saturday shopping.

It works very well every time, and it also is fun, economical, and stress free.

I suggest you try it too, and share your comments.

Have fun!

Party-foodsParty-Time-Appetizer-table

 

 

 

 

The hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping is over for most of us (many Ukrainians will still celebrate Christmas on January 6th and 7th), so now it’s time to plan the New Year bash.

Since I will not be hosting  New Year  party this year, and not preparing anything exciting, you may click on the highlighted links to my previous posts with many fun party foods.

Also, I pinned a lot of interesting party foods on my Pinterest board, which you are more that welcome to check out, and test them out.

H A P P Y   N E W  Y E A R!!!

MAY YOU ALL BE BLESSED

WITH GOOD HEALTH,

LOVE,

PEACE,

AND PROSPERITY.

 

Stuffed Dumplings - Turkey stuffing 3These dumplings are almost a complete meal in itself, since you have the potatoes, the meat, plus add your favorite gravy, or a savory tomato sauce, and dinner is ready.

My sister shared a bunch of new recipes with me, so I will also share them with you, as soon as I test them out, and include some pictures to show them off.

These dumplings are very tasty, and the leftovers are great reheated in the microwave.

You may serve them with your favorite gravy, sauteed onions in butter, sauteed bread crumbs in butter, or a savory tomato sauce.

I made my own tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes from my garden.

This recipe yields 32 dumplings, slightly larger in size than a golf ball.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 3 cups mashed potatoes (about 10 medium size potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Wondra flour
  • 2 Tbs. corn starch
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. Canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Ingredients for the stuffing:

  • 1 lbs. ground meat (I used turkey for this recipe, but chicken, beef or pork may also be used)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 tsp. Sage
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Basil
  • 2 Tbs. Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 4 Tbs. bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions for the stuffing:

  1. Add 1 Tbs. butter to a frying pan, and saute the chopped onions for 2 minutes, until translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and saute for a minute longer, stirring often.
  3. Add the ground meat and continue to saute, until fully cooked, stirring continuously to break it up.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley and sage.
  5. Remove to a medium bowl, and mix well with 1 egg and bread crumbs, to make stuffing.
  6. Set aside to cool, then form into 32 meatballs, about the size of a walnut.

Directions for the dough:

  1. Peel the potatoes, cut in chunks.
  2. Rinse and place in a pot of cold, salted water.
  3. Bring to boil and cook until done (about 20 minutes).
  4. Drain the water, and add 1 Tbs. butter.
  5. Mash well, until smooth, and not lumpy.
  6. Set aside.
  7. Place the mashed potatoes on a floured work area.
  8. Mix the all-purpose flour with the corn starch and Wondra.
  9. Make a well in the middle of the potatoes, and add the flour mixture.
  10. Add 1 egg, one egg yolk, salt and oil.
  11. Mix it all up, to create a soft and satiny dough.
  12. Let the dough rest 5 minutes, covered with a tea towel.
  13. On a floured work surface, roll the dough into a long rope, about 2 inches in diameter.
  14. Use a sharp knife, and cut the dough rope into 32 slices, about 1/4 inch thick.
  15. Using floured hands, and working on a floured surface, form each slice into a thin circle (less than 1/8 inch thick).
  16. Place one prepared meatball in the middle of the circle and bring edges together to seal, then roll between the palms of your hands to form a ball.
  17. Set aside on a floured surface and repeat the process until all the dough and filling are used up.
  18. Meanwhile, fill a pot with salted water, and bring to boil.
  19. Place several dumplings (no  more than one layer once they float up to the top) into the boiling water, and gently stir with a wooden spoon, or spatula.
  20. Bring to boil again, and once they float to the top, cook for at least 8 minutes.
  21. Remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl of cold water, and leave them in there for few minutes to cool off. Then pour out into a colander, to drip off.
  22. Repeat the cooking process for the remaining dumplings.

 

Stuffed gnocchi  - with sauteed breadcrumbsStuffed gnocchi  -  with sauteed onions and butter

Stuffed gnocchi  - seved with mushroom sauce

Serve warm with your favorite gravy (mine favorite is mushroom – center picture).  The above serving suggestions also include sautéed bread crumbs in butter, garnished with chopped parsley, or sautéed onions in butter, garnished with chopped dill weed.

 

 

 

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