Friday, January 28, 2011

Homemade Ravioli and Tortellini- 3 different fillings

First, I'm going to admit that this was supposed to be just homemade ravioli. Unfortunately for me, I had a little lesson in homemade pasta storage. My beef raviolis stuck together overnight and broke apart a little when I pulled them apart. Fortunately, I re-shaped them into tortellinis and they were delicious. My cooking counterpart was much more clever than I, putting a liner of plastic wrap down in between each layer of raviolis in her container. She had no problems :o)

This is my second go at making pasta. A friend has a pasta roller attachment to her Kitchen Aid (2 things I would love to have). She kindly brought it over and we had a great morning of pasta making. We made 3 different kinds of fillings between the two of us. All turned out. All were yummy.

Here's a few step by step pictures of laying out the ravioli.

Use a pasta cutter (or pizza cutter like we did) - spoon a small amount onto the strip, about 2 inches apart. Brush an egg wash around the filling to help seal it later.

Put the matching half over top. Press down around the filling to seal (press out air bubbles). Use your cutter to divide. Press the seals again around the edges.

My friend's beautiful pasta storage job.

Here are the recipes:

2 cups flour (we did one batch with 1 1/2 cups white and 1/2 cup whole wheat and then a second batch that was 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat, both worked)
3 eggs
1 tsp water
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until the mixture begins to form a ball. Kneed the dough for a few minutes, sprinkling extra flour as necessary so the dough is not sticky. Cut dough into 4 pieces. Cover 3 with plastic wrap while working with the first one. Flatten out a little by hand or rolling pin and follow your pasta roller's instructions to create the kind of pasta you desire.

Beef and Cheese Filling
½ lb Ground Beef
3 oz Parmesan Cheese (I omitted, she used, both were good)
¼ Onion
2 – 3 cloves Garlic (I used 3, she used 1, again both were good)
1 Egg
some Fresh Oregano
some Fresh Parsley
(I didn't have fresh herbs on hand, I used some Italian seasoning, plus some dried oregano and dried parsley)
  1. Chop and mince garlic and onion.
  2. Grate parmesan cheese
  3. Brown ground beef.
  4. Add in chopped garlic and onion and finish browning beef.
  5. Drain browned ground beef, garlic and onion in colander.
  6. Chop or process fresh oregano and parsley.
  7. Add oregano and parsley to browned ground beef, garlic and onion.
  8. Beat or whisk an egg and stir into mixture.
*recipe courtesy of

Artichoke and Cream Cheese Filling

2 green onions, chopped
8 artichoke hearts, cut into quarters (I used marinated)
1 1/2 tbsp butter 
salt & freshly ground black pepper  
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup cream cheese

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add green onions and artichoke hearts.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes

Place into a bowl and puree with a hand blender (or put into a food processor and do the same).  Add cream cheese and egg.  Continue to blend everything together.

Butternut Squash and Cheese Filling

1 1/2 C baked butternut squash
1/2 cup strained ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Blend all ingredients together

My friend served this one the following way: "sautéed shallots in a lot of butter, tossing in chopped walnuts and lots of sage at the end for a few minutes and then poured it over the squash ravioli as a topping"  She said is was delicious.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tim Horton's Breakfast Sandwich - Copycat recipe

I've posted before how much I love the Tim Horton's Breakfast sandwich.  I order the egg and cheese on a tea biscuit.  It is such a yummy way to start the day (especially with French Vanilla coffee to accompany it).  I've never quite figured out how to do the egg part.  It completely eluded me.  At home, I've been making a cross between an Egg McMuffin and a Tim Horton's breakfast sandwich for a few years now.  Today, I figured it out.  Now that I know what I'm doing, it's so easy!  I'll let you in on the secret.

Biscuit Recipe

2 Cups Flour
1 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 tsp onion powder
3/4 cup milk

Pre-heat oven to 450*
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Use a pastry cutter to add in the margarine until it's really nice a crumbly looking. Stir in the milk (dough will be quite sticky).
Flour a flat surface and kneed the dough until soft and workable (flour your hands really well too for this). Roll out about 1/2 inch thick. Use a circle cutter (I use one of my kids plastic cups, about 2'' in diameter) to cut out the biscuits. Place on non-stick sprayed sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. I err on the side of less time to avoid burning and keep the baking sheet on a higher up rack. This recipe makes a dozen biscuits.

The Egg part

Spray a coffee cup with non-stick spray.  Crack an egg into it.  Mix well.  Add a little salt, pepper and parsley flakes to season.  Mix.  Cook in a microwave for 1 minute on high heat.

Putting the Sandwich together

Cut one biscuit in half.  Lay a slice of cheese* on the bottom.  Put the egg on top of the cheese.  Top with the top half of the biscuit.  Enjoy!

*Processed cheese slices are what they use at Tim's.  Now that you know what to do at home you can mix it up a bit with different cheeses.  Add a slice of ham or bacon if you like. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Super-Easy Banana Muffins

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that my middle child is really picky about fruits and vegetables.  He seems to only be able to eat them when they are in another form, so I'm always on the search for ways to get them in him.  I found this recipe on  It is the easiest banana muffin recipe ever!  Very tasty and moist.  And my son loved them, he ate 3 the first day we made them.  *I know these aren't the healthiest option out there, but man are they good!

1 cup Miracle Whip (I used Hellman's Mayonnaise instead)
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
4 bananas (mashed with a fork)
1 tsp baking soda

Hand mix ingredients together.  Fill muffin tins with batter.  Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes (or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean).  Makes 12 muffins.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Daisy flower birthday cake

My darling baby girl turned one today!  Here's the cake I made for her.  I have to say it's fun to make a cake for a little girl.  My husband thinks this is my best cake to date.  I don't know if that's true, but I think it's pretty cute :o)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cajun Bagel Crisps

These were a super tasty find in my Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen book this year (Jean Pare, Company's Coming).  They aren't just for Christmas snacking, they will do well year round.  Easy to make and yummy to snack on.  We munched on these plain, with cream cheese and with cream cheese and smoked salmon.  All good!

2 large bagels (they suggest trying a savory flavour, but we just used plain)

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Cut bagels in half crosswise.  Cut each half into 1/8 (3 mm) half-moon slices.  Arrange in a single layer on greased baking sheets (I just sprayed mine with Pam). 

Combine the next 7 ingredients in a small bowl.  Brush both sides of the bagel slices with the margarine mixture.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake in 400* oven for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.  Cool.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen crisps.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beirut Tahini Swirls

A friend of mine lent me this beautiful cookbook.  At first glance, you kind of wonder - bread?  But truly bread is a connector in cultures globally.  Every culture it seems has some sort of take on bread and home baking.  I am now on the look to get this book for myself.
This bread was so tasty for my family (though my friend loves it, she did tell me that her family doesn't like it as much, I think you have to love tahini to love this bread). 

The authors found this bread while wandering around in Beirut.  It's sweet, but not too sweet.  Well worth a try.

1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (about)
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil

3/4 cup tahini
3/4 cup sugar

In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water.  Stir in 1 cup of the flour, then add the sugar and oil and stir in.  Incorporate a second cup of flour, then turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 2-3 hours, until doubled in volume. 

Mix the tahini and sugar together and stir until smooth, set aside.

Place a baking stone (or baking sheet) on the middle oven rack and heat the oven to 375*.

Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Work 3 at a time, keeping the others covered.  Flatten each out on a lightly floured surface, then roll each out to a rectangle about 5x10 inches.  Spread 2 1/2 tbsp of filling mixture on top.  Roll up each rectangle from the long side to a cylinder, which will stretch as you roll to about 20 inches long.  Anchor one end as you coil the rest around  (like you are making a snail shell).  Tuck the end in on itself.  Flatten with the palm of your hand, set aside, covered while you fill and shape the other rectangles.

Return to the first coil and roll out gently with a rolling pin.  Roll the other 2 out a little, then return to the first, continue until they are thin, each about 6 ir 7 inches in diameter.

Place the breads on the hot baking stone (or baking sheets) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and flaky.  Transfer to a rack to cool.  Shape and bake the remaining 3 pieces of dough while the first 3 are baking.  Serve warm or at room temperature.