Gnocchi Alfredo

My wife is a big fan of gnocchi. Who isn’t for that matter? I remember when she had some dental surgery done she had to eat some soft food, or heck jello for that matter (which she wasn’t having any part of), so I decided to make her a homemade batch of ricotta gnocchi. She fell in love with it from that day, and so did I. Soft, pillow like dough made from potatoes and a bit of flour, I mean what is not to love and love to make for that matter. So on a recent trip to a store, we saw this package of gnocchi. I typically would never buy something like it, but my wife and I both looked at it and said ‘should we try it?’. This is where the gnocchi alfredo came into play.

Gnocchi Alfredo Recipe
Gnocchi Alfredo Recipe

Before I was going to make the homemade alfredo sauce, I was really torn to make a sage and brown butter sauce (one my kids totally love), but to me that is a bit seasonal and I had no sage growing as it is winter in Wisconsin. That’s when I knew my kids would love a creamy and cheesy alfredo sauce. They devoured this pasta.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of gnocchi (make your own, or try store bought)
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste

Now the gnocchi we tried was from Costco. It was from Maffei, and something we have never tried before. You can try any brand if you want and it is typically found nowadays in your frozen section, or refrigerated pasta section at your grocery store. Again, if you don’t want to go that route, make your own. It’s not difficult, and in all honesty the texture is better when done homemade.

Maffei Gnocchi
Maffei Gnocchi

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. This will take a handful of minutes, so make your alfredo sauce as this is happening. Grab a good spoonful of course salt and add it to your water as well.

Let’s make the sauce.

To another sauce pan, bring it to medium heat and add in your butter. Let that begin to melt, then toss in your garlic. Let that cook a minute or so and once the butter is melted and slightly bubbling, stir in the flour. Mix well so that it forms a nice paste. Cook this for another minute or two but be careful not to overcook the flour. You want a light blonde, if that, for this sauce. Remember, it’s alfredo sauce.

Add in the cream, and milk, and continue to whisk until the flour breaks up, and begins to thicken. Once that sauce begins to thicken, add in the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and continue to whisk. Lower the heat, and stir occasionally while you add your gnocchi to your boiling, salted water.

This particular gnocchi took about 1 1/2 minutes to cook. Once these babies were floating, I removed with a slotted kitchen spider, let the drain, and added them directly to the alfredo sauce. Once all added, stir them gently into the sauce, and serve family style.

My family devoured this stuff. Creamy, cheesy, garlicky. It was right up everyone’s alley. The store bought gnocchi? Uh, not a big fan but something that was quick to make during a busy work night. The sauce. Make the sauce. Enjoy.

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert

Most every time I go to the store, I see small packages of what is called ‘puppy chow’, and I see people buying these powdered sugar based cereal. I’ve looked at the cost and say to myself ‘seriously, that much for this?!’. That when I figured I would come up with own batch, making it my own and loading up this puppy chow that I knew my wife and kids would love. The ingredients are way too simple and I pretty much had everything laying around with the exception of the Chex cereal. You’re going to love this one.

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe
Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups of Chex Mix (I used the Rice variety)
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10 Oreo cookies, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of regular M&Ms
  • 1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar

Get a large mixing bowl, one large enough to hold all of the cereal comfortably.

Add the crumbled Oreos, then the cereal, then top with the M&Ms.

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe
Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe

To another bowl, add the chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter. Place in a microwave and melt for about 90 seconds or until you have a smooth mixture. Give it a good stir, and if you need it to smooth out even more, add a few more seconds in the microwave.

Get your powered sugar ready.

Take the chocolate mixture and pour all over the cereal and quickly mix, then pour on the powdered sugar. Continue to mix until everything is coated. Pour the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and let cool.

Serve in bowls and seal in a bag for all of the leftovers. I must say my family probably took down a half of that batch and wow they were in heaven. If you are looking for a simple dessert and one that you can simply throw together for that sweet tooth of yours, give this one a go. The addition of the cookies and M&Ms were a huge hit. Hope you enjoy!

Egg in a Bagel

A handful of years ago I came up with a recipe known as ‘spicy egg in the basket with sausage‘. It was essentially a pretty awesome breakfast recipe where a piece of bread was cut out and topped with an egg and some cooked breakfast sausage. After thinking about it, I could probably eat that every morning. IT WAS THAT GOOD. This time was a bit different though. As I watch my wife eat her daily, morning bagel (Yes, she eats a bagel every single morning), something lit up, and it came to me to come up with this recipe. The egg in a bagel. As much as my wife loves her morning bagel, I’m a total sucker for making a McMuffin for breakfast. That’s my morning jam and I could probably eat something along those lines every day to get my morning going. This egg in a bagel was no different, but a nice little spin on a mcmuffin.

Egg in a Bagel Recipe
Egg in a Bagel Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 plain bagel (or use your favorite style)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 slice of American cheese
  • 1 slice of deli ham
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 ring cutter, or serrated knife

Start by cutting out the center of your bagel. I use my handy, dandy ring cutter, about 2 inches in diameter, something wide enough to house the egg and get an even cook on it.

Do the same with with the cutter, or knife on the American cheese and ham.

Next, heat your skillet on medium heat, and add in the butter. Lay the bottom bagel down onto the melted butter, crack the egg into the hole, the top with the cheese, and ham. Top with the top side of the bagel.

Egg in a Bagel Recipe
Egg in a Bagel Recipe

Season the top of the egg with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper, then top with the lid, steaming the egg a bit so that it cooks through to your desired doneness.

Once the egg is cooked through, plate and serve.

Egg in a Bagel Recipe
Egg in a Bagel Recipe

Not only is this thing a joy to look at, it’s a thing of beauty to eat. That American cheese is crispy on the edges, along with the ham, creamy on the inside, the bagel lightly toasted from the butter, and the egg is perfectly cooked and creamy making this breakfast sandwich one to step up to any contender.

If you are looking for something fun to make, something pretty to look at, and more importantly something super delicious then give this one a try. Hope you enjoy and everyone have a great New Year!

Dill Pickle Soup

I was first introduced to Dill Pickle Soup over a year ago at one of Milwaukee’s annual, ethnic festivals, Polish Fest. If you have never been to Milwaukee, please come from June-August as there are so many fun things to do, including an ethnic festival that takes over a major downtown park every week. The one we went to was Polish fest. I have no idea why, as none of us our Polish, but I wanted to give my kids a glimpse into some of their culture, plus I knew they would love a Polish sausage, which would lure them into a couple of attractions. For me, well, it was to try new things, and things I would typically not run into on a regular basis. That’s when I saw dill pickle soup.

Dill Pickle Soup Recipe
Dill Pickle Soup Recipe

At first glance of those words, I thought there is no freaking way this is going to be good, but hey, it’s worth a try. So as I ordered sausages for my kids, and something else for my wife, I went all in and dove into this cup of dill pickle soup. At first glance it looks like a vegetable soup, then when sticking my nose to the rim of the cup, I could smell that dill flavor coming through. Don’t get me wrong, I love pickles, especially dill pickles, but in soup? What were these Polish folks thinking? It’s soup season in Wisconsin (yes, it’s currently -6 degrees), and I figured this one would warm the soul.

Let’s get started.

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 whole carrots, trimmed, and finely diced (I used my food processor)
  • 1 whole leek, cleaned, thinly diced (I used my food processor)
  • 1 whole russet potato, peeled, and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 5 cups of chicken stock, low sodium
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups of dill pickle juice
  • 4 dill pickle spears, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Some good crusty bread, optional

Sounds great already, and trust me it is.

Start by getting your soup pot on the stove. Add in your butter, on medium-high heat, and let that melt down. Toss in your carrots, leeks, jalapeno, and potatoes, and give that a good stir. Continue to stir for about 3-5 minutes.

Dill Pickle Soup Ingredients
Dill Pickle Soup Ingredients

Next, add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, and bring to a simmer. Check on your potatoes from time to time, and once they are knife tender, add in the pickle juice, pickles, Old Bay, salt, and pepper.

Give that a good stir. Now, to a small bowl, add the water, sour cream, and flour. Whisk until you have a smooth mixture. This will be a small thickening agent for the soup, plus it gives a bit of great, mild sourness from the sour cream.

After a few minutes, take your whisk, and your sour cream mixture, and slowly begin whisking it into the soup. Keep whisking throughout the process. Once all of the sour cream mixture is in the pot, give another good whisk, then cover, and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

Dill Pickle Soup Recipe
Dill Pickle Soup Recipe

Now you are ready to serve. Ladle into your soup bowl, or cup, and dig in.

What were these Polish folks thinking? I’ll tell you what, they were thinking that this bowl of soup would be nothing but delicious. Again, at first glance you think it is vegetable soup, but when bringing the soup spoon closer, you get that mild dill pickle aroma, with the subtle taste when spooning it in. My daughter, who ‘can’t stand’ pickles, at her bowl of soup. I was surprised, and upon her first or second bite she asked ‘are there pickles in this?’, and I said yes, she kept her face down, her bread dunked, and kept at it.

If you are skeptical, give it a try. My neighbors brought over a bear soup yesterday, and I traded up with my dill pickle soup. He, being Polish, had never had this type of soup, so it will be interested to get his take on it, once I see him after it begins to warm up in the great white north. Enjoy!