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.

New Orleans Style Shrimp

Years ago my wife and I took a trip to New Orleans. We fell in love with it. Granted we stayed on Bourbon street, but never really spent much time on it to be quite honest. We steered away from that main street and entered other areas in town to try an array of food. I could eat that city all day long, and if my wife was not with me, I probably would have practiced gluttony. There’s one dish known as New Orleans shrimp that I think everyone must try. It is not spicy, but it is balanced by a bunch of butter, lemon, and other spices that makes you digging for bread to dunk into these delicious juices.  I tossed mine with pasta to make it more of a meal, but you can simply pour the cooked shrimp into a bowl, get some rustic bread, and get to town.

New Orleans Style Shrimp Recipe
New Orleans Style Shrimp Recipe

Let’s get started.

  • 2 lbs peeled shrimp, tracts removed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup of Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • salt to taste
  • pasta, cooked (optional)
  • chopped parsley, optional
  • Rustic French bread, optional

This dish goes pretty quick, so if you are cooking pasta, you can do it in parallel.

To a large bowl, add the lemon juice, worchestershire, black pepper, Creole seasoning, and garlic. Give a good mix, then gently fold in the shrimp. Marinade the shrimp for about 10 minutes. If you are going to be folding the shrimp into the cooked pasta, this is the time to get the pasta water boiling before dropping the pasta.

Next, get a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the the entire mixture from the bowl, and cook just until the shrimp become slightly pink. This is when you are going to want to lower the heat, and begin adding the butter, a couple tablespoons at a time.

New Orleans Style Shrimp Ingredients
New Orleans Style Shrimp Ingredients

Once the butter begins to melt, add in a few more tablespoons at a time until the butter is completely gone. Yes, I know it is a lot of butter, but so is bagna caulda, and that is what makes the final sauces so flipping delicious.

Once the butter is fully melted and the shrimp cooked, season with a pinch or two of salts, and pour into a serving bowl, or fold into pasta (your call). If serving from the bowl, place the bowl on a large plate surrounded by chunks of French bread, and dig in. Get some shrimp, dunk into that delicious sauce, and repeat.

If you are looking for a great game day food, and one that will serve plenty, give this one a try, it’s super delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Lasagna Soup

My family is a big fan of lasagna, I mean who isn’t? I have made many attempts at putting a little twist on the classic, and this one is no exception. The temperature has dropped in Wisconsin, and we are settling in for the hibernation season, so I figured that I would come up with a soup, a lasagna soup at that. What I didn’t know is how much my family would love this recipe. I was a bit suspect on my kids eating it as they are not big soup eaters, but all I can say is that went up for seconds, two days in a row. Yep, it was that good.

Lasagna Soup Recipe
Lasagna Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 lb of ground chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 7 cups of chicken stock, more if you want it to be more ‘soupy’
  • 1 whole onion, thinly diced
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce
  • 5 sheets of lasagna pasta, broken
  • 1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, use to your liking
  • Grated parmesan cheese, to your liking

Start by getting a medium sized soup pot on the stove, and heat it to medium heat. Toss in the ground beef, and cook until browned, breaking it up along the way. Once cooked, strain and remove all of the fat. Return the ground beef back to the stove, and toss in the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add in the salt, pepper, chili flakes, and Italian seasoning. Give a good stir, then toss in the garlic, and tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste for a couple of minutes, then add in the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, and marinara sauce. Give this another good stir, and bring to a gentle boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat to medium-low, then add in the broken pasta sheets.

Lasagna Soup Ingredients
Lasagna Soup Ingredients

Cook for about 20 minutes or until the pasta is nice and tender.

When you are ready to serve, ladle into your soup bowl, shower with parmesan and mozzarella cheese, and dig in.

This is everything you love about lasagna, but in soup format, and what’s not to love about that! Hope you enjoy, and stay warm!

Mixed Bowl Ramen

I’ll admit it. I love ramen. The cheap bag of ramen that is pretty much in most everyone’s cupboard, office desk, or for me right now, on my desk. That great bag of Maruchan ramen, the one that costs less than fifty cents is good in itself and is a quick fix to feed the belly, but when you jazz it up a bit, well that ramen just gets so much better. So on a recent work from home day, I decided that I would make a bowl of ramen for brunch. The weird thing about working from home is that my routine gets jacked up. I start working much earlier, forget to eat breakfast, or lunch for that matter, and work much later. So this ramen did the trick during my ten o’clock lunch break.

Mixed Ramen Bowl Recipe
Mixed Ramen Bowl Recipe

This jazzed up ramen is so good and so easy to make that it will having you rethink that standard bag of ramen. A total upgrade in my opinion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Maruchan ramen (I used beef)
  • 1/2 package of ramen flavoring packet
  • 1 slice of American cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp Furikake seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp Frank’s RedHot sauce
  • 1 egg, 6 minute cook
  • water

Start by cooking your egg. Bring a small pot of water on medium-high heat. Add the egg, bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Keep the egg in the pot for 6 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water.

Next, follow the instructions on your ramen package, and bring the noodles to a bowl. Add in half of the package of seasoning, and cook until the noodles are al dente. During this time, assemble your ramen bowl.

Mixed Ramen Bowl Ingredients
Mixed Ramen Bowl Ingredients

To the bottom of your bowl, add in the slice of American cheese, the furikake seasoning, and the RedHot. Pour in the noodles, and seasoned water, add the sliced jalapenos, and after peeling your egg, slice it in half and add to the top of the ramen.

Give the bottom a gentle mix and stir, and get your slurp on. The end result is this creamy, spicy, and punch of that awesome Japanese furikake seasoning, and that egg is just perfect on the cook time. Talk about an awesome brunch, that made my day just a little better. If you are looking to jazz up a standard bowl of ramen, give this one a shot, it’s well worth it. Hope you enjoy!