Baked Ziti with Crème Fraîche and Spinach

Maybe I should be sharing a spooky recipe for today, but I wanted to share this because it is recipe you can make ahead. Basically you can follow the recipe below right up until the step where you bake it, and then just refrigerate it until you are ready to bake it. It might take a little bit longer to bake since it is cold, but I did it the day before and it was still great. So, if you’re getting kids or yourself ready for trick or treating, you can assemble this the day before or in the morning, then pop it in the oven while you get ready. Eat, then go enjoy some treats!

Continue reading

Advertisements

Homemade Liege Waffles

I’ve made these a couple times and apparently both times forgot to take pictures. Whomp whomp. But maybe in the future when I make them next I can try to remember and add the pictures later. I do have the after shots, though.

These waffles were pretty amazing. They bake up crispy on the outside and eggy/chewy on the inside. I also kind of like that the shapes are not the typical round waffles.

As for the fancy pearl sugar usually required? I made a version with sugar and water. Unfortunately I forgot about them in the oven and they lost their shape, but I just broke them up into pieces again and they worked just fine in the dough. You can certainly buy the pearl sugar (Amazon has it, but there are grocery stores that carry it, too) or make it at home if you don’t feel like waiting.

Speaking of the dough, those are the little dough balls you make and then put in your waffle iron. I tried using extra dough but it didn’t work well. The waffles would take too long to cook through and the outside wasn’t as good. So, stick with the golf ball hunks of dough I describe in the directions.

These waffles don’t need syrup because they are sweet enough as is–the Fudgelet actually said that they taste like they have syrup in them. I hope you’ll try them!

Directions for Liege Waffles

Adapted from Something Swanky

  • 1 Tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 1.5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk, lukewarm (around 100-110 degrees F)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces pearl sugar (or 1/2 recipe of below)

Sprinkle the yeast and granulated sugar over the milk. Let rest 5 minutes, or until foamy. Whisk the eggs in a stand mixer for about 2 minutes on medium-low until lightly beaten. Add the milk mixture and mix. Then, with the mixer on low, slowly pour in the melted butter. Add the flour and salt, then switch to the dough attachment. Knead for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a ball of dough forms and it pulls away from the sides.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour until doubled. Alternatively, allow to rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator. When ready, preheat the waffle iron. Meanwhile, knead the pearl sugar into the dough then make golf ball-sized balls of dough. Cook one ball at a time until golden brown. For my waffle maker, this was about 3 minutes. Use forks to remove from the maker as the pearl sugar will caramelize and be super hot. You can keep the waffles warm in a 200 degree F oven on a baking sheet, if desired.

Hack for Pearl Sugar

  • 10 ounces Granulated sugar
  • water

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Begin by grinding the granulated sugar in a mini food processor until it is more finely ground. Then add water and stir with your hands until it forms a dough. Then, make little balls of dough and place them on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour until they turn crisp.

Continue reading

Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs

Awhile ago, before the Chiplet arrived, K had to do a work trip. He was gone for a few days, which made my evenings fairly quiet and slow. One of these nights, I decided to make a huge batch of meatballs. I made enough for us to eat for dinner twice, and to save for future meals post Chiplet. Sauce included! These were really yummy meatballs with the cheese inside. You can make them as small as you like, but ours were on the more normal size since I was making so many (about 100). I doubled the recipe below because I figured that if you’re going to make meatballs, you may as well make a double batch to save. Right?

 

Directions for Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs

Adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

  • 8 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes (about 1/2 inch cubed)
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Spaghetti/tomato sauce recipe of your using, jarred or homemade

In a bowl, stir together all of the ingredients except for the mozzarella.

When the mixture is well-combined, spoon out a small amount of the meat mixture to wrap around a piece of mozzarella. Cover the mozzarella completely, then place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Make all of the meatballs and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the meatballs until browned and mostly cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). At the same time, bring your tomato/spaghetti sauce to a simmer and when the meatballs are ready, add them and simmer gently until cooked through.

Serve.

Directions for Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs (without pictures)

Adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

  • 8 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes (about 1/2 inch cubed)
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Spaghetti/tomato sauce recipe of your using, jarred or homemade

In a bowl, stir together all of the ingredients except for the mozzarella. When the mixture is well-combined, spoon out a small amount of the meat mixture to wrap around a piece of mozzarella. Cover the mozzarella completely, then place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Make all of the meatballs and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the meatballs until browned and mostly cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). At the same time, bring your tomato/spaghetti sauce to a simmer and when the meatballs are ready, add them and simmer gently until cooked through. Serve.

Continue reading

Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel

This is a great make ahead dish and looked mediocre before baking it, even if you don’t have to according to Ina.

Continue reading

Ina’s Weeknight Bolognese

I made this sauce around Halloween time because it sounded good, easy, and worked with our schedule of many activities. I was able to make the sauce one night while baking that night’s dinner. This way, we had easy sauce ready to go with some pasta. We ended up having enough for a few nights because this made a lot of sauce and we don’t go nuts with our sauce. I opted out of adding the Parmesan and basil to the sauce directly, until I was ready to serve. I also had some without and didn’t miss it. We liked how the sauce was rich in flavor from the beef and wine, but was still a bit sweet from the tomatoes. And, because you use crushed tomatoes, there is no blending needed so you could make this while a baby was sleeping! (That means I am saving this for future meals, too.)

Continue reading

Crepes for Brunch

Happy New Year! I wanted to start the year by sharing something brand new for me. I’ve eaten crepes before, but never attempted making them because I assumed they would be too difficult, or require special tools. It turns out, they are maybe even easier than pancakes. I love that you can make the batter ahead of time and just wake up and make them. I didn’t even use a blender to make them which would have made it easier (the Fudgelet was sleeping and I wasn’t going to risk waking him to save a little elbow grease).

Continue reading

Corn and Cheddar Strata

We are getting really close to baby time. Even though I am writing this a couple months ahead of time, this still feels close to baby time. I am doing lots of preparation for this birth but still feel kind of behind. We are still figuring out what to do with the crib situation…do we move the Fudgelet to a regular bed or order another crib for the baby? I am leaning towards new crib but the ones we like are pricey and maybe I am being overly cautious? I don’t know…and I still need to buy some other stuff for the baby, like a new baby monitor. Ours is fine…a bit buggy, but all of the video ones seem to have bugs and not last very long. Regardless, our current one is okay but probably won’t last much longer (hopefully until next summer or so when I plan on being done using it for the Fudgelet). By the time this post is live, I’m hopeful all of this will be sorted out and I can just worry about the stuff I can’t fully prepare for (when labor starts, how the Fudgelet will be when I’m at the hospital, how the new kid will handle newborn things, how we will handle two kid things…).

Continue reading