After binge-watching a whole season of Master Chef Junior in two days, Samantha was fired up to create something in the kitchen. My sister Tammy gifted me a very cool contraption for making Spaetzle, and with a pot of our Mom’s homemade turkey soup bubbling in the slow cooker the day after Christmas, these little German pasta dumplings sounded like the perfect addition.
Spaetzle starts with a dough that you pass through something that looks like a cheese grater (you could use a sieve with large holes) directly into boiling water. You can add it to another dish like we did, or season with olive oil and fresh herbs for a super-easy side dish.
Gluten-Free Spaetzle (serves 4):
1/2 cup of milk (at room temperature)
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Gluten Free Flour
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
Salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Combine milk and eggs in a small bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then stir in wet ingredients. Pass dough through the Spaetzle maker into the boiling water; Spaetzle will float when cooked, which takes about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and toss with a little oil to keep from sticking.
Bowties with Salmon & Peas
My kids (like many kids I know) are happiest when the components of their meals are all separate from one another — protein, grains, fruit/vegetables are mixed together at your own risk. I prefer the exact opposite: easy one-pot meals that incorporate everything into one dish. I’m especially happy when the recipe calls for lots of vegetables, herbs, and spices (a nightmare to my children). This kind of cooking makes for easy leftovers too. Every now and then I will see a recipe that incorporates everything in one dish but features ingredients the kids actually like to eat, and this Creamy Farfalle with Salmon and Peas from Self Magazine fit the bill. Well, I take that back — they would happily pass on the peas, but you can’t get everything you wish for.
This meal turned out really well. The sauce was thick and creamy (save some of the starchy pasta water to thin it out if necessary) and the smell of cream cheese with fresh dill was fantastic. It was a mild, “kid-friendly” combination. For the pasta, I used Barilla’s “Piccolini” Mini Farfalle. When my girls first eyed their bowls, they made faces about all those peas, but after a bite of pasta I heard lots of, “Mmmm, this is actually pretty good”. The recipe could easily be modified to use cubed chicken or ham instead of salmon, and you could switch out the peas for another favorite veggie. I will definitely be keeping this one on hand for an easy one-dish meal that everyone at my table will eat.
- Salmon Pasta (mummysknee.wordpress.com)
Creamy Avocado Spaghetti
The first thing I ever learned to cook was spaghetti with meat sauce — in home ec class, no less. I can remember asking my Mom if I could use my newfound skills to cook dinner for her and my Dad, and I put a little shake of everything I could find in the spice cabinet into that sauce. The bad news: my Mom has always had a very well-stocked spice cabinet. She looked up from her plate and asked, “is this dill I taste?”. That was my first lesson on how not to make spaghetti sauce. But as a teenager there were a lot of spaghetti nights with friends, and in those settings we tended to revert back to just throwing in whatever we could find, and it was always a ton of fun.
My girls love spaghetti too, but they are not big on tomato sauce. I need to keep working on that one. In the meantime, I thought I would try Angela Liddon’s quick creamy avocado pasta with basil, lemon, garlic, and olive oil. I stayed true to the recipe at the beginning, although I opted for just one clove of garlic (I wanted the kids to like this). Once everything was blended in the mini-chopper, it seemed thick and very lemony, so I added some extra olive oil, a few tablespoons of water, and a good handful of shredded parmesan. And suddenly, it tasted just like summer with all that fresh basil and olive oil. After mixing the sauce with the spaghetti I added about 1/3 cup of the starchy pasta water and topped it off with more parmesan. There was a lot of sauce — the recipe says it is for 2 servings of pasta; I made 3 servings of pasta and there was still sauce leftover.
The verdict? Amazing! And so easy to make. Lauren was clearly thrown off by the green color, but she was fine after a few bites. Samantha loved this dish. But she also commented, “I wish it was bucatini instead of spaghetti!”. That’s my girl.
Would be bucatini — my new love. I have eaten this variety of pasta in Italian restaurants, but had not seen it in the grocery store until recently. It is part of the new-ish Giada De Laurentiis line at Target, and it is fantastic. It’s like a very thick spaghetti with a hole running through the middle, so you can imagine the delight of my children when they discovered how much of a mess they could create while eating this food. I used this bucatini when trying out my second recipe of 2012 — Allison Fishman’s Linguine Vongole from her book, “You Can Trust a Skinny Cook”. It is a simple and wonderful clam sauce over pasta. You simply cannot go wrong with garlic, olive oil, and white wine. Period.