Fresh Lasagna Noodles

Did you try making spaghetti noodles yet?  Either way, you really should make these!  It takes very little practice to become comfortable working with homemade pasta dough.  The texture, in my opinion, is completely different from store-bought.  In the pictures I was actually making a double batch, since I made a pan for our family and one to take to an amazing friend who just had baby number 7!  If that doesn’t deserve a pan of fresh homemade lasagna, I don’t know what does!
HOMEMADE LASAGNA NOODLES
Recipe by My Stained Apron
This makes enough for one 9 by 13 inch dish of lasagna with 4 to 6 layers of noodles (depending on how thin you make your noodles, how much you overlap them, etc.  Can be doubled.
2 1/4 cups flour
3 eggs
pinch salt
Mix everything together in a food processor for about 30 seconds.
Turn out and knead for 3 to 4 minutes.
Until dough is fairly smooth.
Add water if dry, flour if too sticky. (Just a little at a time.)
Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap on counter until ready to roll.
To roll out, start with pasta roller on thickest setting. Pat dough flat into a disc.
FLOUR YOUR PASTA ROLLER WELL. Don’t skip this step.  You’ll want to keep it floured the entire time.
Pass it through on the thickest setting a couple times, then go down to the next setting and repeat.
Repeat for the third setting. (If you want it thinner, go ahead and repeat- this is the thickness I use for Lasagna noodles)
If your noodles look shaggy, just dust with a little extra flour and fold in thirds and roll again.
Cut noodles to fit to pan approximately, cutting a little shorter (they will expand when cooked).
Boil in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes, then remove with a large slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water.  Separate noodles and lay out on a damp tea towel in single layer.  You’re now ready to assemble your lasagna!
HAND DIRECTIONS

Put flour in a mound on the counter or in a shallow bowl.
Make a well in the center of flour and add eggs and salt in the well.
Use a fork to whisk eggs in the well, and stir in flour, working in a little at a time.
Add a few teaspoons of warm water if too dry, a little flour if too wet.
Knead for a few minutes until very smooth.
Divide dough into four balls and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap.
Roll each dough ball out as thin as you can on a floured surface, then cut into strips.
Cook same as above.

Homemade Spaghetti Noodles

Now that you made the Bolognese Sauce it’s time for homemade noodles.
Once you try them, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!
Homemade noodles are incredibly soft and tender, a world above store-boughten dry noodles.
While you may not want to make them every time you cook noodles, you really will be surprised at how quick and easy they are when you are used to making them.  I’ve included directions for making them with a pasta machine and also by hand in case you don’t have one.  This recipe can also be used to make other shapes, like fettucini noodles for instance, just cut into thicker strips.
HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI NOODLES
Recipe by My Stained Apron
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs (large or extra-large)
pinch kosher salt
Put all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
Run for about 30 seconds.
If the dough hasn’t balled up add a few teaspoons of warm water and run a little more.
Knead by hand for a couple of minutes.  Dough should be smooth.
If the dough is sticky, lightly flour counter and dough while kneading.
Divide dough into 4 balls, and cover with a slightly damp tea towel or plastic wrap.
Take one piece of dough at a time, and flatten into a disc.
Set pasta roller on highest setting and dust well with flour.
IMPORTANT STEP: while working with the pasta dough, make sure your pasta roller and counter stay dusted with flour.  Things will go alot smoother, trust me.
Roll dough through at highest setting.
Fold dough into thirds, pressing seam closed slightly.
Put through roller again, with the seam in the middle.
Run through the next setting, and keep repeating to desired thickness. (we like second to last setting.)
If your dough seems shaggy, no worries, it’s just too wet.
Work into a ball again and knead in a little flour.
If the dough gets difficult to handle, cut length in half.
Attach spaghetti cutter and run sheet of pasta dough through.
Dust noodles lightly with flour and cover with a tea towel while you repeat the process with remaining pasta dough balls.
Add noodles to salted boiling water.  They will be done quite quickly, check after one minute.
Toss with Bolognese Sauce or your favorite spaghetti sauce.
HAND DIRECTIONS
Put flour in a mound on the counter or in a shallow bowl.
Make a well in the center of flour and add eggs and salt in the well.
Use a fork to whisk eggs in the well, and stir in flour, working in a little at a time.
Add a few teaspoons of warm water if too dry, a little flour if too wet.
Knead for a few minutes until very smooth.
Divide dough into four balls and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap.
Roll each dough ball out as thin as you can on a floured surface, then cut into thin strips.
Seperate strips, and dust with flour. Cover with a tea towel while you repeat with remaining dough.
Cook in boiling salted water until done.
Check after one minute, they will cook quickly.

Bolognese

This is probably my husband’s favorite dish that I make.  He seriously makes a fool out of himself when I serve this.  And I love every second of it. : )  There is nothing like seeing your family savor every bite of a meal.  Happy and content.  I make a big batch of this so I have it on hand in the freezer when needed for a seriously good quick dinner.   And I know with school starting back up, many of you are looking for some extra satisfying dinners with minimal effort. 
I’ll be sharing more recipes for using this sauce this week, so make sure to check back for that!  At the bottom I’m including directions for a small batch as well.  Usually you would use white wine when making this sauce, but since we don’t drink alcohol I don’t cook with it either, so I use all chicken stock in it’s place.  I don’t think you miss it at all.
LARGE BATCH BOLOGNESE SAUCE
Recipe by My Stained Apron

3 T olive oil

6 chopped onions (about 6 cups)
9 shredded carrots (or chopped)
18 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs ground beef
3 lbs ground pork or Italian sausage
3 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock
one #10 can of crushed tomatoes (or three 28 oz cans)
salt and pepper, to taste
Saute onions, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil.  Let cook and soften while you cook meat.
In another pan, brown meat in batches, then add to pot with vegetables.
Add tomato paste and incorporate well.
Add chicken stock, then crushed tomatoes.
Simmer on stove for 1 to 3 hours.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
I then separate into 7 freezer-safe quart containers.  Label and freeze.
To serve: Heat in a pot, add 1/2 to 1 cup milk depending on personal preference.
Toss with noodles. Sprinkle on some fresh basil if desired.
SMALL BATCH BOLOGNESE
1 T olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, shredded
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground pork or Italian sausage
1 lb ground beef
6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes in puree
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup milk
Saute onions, carrots, and garlic in olive oil.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.  Add meat and cook until browned and no longer pink.  Stir in tomato paste.  Cook for a minute.  Add chicken stock and crushed tomatoes.  Let simmer for 1 to 3 hours for flavors to marry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Just before serving add milk and warm through.  You can use this to make 2 meals, depending on the size of your family.

Calico Macaroni Salad

First things first, next week I’m having my first GIVEAWAY! Hooray! So make sure you stay tuned and enter!  Now, on to the recipe!
This recipe comes from my grandmother.  When my mother was a child she was with her at a church picnic and someone brought this salad.  My grandmother really liked it and got the recipe, and has made it ever since.  It’s the only macaroni salad I ever ate growing up, since my mother really liked it too.  I hadn’t made it in a long time, and it was so good to have again.  Usually the recipe uses pimentos, but I didn’t have any, so I improvised with bell peppers and we really liked it.  Try it either way, I think you’ll like it!  And the paprika is essential to this dish in my opinion, but then again I LOVE paprika. : )
CALICO MACARONI SALAD
Recipe by My Stained Apron
3 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced cheddar cheese
1 cup diced cucumber (I prefer English)
1 1/4 cup mayonaise
2 T sugar
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
paprika, for serving
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Rinse and cool.  Mix mayo with sugar, salt, and pepper. 
Stir in cheese and vegetables.
If desired, stir in paprika or sprinkle on top.
VARIATION: In place of bell peppers, add 1 large jar of drained pimentos.

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

I have a confession.  Fresh mozzarella isn’t always that exciting to me.  I know, I know, I’m a food blogger, so I should love such a trendy item.  And don’t get me wrong, it can be good.  But I personally think it needs a little coaxing.  Since it isn’t aged, it really has more of a “blank canvas” kind of taste, unlike a strong aged Irish cheddar (one of my favorites).  This dish is perfect for dressing it up just enough, while still keeping with the simplicity of things.  And if you don’t have “fresh” mozzarella, don’t worry, I won’t tell if you won’t. : )
PASTA WITH ROASTED TOMATOES
Recipe by My Stained Apron
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 T fresh Thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
drizzle olive oil
drizzle balsamic vinegar
1 lb spaghetti noodles
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups fresh basil, chopped
kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Cut tomatoes in half and lay out on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with garlic, thyme, olive oil, and vinegar.
Toss to coat.  Roast at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
Cook spaghetti noodles.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
Toss spaghetti with roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, parmesan, and salt.
Add a drizzle of olive oil, and 1/4 cup of the pasta liquid.  Add remaining 1/4 cup of liquid if needed.
Serve hot.

Baked Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo

I’ve made this dish for many years, sometimes I add cooked chicken cut into strips, sliced mushrooms, some fresh herbs… but this is a nice basic edition that you can serve as is or add your own favorite pasta pairings to.  And you don’t have to bake it, but it really does add another nice layer of flavors. Hope you like it!
BAKED SUN DRIED TOMATO ALFREDO
Recipe by My Stained Apron
3 T butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound pasta
Combine butter, cream cheese, and milk in saucepan over medium heat, stirring well until well combined.
Add milk, Parmesan, mozzarella, and sun dried tomatoes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente.
Pour pasta into casserole dish, pour sauce over pasta.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of those dishes that everyone should know how to make.  I love playing around with it and adding different cheeses, but just plain ol mac and cheese seems to always hit the spot, wether it’s for adults or kids. And one fun way to serve it is put it in individual serving bowls (oven safe) or dishes, and let each person top it how they like. Get creative! Or not, you’ll still like it. : )
BAKED (or not) MACARONI AND CHEESE
8 T butter
8 T flour
salt and pepper
4 cups milk
1 lb shredded cheddar cheese
12 oz elbow macaroni (or noodle of choice), cooked firm*
Melt butter in pan until bubbly.
Add flour, salt, and pepper.
Cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
Add milk slowly, whisking in.
Cook until slightly thickened, then add cheese.
*If you don’t want to bake it, just cook the noodles all the way through and toss with sauce now and serve.
Spray a casserole dish or 9 by 13″ pan with nonstick spray.
Pour noodles into pan.
Pour sauce over noodles.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, broil for a couple minutes to brown.
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: (Bake as above with each one)
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs
Top with sliced tomatoes, then a little breadcrumbs
Cut 3 slices of bread into 1/2″ cubes (crusts removed), toss with 3 T melted butter.
Spread on top of dish, then top with 1 cup shredded cheese
Or (My favorite) top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar (shown at top)

Parmesan Noodles

This is one of those crazy-simple dishes that is a stand-by in our home.
Everyone loves it, and with a big salad or some steamed broccoli, it’s a quick and easy meal that makes everyone happy.  And you wouldn’t believe how many dinner guests have asked for this recipe.
 I keep a few of Penzeys Spices around just for this dish. But their pre-made mixes aren’t any more expensive when I make my own, and super yummy, so definetely worth having around. They’re the best for salt free or low salt variety that I’ve found as well.  I’m surprised all the uses I find for them.
PARMESAN NOODLES
1 pound noodles of choice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (add more to liking)
2 T unsalted butter
2 T olive oil
Seasonings of choice (I use 2 T of Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle or Garden Salad Seasoning)
Seared chicken, optional
Cook pasta al dente.
Melt butter with oil in pan over medium high heat.
Add pasta and toss.
Add seasonings, chicken if using, and parmesan cheese.
Mix to combine. Serve hot.

Spaetzle

In case you haven’t heard of Spaetzle before, I should explain what they are. They are German dumpling style egg noodles,┬ámade with simple ingredients like eggs, flour, and water.You can serve them in place of noodles, potatoes, rice, etc. And while my version isn’t very traditional in the seasonings, I really prefer the garlic and herb note these have to the usual nutmeg or plain flavor.
I’ve made Spaetzle many years before I broke down and spent the $12 on a Spaetzle maker… and then I kicked myself for waiting, it made it SO much easier. But definitely don’t feel like you have to go out and buy one to be able to make this. Just see my variations in the recipe.
SPAETZLE
3 eggs
1 cup milk
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 T Italian seasoning
To Serve: (optional)
2-4 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives (or parsley)
Beat eggs until foamy and combine with milk. Mix together flour with seasonings.
Add flour to eggs a little at a time. The dough should be stiff and elastic.
Fill your hopper with the batter. (Set over pot of boiling water or soup)
If you don’t have a Spaetzle maker, you can press batter through a potato ricer, the holes in a colander, or even a slotted spoon. Just use a spatula to push batter through.
Slide hopper back and forth, letting the dumplings drop into the liquid.
Dumplings rise to the top when done cooking, which should take 2 to 3 minutes.
Drain out spaetzle using a slotted spoon.
(If you have remaining batter repeat with remaining batter).
You can serve as is, or butter.
I saute in a couple tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large skillet,
then toss in some fresh sniped chives or parsley.
Spaetzle

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
    To Serve: (optional)
  • 2-4 T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives (or parsley)

Instructions

  • Beat eggs until foamy and combine with milk. Mix together flour with seasonings.
  • Add flour to eggs a little at a time. The dough should be stiff and elastic.
  • Fill your hopper with the batter. (Set over pot of boiling water or soup)
  • If you don't have a Spaetzle maker, you can press batter through a potato ricer, the holes in a colander, or even a slotted spoon. Just use a spatula to push batter through.
  • Slide hopper back and forth, letting the dumplings drop into the liquid.
  • Dumplings rise to the top when done cooking, which should take 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Drain out spaetzle using a slotted spoon.
  • (If you have remaining batter repeat with remaining batter).
  • You can serve as is, or butter.
  • I saute in a couple tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large skillet,
  • then toss in some fresh sniped chives or parsley.
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    Penne with Chicken, Asparagus, and Mushrooms

    This is a very simple dish, but it’s one of my favorites.  To be honest, I guessed on the measurments.  I usually just make it with the amounts I have on hand.  It’s simple, easy, and very healthy. If you want to dress it up a bit, you could add grated parmesan cheese, or crumbled feta cheese, fresh torn basil, etc.
    Have fun with it, but make room in your menu for a simple healthy dish like this.
    PENNE WITH CHICKEN, ASPARAGUS, AND MUSHROOMS
    1 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or tenders)
    1 bunch Asparagus, cut into two inch lengths
    8 oz Mushrooms, sliced
    2 T olive oil
    salt and pepper
    seasonings of choice ( I used 2 tsp non salt garlic seasoning)
    1 pound Whole Wheat Penne Pasta, cooked
    Heat 1 T oil in skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to skillet and cook until cooked through, turning once.  Set aside to rest.
    Heat other T of oil in skillet, add mushrooms and asparagus. Saute over medium high heat, cooking briefly.  Cut chicken into strips and add back to skillet. Add seasoning and toss.
    Pour over cooked penne pasta and serve hot.
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