Friday, June 10, 2011

Lori's Fettuccine Alfredo With Chicken and Broccoli



                                                                

Mmm....one of my favorite dishes to have when I am craving something rich and creamy. Traditionally, this dish is made with heavy cream, but it separates too easily and so I prefer to work with milk.You can make this without the meat or without the broccoli, or with the broccoli and without the meat. However you make this, it is sure to please.

Lori's Fettuccine Alfredo With Chicken and Broccoli

4-6 grilled chicken breasts
steamed broccoli, whole spears or pieces
1 pound (16 oz) fettuccine noodles
1/2 cup butter
4-5 Tbls. unbleached flour
1-2 cloves garlic, minced*
4 cups milk
Real sea salt and pepper, to taste
about 1/8 tsp. turmeric
1-2 Tbls. dried or fresh parsley
4-5 cups grated Parmesan cheese*
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese*
 
Grill 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned to taste; set aside to keep warm.
Steam the broccoli just till fork tender. Place in a pan, toss with some butter; set aside to stay warm.
Cook noodles according to pkg. directions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy 3 quart pan. Stir in flour to make a roux and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, without browning. Stir in garlic and allow to cook with the flour. Slowly add the milk and stir till hot, bubbly, and thickened. Do not scorch. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in turmeric (for color) and blend well. Stir in parlsey and grated Parmesan cheese. Add a bit more milk if too thick, heat thoroughly.
Place cooked noodles on plate, top with Alfredo sauce, chicken, broccoli, and grate some fresh Parmesan over top. If only using noodles, just grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over top.
You can combine noodles and cheese sauce if you like, but we tend to like ours added separately.
This will feed 6 or more people. You can half this recipe.
 
*Garlic salt or powder can be used instead. If you use garlic salt, do not add extra salt to dish.
*You can use Kraft grated Parmesan in a can, but we buy a 5 pound bag of cheese at GFS and freeze it so we can use it as we want it as we use Parmesan cheese in many dishes, including soups.
*Fresh Parmesan is different in taste and texture from the canned Parmesan. Both add to this dish.
*If you like mushrooms, these can be added to this dish for an extra flavor component. Just cook fresh mushrooms separately, then add to milk mixture while thickening.

Lori's 4 Cheese Baked Ziti


I love the cheesy topping on baked ziti. This recipe is reminiscent of lasagne without the layers, and I think it has an entirely different taste, though I make my cheese layer basically the same way for both. This is delicious and makes a large amount. You can half this recipe or place in two pans, making one for dinner and freezing the other to have for a later date. Frozen meals stay good in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just give frozen meals 2-3 hours to bake. This is another one of those dishes that is great for pot lucks.

Lori's 4 Cheese Baked Ziti

1 pound box (16 oz) mini penne rigate (or you can use a traditional ziti noodle)
2 pounds ground chuck*
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced, depending on taste
Real sea salt and pepper, to taste
about 66 ounces spaghetti sauce (about 2 1/2 jars)*
15 oz ricotta cheese*
about 4 ounces Cheddar cheese*
about 1- 1 1/4 cups Parmesan cheese
16 ounces (1 lb) Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
pepper, to taste
1 Tbls. dried parsley flakes or fresh parsley, chopped
milk
Olive oil cooking spray

                                                                                                                                  Bake at 350 degrees.
Place pot of water on to boil; cook noodles according to pkg. directions.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, brown ground chuck with onions. garlic, salt, and pepper; drain grease. Return to pot and add spaghetti sauce. Allow to simmer till ready to use.
While meat is cooking, combine cheeses, egg, spices, and enough milk to make creamy, about 1/4-1/3 cup or so. Mix well.
Combine noodles and meat sauce and blend well. Place in a 15" x 10" pan. Spoon cheese mixture over top and spread around lightly. Take a large piece of foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray; cover casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes, till cheese is set and casserole is hot and bubbly. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven to melt over top. Allow casserole to sit for 10-15 minutes so cheese will set up before cutting into. Makes enough to serve 8-10, possibly more if served with salad and bread.

*You can use less meat, but we like lots of meat. If using less meat you can cut down some on spaghetti sauce.
*Spaghetti sauce used to come in 32 ounce quart jars. Spaghetti sauce now comes in 24 oz to 26 oz jars. I use the Meijer brand spaghetti sauce and sometimes Bertolli or Ragu. I mix the brands. I use about 2 1/2 jars of sauce in this dish and freeze the remainder in its original jar till needed for another dish.
*I never measure the Cheddar cheese I add, I just dump in what looks right.
*Make sure you get a good ricotta cheese, one not made with a lot of added ingredients. Miceli's is good as it only contains milk, whey, cream, vinegar, and salt. Other brands contain guar gum, modified corn starch, and preservatives.
*You can also add green pepper and mushrooms to this recipe, if you'd like.






Lori's Pot Roast with Gravy

                                                             
Many people love a good pot roast with gravy, especially on a cold fall or winter day. I like to use a chuck roast or an arm roast. Arm roasts are harder to find unless you go to a meat shop or a small town grocery. I haven't seen one for years in any of the chain grocery stores. There is a small grocery in Thornville, OH which still sells arm roasts, and I stop there once in awhile and buy one. Either cuts work well. You could use a round cut, but the taste and texture is not the same, and not as good as it will be much drier.

Lori's Pot Roast with Gravy

Olive oil cooking spray
1 good sized roast, about 3-4 pounds (smaller, if you have a small family or don't want leftovers)
season salt
pepper
1-2 onions, sliced into rings
2-3 MSG-free bouillon beef cubes (Herb-Ox is a good choice)
potatoes, quartered*
1 pound of carrots, sliced
sliced or diced fresh mushrooms, if desired*
unbleached flour
water
About 1/2 Tbls. parsley flakes, fresh or dried, optional
1-2 small sprigs of fresh thyme, optional

In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch Oven, place pot over heat and spray with olive oil spray. Once pan is hot, add meat and sear well on both sides. I usually place fatty side down so some of the fat cooks off helping meat to not stick. Once seared, remove from heat. Sprinkle with season salt and pepper, to taste. Add onions to the top of roast, covering all over. Add bouillon cubes to sides of pan, and add 2 cups of water. Put on lid and place in 325 degree oven. Allow to cook for 4 hours, adding more water, as needed so it does not go dry.You want to maintain at least 1 1/2 cups of water by time done so you have some for gravy.
About one hour before meat is done, add mushrooms, if used,  potatoes and carrots over top of meat and around meat. Salt and pepper the vegetables, to taste. Cover and bake an additional 45-60 minutes, till vegetables are fork tender and done. Remove vegetables if you want to make gravy. Remove meat to a platter.
Place about 1/4 cup unbleached flour in a glass jar, add some water, and bout 1/2 cup, and shake well. Make sure no lumps are in water. Place pot on burner and turn to medium heat. When water begins to boil, add flour mixture, stirring constantly, until to desired thickness. Stir in parsley and some fresh thyme, if desired.

*We usually have mashed potatoes, though we sometimes make potatoes like this with the roast.
*I hate mushrooms so I usually cook some in butter and add them to a separate pan with some gravy for Bob.

Lori's Johnny Marzetti

                                                                                                                           
I love trivia, and the story of Johnny Marzetti is an interesting one, besides being an iconic dish created right here in Columbus, Ohio. I got this information from the Ohio History Central site:

"Ohioan Teresa Marzetti was the first person to serve the casserole Johnny Marzetti in a restaurant.
In 1896, Italian immigrant Marzetti arrived in the United States of America. That same year, Marzetti established an Italian restaurant in Columbus, Ohio on Broad Street. This restaurant closed in 1942, but another restaurant, which had opened in 1919, remained in operation until 1972, when Teresa Marzetti died. Before opening the original restaurant, Marzetti wrote, "We will start a new place and serve good food. At a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but we will serve good food."
One of the dishes that Marzetti offered her customers became known as Johnny Marzetti, which was named for Teresa Marzetti's brother-in-law. A baked casserole, the dish included ground beef, cheese, tomato sauce, and noodles. It is unclear when Marzetti's restaurant first offered the dish, but by the 1920s, it had become popular across Ohio and the Midwest. This was primarily due to the ease of preparation and the tastiness of Johnny Marzetti."

From the 1940's through the 1990's most schools in central Ohio had Johnny Marzetti on the menu at least once a month. It was always a favorite dish of most school kids. School cooks almost always made their dish using egg noodles, which is what I prefer. Most all families in central Ohio have a variation on this dish as it comes in many styles, most notable is that many people have traditionally made this dish with elbow macaroni. When I was growing up, my mom made this dish with elbow macaroni, and so did most people I knew. My late ex-mother-in-law, Letha Huber, used to brown ground beef with onions, add cooked elbow macaroni, cans of stewed tomatoes, and enough tomato juice to keep it from being dry. We all loved it.

The only Johnny Marzetti I've had that I do not like in any way is the one made with canned tomato soup. It is a disgusting creation, and I do not know why people cook with tomato soup when diced or stewed tomatoes make for a more tasty and appetizing dish. But however you make yours, make sure you try this recipe that I created over the years, as I tried to make a tasty and delicious casserole that we would crave. And crave we do as this is the quintessential comfort food.

Lori's Johnny Marzetti

2 pounds ground chuck*
1 onion, chopped
about 1/4- 1/2 cup green pepper, diced*
2-4 minced garlic cloves*
Real sea salt (pink) and pepper, to taste*
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
3 (cans) 15 oz  tomato sauce, plus 1 8 oz. can*
2 tablespoons brown sugar, to cut acid from tomatoes
1 16 oz bag medium egg noodles ( I use Meijer brand)
16 oz (1 lb.) Cheddar cheese, grated*
Olive oil cooking spray*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put large pot of water on to boil for the noodles. When ready, cook noodles according to pkg. directions; drain and set aside if not ready.
Meanwhile, brown beef in a 6 quart dutch oven, along with onion, green peppers, garlic, salt and pepper; drain grease when done. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, and brown sugar; let simmer till noodles are ready.
Combine noodles and meat sauce in large pot and blend well. Stir in grated cheese. Pour into a 15" x 10" casserole dish. Spray some foil with cooking spray and cover casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil, sprinkle more cheese over top and return to oven till cheese is melted. Remove from oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving to give cheese a chance to set up some. This makes a large amount that will feed 8-10 people, maybe a bit more, depending on appetites. You can halve this recipe and bake in a smaller pan. This is also great for pot lucks or as funeral food.

*I use ground chuck from grass fed cows.
*I don't measure green peppers as I just add what looks right. You want the flavor without it being too prevalent. I dice and freeze peppers from our garden to use all year long, so this comes out of our freezer.
*You can use garlic salt  or powder instead, or not at all, but we like garlic. If you use garlic salt, do not add extra salt.
*We only use real sea salt in our foods, the pink kind put out by Redmond's Real Salt.
*You want 53 ounces tomato sauce total. I like it okay with just 48 ounces, but Bob likes his more saucy, so you can play with these amounts for your desired amount. I mainly use 53 ounces.
*I actually use around 24 ounces of cheese as we like ours cheesy. You can divide the 16 ounces up by using 3/4 of the bag and then sprinkling the rest at the end, or you can cook all cheese in casserole and not top with anymore. We like to use a lot of cheese.
*I only use olive oil spray as I do not use vegetable oil (soy, canola, or other) in any of my cooking.