What a fabulous opportunity I’ve had this week, to try a wonderful new product at Wal-Mart — Ecce Panis Bread. If you love homebaked bread, but just can’t find the time or motivation to tackle baking your own from scratch, or remembering to thaw frozen bread dough, Ecce Panis is a yummy solution. I had [...]
What a fabulous opportunity I’ve had this week, to try a wonderful new product at Wal-Mart — Ecce Panis Bread. If you love homebaked bread, but just can’t find the time or motivation to tackle baking your own from scratch, or remembering to thaw frozen bread dough, Ecce Panis is a yummy solution.
I had quite a bit of shopping to do, so I sat down and made a quick list, adding this new bread to it. I was anxious to not only see how it would look, but to taste it and see if they really could achieve that homemade flavor in just a handful of minutes in my oven. I wasn’t 100% sure where I would find it in our store. The bread aisle seemed like a logical choice, and yet, I swung by the bakery/deli department first and was happy to find the bread, right away. Next to our deli counter, there are wooden “islands” of baked goods. On the bottom shelf of the island closest to the deli, I found FOUR different varieties of the new Ecce Panis bread. Not wanting to play favorites, and seeing that they were all around $1.88 a loaf, I threw all four into the cart and headed off to get the rest of my groceries. After our experience with it, which I will relate, below, I heartily encourage you to find Ecce Panis breads in your local WalMart, for your own family!
My challenge, with this mission, was to create a delicious spread recipe to use on Ecce Panis breads, so I added several other things to my list as an idea for the spread started swirling in my head — cream cheese, (of course ), green onions, bell peppers in red, yellow and orange, bacon, cheddar cheese… This definitely seemed to be going in a savory direction and I was envisioning something like the wrap filling I had come up with for our daughter’s graduation party that incorporated cream cheese, my homemade hot pepper jelly, lots of veggies and fresh herbs, cheddar cheese and diced chicken breast. It was really tasty and with some simple modifications, I thought I could transform it into a delicious spread. Ideas were churning as I continued through the grocery aisles. Thank heavens I had taken a list, or I would have had one of everything in the store! As it was, I did succumb to the beautiful selection of fresh berries on display and made it home with a pint of gorgeous blackberries. If you want to see more pictures of my shopping trip (I apologize in advance for the picture quality. When I got to the store I realized the only camera I had with me was on my phone. ), check out my Google+ album.
The Ecce Panis lived up to it’s “freshly baked bread in minutes” label. It is truly delicious; and warm from the oven, you would be hard pressed to know it wasn’t white bread baked in your own kitchen. Our family ate each variety with pleasure and gusto – no shrinking violets in our house, when it comes to homemade bread! We had the french baguettes, sliced on the diagonal for crostinis and the french dinner rolls made great sandwiches for a quick chicken salad lunch. I used the ciabatta and Neo-Tuscan Mini Boule to serve the fabulous Blackberry Cream Cheese Spread that I’m about to share with you.
Okay, so I drove home from WalMart, unpacked my groceries and quickly started my recipe idea’s transition from wrap filling to spread. Epic fail! -lol- It actually tasted great and my son probably ate 2/3 of it in the first hour or so, but it was not as “pretty” as I pictured it and I wanted this to be really special, so….rewind! What else did I have on hand that would make a delicious spread and look as beautiful as it tasted? I’m starting to think that deviation from my grocery list was God-inspired. Blackberries! Well, to say it was a success to change courses, would be an understatement. We loved the color, the flavor and the texture of this delicious spread. It’s only five ingredients and we will make this over and over again, easily substituting whatever fresh berries are in season. Your family will think you’re amazing!
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias #EasterMeals As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.
I realize I am probably in the minority on this topic, but until recently, I had never eaten a sun-dried tomato. <gasp> I love tomatoes, fresh, juicy and succulent, right off the vine in the garden, and even canned when I’m cooking. Somehow, the craze that has swept the nation, eating our tomatoes sun dried, [...]
I realize I am probably in the minority on this topic, but until recently, I had never eaten a sun-dried tomato. <gasp> I love tomatoes, fresh, juicy and succulent, right off the vine in the garden, and even canned when I’m cooking. Somehow, the craze that has swept the nation, eating our tomatoes sun dried, had eluded me. Fortunately, the generous folks at Mooney Farms remedied that situation, when I reviewed products from their Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes collection. Look at the wide variety of what I received to test.
Being the huge tomato fan that I am, I started searching out recipes, immediately. There are tons of them that add sun dried tomatoes directly to a salad. I have to tell you that I was not a fan, when they were used this way. Something about the dry, chewy texture just doesn’t work for me, when my brain thinks “tomato”. The flavor was fairly strong and more bitter than fresh tomatoes, which actually surprised me, since drying fruits usually concentrates the sugars. But, no worries. There are far more interesting recipes than salads and all I learned is that I won’t necessarily eat sun dried tomatoes, straight from the bag.
I decided to explore the recipes on the Mooney Farms website and was delighted with the selection I found there. I decided I was going to try the Sun Dried Tomato Vermicelli, but hearty it up for my favorite carnivores. That was easy enough to do by adding browned Italian Sausage. A few bell peppers for flavor and color, and it was a pretty and tasty one-dish meal.
I cannot express strongly enough, how much I loved the jarred varieties of Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in olive oil. The flavors were so rich and lended themselves perfectly to cooking wonderful, savory dishes. Just opening the jars created an aromatic sensation that made me want a bite! Love, love, love these! I wholeheartedly recommend that you visit the Mooney Farms website and check out all the fabulous products available — sun dried tomatoes in every imaginable form, olive oils and fantastic gift baskets. (I think their “Dinner for Two” gift basket would be such a neat bridal shower gift! ) The site is educational, beautifully illustrated with gorgeous photography and chock-full of recipes you’ll be anxious to try.
Here’s how I did it.
- Brown and drain Italian sausage and set aside.
Heat reserved olive oil in a large pot until smoking. Then break spaghetti noodles into the oil and stir constantly while browning.
Add the sun dried tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil.
- Once the pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until pasta has absorbed most of the liquid (about 15 minutes).
- Once the liquid has been mostly absorbed, stir in the Italian sausage, peppers and onions. Continue cooking over low heat for one or two minutes until the veggies are heated through and tender-crisp.
- Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese or save on the dishes and serve it right from the pan!
I also made a tasty snack/appetizer that was so simple, it was hard to believe how delicious it was. I love salted bagel crisps with just about anything on them. I used the Bella Sun Luci Bruschetta and the Tomato Pesto, spread onto a bagel crisp, topped with fresh mozzarella cheese slices and broiled until the cheese was bubbly and melted. Garnish with some fresh basil or any herbs you have on hand. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, the day I made them, but I used some sea salt, fresh black pepper and dry Italian seasoning on top of the cheese. They couldn’t be simpler or more delicious and my kids can’t get enough of them! They’re like little baby cheese pizzas.
I can’t wait for you to try your own delicious sun dried tomato products from Mooney Farms! One of you will win an assortment for your own kitchen in our giveaway and entry is super simple! And for the rest of us, there’s a printable $1.00 coupon at the Mooney Farms site.
You must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter. Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org. Deadline to enter is midnight (CST), Sunday, June 19, 2011.
In a comment below, tell me the title of a recipe from Mooney Farms you would most like to try.
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- Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please). Win a selection of healthy and delicious Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato products @busyathome @BellaSunLuci http://ow.ly/5fbEz Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
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I received the selection of Bella Sun Luci products detailed above in order to test them and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own. Giveaway prize will be shipped directly to winner by Mooney Farms.
“Ravioli sounds good.” It was a casual remark, made in passing. What did it mean? David and I have been married for 26 years and never in that time has he asked for, nor have I offered to serve, ravioli. Just the thought of it brings back childhood memories of weeping and wailing and little [...]
“Ravioli sounds good.” It was a casual remark, made in passing. What did it mean? David and I have been married for 26 years and never in that time has he asked for, nor have I offered to serve, ravioli. Just the thought of it brings back childhood memories of weeping and wailing and little canned globs of slimy goo in tomato sauce. How could this be happening? Well by the time I had collected myself with a snappy comeback involving nutrition, David was already downstairs watching the game. I never got to share my thoughts on the subject with him, but I assumed we could all just move on with life and forget it had ever happened.
Interestingly enough, over the course of the next few days, twinges of conscience and curiosity got the best of me and I started wondering if there might be a palatable way to provide my favorite guy with a plate of ravioli. Five years ago, I would have headed straight to my extensive cupboard of cookbooks, but the convenience of technology has wooed me and so I typed the link to my favorite online recipe site, Recipezaar. After a thorough search of the top-rated ravioli recipes I made my selection, Ravioli (Dough and Choice of 4 Fillings) and set off to erase my “globs of goo” terrors.
I post the original link for this delicious recipe because I want you to know where I started. I might as well come clean from the beginning. I’m a recipe alterer. And my measuring is usually something like, “It calls for x amount — give or take.” If I’m out of something or don’t like something I leave it out or substitute something else. Plus, I came from a large family. I also have a fairly good-sized one of my own and I have just never fine-tuned the ability to cook just 4 servings of anything. I desperately want to be one of those organized super-women who does Once-A-Month Cooking, but I simply don’t have the attention span to complete 30 meals in a single day. So, I often double or triple a recipe as I am preparing it for a meal. Then I have one to serve right away and one or two to put in the freezer. That’s what I did with the ravioli variation I want to share with you, today. And let me just preface the recipe by saying, “I’m not afraid of ravioli any more.” It was delicious! My only regret is that I forgot to snap a picture of the finished product, lovely and steaming on the plate. When I serve it next from my freezer reserves, I’ll try to remember to take a snapshot.
Ravioli Dough and Hamburger Spinach Filling
Yield: 48 very large ravioli noodles
- 9 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 6 eggs
- 1 ½ – 2 cups water
- 1½ lbs lean ground beef
- 2 Tbl butter
- 3 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 5 green onions, chopped
- 1 Tbl dry parsley flakes
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups grated Italian cheese blend
- 1 tsp nutmeg
If making the ravioli dough by hand, the recipe instructs to sift the flour and salt together and place the mixture on a board, making a well in the center. Break eggs into the well and then beat the eggs slightly. Combine the eggs and flour, gradually adding enough water to make a stiff dough.
I prepared the dough using my Bosch mixer. (That’s a completely different post for another day, but suffice it to say that my Bosch is hands-down my favorite kitchen appliance.) I put all the dough ingredients in the mixing bowl (starting with only 1 ½ cups of water). I used my dough hook and mixed everything on medium, adding a few more teaspoons of water, until it had formed what is a very stiff, dense dough. While I allowed the noodle dough to rest for about 15 minutes, I prepared the filling.
I melted the butter in my cast iron skillet and added the ground beef, onions and garlic and cooked it until the meat was nicely browned. Next, I transferred the meat to a large mixing bowl and added the remaining ingredients for the filling, combining them thoroughly.
Constructing the Ravioli
Rolling the dough will be a challenge if you haven’t let it rest long enough for the gluten to relax so it will stretch easily. Remember I multiplied this recipe roughly 3 times the original, so this is a big batch of very dense dough. I quartered it to roll it out, keeping the unused quarters covered with a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out. Roll it out on a floured surface until it is very thin (about 1/8″ to 1/16 ” thick).
The next step is to add the ravioli filling. I elected to use my cookie dough scoop, so that the filling amount would be uniform in each noodle. I scooped 24 onto this one piece of dough.
Roll out a second quarter of dough and try to roll it slightly larger than the first. You are going to want it to stretch over the little hills of filling. This is the part where the density and stiffness of the dough are a great help. It stretches easily without tearing. Ingenious!
Once your second quarter is rolled, take a pastry brush and lightly brush the surface of the first dough with a few drops of water. Be sure to go inbetween each mound of meat and around all the edges. Place the second rolled quarter over the top of this first one, gently pushing and stretching the dough down and around your filling so that they seal.
If you have a pretty, zig-zag edged pastry cutter, this is the time to use it. I used a knife and cut my ravioli into squares. I checked all the edges for a good seal and crimped them as I went with the tines of a fork. Place the completed ravioli on a floured board, or like me, on a floured cookie sheet and allow them to dry at least one hour before boiling.
If you have created a big batch, like me, you still have two quarters of dough waiting for you to prepare the next 24 ravioli. While the first batch is drying, it’s the perfect time to finish up. Repeat all the construction steps above.
Cooking and Serving your Ravioli
I boiled the dried ravioli in boiling salt water, with just a touch of olive oil added to keep them from sticking together. They cooked about 10-15 minutes until the dough was tender and then I used a large slotted spoon to gently remove them and put them on a serving plate. We served them with our favorite spaghetti sauce and a sprinkling of grated Italian cheeses. A fresh, green salad rounded out the delicious meal!
Well, I’m no little Italian grandma, but I think things went great for my first experience making homemade ravioli. I confess I am still disturbed that I don’t have a “finished product” picture for you, so I will have to make a quick plate tomorrow and snap one. That will be easy to do, since the extra, dried, but uncooked ravioli was flash-frozen in a single layer on cookie sheets and then transferred to a gallon zipper bag. I can remove just one or two, or enough for a whole family meal, boil them in a flash and have a delicious plate of pasta ready in the time it takes to heat the sauce.
I’ll never be afraid of ravioli again! Mangia!