Fried Ravioli

Fried Ravioli, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppThough I have a pasta maker and occasionally make fresh pasta, ravioli or lasagna noodles, it's time consuming, but I do it for special family events or dinner guests.

For everyday meals, I keep a bag of prepared frozen ravioli on hand, also frozen meatballs. They're just so handy for the two of us and I can take out as many or as few as needed for a meal.

That's what I used for this recipe.  With a few hours notice, I unexpectedly had to make dinner for six, so decided the frozen ravioli and meat balls would work well. 

I breaded the ravioli ahead of time, then let them set in the refrigerator, until about 20 minutes before serving time. I then fried and kept them warm in the oven.  Guests put on their own amount of warm sauce and cheese. I served with  heated meatballs, crusty bread, and a salad.

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If not using for a dinner, they make great appetizers for a party.

Fried Ravioli

2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 tsp.salt
30 to 36 frozen ravioli, thawed
vegetable oil for frying, enough for 2 inches deep in pan
grated parmesan cheese for topping
Italian tomato sauce for dipping or to serve over ravioli

Fried Ravioli, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppIn a small bowl beat milk with egg,  Place breadcrumbs and salt in a shallow bowl. Dip ravioli in egg mixture, then coat with breadcrumbs and set on plate to set until ready to fry.

In a heavy pan or skillet, pour oil to 2 inches deep.  Heat oil on medium heat (350) until a small amount of breading sizzles when tested.. Fry ravioli, 4 or 5 at a time, 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, or until golden. Drain on paper towels.
Heat desired amount of Italian sauce for dipping or topping the ravioli.  Sprinkle ravioli with parmesan cheese and serve immediately with the warm sauce.  Serves 6 to 8.

Estimated cost: $8.00 or less; $1.30 or less per serving.

Cheese Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chili Sauce

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A Mexican spice pack purchased several years ago came with a booklet of recipes to try, including "creamy green chili cheese enchiladas."  I made them then experimented with adding chicken, and like them both ways.

Corn tortillas can be used, if first heated quickly on each side in oil to soften.  I've also used flavored flour tortillas such as spinach or tomato; and low-carb wheat tortillas.

Whenever there's leftover roast chicken, I make these and serve with a salad, kidney bean salad in this case.  If making without chicken, I usually serve Mexican Rice and refried beans for a "homemade"combo plate."

Cheese Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chili Sauce
1 package 6-inch flour tortillas - a dozen, or 6 large burrito size
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App3 cups shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour scream
2  4 oz. cans diced green chilies
1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded chicken can also be added.

Warm tortillas so they don't crack and roll easily when filled, then set aside.  I heat for like 30 seconds or less in the microwave and cover with a towel.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppCombine 1-1/2 cups cheese, onion (and shredded chicken if using) and distribute among tortillas, roll up and place seam side down in sprayed 9x12 baking dish.

Sauce: melt butter; blend in flour until cooked.  Add broth stirring constantly until thick and bubbly.  Stir in sour cream, peppers and 1/2 cup cheese. Cook until heated through, but do not boil.  Pour over tortillas and bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese on top and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with salsa and/or sour cream.

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Enchilada Combo Plate
When cooking for two, I make the sauce, using enough for the two of us, then freeze the rest in cup size containers, defrost and reheat for the next time I want to make a few enchiladas instead of a dozen.  If making a large batch, leftovers freeze well.

This sauce is also delicious over sauteed chicken breasts or pork chops.
Serves 6 to 8

Estimate cost: $1.25 or less per serving

Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon photo 23AC676A-4362-4CFD-9540-3D24AB38290B_zpsur0ab9uz.jpg
We live in a coastal port city with an active fishing and tourist industry, so a variety of fresh seafood is available year round. We've been smoking our own salmon for decades. 

I watch for sales, especially at the grocery fish counter where they'll often mark salmon down half price, so we can purchase it for around $5.00 a pound or less. Sometimes fishermen sell it right off the docks at a great price, too. My husband then gets out his rock salt, Alder wood chips, and Little Chief Smoker to smoke up a batch.
Smoked Salmon photo 17BA4510-244B-4B7B-A700-994095BB1C6B_zps3piosbfm.jpg
Smoked salmon is a delight with cheese and snack crackers, for use in making appetizers or eaten by itself.  A 6 oz. can at our local fish market sells for $10 and smoked salmon at the fish market is around $12 to $15 a pound, so smoking it at home is a bargain at $5.00 a pound.

Smoked Salmon photo 15D56EA3-3167-4FF6-83FB-ACB7EA580BD5_zpsaujmtw9v.jpgSmoked Salmon photo 3815A1EB-8CA9-45FD-9531-99D2D2DA86C0_zps5yikiy0t.jpgMy husband's method is simple. He cuts a large fillet into 4 to 5 inch pieces, lays a wire rack over folded newspapers on a baking sheet on the counter, and lines up the fillets.  He then thickly spreads kosher or rock salt over each fillet to draw out the moisture.  The newspaper catches any dripping moisture. He lets it rest that way about 5-8 hours.
Smoked Salmon photo 382F0837-58E3-4FF9-A3D1-06DCCBC47CF4_zpsoli0ylnd.jpg
Next he rinses the salt off each piece under cold water and pats them dry.  He then transfers the salmon pieces to wire racks in his electric smoker, plugs it in, and fills the bottom pan with seasoned wood chips. The chips smoke and burn, and are replaced 3 to 4 times.  This takes about 8-10 hours.

It's then done and ready to wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or store in the freezer.

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

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Another sweet and sour recipe my grandmother made, as did my husband's mother, so I make a batch once a month, sometimes cutting it in half for the two us us.  

I've been making this for over 40 years and never tire of it.  It makes a nice side dish with any meal, keeps well in the fridge, and handy to have around. Garden Cukes or English Cukes can be used.

And anytime you have a cuke needing use before going to waste, this recipe can be quickly made.

It's an attractive dish for potlucks or a buffet table at little cost.

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad
3 peeled cucumbers sliced thin, about 4 cups
1 medium, thinly sliced onion
2/3 cup cider vinegar, white vinegar also works well
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream or mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App1/4 cup parsley flakes
1 tsp. dry mustard

I stripe-peel my cukes lengthwise to leave some color on, and slice with a madoline for even-sized slices. Toss sliced cucumbers and onions in a large bowl.

In another mixing bowl, make the sauce by blending remaining ingredients, then pour over cucumbers and onions.  Mix and toss well to coat.  Chill and marinate at least an hour.

Can be served as is or on a small bed of lettuce.  If making a large green salad and I have this on hand, I add some to garnish the salad.

Serves 8 to 12.
Estimated cost $1.50 or less; .20 cents a serving or less.