by amvandenhurk | Sides
Dump the Bottled Ranch Dressing
Once you make ranch dressing from scratch, you will never buy it from the store again. There is something creamy, tangy, and just so fresh tasting about it. Simple ingredients that most have in their pantry: mayo, sour cream, milk, lemon, salt, ground pepper, and dried herbs. That’s it. In less than five minutes you can have homemade ranch dressing that will keep up to a week in the fridge on hand for veggies, salads, and chicken. It is so good, it won’t last a week.
You can use dried or fresh herbs. I used herbs from my garden. Don’t be afraid to pack it with herbs for a robust flavor. Sea salt is great for this dressing, but Kosher will work. I use local sea salt by Newport Salt Company. It is worth investing in quality ingredients.
Try Basil Buttermilk dressing or basic Italian vinaigrette.
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup regular milk or buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill weed
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried chives
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon finely ground pepper
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Mix mayo, sour cream, and milk together in bowl with a whisk.
- Add herbs mixing finishing off with the lemon juice.
- Keep in the fridge in an airtight container.
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Pasta
Luxuriously Pasta Carbonara
Pasta Carbonara was something I always ordered out at an Italian restaurant. It seemed so complicated — a dish I couldn’t possibly make myself at home — silly me. Of course, I could make Pasta Carbonara! I make bread and pastries. Those are tricky to prepare well.
Confidence with Cream
I had nothing to fret about regarding this recipe. Anyone can do it. It is just cream, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, and pasta water.
Why was I so afraid? No clue. It does take practice to get the consistency right. It is simple. And quick.
Sausage or Bacon
You can make this recipe the more traditional way with bacon. Or you can make it with sausage. Depending on how I feel, I use spicy or mild sausage. That goes for how I prepare the sausage. Sometimes I take the sausage out of the casings frying it up that way or cook them whole then slicing them placing them on top of the pasta.
It is worth trying to find pappardelle. I prefer how the sauce takes to it.
So you can now skip the restaurant and make Pasta Carbonara at home.
Need more pasta recipes? Visit the pasta section of Well Worn Apron.
Pasta Carbonara with Italian Sausage
- 8 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine
- 1 cups frozen peas
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 Italian sausage links - spicy or mild (about 1 pound)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces), plus more for serving
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the peas during the last minute of cooking. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta and peas, and return them to the pot.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until cooked through about 10-15 minutes.
- In a mid-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half-and-half or cream, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Add the egg mixture and reserved cooking water to the pasta and peas in the pot.
- Cook over low heat, tossing gently, until the sauce is slightly thickened and coats the pasta. Serve with the sausage and additional cheese.
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Pasta
Simple Savory Spinach Bacon Ravioli
Quick and simple doesn’t necessarily mean calling for pizza delivery (though sometimes that is a nice treat). You can make a quick delicious meal that is good on the wallet and the waistline. Spinach Bacon Ravioli is one of those meals that can be made in a jiffy but tastes luxurious.
Spinach Bacon Ravioli is a 15-minute meal. Well, 30-minute if you count stopping at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. Ok, I’m pretty quick in the grocery store so it may take you a little longer. The ingredient list is short: ravioli, bacon, whole garlic, spinach, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. That’s it.
On The Go
I usually have bacon and ravioli in the freezer. Garlic and lemons are in the fridge. So spinach is what I’m stopping for in the grocery store if I haven’t thought ahead. That said I tried to stock my veggie bin with veg we like, and spinach is one of them. With my schedule going in different directions, I am trying to meal plan more and do a week’s shopping in one go. Am I successful? Not really, but I keep trying. For me, the key is to have essential ingredients that I can create different meals on the fly, depending on what I feel like or the time I have. And time is something I have a limited supply of these days.
Let’s get back to the dish. Super simple. With seven ingredients – five if you exclude the salt and pepper – you can make a fancy restaurant meal at home. I use refrigerated cheese ravioli, but frozen works just as well. Don’t limit yourself to cheese ravioli; get creative. When I’m preparing the bacon, instead of wiping out the pan to cook the garlic and spinach, I use the bacon fat. Why get rid of that super flavor? You can swap out the bacon fat for olive oil, but I say use the fat. Just gives everything a wonderful rich flavor. And it isn’t like there is an inch of fat in the pan, more like a coating. Just enjoy it. (Don’t do it with every meal, every day, OK?)
Looking for more pasta dishes? Visit the pasta section.
- 1 package ravioli
- 6-8 slices bacon
- 2 gloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 10 oz container baby spinach torn
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Boil then cook ravioli to package directions.
- While water is setting to boil, cut bacon into sections using a kitchen scissors then cook in pre-heated pan over medium-high heat.
- When bacon is almost crispy, add sliced garlic cooking until brown.
- Add spinach, salt, and pepper stirring until spinach is wilted.
- Add in lemon juice stirring.
- Drain ravioli arranging on plate topping with spinach bacon mixture.