Breaking Bread By New FYB Writer Alison H. Fleck

Do you enjoy cooking? What about cooking with your significant other?

When my husband Collin and I were dating, we’d cook together all the time. I think this was partly due to his awesome roommate who loved to cook and try new recipes. This started us off cooking small things together like pork chops and chicken and rice. Soon we were inspired to try more difficult recipes like Blue Cheese Crusted Fliet Mignon, yum!

But years later with jobs and our busy schedules, cooking seems to be more of a hassle. And sometimes it can even be a stress inducer in our marriage. Not good, right? In fact, the question of “what do you want for dinner tonight?” has become a bit of a sore spot.

Usually the situation is…no one has had time to go shopping, both of us work late, and by the end of the day we’re just flat-out hungry. And the thought creating anything other than a microwaved meal seems utterly impossible.

Does this sound familiar?

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

For us, although I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, we’ve compiled a few easy go-to dinners like brats, hamburgers, pizza, and cereal to quickly make…eek, I know. In fact, the other night I actually ate half of a baguette for dinner. #carbs.

Ew…yuck!

What happened to the fillet mignon and blackberry cobbler?

Now, I’m not so naive as to think those time consuming meal options of the past are possible to have every night, but we would like to start moving back in the “better eating” direction.

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

Collin and I aren’t ones who can just pull stuff out of our pantry or fridge and magic something together on a whim. As with most things in our lives, we aren’t so intentional. But with cooking, you sort of have to be, you know?

So when our good friend Annie Middlebrooks of The Makers Table invited us to share in an evening learning how to make fresh pasta, we were definitely all in!

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

But to be honest, the thought of making fresh pasta was never something I was interested in. I thought it was something people with real cooking skills did…not me.

Low and behold the pasta making class with Chef Elyse Fisher was incredibly inspiring and a wonderful way to get out of our cooking/eating rut. On my own, I would have thrown in the towel during various points in the process…simply because I’d be asking, “is this right?”.

It was great to have Elyse there to walk us through the surprisingly simple steps of making homemade pasta, recipe included at the bottom of the post and here as well.

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

Another exciting thing, besides reintroducing us to the world of cooking, we ended up meeting some genuinely wonderful people while enjoying an evening sharing stores and getting to know one another.

Collin and I worked as a team and hit it off with the people at our station who have since become good friends. We visit each other’s homes frequently cooking for and with one another.

And we’ve even had our own pasta making night while our husbands tried their hand at home brewing beer.

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

The process of cooking can be time consuming, but when you share it with good people and the one you love, it’s so rewarding.

In fact, thinking back on this pasta making night, as we sat down at the table to break bread with one another, we were all in agreement that it was the best meal we’d had in a long time.

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck - http://fabyoubliss.com/2014/09/11/breaking-bread-by-new-fyb-writer-alison-h-fleck

Author: Alison Fleck // Photography: Courtney Waugh // Pasta Class by Annie Middlebrooks with The Makers Table // Pasta Recipe by Chef Elyse Fisher // Recipes can be found Here

Slowly but surely Collin and I have started incorporating cooking back into our daily routine. Instead of coming home, flipping on the TV and asking “what’s for dinner?”, we break out the pots and pans, bust open The Pioneer Woman or look something up on All Recipes to try our hand at creating something new and delicious.

We win some, we loose some, but we never regret the adventure of cooking at home, and more importantly cooking with each other.

xoxo

Alison

* * *

Homemade Pasta
Serves 8

Prep Time1 hr 25 min Cook Time5 min Total Time1 hr 30 min

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
Water as needed

Make the Dough

Mix flours and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment. Add eggs and olive oil and turn the speed up to medium-high. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time to reach desired consistency. Mix on high until dough forms a rough ball.

Remove dough to a well floured surface and knead with hands until to incorporate any loose flour. Knead well until the dough becomes tight and smooth. Sprinkle with more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Cover dough with a towel and let rest 30 minutes.
Rolling out the Dough

Cut the dough into half, and then in thirds. Work one piece at a time and be sure to cover the other pieces. Take one piece and flatten into a rectangular shape, adding flour to both sides. Attach the pasta sheet roller to your stand mixer and set it to #1. Turn on the stand mixer to speed 2 and run the pasta dough through the pasta sheet roller. While on #1, fold the dough in half and run it through again. Do this several times until dough is smooth.
Add a little flour on each side of the dough again, change setting to #3 and pass the pasta dough through the sheet roller a few times until the dough is smooth and slightly translucent. If you want slightly thinner dough, run the dough through once or twice on setting #4.

Cut the dough into two or three pieces and change the attachment to your spaghetti or fettuccine cutter and turn on to speed 2 (I prefer the fettuccine attachment!). Run the pasta sheet through and with your left hand, hold on to the pasta as it comes through the cutter. Toss the pasta with flour and form into a nest. Allow pasta to dry for a few minutes before boiling or storing.

When boiling your pasta, it only needs about 5 minutes to boil.
Notes

Make ahead: After kneading the dough, wrap with plastic wrap tightly and let rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before rolling out.

Enter your email here:

Or, get updates via

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

There is always plenty more to come - subscribe now and never miss a thing!

Foodie Sundays: A Scrumptious Buffalo Chicken Chowder

Soups are definitely a favorite of mine. Even when it’s warm out like it was today. I don’t know, there’s just something so wonderfully yummy about a good soup. And this Buffalo Chicken Chowder is most certainly what I would call yummy. Especially if you like a little spice!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup flour (rice flour for gluten free)
3 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1/4 cup Franks Red Hot sauce (taste before using the entire 1/4 cup)
1 large yukon gold or other boiling potato, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

Directions
Step 1: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, add the chicken and saute until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Step 2: Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Step 3: Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Step 4: Mix in the flour and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

Step 5: Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan.

Step 6: Add the cooked chicken you set aside, the hot sauce and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Step 7: Season with salt and pepper, mix in the cream and blue cheese and remove from heat when the cheese has melted.

Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Both The Hubby and I agree, this is one of our new favorite soups. Hope you enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Enter your email here:

Or, get updates via

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

There is always plenty more to come - subscribe now and never miss a thing!

Foodie Fridays: Super Scrumpdely-icious Lobster Mac-n-Cheese

Yes, I just made up a word. But that’s okay, this lobster mac-n-cheese deserves a whole new language! It’s rich and decadent and oh so yummy!

The pictures don’t do it justice so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing dish
1 pound penne pasta
2 small shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half & half
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
2 cups shredded Muenster/Havarti Style Cheese ( I used Yancey’s Fancy Bergenost purchased from Costco)
2 (8-ounce) raw lobster tails, defrosted if frozen, meat removed from shell, chopped
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

This image was taken with my iPhone…on Instagram no less ;-)

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust racks to the middle. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with butter.

Step 2: In a large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.

Step 3: Add 4 tablespoons butter to a large pot over medium heat. Once the butter shimmers, add the shallots and garlic and saute until translucent. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 4: Add the tomato paste and flour and stir to toast, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 5: Add the white wine and reduce, by half, about 2 minutes.

Step 6: Slowly add the cream, whisking well to remove any lumps. Add the paprika, cayenne, and bay leaf. Bring the cream up to a simmer and turn the heat to low. Let reduce until the cream is thick and can coat a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes. When thickened, remove the bay leaves.

Step 7: Stir in the grated cheeses, a handful at a time, combining well after each addition. Add the chopped lobster meat to the sauce and stir well. Add the pasta and stir.

Step 8: Add mixture to the greased baking dish and sprinkle with the panko crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

I mean…it is ridiculously good!!! Both The Hubby and I had second helpings ;-)

Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for stopping by.

Enter your email here:

Or, get updates via

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

There is always plenty more to come - subscribe now and never miss a thing!

Foodie Fridays: Roasted Baby Potatoes Soaked in Parmesan Yummy Goodness

If you’re watching your weight and cholesterol, (which we should all be doing to some degree), you may not want to try this recipe fully loaded…or maybe just make a batch once in a VERY blue moon. These babies are sinful! And unfortunately, though we tried to make them using olive oil, they need to be made with the fat of butter so the gooey goodness will stick together.

It’s okay though, you can lighten it up by adding less butter and cheese and like I said, don’t make it very often ;-)

Makes about 3 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 pound baby potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
1.76 ounces butter
1.76 ounces Parmesan, grated
garlic powder
other seasonings (rosemary, thyme basil, oregano, etc), optional

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 F and cut baby potatoes. We used variety of colored ones, but you can use whatever you like.

Step 2: Melt butter and pour it into a baking sheet and spread evenly across the bottom.

Step 3: Sprinkle parmesan cheese and sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter.

Step 4: Place baby potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings.

Step 5: Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

These are really, really good.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Enter your email here:

Or, get updates via

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

There is always plenty more to come - subscribe now and never miss a thing!

Foodie Fridays: Spicy Pumpkin Soup – Thanksgiving Side Dish Three

Rounding out the pre-Thanksgiving “something different” recipes I’ve been featuring for the last few Food Fridays, is this yummy spicy pumpkin soup. I made some for this feature and I will be making another batch next week to bring to our big family Thanksgiving as well.

If you like spicy, this soup is for you. If you don’t, you can tone it down by adding less crushed red pepper and cayenne or omit them both completely. Personally I like a little heat, but I will be toning it down for the party next week.

INGREDIENTS

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
A smidgen ground cayenne pepper
3 – 15 oz cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin
5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.

Step 2: Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 3: Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.

Step 4: With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.

Yummy, yummy! Hope you enjoy it.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the other “out of the ordinary” Thanksgiving dishes I’ve posted. Foodie Fridays: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gorgonzola Cheese, Cranberries & Toasted Pecans – Thanksgiving Side-Dish One and Foodie Fridays: Cornbread Stuffing with Pecans and Sweet Sausage

Thanks for stopping by!

Enter your email here:

Or, get updates via

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

There is always plenty more to come - subscribe now and never miss a thing!

Foodie Fridays: Cornbread Stuffing with Pecans and Sweet Sausage

Continuing with a list of “out of the ordinary” Thanksgiving, (or Christmas), recipes I started last week, (see last week’s recipe here), this cornbread stuffing recipe is a super scrumptious choice to replace your usual version or maybe even if you want to venture into the homemade territory for the first time.

I have to thank my blogger friend Cris from Kiss My Tulle for suggesting I post a cornbread stuffing recipe as I never would have thought of it. She’s from Alaska and her Texas husband said no Southern Thanksgiving is complete without cornbread stuffing. So I had to do a little searching for this recipe given I was born and raised in Southern California and the only thing truly Southern about me is the way the compass points where I live. And that I say ya’ll sometimes and think I can get away with it ;-)

Anyhow, this recipe came from the November 2012 issue of Country Living, The Fabulous Beekman Boys’ Cornbread Stuffing with Pecans and Sweet Sausage. And it is a serious must try if you want to go for something different!

INGREDIENTS

3/4 tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 pound Sweet Italian Sausage (Without Fennel Seeds), casings removed
3 ounce (about 3/4 cup) Pecans, toasted
1/2 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
Zest Of 1 Lemon (About 1 Tablespoon)
5 cups (or up to 6 cups) Cubed, Day-Old Supermoist Cornbread, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
2 tablespoons Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Step One: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step Two: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 7 minutes.

Step Three: Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Step Four: Add pecans, parsley, zest, and cornbread to bowl and toss to combine.

Step Five: Add broth, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss until moistened.

Step Six: Transfer to a 3-quart casserole dish, cover with a piece of aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes.

Step Seven: Remove foil and bake until hot and browned on top, about 15 minutes more.

And there you have it, a yummy cornbread recipe your loved ones will be begging for all year round. Be sure to check back next Friday for another fun recipe for your holiday feast.

Thanks for stopping by!

Recipe and image from Country Living

Enter your email here:

Or, get updates via

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

There is always plenty more to come - subscribe now and never miss a thing!