Oodles of Noodles . . .

When we had to go gluten-free for my husband’s sake, it curtailed some of our convenience shopping. Gluten-free pasta is only, usually, as the price and the price is higher for a relatively good-tasting pasta. One brand actually had a pretty good egg noodle gluten-free version but it tended to fall apart a bit and cost over $5 for 12 ounces.

Our favorite meals have always been either chicken or beef soup enriched in taste with the addition of egg noodles. I discovered two gluten-free flours that actually work great on making homemade egg noodles and the noodles hold their shape and you can’t tell the difference between the gluten types. I will now share my ‘secret’ with you! Better Batter Gluten-Free flour has been a staple in my cupboard for the last ten years. I have made birthday cakes and cookies using it and have never been found out even from gluten-loving friends. However, for homemade egg noodles, Authentic Foods – Steve’s GF Bread Flour is my all-time favorite for making those noodles now.

BUT, how does one make gluten-free egg noodles? I was hoping you’d ask as it is one of the easiest recipes in the world and works with either the recommended gluten-free flours or regular flour if you have no dietary restrictions. I have to warn you, however, the recipe is one where you might have to make minor adjustments as you go along as dry/wet weather can change the outcome otherwise.

Basically . . .

2 cups of our flour of choice – gluten-free or regular
Eggs . . . I say just ‘eggs’ as this could take anywhere from four to six eggs before you obtain a malliable dough. The dough should be kneadable but not stiff or wet. It should be relatively easy to roll out and if you have to struggle to do so and feel your biceps getting painful exercise, you probably should have added a bit more egg.

That’s the recipe. To be adventurous, you can add a bit of paste-type bullion for more flavor or some dried herbs that might enhance the flavor of the soup or stew you are serving it with.

As for the rolling out, you can go really thin or a thicker version. A pizza cutter is great for quickly turning your dough into strips. ALSO, if you are making something like a vegetable soup and you would like a bit of pasta to add some more substance to the finished produce, you can use tiny cookies cutters for circles or even a suitable lid from some handly bottle in yoru cupboard.

Once you’ve made all your decisions on the pasta use, etc., start the rolling out and place the cut dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet so they can dry a bit, In fact, you can made the noodles earlier in the day and with a few lengths of papertowel to cover, let them sit on the counter until you need them for dinner.

If you are using the noodles for soup, add them to the soup pot before serving. Keep stirring when you put them in to cook to prevent sticking. They usually take about three to five minutes and they are ready.

If you want to have the noodles with stew, just before you are ready to serve dinner, bring a big pot of salted water to a medium boil, add a couple tablespoons of olive and stir in your noodles to keep them separated, drain, rinse with cold water and then either add them to your stew or serve the stew over a portion of the noodles.

Lent? When Was Christmas Over?

There is a rumor going around that Lent is just about upon us! Time to think about the ‘give-ups’ and the extra prayers that are needed in this spiritually declining world. One of our annual ‘give-ups’ is taking meat out of the diet on both Wednesdays and Fridays. On the surface, it seems it might be a little too easy but after six weeks of coming up with meatless meals for both days of the week plus insuring my husband has meatless meals and snacks for his work lunch, the challenge makes itself known.

One of our favorite go-to meals has been a quick pasta meal with a salad. It is meatless and somewhat less in volume than a usual evening meal and seems to provide all the nutritional perks and sacrifice to keep us strong for Lent!

Lenten Pasta

1 pounds of spaghetti (or any shape you might prefer)
3 eggs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan and/or Romano
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
Salt & black pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter

Cook the spaghetti until almost done, drain, and stir in the butter, garlic, salt, and pepper until the butter is melted.

Lightly beat the eggs and stir into the pasta. If the pasta has cooled down too much, turn on a low heat to warm. Immediately after adding the eggs, mix in the cheese and stir to combine. If you like a creamier outcome, you can add a bit of milk to taste.

Great quick meal on a day when dinner time approaches before you are ready for it!

It is a very versatile dish in that you can add some chili flakes, drained tuna, use cheddar instead of the Italian cheeses, add some finely-diced parsley, some fresh mushrooms braised in a bit of butter or olive oil . . . Basically, look in the cupboard, see what you have, and you can come up with an original entree.

Budget Meal Pasta – Two Ways!

These recipes will work for a gluten-free diet or a regular one. Just make sure that if you are going the gluten-free route, you use a good gluten-free pasta because it makes a difference. My pasta of choice has been Tinkyada. These are both good budget or last-minute meals. While the pasta water is heading for the boiling stage, you can put together a green salad and have dinner ready in less than an hour.

Buttered Poppy Seed Noodles
16 ounces spaghetti
1/2 stick butter (margarine won’t work as well here.)
1 – 1 1/2  tablespoons poppy seeds
Salt & pepper to taste.

Prepare your pasta to taste. Drain thoroughly and place back into warm pot. Melt the butter and add the poppy seeds. Simmer very slightly for a moment or two to blend flavors. Pour over the pasta, toss gently and serve.

Walnut-Garlic Pasta

16 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, diced
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Salt & pepper to taste.

While your pasta is cooking, melt the butter with the olive oil. Throw in the garlic and cook gently until softened. Toss with the chopped walnuts, cooking two or three minutes longer. Be careful not to burn the butter/oil mixture. Pour over now cooked and drained spaghetti, mix together and serve. A crisp, green salad goes well with this. And there is always your fresh bread to consider!