Grandma LaBarber’s Potato Gnocchi

The first time I made gnocchi, half the kitchen ended up covered in flour! I truly had no idea what I was doing – all I knew is that my husband loves gnocchi and, because I love him, I was determined to make gnocchi for him. Fortunately, my technique has gotten much better and, though I do not use this recipe as we both like Ricotta Gnocchi  (thank you Budget Bytes) much better, I am including it for those who want a basic potato gnocchi recipe.

Grandma LaBarber's Potato Gnocchi
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

These gnocchi are delicious, especially when smothered with Grandma LaBarber's Red Sauce.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups water *
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 envelope mashed potato granules 5-serving size
  • 1 ea. egg slightly beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 qt. *boiling, salted water for cooking gnocchi
Instructions
  1. Combine water, salt, and oil in medium-size saucepan and heat to boiling. 

  2. Remove from heat, stir in potatoes and cool slightly.

  3. Stir in egg and flour.

  4. Shape potato dough into strips about 3/4" in diameter. Cut strips into 1" pieces.

  5. NOTE: Gnocchi are traditionally 'rolled' by taking each piece and rolling the back side of a fork over the piece to form ridges. The original recipe didn't call for rolling, but I always do it!

  6. Drop about 1/4 of the gnocchi pieces at a time into the boiling salted water. Simmer uncovered about 5 minutes (or until gnocchi float to the surface).

  7. Remove from water with slotted spoon and plate with red sauce.

Recipe Notes

Uncooked gnocchi can be frozen for later use. Place on tray in freezer until individual pieces are frozen, then vacuum seal.

Grandma LaBarber’s Meatballs

This is the recipe I use when making meatballs – otherwise, I would have to listen to my husband’s protests of ‘these don’t taste like my grandma’s meatballs’, followed by a walk down memory lane filled with big chunks of onions, perfect spices, and huge, glorious, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs drenched in red sauce. I never met her, but the stories about Grandma LaBarber’s cooking prowess run rampant. She was truly the standard by which all other cooks are judged!

These are great meatballs, by the way, whether eaten straight out of the pan or nestled atop a mountain of red sauce-covered pasta. While I normally only use extra-lean ground beef, these beauties call for ground chuck, and that’s what they get! While my cooking will never rival Grandma LaBarber’s, I do my best to give my husband a taste of that legendary cooking.

Grandma LaBarber's Meatballs
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

If you're gonna make meatballs, make them big, juicy, and full of Italian flavor. Whether you eat them nestled atop red sauce-covered pasta, or in an Italian steak roll slathered with red sauce and buried in melted mozzarella, these meatballs make a big statement! I suggest doubling, or even tripling, this recipe and freezing any leftovers (if there are any). 

Sear and partially cook meatballs if canning in red sauce.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 ea. eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesancheese
  • 1/4 cup parsley to taste
  • sprinkle pepper to taste
  • 3/4 tsp. salt to taste
  • 1 ea. onion, medium chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 dash powdered cloves optional
  • basil 1/2 tsp. or more if desired
  • fennel seeds 1/2 tsp. or more if desired
Instructions
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl.

  2. Form meatballs about 1-1/2" diameter

  3. Place in heated frying pan and cook until no longer pink, turning occasionally to brown all sides.

  4. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel-covered plate, or immediately add to red sauce.

Recipe Notes
  1. We get our Parmesan cheeses from Latina Importing in Niagara Falls, NY via special delivery from visiting friends. Whenever we visit there, we always bring home Latina's cheese (enough to last the whole year). These cheeses freeze well (thank goodness) when vacuum-sealed.
  2. Meatballs can also be baked on a nonstick cookie sheet at 425 °F for about 15 minutes (but it's just not the same).

Grandma LaBarber’s Red Sauce

 This is the red sauce recipe I always use, although I have been known (on many occasions) to add some extras. The original is a copy her son (my husband’s uncle) sent us – it’s hard to read but we’ve got this!

My husband talks about his grandmother’s cooking all the time: red sauce, homemade Italian bread, gnocchi, pasta, cookies, Italian Easter egg baskets … I wish I could have met her. I do my best to honor her memory by using recipes of hers that I do have. These recipes have surprised me, since somehow I expected that she would start red sauce from fresh tomatoes and gnocchi from fresh potatoes  🙂 

Grandma LaBarber's Red Sauce
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 20 mins
 

The recipe calls this Tomato Sauce and credits Ma LaBarber as the author. To us it's Grandma's red sauce...

If you're going to pressure can this sauce, double the recipe to make about 6 quarts.

Course: Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
  • 1 ea. onion, large chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, large chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 29 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 29 oz. can crushed tomatoes with puree
  • 3 ea. bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • pinch pepper (large pinch)
  • 4 ea. allspice, whole
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds (heaping tbsp.)
Instructions
  1. In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. 

  2. Add onion, garlic, and parsley, and cook until onion is transparent.

  3. Add rest of ingredients (tomato sauce through fennel seeds) and stir well to blend.

  4. Bring to low boil then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours.

  5. Add water if sauce is too thick.

Recipe Notes

Optional ingredients (add with main ingredients):

  • sliced Italian sausage links or crumbled Italian sausage 
  • sliced bell peppers (red, green, yellow)
  • mushrooms
  • meatballs
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (for a little more kick)

I make this sauce twice a year and pressure can it. No, dear husband, I do not make sauce-on-demand.

 

 

Basil-Garlic Pesto Parmesan Chicken

With a still-sick husband, dinner needed to be quick and quiet since he was napping on the sofa. I had already given him some Chicken Noodle Soup for lunch, along with some cold medicine, and it knocked him out. I wanted something easy and chicken-y (I had already pulled chicken breasts from the freezer and he obviously wasn’t grilling!), and I wanted to cook in the toaster oven since it’s the perfect size for meals-for-two.

It’s easy to end up with dry chicken breasts, but coating them helps keep the juices in; now, what to use? I was pawing through the fridge looking for some Caesar or ranch dressing when I happened upon some basil-garlic pesto on the very bottom shelf of the door – so basil-garlic pesto chicken it is! The Parmesan was an afterthought, but just the right touch.

I ended up using some packaged Panko breadcrumbs from the pantry instead of my usual homemade vacuum-sealed breadcrumbs so I wouldn’t have to reseal the FreshSaver® bag. The vacuuming process can be quite noisy and didn’t fit my quick-and-quiet dinner plan.

Basil-Garlic Pesto Parmesan Chicken
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

It's easy to end up with dry chicken breasts, but coating them helps keep the juices in. Thick creamy salad dressings are my usual go-to's (ranch, Caesar, etc.) but I settled on pesto and Panko with delicious results!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 3
Author: WW
Ingredients
  • 3 ea. boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/3 cup basil-garlic pesto
  • 1-1/2 cup breadcrumbs Panko or other unseasoned
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
  • olive oil nonstick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F

  2. Spray cookie sheet or other baking pan with non-stick spray

  3. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry

  4. Place 1/3 of pesto on each chicken breast and rub to coat 

  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

  6. Roll chicken breasts in breadcrumbs and place on pan

  7. Press additional breadcrumbs onto top of chicken if needed

  8. Spray top of chicken with non-stick spray

  9. Bake at 425 °F for 15-25 minutes or until juices run clear

Recipe Notes

Serve with roasted potatoes and green beans (I microwaved Green Giant® Vegetable Medley to save time and noise)

 

 

©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

In my ongoing effort to replace a lot of prepackaged foods with fresh ingredients, I’m always trying to ‘cook up’ something to use ingredients I have in my pantry and fridge. My goal is not only to cook healthier, but to get the pantry contents whittled down to the point where I actually know what I’m running low on!

Healthier? Almost 2 cups of cheese? Anyway, cheese is a dairy product and dairy is good for you, and there is more broccoli than cheese! In this case, I would not recommend using anything less than 2% cheese, as it will probably not melt properly. 

I forget what I bought the Farfalle for originally, but there sat half a box and me with no more air-tight containers for pasta (I already have 8 filled containers of various cuts in the pantry). Before the weather decided to get warm and humid, it was time to use it up.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This is a great pasta side to make when you have half a box of pasta, some leftover chicken, and some broccoli. The ingredients are simple and you probably have them in your fridge and pantry. The pepper jack gives this side a little kick, but is not overly hot or spicy. My husband said 'It's good', which is much better than 'It's fine' (translates to 'I could take it or leave it')

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 1-cup each
Author: WW
Ingredients
Pasta
  • 1/2 lb. Farfalle pasta (bowties) or other substantial cut
  • 2 qt. water
Chicken & Cheese Sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced sweet or yellow
  • 3/4 tsp. salt plus additional for seasoning at end
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper ground
  • 2 ea. chicken breast halves cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic fresh or prepacked
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard can substitute brown spicy
  • 1/4 cup Moscato wine can substitute any white wine or white cooking wine
  • 1-1/2 cups pepperjack cheese shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 2 cups broccoli steamed, fresh or frozen
Instructions
Pasta Prep
  1. Bring water to a rolling boil and add pasta

  2. Cook al dente according to package instructions, stirring occasionally; do not overcook!

  3. Drain and set aside. If chicken and cheese sauce is lagging behind, add a splash of olive oil to the pasta and stir to coat. This will prevent the bowties sticking together.

Chicken and Cheese Sauce Prep
  1. While pasta is cooking, melt butter over medium heat in Gotham Steel deep square 9-12” pan or other large, deep frying pan

  2. Add chicken and onion. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, stirring frequently.

  3. Reduce heat to medium low. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and mustard and stir to mix.

  4. Add wine and heat through.

  5. Add cheese. Stir until melted.

  6. Add pasta and broccoli. Stir until completely coated.

  7. Remove from heat and season to taste.

Recipe Notes
  1. I used Yellow Tail® Moscato, which provided a subtle flavor to the sauce
  2. Kraft® shredded Parmesan was used, but feel free to shred your own. I just didn't feel like it 😉 
  3. I used broccoli florets fresh from the garden, but frozen will work - just don't cook the veggies to mush! A firmer texture provides needed contrast to the pasta.

©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen

 

 

©2018 Warrior Woman’s Kitchen

Cranberry Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

I am partial to ‘stuffed’ foods like chicken Cordon Bleu, Provolone stuffed flank steak, and stuffed flounder. I also love cranberry sauce – the kind with whole berries. I always buy extra at Thanksgiving so I can pile it up on slices of turkey breast. This year I bought a few too many cans, and when I was trying to figure out how to use it up, I thought, “Why not stuff a pork tenderloin with it?”, since I had the tenderloin and the cranberry sauce on hand. The combination piqued my interest – and taste buds.

If you’ve never butterflied a pork tenderloin, see this video (it’s excellent and it was easy!)

Cranberry Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Prep Time
3 hrs
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
4 hrs
 

I looked up a few recipes online but none of them used cranberry sauce, so I decided to strike out on my own! The end result was delicious – moist, fork-tender, with a slightly crispy glaze and savory-sweet stuffing. When my husband (who usually says dinner is ‘fine’) says something is ‘really good’, that’s an endorsement…I am full of myself (and tenderloin) at this point!


This is a great make-ahead dish which can be refrigerated all day or even overnight as long as it's covered tightly. 2-1/2 hours of the prep time includes 2 hours of refrigeration, so don't let the total time scare you!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 4-oz.
Author: WW
Ingredients
  • 1-2 lb. pork tenderloin Hormel or other brand - unseasoned
Stuffing
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce 14 oz. Ocean Spray or other brand
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper ground
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs unseasoned - use more if needed
Glaze
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. honey locally sourced if possible
  • 2 tbsp. water
Instructions
Preparation
  1. Cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap. Place the butterflied pork loin on top of that, and place another sheet of plastic wrap over the pork loin.

  2. Using flat side of meat mallet, pound the pork loin into a rectangle about 3/8″-1/2″ thick

  3. Reserving half of the bread crumbs, mix stuffing ingredients to a thick paste in medium bowl. Add more bread crumbs as needed to achieve desired consistency.

  4. Spread the cranberry mixture on top of the tenderloin to within 1/2″ of the sides and about 3/4″ from the ends (to keep the stuffing from falling out the ends when you roll it up).

  5. Grab the plastic wrap on one of the long sides and fold the tenderloin over (small fold) to begin the jelly roll process. Release the plastic wrap and complete rolling up the tenderloin.

  6. Using kitchen twine, tie the rolled tenderloin in 5 or 6 places. If you don't have kitchen twine, use toothpicks or (better yet) short bamboo skewers to secure the rolled tenderloin.

  7. Place seam side down in a baking dish lightly sprayed with Pam or other non-stick cooking spray. If any of the stuffing fell out while the tenderloin was being rolled up, place it in the baking dish cozied up to the pork tenderloin.

  8.  Cover baking dish and place in refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 hours, or up to 12 hours as long as tightly covered.

Cooking the Tenderloin
  1. Remove tenderloin from refrigerator.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 °F.

  3. Prepare glaze.

  4. Brush roast with glaze and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 145 °F, basting halfway through cooking time with glaze in bottom of baking dish.

  5. Remove from oven and let the roast rest for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Slice on either side of twine. Remove twine before serving!

Recipe Notes

My husband arrived early from work and I had to get dinner on the table, so I didn’t have time to photograph the roast after it came out of the oven. The picture is all that was left except for an end piece!

I served the pork loin with baked sweet potatoes and fresh cauliflower from the garden that I steamed in my Gotham Steel® steamer basket.

(1) I used dehydrated rosemary from my summer garden
(2) I used bread crumbs made from leftover homemade Italian bread. I store them in a FreshSaver ziplock bag in the refrigerator. This is a great way to use up stale bread. Just toast thin slices until very dry, then grind pieces in a food processor.
(3) Consumption of locally sourced honey may prevent and/or alleviate some allergy symptoms. I use honey whenever I can.

©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen

©2018 Warrior Woman’s Kitchen

 

Parmesan Garlic Shells

I love cooking pasta in my Gotham Steel® pasta pot! There’s something about my sink that can tip over the sturdiest colander. With the built-in strainers in the pasta pot that’s never a problem and, with the pasta still in the pot, I’m ready to put together one-pot pasta dishes like these Parmesan Garlic Shells. Great with grilled chicken or pork chops! I forgot to take a photo but will add it next time I make this…

My husband loves pasta side dishes but I don’t like all the additives in the prepackaged sides from the grocery store. This homemade side uses basic ingredients you probably have in your fridge and pantry, takes about the same amount of time to prepare, and it’s delicious.

Parmesan Garlic Shells
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Simple, cheesy shell pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and a hint of garlic 


Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 half-cup
Author: WW
Ingredients
  • 2 qt. water
  • 1-1/2 cups medium shell pasta
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a rolling boil and add pasta

  2. Boil approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is slightly al dente

  3. Place cover on Gotham Steel pasta pot, lock handles, and drain pasta (if not using the pasta pot, drain in colander and immediately return to pan - do not rinse!).

  4. Return pan to warm burner

  5. Stir in butter until melted
  6. Stir in parmesan and garlic
  7. Add sun-dried tomatoes and stir until well-coated
Recipe Notes

Adjust seasoning to your preference.

The sun-dried tomatoes add flavor and a wonderful color contrast.

©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen

 

 

Stromboli Supreme

 Sometimes I get obsessed, like today when I decided to (finally) sort through some old papers I had been stuffing in expandable folders for … I found some papers from when I lived in an apartment 15 years and 2 cars ago. I don’t need the insurance policy for the car I traded in 7 years ago, and I don’t need my (now defunct) US Airways reward miles card either. In the end, I had 1-1/2 expandable folders of papers that I do need to resort and file away, and two 13-gallon trash bags of shredded junk. I was so obsessed that when I finally hauled out the last trash bag, I looked at the clock and realized that the laundry wasn’t put away, the master bath still needed cleaning, and dinner needed to be on the table in 3 hours – and there was nothing on my cooking radar!

Sorting through papers is a slow process, but coming up with a delicious dinner doesn’t need to be (thank goodness!). I opened the refrigerator and found two leftover pork chops, some chicken soup stock, and … a can of refrigerated pizza crust I had picked up a couple weeks ago when it was on sale. With a jar of Ragu pizza sauce and some pepperoni in the pantry, green and yellow peppers, onions, tomatoes, Mozzarella and parmesan cheese in the fridge, sliced mushrooms and some ground Italian sausage in the freezer – how about trying something new (at least new from my kitchen)  – Stromboli.

There are many ways that Stromboli can be put together, but I was yearning for a half-moon version like I used to order from my favorite pizza place in a small upstate NY town. I wanted it to taste like that one, even if I really didn’t have time to make my own pizza dough so it would look like that one too. Refrigerated pizza crust rolls are handy but not a drop-in substitute for homemade crust; however, with now 2-1/2 hours left before dinner needed to be on the table, I was a beggar who couldn’t be choosy. Since I was taking shortcuts for almost everything (I did have some frozen sliced peppers and onions from the summer garden but I’m saving those for hot sausage sandwiches), I decided to roll the dice and see if I could transfer the picture in my mind to a Stromboli on the pizza pan (I do have a pizza stone but I use it for baking Italian bread and didn’t want to crud it up).

I started by setting the oven for 400 °F. While I was slicing and dicing veggies, I nuke-defrosted the Italian sausage, then threw the sausage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms into my Gotham Steel 9” square deep pan and cooked over medium heat until the sausage was almost done. Once the sausage mixture was cooking away, I cracked open the pizza crust can, oiled the pan, and reshaped the dough into a circle.  The square pan got a cover and the burner was turned to low just for a few minutes to soften up the veggies, after which I mixed in the diced tomato then drained off the excess liquid.

Assembly line time:

  • Add the pizza sauce
  • Add the seasoning
  • Add the pepperoni
  • Add the sausage mixture
  • Add the mozzarella and parmesan
  • Fold the crust over to make a half-moon shape and seal edges
  • Poke some vent holes and pop it in the oven

Dinner was ready in just under 2 hours from brainchild to golden brown results. It would only have taken an hour if I hadn’t waffled over what to make and then spent 30 minutes digging through the fridge, pantry, and freezer deciding what ingredients to use. Next time I’ll make my own pizza dough and maybe even break out the pizza stone…but I won’t be able to spend the whole day forgetting about dinner! The results were less than beauty-pageant-ready, and the crust did not rise like homemade dough would, but if I close my eyes and imagine it’s snowing, I can taste that familiar upstate NY Stromboli flavor from my Florida kitchen. This was one delicious ugly duckling!

Okay, one more thing: I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing, but just in case it was an epic failure, I nuke-defrosted a package of vacuum-sealed chicken casserole and popped it in the oven with the Stromboli…we can eat that tomorrow.

Stromboli Supreme
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Don't let the pictures fool you: this was delicious stromboli, even if the crust didn't rise like  I wanted it to. The texture of the crust was fine but I wanted some puffiness that I just didn't get from a can of refrigerated pizza dough. It's probably worth the effort to make your own dough!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
Sausage Filling
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage hot or mild
  • 1/2 ea. green bell pepper cut in strips
  • 1/2 ea. yellow bell pepper cut in strips
  • 1/2 ea. red bell pepper cut in strips
  • 1/2 ea. sweet onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup mushroom slices fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 ea. tomato diced
Other Ingredients
  • pizza dough enough for one 12" round crust
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce canned or fresh
  • 12 slices pepperoni thin
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded or grated
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning grinder or shaker type
  • olive oil or olive oil nonstick spray
Instructions
Sausage Filling Prep
  1. Add Italian sausage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms to a large frying pan 
  2. Cook on medium low until sausage is browned but not crispy, breaking up into small chunks while cooking
  3. Turn burner to low and cover for about 5 minutes to soften vegetables

  4. Remove from heat and stir in diced tomatoes 
  5. Drain excess liquid from pan and set mixture aside 
Crust Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F

  2. Lightly oil a 12-in round pizza pan

  3. Shape the pizza dough to completely cover the bottom of the pan

  4. Spread pizza sauce over half of dough

  5. Grind/shake Italian seasoning over sauce 

  6. Place sliced pepperoni evenly over sauce

Final Assembly
  1. Spread about one cup of sausage filling over pepperoni. 

  2. Add mozzarella then Parmesan

  3. Fold the other half of the pizza dough over the prepared pizza dough, pinching the edges together to seal
  4. Use a fork to poke several holes through the top of the crust to vent
  5. Bake at 400 °F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown
  6. Let stand for a few minutes before slicing pie-style

  7. Stromboli round #2 with a better pizza dough; it looked like there are a couple of burned spots but, in fact, they were just raised higher than most of the crust and were a darker brown. At least the crust raised this time!

Recipe Notes
  1. You can make your own Italian seasoning by mixing equal amounts of oregano, basil, and rosemary
  2. 1/4 of the stromboli is very filling and should be enough for each person, unless you have teenagers, in which case there is never enough food!
  3. If you want the stromboli piled high with filling, you can double the amount of filling but use slightly less than 1/2 of the pizza dough to make sure you have enough 'top' to seal the seams! Baking  time does not change.

 

©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen

 

 

Romaine Salad with Cranberry-Walnut Topping

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you how to make salad. I just wanted to share my simple salad method and the scrumptious salad topping that goes with it. In my (almost) 60 years of cooking, I’ve made salad a dozen different ways to satisfy my mom and/or the rest of the people at the table. Now I only have to satisfy my husband and anyone else who shows up will just have to live with our salad. 😉 

We love salad with dinner. We also love those packets of salad toppings available in the produce and salad dressing sections of the supermarket. The problem with those packets is the price – and the additives!

Unfortunately, we don’t like the same dressing, so I make individual salads (never any leftover salad to put/throw away) and top them off with crumbled feta and homemade cranberry-walnut salad topping. The topping adds just the right amount of color and flavor, not to mention that anything with cranberries and walnuts has to be good! This topping uses lower-carb glazed walnuts to remove a little guilt. Admonitions against heating low-calorie sweeteners are ignored; there’s not enough of it used, or eaten, to worry us. I experimented with aspartame, stevia, and saccharine-based sweeteners, but aspartame gave the best end result.

Properly dried topping can be vacuum-sealed and stored for up to 2 months in the pantry, or stored in the refrigerator in ziplock bags. I have stored sealed jars of this topping for several months but this requires a good vacuum sealer, like a Foodsaver®.

The topping can be used on any salad, but this is how we do salad!

Romaine Salad with Cranberry-Walnut Topping
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This is the simplest of individual salads - and the way we do salad at our house!

The topping adds just the right amount of color and flavor, not to mention that anything with cranberries and walnuts has to be good!  The topping uses lower-carb glazed walnuts to mollify a little guilt.

Course: Salad, Topping
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce hearts cut in 1/2" slices
  • 1 ea. tomato, medium large dice
  • 1/2 ea. sweet onion sliced into 4 sections
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Topping
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups walnuts chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp. artificial sweetener aspartame (recommended), stevia, or other
  • 2 tbsp. Cranberry-Walnut topping (made ahead and used from storage)
Instructions
Salad
  1. Topping should be made ahead of time and used from storage!

    Cut lettuce into 1/2" slices and distribute evenly into 4 salad bowls

  2. Dice onion and distribute evenly into each salad bowl

  3. Dice tomato and distribute evenly into salad bowls

  4. Add 2 tbsp. topping to each salad

  5. Top with crumbled feta cheese

  6. Add salad dressings of choice

Topping
  1. Preheat oven to 170°F

  2. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper

  3. Heat water in a 1-quart saucepan to simmer and remove from heat

  4. Add sweetener and stir to dissolve

  5. Add walnuts and stir to coat completely

  6. Spread walnuts on cookie sheet and mix in cranberries

  7. Place in oven for about 20 minutes (longer if needed) to dry mixture

  8. Vacuum-seal in half-pint canning jars or pint vacuum bags

  9. Alternately, divide topping into sandwich bags and store in refrigerator

Recipe Notes
  1. This topping will work on any leafy green type salad
  2. Store vacuum-sealed topping in pantry
  3. Store ziplock bags of topping in refrigerator

 

©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen