The Birth of Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy

 Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy came to be out of two separate events in my life. My youngest son loved to cook with me. At an early age he declared he wanted to open a restaurant when he was older, called "Tyler's Yummy in Your Tummy" He never did open that restaurant but I loved the name and decided to use it for my Blog on Cooking and Recipes.



 "Ollie" replaced the name "Tyler" in the title simply because that same son suggested the nickname Ollie when my first grandchild was born. My middle name is Olive after my Grandmother, and I became Grandma Ollie to my grandchildren. And thus Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy was born!



 This blog will be a collection of recipes - family, my own, and any others I can find in my collection. I've been cooking for almost 50 years - having started as a pre-teen. In Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy I'll share my favourite recipes, tips and techniques with you.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Making Gnocchi From Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Making Gnocchi From Leftover Mashed Potatoes
I love Gnocchi. Any kind - ricotta, pumpkin, potato...it's all wonderful tummy warming goodness.  

It's so easy to make that I'm not sure why I don't make it more often. This past Thanksgiving which we celebrate in October here in Canada, I had so many leftover mashed potatoes that I wasn't sure what I could do with them. 

Making Shepherd's Pie is one way I use my leftover mashed potatoes but I had too many. Suddenly it dawned on me that I could quickly make some potato gnocchi with them.
 
It takes about 5 minutes to make gnocchi and they freeze beautifully. Just put them on parchment paper on a baking tray and pop i your freezer for about half an hour. Then put them into ziplock baggies for future meals. 

When you are busy and need a quick but yummy meal, pull them out of the freezer and drop (still frozen) into boiling water. When they rise to the top they are ready to eat. Pour some homemade tomato sauce over top, add some grated cheese (I used shredded mozzarella), add a salad and you've got a meal that took about 10 minutes to make.

Ingredients

Here's all you need - about 2 cups of mashed potatoes (leftover or fresh. 2 large potatoes makes about 48 gnocchi)



about 1 cup of flour. You might need a bit more, or a bit less. Go by the feel of the dough as you mix it. 

1 beaten egg. Some cooks just use the yolk. 

about 1/4 block of cream cheese. I use the light kind, but it's your choice

about 1/4 c. of milk. I used whipping cream in the photos you see here, because I had some in the fridge that needed using before the expiry date

Method:

Mash the potatoes with the cream cheese and milk. You can add a bit of butter if you want but it's not necessary. Fluff them up with a fork if you don't have a ricer. Let them cool. And I hope you didn't throw out the potato water. I freeze all my vegetable water to make soup stock. It has flavour and all the nutrients that got boiled away from the vegetables into the water.

  Next lay out a pastry sheet if you have one. It makes cleanup easier. I swear that next time I make gnocchi I am wearing disposable medical gloves! My hands get covered in sticky dough and there is always something I forgot to get out of the drawer which I need half way through...

 Mix flour with your mashed potatoes

Mix about 1/2 cup of flour with the mashed potatoes then dump the mixture out on your pastry sheet. Make an indentation in the middle and mound the sides up around it. 

Put your beaten egg in and start mixing the dough with your hands. Just scoop up the edges and incorporate into the egg. Add more flour as needed until you have a nice dough that is pliable but not sticky. 

Cut the dough into 4 roughly equal pieces.

One at a time you are going to roll the dough out with your hands into a sausage shape until is about 12 inches long and 3/4 inch around. 

With a pastry cutter or sharp knife, cut the sausage into equal pieces about 1" long.

Make a nice indentation in each gnocchi with your finger. This will hold the sauce when you cook them.

When you're done rolling and cutting each piece of dough, put the gnocchi pieces on to a piece of parchment on a baking tray and pop in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Then freeze them in dinner size quantities. For us it is 6 pieces per adult. The instructions for cooking them are above. Just add a salad or green vegetable and you've got a fast, yummy and economical supper!


Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce
This is a sauce I make in large quantities then I freeze it in individual batches for future meals. It's great over gnocchi, or any kind of pasta. You can add ground cooked meat or meatballs plus more spices to create a simple yet delicious spaghetti sauce.

Here's what you need:

12 tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh basil leaves (2)
2 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Here's all you do - wash 12 tomatoes and cut in half. Place them on a baking tray and brush with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then sprinkle a bit of sea salt over them.

Bake in a 350' oven for about 15 minutes until the skins start to wrinkle.

Let cool slightly and peel the skins off. They fall off easily.

Put the tomatoes in a saucepan and rough mash them with a potato masher. Add 2 fresh sweet basil leaves, some salt and pepper plus about 2 tsp of brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I like to add sliced garlic (2 cloves) but you can mash it if you prefer

Bring to a boil then simmer until the sauce has reduced to the consistency you like. I take the basil leaves out before freezing this sauce.