Sweet Potato Ravioli and stocking up

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Today I spent my Labor Day laboring away in my kitchen. I didn’t really mind. I like good, homemade food and I like cooking so I decided to stock up my freezer.

First off, I decided to make sweet potato ravioli. I had cooked up two sweet potatoes (just stuck them in the crock pot) for sweet potato enchiladas (yum) and only used one so I decided to use the second one for ravioli filling. I mashed up the sweet potatoes (I probably had about a cup and a half ), added about 2/3 cup ricotta, a 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and about 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

I used the pasta recipe that came with my ravioli mold (well worth the $15 I spent on it) and made 48 ravioli which are now sitting in my freezer.

Couple of hints for on making ravioli – first off, get the mold if you intend to make it more than once. I mean, look how pretty those little puffs of pasta are. Plus, you don’t waste so much dough. My first try at ravioli was hilarious – they were all wonky and the dough to filling ratio was way off.

 Second, make sure that you use water or egg to seal your edges. I’ve had ravioli filling spill out when cooking and water downed ravioli is not the best.

Inevitably I have pasta dough left over. I hate waste so I roll it out and take my pizza cutter and slice it up into misshapen noodles. Then I set them out on a baking rack and let them dry overnight. Homemade pasta is always good.

I actually enjoy these days when I stock up my pantry/freezer. I rarely buy prepared foods. I usually cook from scratch breakfast, lunch (mostly leftovers) and dinner. It’s taken me about a year to really get into my cooking grove, but it has paid off tremendously. And except for labor intensive stuff like ravioli, most of my meals do not take a lot of time. I’m a working mom and with a little thought, some handy made-ahead meals and a selection of well-loved recipes, it takes me just as much time to make dinner as it would to run to the fast food joint and buy it. While I have spent a lot of money on groceries, careful planning and cooking from ingredients I have on hand has kept my food bill down.

After I made ravioli, I went outside and got some basil from my basil bush and made a batch of pesto. One of the secrets to good pesto is to toast your pine nuts. Then I used my small ice cream scoop (it’s about an inch wide – it works great for filling the ravioli also) and scooped the pesto onto a baking sheet lined with freezer paper and popped it into the freezer also. Once my little pesto balls were frozen, I put them into a plastic freezer zip lock bag.  The trick to getting all the air out is to put a straw into the bag and close it up to the straw then suck as much air out as you can. Quickly pull out the straw and finish closing the bag.

My final project was to make some peach muffins for my son’s breakfast.

All together a pretty productive day!

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