Breezy Cheesy Homemade Gnocchi

Gnocchi with mushroom white wine sauce

Cooking in real life rarely goes as smoothly as recipes read, mostly because buttoned up, step-by-step recipes just beg to be messed with. It’s rare for me to find a recipe I won’t tweak at all, but writing a blog with recipes necessitates some attention to detail and process. Since I’m sharing a recipe with the online world (or at least 2 or 3 of you), I want to make sure I get things right. For someone who is accident prone and terrible at estimating, planning out ingredients and amounts adds a comforting level of confidence and control. While I’m glued to my measuring cups, and always within reach of my google machine for “how to” research, the boy likes to play things by ear in the kitchen…and in every single area of his life, but that’s another topic altogether.

When I’m not making a recipe for the blog, I can usually go with the boy’s improvisational flow. For instance, we have an awesome go-to sauce that combines mushrooms, white wine, broth, and cheese. We made it up on the fly once, and have made variations of it several times since. Although we’ve never measured the amounts, I figured the sauce was so good it needed to be shared.

For the pasta beneath the sauce, I wanted to experiment with something new. Gnocchi tastes so decadent, but my google research had taught me that the process of making it at home is deceivingly simple. Since I was elbow-deep in gnocchi process research, I asked the boy to get the sauce together. When he asked for some direction, I told him, “Do whatever you want!” Of course, I had bought the groceries, so I figured my ingredients spoke for themselves. I had a plan, and it was going to be so good.

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Garbage Can Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

I’m a fan of random dinners, or what I like to call “garbage can meals.” Put together a bunch of forgotten ingredients, that would otherwise end up being thrown out, and you have yourself a resourceful garbage can meal. Although I find grocery shopping relaxing, which I know is kind of strange, sometimes I don’t have time for it because it’s kind of an event for me. I tend to get lost in aisles, staring at the different bread options, wondering if I should try that new cereal, or whether I should be adventurous and grab that intriguing curry sauce. Some nights my lack of focus intimidates me, so I choose to go home and see what I can do with what I have. Fortunately, my grocery store wanderings often result in a pantry that’s full, albeit random, but packed with edible things ready to be thrown in a garbage can meal.

One night I came home and looked at my fridge, and it stared back at me with red and green peppers, zucchini, and a yellow onion. Then I went to see what my pantry had to offer. A can of tomatoes caught my eye first, then I pushed it aside and saw the kasha that had been waiting patiently to be used since last summer. This past June I went through a brief gluten-free phase, and my mom, perpetually confused by me yet always supportive, bought me a box of kasha so I’d have a new gluten-free grain to try. This gesture, while kind in intention, left me unsettled. “I’ve never cooked with kasha!” I thought, “What is kasha?! Why don’t I know what kasha is? Am I failing at gluten free-dom?” You may find my reaction a bit intense for the situation, and it absolutely was, but a lack of gluten resulted in a high amount of crazy in this one. My sister even told me I was “tweaking out,” and looking back on it she was dead on. Once I started eating gluten again, I dove gleefully into pizza, pasta, and bread baskets of all kinds, and didn’t look back.

The box of gluten-free kasha sat lonely and forgotten in my pantry until this one fateful evening of no grocery shopping. On this night I decided I was going to use the kasha, gosh darn it, and I was going to like it. What is kasha, you ask? Just another word for buckwheat groats, and honestly if my name were “buckwheat groats” I’d probably prefer a fancy stage name too. Before you jump to the conclusion that buckwheat groats belong in an actual garbage can, not included in a garbage can meal, let’s take a judgement-free moment to learn about kasha. It has a hearty texture, nutty taste, and crazy nutrition. Even for us gluten enthusiasts, kasha is a grain worth trying: one serving (1/4 cup dry) boasts 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, plus a bunch of flavanoids and antioxidants. K enough with the learning, let’s get to the food.

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