Spinach Ricotta Dumplings



I grew up in a Norwegian household.  I know, I know, ricotta is not Norwegian.  I’m not either.  Actually I grew up in a very international home and married a man with an even more international background than myself. I have always loved to cook and Italian is one of my favorites.  If you haven’t tried my penne with vodka sauce (on this blog) you haven’t lived.  My friends daughter asked if she could give the recipe to the caterer for her wedding.

I’m also a big fan of comfort food and nothing comforts me like dumplings.  Any dumpling.  Plain biscuit type, sweet dumplings, German soup dumplings and ricotta is my favorite.

They melt in your mouth and you can eat them so many ways.  My husband loves them rolling in a good marinara sauce, I love them just plain with some sweet butter and my newest creation is to serve them with a browned butter sauce with fresh chopped garlic.  They are wonderful fresh and just as wonderful a day or two later.  Right, like that ever happens.

I make my own ricotta, which is embarrassingly simply, but you can also just use commercially prepared ricotta. Okay friends, let’s begin.

Ricotta Cheese


  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt


  1. Prepare a colander by lining it with a dampened double layer of cheese cloth.  (Wring it out before you line the colander so it is not too wet).  This keeps the cloth from shifting when you are pouring in the cheese.  Set the colander over a bowl or in the sink.
  2. Warm the milk in a heavy pot until it begins to bubble around the edges and steams (About 200°)  Don’t let it boil.
  3. Add the acid (lemon or vinegar) and salt to the pot and stir with a wooden spoon gently until it is combined.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes.  Do not stir.  To check, use a slotted spoon you should see milky curds and yellowy thin water whey.  If the milk has not separated you can add more of your acid or wait a few minutes.  This recipe is very forgiving.
  4. Put the colander in a bowl. Strain the curds by pouring the contents of the pot into the colander.  Let the ricotta drain for 20 minutes to an hour depending how wet you like it or what you are using it for.  If it looks too dry add some of the whey back in, a teaspoon at a time.
  5. Use what you need, or store it in an airtight container.  It will last for up to a week.  It makes about 2 cups.


Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings


  • 1 – 10 oz. package of frozen, chopped spinach.  Defrosted and squeezed dry.
  • 1 1/2 cups of ricotta
  • 1 cup of parmessan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
  • fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of fresh ground nutmeg


  1.  Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix with a fork.  You should have a sticky looking dough.  If it looks too wet add a little more flour.  I like to work with the sticky dough, I think the dumplings come out fluffier.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and a Tablespoon of kosher salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Prepare your work surface.  Gather the following:  cookie sheet, cookie dough scoop or a large spoon, extra flour to roll the dumplings in and another cookie sheet to put the dumplings on before you cook them.
  4. Spread a layer of flour on your first cookie sheet.  Take your cookie scoop (I usually spray mine with cooking spray) and plop a scoop of dough on the flour.  Gently roll it in the flour (you are looking to make 24 1-1/2″ balls.) and place on the second cookie sheet. Repeat until they are all rolled in flour.
  5.  When the water is boiling place half of the dumplings in the water.  Don’t crowd them.  If your pot is small do them in three batches.  You will know they are done when they rise to the top about 5-6 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon or a spider,  to a clean plate.

You can eat these several ways, with marina, butter and parmessan, maybe a little fresh chopped basil or parsley.  Try them.  Experiment and let me know how you ate them!

Oh, I bet they would be good in soup . . .

Accidental Lasagne Casserole

no person food traditional table

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

What?  Accidental lasagne casserole?  What is that?  Yumminess, that’s what.

When I was first married we were both students and money was really tight, it would be a stretch some nights as to what would be for dinner.  We use to make a game of it and come up with recipes from what we had in the kitchen and in the garden.  Some were winners, some were not.

This self-quarantining kind of reminds me of that.  I am really committed to quarantining because of all of the healthcare professionals in my family (nurses, doctors, technicians, etc.) risking their lives by working with Covid-19 patients.  So I don’t go to the grocery store.  I have groceries delivered and sometimes, because of high demand, I don’t get a delivery slot for a few days.  Oh trust me, we aren’t starving, but it sometimes makes you have to work a little harder at meal planning.  You’d make this, but you don’t have that, etc.

Tonight was one of those nights.  My husband loves Italian, especially spaghetti and meatballs (you will hear more about that in my next post!  We will have a guest contributor) but I didn’t have any ground beef.  Then I was going to make ricotta and spinach dumplings but I didn’t have any ricotta or the ingredients to make my own (which I make quite often).  Well, you get the picture so I took inventory and designed my own casserole.  It’s not that novel, the ingredients aren’t weird, somebody probably has already made it somewhere sometime but, throw me a bone here.

I had a pound of thawed bulk mild italian sausage (not in casings).  I always have tons of home canned tomatoes, onions, italian herbs and carrots (they make your sauce sweeter).  So I made a quick tomato sauce.  I always have pasta so I boiled some rigatoni.  I love how the sauce gets inside the noodles!  I browned the sausage and added it to the sauce.  Now what.  Hmmmm.  Next I spread about a third of the sauce on the bottom of a round casserole dish and layered some of the pasta I had just prepared.  I had about half to 3/4  of an 8 oz. cottage cheese container so I spread that on.  Next, more sauce, noodles and some grated mozzerella, more sauce, noodles the remainder of the sauce and topped with parmesan (a mix of freshly grated and dried from a can on top. Then I baked it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

To say it was a hit would be putting it mildly.  It probably took me 30 minutes to throw it all together and I’m sure other variations would be great.  Throw in some pepperoni, use ground beef or slices of hot and/or mild Italian sausage.  Maybe some spinach.  What was fun was that it reminded me of the good old days when I couldn’t afford, time or money to run to the store for something I needed.

The only thing I regret is that I forgot to take pictures.  Rats.  I’ll use stock photos to jazz it up for now and take pictures to replace them next time I make this.  My husband says it better be soon.

Here is a better breakdown of the recipe:

Accidental Lasagne Casserole


1 lb. dried pasta (I used rigatoni)

1 recipe of spaghetti sauce or a jar of prepared sauce like Ragu or Prego

8 ish ounces of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese

8 oz. grated mozzarella

parmesan cheese

Directions and Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Prepare a simple tomato sauce or open a jar of prepared sauce.

Cook 1 lb. of pasta according to package directions.

Brown sausage and add to sauce.

Layer sauce thinly in the bottom of a casserole dish. (Don’t forget to spray it with non-stick spray). Top that with about 1/3 of the noodles and the cottage cheese or ricotta.

Second layer: sauce, noodles and mozzarella cheese.

Third layer sauce, noodles, more sauce and parmesan cheese.

Bake in overn at 350° for about 45 minutes or until it lightly browned and bubbly.

Add a salad and there is dinner!  Try different combinations or additions and let me know what works.



G’s Raspberry Pie



My family loves raspberries.  Three generations of raspberry lovers who call them “Red Gold.”  Me, my daughters and my grands. When we go to pick them we never return home with too many.  We eat them.  So we go to the produce stands around the cottage and buy them in bulk.  We freeze them, bake with them, eat them and smile while doing so!

Raspberry pies are one of the easiest pies to make.  There is no peeling, coring, or cutting them up.  Wash them, shake dry and dump them in the bowl.

Raspberry pies can be expensive to make in the off season.  Sometimes I make them in season and freeze them to enjoy later on in the year.  Last week, as I was making my Shipt order from Meijers grocery store I noticed they were on sale–and did I buy a ton of them.  Being quarantined has inspired even more baking than usual.  I decided to make a pie.

You are very lucky because I am going to share my favorite and best Raspberry Pie recipe.  But first, I think I’m heading to the kitchen for another piece . . .

G’s Red Raspberry Pie

Pastry Crust Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 sticks of unsalted butter

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. sugar (if it is a sweet pie as opposed to a savory quiche)

1/2 cup cold, cold, cold water

Secret ingredient:  I add 1 Tablespoon or so of powdered buttermilk to all my pie crusts.  It gives them an amazing wow.

Incidentally, this is a great pie crust recipe for any pie.  No-fail.


Raspberry Filling Ingredients:

4 cups fresh raspberries

4 Tablespoons of cornstarch

2/3 cups of sugar

1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (no gonna lie, I’ve used lime juice before – still great)

dash of cinnamon


  1.  Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Get out the old food processor and use the blade.  Into the food processor put all the ingredients for the pastry EXCEPT the cold water.  Give it a couple of spins to loosen things up and then turn it on.  Through the tube at the top, drizzle in the cold water.  Let it go until it forms a ball.  Ta da!
  3. Take dough out  and split it in half.  Roll it out to fit the size pie pan you use.  Typically I use a 9″.
  4. In a bowl, mix the filling ingredients and gently toss to cover all.  Pour into the pie pan.IMG_0274
  5. Roll out the other half of the pie dough for the top.  I like to use cut outs and usually let one of my grands pick out the shape.  If you don’t use cut outs, you will have to cut some slits in the pie crust top because all that delicious goodness has got to let some steam off.  (Don’t we all.) I then brush whipping cream across the top and sprinkle on sparkling sugar.  You don’t have to, but it makes the pie so pretty and shiny golden.


6.  Into the oven she goes at 425° for 10 minutes.  Then turn oven down to 350° and                 bake for an additional 45-55 minutes until it is golden brown on top.

7.  Let it cool and set before serving (with ice cream of course)

**And as long as I have your attention, I hope I do, I would like to tell you about a product that I LOVE to use.  It makes making pie crusts so less stressful for me.  It is the OXO™ printed pie rolling bag.  It unzips all the way around.  You place your pie dough in the center circle, zip it up and roll out it out to the size you want.  I love it.  I have sprinkled flour in it and I have also not put anything and just rolled it out.  It runs around $15 bucks.  Some of the best money I have ever spent.

I don’t get any money for bragging this up but it anyone knows anyone at OXO let them know and maybe I will.  LOL

OXO Silicone Dough Rolling Bag