It used to be when I would make a really tasty meal, I’d always say, “Mmm. This is good enough to serve in a restaurant.” Or my mom’s famous quote, “Do you know what this would cost in a restaurant?” But since changing my eating habits and incorporating real foods into my diet, I’ve lost my taste for restaurant food–at least most restaurants.
First off, once you start learning what is in the foods served in restaurants, it kills the desire for more. Two great movies to really ruin you on chain restaurant foods are Food Nation and Food, Inc.
Then, when you start cooking delicious REAL food at home, your taste buds are forever changed. For instance, I ate recently at an iconic KC restaurant with my mom. Although I’m currently limiting myself on grains, I figured just about any restaurant serves a plain old grilled chicken salad. I knew going into it that the meats would not be grass-fed, nor the veggies local or organic, but I thought a salad would offer the least of all evils. It was horrible: brown, dry lettuce, chicken that was obviously injected with some sort of “flavor enhancer” and served with a greasy grilled fried piece of bread–think Texas Toast.
I really was surprised that my taste buds, expectations and nourishment needs had changed so quickly. Simply put, it was a horrible “salad”.
So today I decided to have my first pasta dish in nearly a month. As I said, I’ve been limiting my grains, but was ready to incorporate some back in. I made a falling-on-the-floor-moaning treat that is better than anything served in most restaurants. While it seems labor-intensive making the pasta from scratch, the entire recipe (with extras to freeze), took me less than an hour. Here’s the recipe for the lemon whole wheat ravioli with chicken, spinach and artichoke filling, served with a basic tomato sauce. YUM!
First I started the chicken boiling while I prepared the filling:
In a food processor, pulse artichokes, garlic, onion, salt, pepp
er, splash of olive oil, spinach, basil, parmesan cheese and a small tomato. Set aside
I started the simple sauce simmering that included fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and a little olive oil.
After the chicken is cooked, chop and add to the filling.
Then I started on the dough:
2.5 cups whole wheat flour (or 1/2 and 1/2)
squeeze of lemon juice
Make a bowl in the flour mixture and add the eggs and lemon. Incorporate into the flour and add water as needed to form a dough. Knead until smooth. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Roll dough into long strips, cut into squares, place a tablespoon of filling in each and crimp with another square of dough. Boil about 4 minutes.
Top the ravioli with the sauce and some grated parmesan.