Sunday Dinner, Spaghetti with Chicken, Spinach & Ricotta Dumplings

By Maren Anderson

Sunday is my favorite day, I’m quite sure I’m not alone in this.  There is something sweet and heartwarming about the idea of celebrating this day with friends and family, eating and cooking together.   I recently read a quote on the Country Living website, that personifies how I feel about Sunday Dinner.”The tradition of the Sunday feast accomplishes more than just feeding us,” writes Chef John Besh. “It nurtures us.” Even the cleaning up can be fun with the right attitude.  With this in mind, once a month I’d like to post some easy made-from-scratch meals that won’t break your budget or keep you slaving in the kitchen.  All dinnerware and serving pieces from Tai Pan Trading and TPT Home. Enjoy!

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

with Chicken 

This is a quick delicious spaghetti sauce…so much better than anything premade.

  1. In a Dutch Oven size pan put in 2 T. of olive oil and grate in 2-3 cloves of garlic and ¼ C. chopped onion… or 2 T. onion powder and 1-2 tsp. garlic powder, and stir fry to release the flavor to the oil .
  1. Add 2 large cans of tomatoes. I usually use petite diced but sometimes whole tomatoes.  The petite diced are less juicy.  Add 1-2 tsps. sugar.
  1. Grate in 1 carrot (about ½ C.) and one stalk of celery and 3 T. dried basil or 1/3 -1/2 C. chopped fresh. Simmer for 20 minutes.  With an immersion blender  blend to your desired consistency.  I like it just a little coarse chunky.   Add ¼- ½ C. whipping cream for a special sauce. (optional).  (If the sauce is too thick add a little water)
  2. This makes a large batch but can be easily halved or frozen.

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For the Chicken:

  1. If you want to use boneless chicken thighs remove the excess fat and cut in two. This much sauce will take 4 lbs. and serve about 8 adults.   Toss the thighs with a little olive oil and some generous sprinkles of garlic powder, salt and pepper.   Put under the broiler until they start to brown on the top.  Remove from the oven and pour the liquid and chicken into the spaghetti sauce and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.  Serve over spaghetti.
  1. If you want to use chicken breasts cut your breasts into 3 or 4 pieces and pound until about ¾ inch thick. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Put 1 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter into a large nonstick frying pan and brown them quickly on each side and put them into the sauce and simmer for 20-30 minutes.blog chicken

Making a Cream Sauce Topping:

I often make this in a large casserole for a dinner party and cover it with a cream sauce and bake it.  (Don’t add the cream to the tomato sauce if you are going to do this.)

For the sauce:  Put 1 C. cream and 2 C. of milk into a sauce pan.  Add ½  C. of flour, ¼ tsp. pepper and ½ tsp. salt.  Cook and stir until thick and bubbly and add ¼ C. Parmesan cheese.  Pour the spaghetti sauce with the chicken into a large casserole dish and dob on the cream sauce.  Sprinkle with more Parmesan  cheese and bake until bubbly hot.  Serve with spaghetti.

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Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

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These are quite easy and delicious with homemade spaghetti sauce or served as a side dish.

  1. You will need about 8 cups of spinach lightly packed into a 4 cup measuring cup twice. Wash and steam for 3 minutes drain and cool until you can handle.  Chop somewhat small and hand squeeze as much water as you can out.  When you are finished you will have about 2/3 C.
  1. In a mixing bowl stir together:

1 ½ C. whole milk ricotta cheese

1 egg and 1 egg yolk

¾ C. Parmesan Cheese

¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

A pinch of nutmeg if desired

1 C. flour

  1. Add the spinach to the cheese mixture and stir well. Roll out onto a floured surface and cover with flour.  Cut into 4 pieces.  You will need another ½ C. of flour or so added gradually to Roll each piece into a rope about 1 ½ inch thick.  Cut into 6-12 pieces.  (the smaller balls if you want to add to soup.)   Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the pieces in batches.  Boil 4 minutes for the smaller and 5 for the larger.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to a bowl.
  2. They can be added to a soup, served with spaghetti sauce, served as a side dish with some browned butter and parmesan cheese  or they can be fried a little in a couple of Tablespoons of garlic butter.

Add a simple salad and an herb bread as appetizers and sides to complete the meal, as well as the color combination.

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