Friday, November 29, 2013

Ninja Cooking: Those Yummy Little Gnocchi Dumplings

If you've read my story The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition in The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall, you know what an important part of culinary life dumplings are for Pennsylvania Dutch folks. When I was growing up dumplings—all different kinds of dumplings—were staples at the dinner table. These days I just cook for myself and, though I miss dumplings, I don't make them because if I make them, I eat them. God forbid that anyone of PA Dutch heritage should waste food!!! However, I discovered something—gnocchi, those delicious little Italian goodies, are dumplings! They come frozen in bags, are a snap to prepare, and when you get that overwhelming craving for dumplings, adding a few frozen potato gnocchi to a stew or soup is an excellent substitute.

Because I've been having such a good time playing with my new Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System, I've made a couple of gnocchi dishes I am happy to share. Enjoy!

Chicken and Dumplings Gnocchis
With the pan set on Stovetop High, add a little olive oil, 1 large onion, chopped fine, and 4 bl/sl chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) dried marjoram, lots of cracked black pepper. Saute, stirring, until chicken begins to brown slightly. Turn the setting to Crockpot High and add:
4 c. chicken stock
4 carrots cut in bite sized pieces
2 ribs celery cut in bite sized pieces
Cover and let cook for 1 hour.
Add 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped into bite-sized pieces. Cover and cook 30 mins.
Prepare a roux with 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1 cup milk. I use canned evaporated milk. Stir into stew and add 1/2 a package of frozen potato gnocchi. Cover and let simmer for 30 mins.

That's all there is to it and you have delicious, tender, very easy dumplings.

Baked Gnocchi
With pan set to Stovetop High, brown 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage. Add 1 medium onion chopped fine and 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin. When sausage is cooked through add 1 large can of sliced mushrooms. Stir in and change setting to Crockpot High. On top of meat-mushroom mixture, spread frozen gnocchi out in a single layer. Add a 24 oz. jar of your favorite marinara sauce + 1/2 cup water which you pour into the jar and slosh it around to get all the sauce, then pour into the pan. Add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese, sprinkle a light layer of Parmesan cheese. Cover and set for 90 minutes. Check after 1 hour. Gnocchi should be tender and cheese beginning to brown. Either cover and let it cook 30 mins. More or serve.

And that is how frozen potato gnocchi helps pretend you are making dumplings!!!

Thanks for reading.

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