Tag Archives: Christmas

Gourmet Lisa: Cheese Raviolis and Meat Sauce

Just kidding dad, I won’t be sharing the secret family ravioli and sauce recipe with the world here on the Internet. ūüôā

I will say that ravioli making is how I got my “Gourmet Lisa” start. Growing up each year I watched my dad not really use a recipe, but put it together based on the taste until the right amount of salt, pepper, basil, parsley, etc. blended together for the sauce, dough, and cheese filling. Oh, and calls to his mom each year also helped.

So for me, nothing quite says “holiday” like ravioli or lasagna making. It was definitely just the thing I needed to put me into the Christmas spirit this year too.

Oh and John or Cara, if you are reading this, the raviolis we owe you for those keyboard tracks are finally coming your way.

Ravioli making is pretty much an all day process and yeilds hundreds of the scrumptious little cheese packages at the end. So here’s a photo essay to show what goes on:


First up is sauce. We got to my dad’s house after church and it was already simmering on the stove. So we walked in and were pleasantly greeted by the aroma. Mmmm. This sauce is like the meat sauce of all meat sauces. There is ground beef, meat balls and Italian sausages in it. Plus various veggies. It is pretty chunky. My dad always starts it in the morning and slow cooks it all day long. We¬† take “breaks” throughout the day to stop and snack on sauce and bread.

The next step is to make the filling. We usually do a pretty simple Ricotta cheese filling, but last time we made raviolis my dad said he wanted us to experiment with a spinach filling. So this year a small portion of the batch has this new spinach filling I came up with. Purely an experiment.


New spinach filling.


Plain filling. The little green specks are herbs.

Next up is to make the dough. I don’t actually have pictures of this process because Bean decided to be a little fussy at that point and so I had to tend to her needs. Once the dough is made, my dad pulls off chunks of it and rolls it out really thin. He spoons the filling onto the dough and then starts cuting out the raviolis.

And then that’s when the rest of us get in on the action using forks to seal them all up. It becomes this flurry of hands cutting, forking, reaching, grabbing, and handing off.

As each one is finished we put it on a plate. When the plate is full I take it into the house.

We have a¬†clean¬†sheet spread out on one of the beds and we start laying out the raviolis. I’m not really sure what purpose laying them out serves other than it is a place to put them while we work on the rest and so we can count them all. This year we made 83 spinach and 198 plain cheese.

After we’re all done making them, we divy them up into foil packages to be passed out and shared with various friends and family members. We also are sure to enjoy the fruits of our labor.


Cooked spinach raviolis.


With sauce.

So the spinach filling was pretty good. Not much different from the plain cheese though. You can kind of taste the spinach, but the Ricotta is pretty overpowering. Definitely needs a little more experimentation to bring out the flavor, I think. I was satisfied with the first round of experimentation though.

Anyway, mostly the day is about being with family. My dad and his friend (pictured above) did the raviolis one year all by themselves and it only took about 2 or 3 hours. Somehow when we all get together and are talking and hanging out it takes a bit longer. I think it is probably more fun that way though.


Bean and her grandpa on her first ravioli making day.

This is definitely a tradition I hope to keep alive. While I won’t share it here, I actually do have the basics of the recipe written down and tucked away in my recipe box. Hopefully I can pass the tradition along to our kids and they will do the same.

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Eye Candy Friday: It’s Christmas once more…

First of all, thank you blog buddies for helping me in my Christmas card decision. We did wind up going with the “First Christmas” design. I did change the wording around a bit though and I discovered a grammatical dilema in the process. I was trying to figure out what the correct plural form of “Wuertz” is. The Internet was of no help. Tons of debate on the subject. Apparently some people think it is Wuertz’ and some people thing it is Wuertzes. And basically what I gathered is that it is a matter of preference though most people prefer the “es” because the apostrophe makes you think it is possessive. Well, we went with the apostrophe. And I’ve been fretting about it ever since because I’m like an actual¬†writer and was an editor and stuff, so I should know this. (Way to show off my grammatical skillz with that last sentence, eh?) Yeah, when I showed Stephen the card he actually gasped because he thought that the apostrophe was wrong and that made me fret even more. Oh well, cards are printed, paid for, and sealed in their envelopes now so there’s nothing much we can do about it.

I’m proud of myself because I got all my Christmas shopping done in one day. Go me! Things were a little crazy yesterday, but I got it all done even if we did wind up eating Carl’s for dinner instead of the pizza I had planned to make.

Things are looking very much like Christmas around here now and it smells heavenly thanks to the rosemary “tree” I bought yesterday. We’d been planning to put one in our backyard anyway so I figured it was the perfect solution.

This reminds me of a little tangent story. So a few years ago when I was working at the news station someone sent our news director a rosemary tree for Christmas.¬†I watched for weeks as the thing sat in his office dying a slow death because he didn’t water it. Just when it was at the brink of being able to be brought back to life with a little water I contemplated going in there and saying, “Sir, if you don’t want the rosemary tree, I’d love to have it for my garden. I use fresh rosemary in my cooking all the time.” But I was too chicken (with good reason) and I didn’t. My friend Megan and I were so sad about it.

Anyway, I now am the proud owner of my very own rosemary tree. It was on sale at Target ($10, normally $20) too. Stephen thought it was funny when he saw it and laughed when I told him I was going to decorate it.

It has the most lights per square inch of any tree we’ve ever owned because I had to use up a whole strand on just that one tree. I have about a billion mini white snowflake ornaments and so I used some of them as the only ornaments. Then I topped it with one of my fancy snowflake ornaments. It’s the perfect addition to the fireplace.

Oh and look at this sweet little stocking I found for Bean yesterday which totally goes with our whole snowflake theme while also being a little fun and childish:

And just for fun, this is what happens when you have your camera set on the micro setting but you aren’t actually taking a picture of something small:

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Bah Humbug!

OK, that’s not totally how I feel, but just a little.

It just seems like nothing Christmas related is going the way I planned at this point.

First is our Christmas lights. We tried to put them up last weekend and they wouldn’t turn on. We couldn’t figure it out. Stephen fiddled and fiddled. We replaced bulbs and tried and tried to get them to work. We spent the whole day on it. Well turns out we had too many strands on the same circuit (you’re only supposed to have 3 strung together, not 11 plus three tree things).

So our Christmas lights are still not coming on at this point. This weekend we’re going to take down a majority of what we put up and go with the simple line with three tree things that we had last year:

Speaking of trees, we’re not getting one this year. Growing up I always had real trees and we’ve had one every year we’ve been married. But we decided last year was the last time we’d have a real tree.

Why? It’s always a pain getting our tree because we have to borrow someone’s truck to go get it and then borrow someone’s truck to take it away. It gets needles everywhere. You have to water it every day. AND last year after we got our tree home we realized that it reeked of feline pee. Our house stunk for a whole week. I went through two cans of Febreeze air stuff trying to make the smell go away. Our theory is that some large cat species (Mountain Lion, Cougar, Bob Cat, etc.) got it. Also we decided that they are just too expensive to buy year after year.

The plan was to get a very nice fake tree this year, something that would be a good investment to use for many years to come. Well, I’m of the mindset that if I am going to have a fake tree it better be something I want to look at year after year. The trees that fulfill that for me are WAY too expensive. So we’re not getting a tree this year. We’ll put the presents by the fireplace that never gets used.

I can see my dad cringing as he reads this.

Another bah humbug thing? My Christmas knitting projects. I have been working on sweater #1 FOR.EV.ER. There is no way it is going to be done in time for Christmas, let alone the other two that I had planned on making.

I think I’m losing my knitting mojo, y’all. Seriously.

I was working 9-6pm last year at this time (during which I did no knitting) and I still managed to complete quite the long list of knitted items. I’m home all the time now. I knit when she’s nursing, sleeping, playing etc. I feel like I am knitting all.the.time. Yet progress remains slow.

Plus Sweater #1 is too big. It isn’t actually bigger than the size it is intended to be, I just know that the recipient of this sweater and the others like to wear tight clothing and this isn’t going to jive with that style. The sweaters will be lovely when they are done, just not something they would wear.

So I’m keeping them for myself and the $72 I spent on yarn for them will now come out of my clothing budget. Which is OK, but I actually wanted to spend my clothing budget on pants not tops. Oh well.

Anyway, I’m now left trying to come up with new present ideas for these peeps. I’ve got two of them figured out, I think. I hope. I’m finally allowed to go Christmas shopping next week (budgetary constraints prevented earlier shopping).

And yes, shopping this late is definitely something I am NOT looking forward to. At all. Not one bit. I hate crowds. I hate lines. And this year I have a baby to add into the mix of shopping craziness. I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it.

So anyway that pretty much sums up why I say bah humbug! Thanksgiving is just so much more fun and easier. Way less pressure. Just cooking, eating and hanging out with the fam. That is MY kind of holiday.

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Filed under Craftopia, Family, Ramblings