Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vegetarian Skillet Lasagna

The kids weren't so crazy about this dish, but all of the adults loved it!  Will definitely be making this one again soon.

Vegetarian Skillet Lasagna

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, diced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
6 sheets no-bake lasagna noodles
1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons
3 1/2 cups baby spinach
1/3 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced (I used fresh mozzarella)

Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic; cook until golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until saucy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree. Return 1 cup of the sauce to the skillet and reduce the heat to low; reserve the remaining sauce.

Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, egg, parmesan, the remaining 3 tablespoons herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl.

Place 2 lasagna noodles over the sauce in the skillet. Layer half of the carrot and zucchini on top; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with half of the spinach, half of the ricotta mixture, a few pieces of mozzarella and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce. Repeat the layers, ending with noodles. Top with the remaining sauce and mozzarella. Cover and simmer until the lasagna is cooked and the cheese melts, 20 to 25 minutes.

Let rest for a few minutes before slicing. Garnish with more parmesan and fresh herbs.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Easy Pasticcio (Greek Pasta Dish)


1 pound penne, mostaccioli, or ziti
2 cups finely grated Parmesan
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with juices
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, over medium-high heat, and cook pasta according to package directions. When pasta is done, drain, and run under cold water to cease the cooking.

For the sauce: Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the
butter foams, add the onion and garlic and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and break it up with a spoon. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cinnamon and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more, then remove from the heat.

Butter a 2 1/2 to 3-quart baking dish. Spread half of the pasta evenly in the bottom of lightly buttered glass baking dish. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the top, add all the meat sauce, the remaining pasta, and the remaining cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and the eggs until evenly combined. Slowly pour it over the entire dish; (the liquid should completely cover the noodles). Cover and bake until bubbly, about 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbling and browned, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Morgan Elizabeth

Hard to believe my baby girl is 10 years old already! Wow how time flies. 
Happy Birthday Baby Bear.  Mom loves you!!

Quick and Easy, but way good homemade Hamburger Helper!

1 pound of ground beef
1 carton of sliced mushrooms (fresh)
2 Tbsp of olive oil
8 ounces of cream cheese
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
3/4 cup of milk
12 ounces of wide egg noodles
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Boil noodles according to package directions.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes or until brown.  Remove from skillet.  Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.  Drain meat and return to pan.  Return mushrooms to pan as well.

Mix sour cream, salad dressing mix and milk in a bowl until smooth.  Add to meat mixture. Add cooked noodles to meat mixture.  Mix together.  Mix in parmesan cheese until cheese is melted and serve. 

Really good with a nice green salad and some crusty bread. 

Tastes like Hamburger Helper but much better!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rachael Ray's Pesto Spaghetti Meatballs

Made this for the first time last night as a celebration dinner for my friend who recently had a biopsy on a lump in her neck and it came back benign!

This was so good. The kids loved it as much as the adults. Served it with a big salad and garlic bread. I am looking forward to having the leftovers tonight!

1/2 pound spaghetti, broken into pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 large bunch parsley, leaves only (I used cilantro AND parsley for added flavor)
1 bunch basil, leaves only
2/3 to 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, about 1/3 cup plus some for liberal drizzling
2 pounds ground sirloin
1 large egg
A couple handfuls bread crumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped or grated
1 cup beef stock
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)


Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Bring a medium sauce pot of water to a boil over high heat, salt water and cook pasta to al dente 7 minutes or so, drain and quick-cool on a baking sheet.

While pasta cooks, toast pine nuts. Make a thick herb pesto by placing the herbs, cheese, garlic and nuts in food processor with salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in about 1/3 cup olive oil - make the pesto very thick.

Place meat in a bowl. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta, egg, bread crumbs and half the pesto to the meat. Mix to combine and form into 16 balls, and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let the spaghetti pop out of meatballs like porcupine quills. Coat balls with a little olive oil and roast 12 to 15 minutes until firm and golden in color. Remove from the oven and place on a serving platter.

While meat roasts heat a healthy drizzle olive oil in a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, add tomatoes and crush with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 minutes more, then stir in remaining pesto and transfer to a serving bowl or 4 individual ramekins for dipping.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Banana Pudding Trifle

Banana Pudding Trifle
1 large instant French Vanilla pudding
1 can sweetened condenses milk
2 cups whole milk
12 ounces Cool Whip, thawed
6-7 ripe bananas
1 pound bag of vanilla wafers crushed coarsely
2-3 store bought or homemade pecan pralines, coarsely chopped (homemade praline recipe follows)

Mix dry pudding, condensed milk, milk and 3/4 Cool Whip. With electric mixer on medium speed, blend mixture together for about 3 minutes. in a medium size trifle bowl, layer 1/3 pudding, wafers and sliced bananas, repeat layers ending with pudding. Top with reserved Cool Whip. Garnish top with crumbled pralines. Refrigerate.

Pecan Praline Topping
1 cup sugar
2 cup chopped pecans
1 egg, beaten

Combine, stir and pour into a large baking sheet. Bake at 350 until brown and crunchy. Watch it! It doesn't take long.

Cool, loosen and break into pieces

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons

I found this recipe in the latest edition of Bon Apetit. It's really good, but if you don't like anchovies, you should probably lighten them up or not use them at all.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (28 to 30 ounces), trimmed, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or medium-size shell pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/3-inch cubes crusty country-style bread
  • 3 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/3-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 7 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Dip

So I know I have been a huge slacker when it comes to my blog. I haven't been cooking a lot, but did discover this dish over the holidays courtesy of my good friend Netti Dunning. She found it on but apparently it came from Oprah's magazine. I have made it 3-4 times in the past month. I could live on this stuff! Nothing better than some good goat cheese (except for maybe some good pesto!)

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Dip

1 tablespoon(s) olive oil, plus more for brushing (optional)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 clove(s) garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) cumin (preferably whole seeds, freshly toasted and ground)
2 can(s) (15 1/2 to 19 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup(s) chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 large poblano peppers
1 bunch(es) scallions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup(s) coarsely chopped cilantro
1 log(s) (11-ounce) fresh goat cheese
6 whole-grain tortillas, cut into wedges ( just bought pita chips!)

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and cook 30 seconds. Add 1 can beans and lightly mash using a potato masher. Stir in chicken stock and remaining can of beans. Simmer until very thick (but not pasty), 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Meanwhile, place poblano peppers directly on a burner over a medium-low gas flame. Turn regularly with tongs to blacken skin, 10-15 minutes (if you don't have a gas stove, you can blacken peppers on a sheet pan under a broiler, turning regularly, about 15 minutes). Place peppers in a paper bag; seal and let sit (and steam) until cool enough to handle. Peel peppers, removing as much of the charred skin as possible without rinsing. Seed and coarsely chop. Transfer to a small bowl and toss with scallions and cilantro.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-quart soufflé or baking dish, spread half of bean mixture. Top with half of cheese, crumbled, and half of pepper mixture. Repeat layering once more, ending on pepper mixture. Place dish on a sheet pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until top is bubbling.

Meanwhile, arrange tortilla wedges on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Place in oven with dip and bake 10-12 minutes or until crisp. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Serve hot with tortilla chips on the side.