About Me

My photo
I enjoy cooking,eating food, being creative with food, and like to try new things. I try to avoid pre-packaged foods as much as I can.

Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Mar 25, 2013

Lasagna, revisited

This week has involved plenty of planning. Planning kids activities for Relay and making lists of what is needed. Also planning who I need to e-mail and making a list of what I have left to do. I have also spent some time watching CSI Miami when the re-runs are on. I absolutely loved that they brought big agriculture into the picture in the episode "Bad Seed". I liked how they poked at the problem in the US without saying the company's name. I encourage everyone to watch that episode (or even the show!) to learn a bit more about how much control certain companies have.

After cooking so much this week, we have plenty of leftovers. It is always nice to have a break from cooking. This recipe is delicious!

So, a few days ago I wanted to make lasagna. I pulled out my handy recipe that I posted before: Veggie Lasagna and Lasagna. This time, I combined the two together and used two 9 x 13 pans for my doubled recipe of goodness. It had plenty of veggies and plenty of deliciousness! This recipe is a tweaked version of The Neely's Mama's Lasagna. If you wanted to, you could make their recipe as is (minus one of the salts, since they include 2 different types), but I enjoy my lasagna version. It's a great way to sneak vegetables into something that my brother will eat! It is cheesy, gooey, and oh sooooo delicious!

Full O' Veggies Lasagna

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. Olive oil, plus extra for the pan
  • 2 - 2.5  lbs of ground beef or turkey or mixed (depends how meaty you like it)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 8 - 9 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of stewed tomatoes, diced OR 2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste
  • 1 (8 oz) container of portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 celery heart, finely diced
  • 1 lb shredded carrots (you can put these in the food processor)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (do NOT use the stuff from the green canister!), plus extra for on top
  • 6 tsp. freshly chopped parsley leaves OR 6 tsp. freeze dried parsley
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 - 2 tsp. dried basil, optional
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 (8 oz) bags of shredded Mozzarella
  • 2 (8 oz) bags of shredded Cheddar
  • 2 (8 oz) boxes of no-boil lasagna noodles
Special Equipment:
  • 2 (9 x 13) baking dishes/pans
  • Pasta pot or other large pot
  • 1 large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Aluminum foil
It gets messy when you serve it.
Instructions:
  1. Prep all of your veggies. Dice them, shred them, and chop them according to the ingredients list. (I suggest prepping the veggies the night before.)
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  3. Add the teaspoon of olive oil to a pot and then brown your meat. (This pot will have your sauce mixture in it. I used a pasta pot.) 
  4. Once the meat is cooked, drain the grease. 
  5. Add your shredded carrots and celery to the browned meat. Saute for 5 minutes.
  6. Add your mushrooms, garlic, and onion to the meat mixture. Saute for 3 minutes.
  7. Add in the cans of diced stewed tomatoes or diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. 
  8. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  9. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs until the yolks are broken. Add in the cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, and spinach. Mix until well incorporated.
  10. Lightly oil your pan with olive oil or use a little cooking spray. (I forgot this step and the lasagna didn't have too much trouble leaving the pan.)
  11. Spread a little of the meat sauce at the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish or pan. You need maybe one or two scoops. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce, making sure they overlap by 1/2 inch or so.
  12. Spread 1/4 of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Pour 1/2 an 8 oz bag of cheddar and 1/2 an 8 oz bag of mozzarella over that and spread out as even as possible.
  13. Put another layer of noodles on top of the cheese. Add another layer of sauce, then noodles, then cheese mixture with shredded cheese, and end with noodles and sauce.
  14. Sprinkle leftover cheese and Parmesan on top. 
  15. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30 - 35 minutes in the center of the oven until the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
  16. Remove the aluminum foil and let cool for 10 minutes.
  17. Enjoy!
Makes: 2 (9x13) pans of lasagna

I know this dish seems crazy, but it is manageable. You could even have one person make the sauce and one make the cottage cheese mixture. This recipe doesn't take any more than an hour if you prep the veggies the day before. I absolutely LOVE this lasagna. It is my go-to lasagna recipe now and my mom even wants the recipe when I move out! This is a great dish for leftovers. You can even freeze the assembled (uncooked) lasagna until you want to make it.

We enjoyed this with garlic bread and a lovely salad. It was delicious dinner and a great reward for the time it took to cook and prep. 

Enjoy!

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!


Mar 11, 2013

Sugared Rice with Fruit and Nuts

Lately I've felt like I am living in limbo. The odd in-between stage. You still feel like you play a part, yet you don't completely fit in as well anymore. You know? It's a strange feeling...

The bonus of being in limbo is more time to test recipes and more time to bake and cook. I still find it fun to play with recipes and make them my own. Then again, any foodie would probably tell you that. I've recently finished reading an interesting book about the foods we eat, allergies, GMO's, and our food system. The book is called The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making us Sick and What we Can do About it by Robyn O'Brien with Rachel Kranz . I borrowed this book from the library and I'll be honest... I had to put the book down a few times. It was a good read, but it sure made me sad and unhappy and mad all at the same time! If you ever wondered about the US food system or about corporate control with food then you should start with this book. It is slightly out-dated now, but all of the research is excellent. There is a long list of cited sources! If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think!

Alas, food. It is why I started this blog in the first place! =D

The recipe for today is one that I created. It stirred up memories of when my mom used to put a little bit of butter and sugar on my rice as a special treat. We had leftover brown rice and I kept thinking about how I could transform the rice into something delicious. Well my friends, this is a rice transformation if I do say so myself! I transformed a side dish into a yummy (and somewhat healthy) dessert. Enjoy!

Sugared Rice with Fruit and Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 TBSP of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of leftover cooked rice, more or less
  • 1-2 TBSP of brown sugar, or to taste
  • handful of cut up fruit (I used blueberries)
  • handful of chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • handful of dried fruit (I used raisins)
  • other toppings, optional
Instructions:

  1. Heat up your rice until it is warmed through.
  2. Add the butter, sugar, nuts, and fruit to the rice. If you have any other toppings, you should add them in this step as well.
  3. Mix well and then eat.
  4. Enjoy! 
This dish is easy, doesn't require many ingredients, and can be customized to your tastes. I hope you try it out! 

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!