La la la Lasagna

June 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


So, lasagna was on my list of “things I would like to learn how to make from scratch”.

I am pretty darn sure that I can cross it off now!

I had to look up the cheese filling ratio – glad I did, I didn’t know I needed an egg! The rest is based off of what I remember from the last time I made lasagna – from a children’s cookbook that I cannot locate, in I think middle school. ^^.; Go me, this came out REALLY tasty!

You will need: enough lasagna noodles to cover your pan 3 times. For me, this was 12 noodles. (Your pan may vary depending on size.) This was 4 across, with a little wiggle room at the edges of the pan. I decided that I was OK with that, and wasn’t going to OCD-fill EVERY POSSIBLE SPOT with pasta. Seriously. That was difficult for me!!!!

Sauce Ingredients:
1/3lb mild italian sausage (de-cased. For me, this was one sausage at the meat counter. If you dislike sausage, you may consider substituting an 80/20 ground beef. Personally, I enjoyed the sausage!).
3/4lb lean ground beef (the leanest I could get was sirloin. Mmmmm).
1/4 onion, diced.
1/5 green pepper, minced.
4 white mushrooms (these were on the large side), diced.
3lg cloves of garlic, minced.
1/6 whole carrot, minced.
1 can of tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
a splash of Cranberry-Pomegranate juice
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Garlic Powder
Garlic Salt
Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb
Ground Sage
Ground Ginger
Basil
Paprika
Oregano
(spices are to taste. Seriously, I can make this sauce by smell, although I do taste after it’s all together and simmered happily. Sorry.)

Cheese Filling Ingredients:
3/4c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4c grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
16oz cottage cheese (I just don’t like ricotta)
1 tsp parsley (which means “Katie grabbed a hefty pinch and chucked it on top”)

Cheese Topping:
shredded mozzarella cheese
grated parmesan cheese

Alrighty. So, I boiled a pot of water, laid my lasagna noodles in the baking dish to see how many I’d need, then realized “oh…hey…oops…my pot isn’t tall enough for this”… so I boiled the water and just poured it over the noodles in the baking dish. (I’d seen this while looking up cheese filling! Yay internets!) I think I left them there about 20 minutes while I made the sauce. I wasn’t timing, just poking them with tongs to check, they weren’t fully cooked or anything when I took them from the water, but cooked enough to go limp if I picked them up. I’ll just say 20 minutes. =\

So, onto the sauce. First, I did all of my veggie chopping and dicing and mincing, putting them all into the glass bowl that I seem to use for veggie corralling while I do knifework. (I LOVE MY SHUN KNIVES!!!!!!!!!!) Then, while I heated the pan with a little olive oil in it, I de-cased the sausage.  Was fun, yet kinda gross. I wound up slicing the ends of the casing and squeezing from the middle out both ends. Next time, I’ll be smarter and cut a line down it and just peeling it…

Since the pan was nice and warm, I added the veggies and some kosher salt, got them started, then added the sausage and ground sirloin. Once those were starting to brown as I broke them all up with my utensil, I added the cranberry-pomegranate juice (I use this to replace red wines. It works really well!!).

At this point, I also added the spices.

After the meat was all happily browned up and the veggies cooked, I added the tomato sauce, mixed it in. Then, I added the tomato paste and mixed that in.

After it simmered for a bit, I wound up adding more basic, garlic powder, garlic salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, paprika, and oregano. I always seem to add more of those lol. But I’d rather be safe than sorry! 😀

While the sauce simmered, I mixed up the ingredients for the cheese filling.

Once everything was done – noodles, sauce, cheese mixed, I took the noodles out of the pan, dumped out the water, dried the pan.

Then in this order:
Sauce
first layer of noodles
half of the cheese filling
sauce
second layer of noodles
half of the cheese filling
sauce
third layer of noodles
sauce
Then I added mozzarella cheese (No, I didn’t measure, sorry. Just made it so it would melt nicely everywhere lol), and grated parmesan over it. Again, no measuring lol.

Then I baked it at 350F for what was set for 50 minutes, but turned out to be 40.

Remove from oven, let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Then serve and enjoy! (This was really tasty! I am quite pleased!!!!!)

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Capellini Pomodoro with Shrimp

April 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , )


My mom’s favorite pasta seems to be capellini pomodoro – if she can order it, she usually will.

And so, I have set out to recreate it, and it’s pretty tasty, even if I DO keep picking out the tomato chunks. (I don’t like the texture.)

Ingredients:
8 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2inch pieces. I just used roma tomatoes. Worked fine 🙂
About 6tbs olive oil… not that I measured
3 cloves of garlic
basil (no idea how much. Until it smelled right)
salt and pepper to taste
shrimp (optional – but be kind to your eaters and de-tail them!)

First, boil water.

While it boils, do your knifework. For me, this takes a while, since I am perpetually chasing a hopeful cat out of the kitchen.

When I put the pasta into the water, I added everything else to a large pan and heated it through.

Once the pasta was done, I drained it and added it to the pan, mixing it in and tossing it.

Then I served it into bowls, garnished with some parsley (parmesan cheese optional!), and a delicous piece of garlic bread! 🙂

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Spaghetti Sauce

February 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )


I’m sure by now that you are all tired of seeing me post about spaghetti sauce… I’m sorry, but this is the one that I’ve settled on for perfection. 🙂

Ingredients:
1/4 large yellow or sweet onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
about 5-7 baby carrots, minced
about 4 medium or large white button mushrooms, if desired
Extra Virgin Olive Oil first cold press is my favorite!
1lb ground beef (the leaner, the better! I usually get 97% lean)
Ocean Spray Cranberry-Pomegranate juice (just a splash! Maybe a quarter cup?)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
oregano
ground sage
Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash
Lawry’s Garlic Salt
Lawry’s Garlic Powder
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
and don’t tell anyone, but also about 4 or 5 taps of ground ginger

And now for instructions!

I usually put the water for pasta on to boil. It doesn’t matter what kind of pasta you use – Angel Hair, Spaghetti, Penne Rigate, Wheels, Shells, Macaroni, etc.  I prefer Spaghetti 2 or 3. (That’s the thickness of the pasta.) I also cook it past al dente, but not until it’s soggy.

Anyways… Once the water is on to boil, I add a pinch of kosher salt. Now I can ignore it until later.

I dice the onion and mince the garlic and carrots. If I have them, I also slice up some white buttom mushrooms.  Then I heat up my big skillet (any large pan with high sides will do).  I pour a little extra virgin olive oil in – I have an olive-oil dispenser with a spout, so I just drizzle it around the pan a few times. I don’t need to cover the bottom, just add the flavor and keep stuff from sticking.

Then I add in the vegetables, along with a pinch of kosher salt and about 4 grinds of black pepper.

As it starts to cook, I add the cranberry-pomegranate juice. Not a lot.

Once that has cooked down a little, I add in the beef and brown it. As it browns, I usually add oregano, garlic & herb mrs dash, sage, and garlic powder.  I just cover everything. Note I said cover – not coat. Just tap or shake across your cooking vessel evenly and stir as you go!

After the beef has been browned, I add in the can of petite diced tomatos and let it cook a short while.

After a few minutes, I add in the can of tomato sauce, and then start adding oregano, sage, garlic & herb mrs. dash, garlic powder,  pepper, and garlic salt to taste. I also add about 4 taps of ground ginger – that is my super-secret ingredient!!

Then, simmer the sauce for as long as you want! The longer it goes, the thicker it gets. It tends to splatter, so covering it with a screen is useful for keeping your stovetop clean. 🙂

If you want to make marinara, omit the beef and mushrooms, and use a food processor on the onions, garlic, and carrots for an excellent sauce!

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Chicken Parm

November 17, 2010 at 12:54 am (cooking) (, , , , , , )


Tonight was a great night for dinner!!

I made chicken parm with spaghetti & marinara sauce, and broccoli. :)

Broccoli was merely cooked, then tossed with margarine and garlic salt, very quick and easy, as I used the steam-in-bag microwave variety. :)

Chicken Ingredients:
chicken breasts – i kept them about the same thickness, these were pretty thin
italian bread crumbs
provolone cheese

I started up a pan with some oil and set the oven to 350. After tossing the chicken breasts in the bread crumbs, I cooked them in oil until they were done. Then, due to waiting on my sister arrive, they sat for about 10 minutes on paper towels (I blotted off extra oil gently), then I covered them with provolone cheese before baking them for another 10 minutes (to melt the cheese and warm through again). They were juicy and delicious!!!

Marinara Sauce Ingredients:
olive oil
a splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice
1 can tomato sauce
1 can petite diced tomatoes
8 medium white mushrooms, chopped
a small handful of baby carrots, minced
1/4 large onion, choppped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
garlic powder
kosher salt
black pepper
garlic & herb mrs. dash
sage
oregano
parsley

After preparing all of my veggies, I put some oil in the bottom of a pot (needed my skillet for the chicken!). When it was warm, I tossed in all of my veggies, along with two healthy pinches of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. (3 or 4, wasn’t really counting, sorry, it’s how I cook!)

When the onions just started to become translucent, I added a splash of the cranberry-pomegranate juice. It’s my substitute for wine lol. It has the nice sweetness and a good crisp bite to it as well.

Once that cooked down, I added the cans of tomato-y goodness, and added spices to taste.(Usually ends up being three doses of G&H mrs. dash and oregano, one of parsley, two of sage and garlic powder… by “dose” I mean “sprinkled happily on top of the bubbling red stuff”).

Then I let it simmer while I cooked the chicken, broccoli, and spaghetti. :)

It was so delicious, and my sister has leftovers for two days! Yaaaaaay!!! 😀

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Spaghetti Sauce – again! :)

July 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm (cooking) (, , , )


There’s nothing quite like a plate of spaghetti… and let’s face it, spaghetti’s pretty darn tasty. Not to mention the uses for leftover sauce! (Spaghetti, baked ziti, french bread pizza…)

Long story short, last night I made spaghetti, which, in my book, means homemade sauce.

Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients:

1lb ground beef
1/4 onion, diced (or a half a shallot)
2 baby carrots, minced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
cranberry-pomegranate juice
2 large mushrooms, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
garlic & herb mrs. dash
garlic powder
sage
oregano
1 can tomato sauce
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 small can tomato paste (roll the other half in saran wrap and keep it in the freezer!)


First up, do all of your mincing and dicing.

Put a little olive oil in your saucepan (I’m using a large nonstick pan with high sides), and let it warm a bit. Add in the mushrooms, onion, carrots, and garlic, along with a some salt and pepper. I added 14 grinds of pepper, since it’s early in the cooking and I intended it to be a large batch. :)

When they’ve started to turn colors, add in the beef. As the beef starts to brown, add in some cranberry-pomegranate juice. Not alot, I used maybe one fourth of a cup. Also add in some oregano and sage. Just until you can smell it. I don’t usually measure spices lol.

Once the beef has browed, add in the tomatoes and tomato sauce, then stir to combine. Add in some garlic & herb mrs. dash, garlic powder, and maybe some more oregano (to taste!).

After it’s combined, add in the half of a small can of tomato paste. This will definitely help thicken the sauce!!

Simmer merrily until done, stirring occasionally and, of course, taking opportunity to taste by dipping crusts of that “oops, extra slice…” from the loaf of french bread you’re using for garlic bread.

Picture above is the extra sauce to be put in the fridge – sorry I didn’t get one over pasta, we were hungry!! :)

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