Taco Lasagna

August 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )


Recipe obtained and modified from my fantastic friend Tanya to omit the spice. You can add it back in with adding red pepper flakes and using pepper jack cheese. My family does not handle heat well. (To keep flavor, I also used real veggies and not just dried spices! Huzzah~!) I can handle the heat how Tanya originally made it, but the family cannot, and this turned out just as tasty! I am ecstatic!

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:
3/4lb lean ground beef (97%)
3/4lb ground beef (80%)
package of whole wheat tortillas
sour cream
corn (about 1/2 bag of frozen, I used white sweet.)
1 can of black beans
cumin
onion powder
paprika
garlic salt
oregano
red pepper (optional for spice)
salt
enchilada sauce (red) (or optional spicy taco sauce. I know us wimps can handle the mild red enchilada sauce!!)
extra virgin olive oil
1/5 green bell pepper, minced
1/4 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Monterey Jack cheese (for optional spice, use pepper jack, is delicious!)

Time to cook!

I chose to first get my veggies ready, then I heated up my pan with a little olive oil.

After the pan was nice and warm, (okay, so water sizzled when I flicked it in) I mostly-cooked the veggies, adding some cumin and paprika to them. Next, add the beef and brown it, adding in more cumin and paprika, as well as oregano, garlic salt, and onion powder. You will also want to add some enchilada or taco sauce at this point, cook it in. (Don’t forget, please, that this is all to taste!)

Add about 1/4-1/3c of water. I used 1/4c, since I had used a mix of lean and regular ground beef. 🙂 I like me my beefy goodness! Keep tasting; I wound up adding salt, cumin, and paprika along with some more oregano.

Add in the can of (strained) black beans, and your desired amount of corn. (My mom really likes corn!)

Simmer a bit, keep tasting; I ended up adding more enchilada sauce.

Turn off the stove.

In your casserole dish:
Brush the bottom with olive oil. In order to fix the “bottom tortilla is hard” issue, I also added two generous dollops of sour cream mixed with enchilada sauce. Worked perfectly!!!

Cut some tortillas in half, line bottom of your casserole dish. (works well with any pan style! I had nice straight edges, woot! I think I used 4 tortillas per layer?)

Spread about 1/2 of your meat mixture on top. Pipe on some sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese (again, your choice…mexican mix, pepperjack, or monterey jack…). Add another layer of tortillas. Spread on the remaining half of your meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

((Originally, I added sour cream at this layer, then sprinkled with cheese again. For future batches, I am omitting the sour cream and serving it a la carte because it looks funny. This also means the removal of the second layer of cheese on top, since it becomes kind of redundant, unless you REALLY like cheese.))

Now, you can either stick this directly in the oven, or cover and refridgerate for later.

In any case, oven needs to be headed to 350F. Bake 15-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and the casserole is cooked through.


Om nom nom! (See what I mean about the sour cream looking funny? I’ll just leave it baked in and for the top serve it cold lol)

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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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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 Pot Pie, Redux!

February 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , )


Alright. I was frustrated with my failure last time.

This time, I was sure I could figure out how to do it!

Chicken

Start with a large chicken breast.. or two smaller ones, whatever. This was big and chunky.

In a pan, I used a little extra virgin olive oil, and dusted the chicken with garlic powder and parsley. Then, I cooked the breast til it was done. (You can see the thermometer sticking out lol…sorry. I used a frozen breast.)
And now… onto making the Pot Pie part!

Ingredients:
6 taps of nutmeg (my secret ingredient mwa ha ha)
fresh ground black pepper
kosher salt
1/3c flour
6tbs butter
1/4 stalk celery, minced
1/2 lg sweet onion, kinda diced/minced
2 handfuls of baby carrots, sliced into rounds
the cooked chicken breast, cubed (after a rest)
2/3c half and half
1 and 3/4c chicken broth
frozen corn

frozen peas
frozen green beans
a roll thingy of Pillsbury pastry crust
Also, preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit! 🙂

I put the flour, about 12 grinds of pepper, a healthy pinch of salt, and 3 taps of nutmeg in one bowl, the celery, onion, and carrot in another.  I also prepped the butter, half and half, and the chicken stock.

So. I didn’t even bother cleaning the pan… why lose the delicious chicken-y goodness?

I turned the heat up to medium, and melted the butter.

Once the butter was melted, I added the bowl of flour. After that was incorporated, I added the bowl of sliced’n’diced veggies.

Once they had cooked down, and it was all happy and bubbly (nothing like a lovely golden roux to make me happy), I started adding broth and the half and half in batches, mixing it in all the way before adding more.

I tasted, and wound up adding more pepper and 3 more taps of nutmeg.

Once it was all in, I cooked it up to a happy boil, stirring the whole time.  After about a minute, I added the cubed cooked chicken, and frozen veggies. Don’t really know how much veggies… maybe about half a cup each?? I like green beans in my chicken pot pie, Mom requested corn… worked out, I think. 🙂

After that, I shut off the heat.

Got out my ramekins, and cut out 4 rounds of pastry dough.

Dished out the goodness.

Oh yeah. That looks good. (Don’t mind my shoe!)

Then, I put the rounds on top, brushed with melted butter, and sprinkled it with salt.

Ain’t it purty?!

Then, I cooked them for 15 minutes at 425 F.

Hot and bubbly and smells great!

What’s this? I made a FIFTH one for myself as a lunch?? Why goodness, how did you get there, my creamy luscious delicious chicken pot pie-y goodness?

Oh yes. You were delicious….
I am SO happy that it worked out!!!! 😀  It is perfect and tasty and I am SO happy!!

And I REALLY like the salt on the crust. Tastes SO good lol!!

Definitely want to make it again and recommend it!!

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Chicken Pot Pie

January 26, 2011 at 12:48 am (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , )


I love Chicken Pot Pie. I wanted to learn to make it from scratch, but, me being me, this means mucking about the kitchen instead of finding a recipe to follow lol.

For next time – less herbs, more liquid, less flour, more pepper.

Anyways, this time was…

Ingredients:
2 half-frozen chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
1/3 stick of butter
flour
1/2 pint of half and half
chicken stock
1 large red potato, cubed
1/2 cup carrots, cubed
1 stalk of celery, minced
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup green beans
garlic powder
sage
thyme
rosemary
salt
pepper
some melted butter
1 Pillsbury roll-out pie crust

Alrighty. First, I cubed the massive red potato (washed, skin on!), and set water on to boil.

While the water heated, I put the peas and green beans (both frozen) aside, and cut up the carrots, onions, and celery. I put those in a separate bowl.

Then I cut up the chicken, and turned on the big skillet to melt 2 pats of butter while I shook the chicken in flour, added salt and the potatoes to the water.

Then I upended the chicken and flour into the sizzling hot butter. In retrospect… need less flour.

When the chicken was about halfway cooked, I pushed it to the edge of the pan, and dumped in the carrots/celery/onion. When those were partially cooked, I added another pat of butter.

As it cooked, I added half and half in bursts, and also some chicken stock.

I used about 4 pinches of rosemary, rubbed between my hands. I used several grinds of black pepper (by that I mean 7.), and sprinkled over thyme, sage, parsley, and garlic powder twice over the pan. Next time, I think I will just do the garlic powder and parsley.

About now, the potatoes were fork-tender, but not fall-apart, so I strained them and put them aside.

I added the peas and green beans next, and more half and half, as well as the chicken stock.

Then the potatoes.

Mmmm… doesn’t that look tasty??

It needed more liquid, though, I know that now lol.

After it was all cooked together, I spooned it into ramekins, and topped with rounds of a Pillsbury pie crust, and cut venting slits, like so.


Aren’t they purty??

Then I nuked a bit of butter til it was melty, then brushed it over the tops and sprinkled them with kosher salt. <–THAT turned out epic, I totally recommend doing that. Was SO flaky and salty and delicious in every bite!!

And here they are, out of the oven!! 🙂

 

So. More pepper. No herbs (tasty more stew-y than chicken pot pie-y), and less flour/more liquid. All in all, it was thick and tasty and chunky, I just want to adjust it!!!!

 

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Frito Chili Casserole

July 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm (cooking) (, , , , , )


Hello again, everyone, and welcome to my dinner! lol

Tonight’s dish is a family classic that my grandma used to make… a dish we all love. It’s quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious!

Ingredients:

1lb ground beef
1/4 large onion, diced
1 can of corn, strained (or same amount of frozen.)
2 cans of your favorite chili (used Dennyson’s here.)
1 medium bag of Fritos, crushed
some salt and pepper.
butter

Preheat your oven to 350 while dicing up your onion, and cook it with the ground beef until the beef is fully browned. To brown my meat, I used 2 large pinches of kosher salt and 7 grinds of black pepper, along with just a tiny smidge of olive oil to help the onions along (I tossed them in, then the beef. I had to open the package lol).

Removing the pan from heat, add the contents of the pan into a casserole dish, along with the chili, corn, and 3/4 of the fritos. Combine the ingredients, and smooth down the top.

Add butter, about 1-2 tablespoons, over the top. You can either slice it very thin and lay it across the top – don’t have to cover the whole thing – or just cube it up and sprinkle it over.

On top of the butter, add the remaining fritos, and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, serve, and enjoy!! Yummy and delicious!!!

Photos:

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