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 I can handle the heat how Tanya originally made it, but the family cannot, and this turned out just as tasty!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!

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
onion powder
garlic salt
red pepper (optional for spice)
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
(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:
first layer of noodles
half of the cheese filling
second layer of noodles
half of the cheese filling
third layer of noodles
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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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!


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!

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 Soup

November 29, 2010 at 8:41 pm (cooking) (, , , , , )

It tastes better than it looks, trust me.

So, long story short, I’m sick. It sucks being sick. And of course, me being me, I have to make soup. None of that icky canned stuff.

Chicken Soup Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, cubed into bite-sized pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut to piece you like (I like thin and small.)
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2cup baby carrots, sliced
most of a box of low-sodium chicken stock
1 grind black pepper
2 large pinches kosher salt
2 large mugs of water
olive oil

garlic powder
ground ginger

I turned the crockpot up to high, added about an inch of chicken stock, and proceeded to cube the chicken, slice and dice my veggies, then put some olive oil in a pan. I started the chicken, then added the veggies a few moments later, followed by both pinches of salt and the pepper.

When it was almost cooked, I sprinkled ground ginger across the pan twice, as well as the thyme and sage and parsely. The garlic powder got three rounds.

When it was fully cooked, I transferred it to the crockpot, along with two mugs of water and more chicken stock. (About 3/4 the container total was used.)

Keep in mind, I couldn’t taste or smell anything, I’m sorry.

This was served in bowls, with leftover Boudin sourdough rolls from Thanksgiving. I enjoyed it, nice and warm and felt great on my throat. 😀

My mom assures me that it was really delicious.

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Not-Shepherd’s Pie

October 17, 2010 at 9:00 pm (cooking) (, , , , , )

Hey there! Long time no type! It’s been a while since I’ve used a new recipe, other than my normal stuff… I tend to try to keep “Katie’s Crazy Cooking” a little under control lol.

Anyway… last time that I went grocery shopping, I got a bunch of meat and froze it. Tonight was either chicken again, pork chops (not much of a pork fan), or the package of stew beef.

I voted for stew beef, and took it out to thaw while I played some WoW. (yes, I’m a nerd.)

I thought to myself “it’s fall… beefy weefy stew would sound delicious” followed by “oooh shepherd’s pie….” Well… this is what happened. ^^.;

Not-Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients:
1 package stew beef
1 package mashed roasted garlic mashed potatoes (the just add water kind lol)
Minced onion or 1/4-1/2c diced, your choice
Garlic Powder
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2c celery (1.5 stalks), sliced thin
1/2c chopped baby carrots
1/2c green beans, frozen
1/2c corn, frozen
Olive oil
Beef stock

Side: frozen biscuits, cooked. (2 each, 1 for dipping sauce, and 1 for dessert – split in half, light butter, then drizzle with honey.)

Preheat oven to 350.

First, cut the stew meat into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Then toss the meat in flour. I just put a cup or so of flour in a plastic bag, tossed in the meat, and shook it. Turn on your pan on high heat with enough oil (I used olive oil) to just cover the bottom while you cut your veggies. When water droplets hit the pan and sizzle, put on the meat.

(I like the flavor of cooked celery, but generally I despise the texture of it, so I chose to cut the stalks into very thin slices. I liked it this way!)

When you go to turn the meat over the first time, add your celery, carrots, and either the chopped onions (I was out), or sprinkle minced onions all over the pan – just 1 light cover. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the pan, as well as a crack of pepper.

Start to add beef stock, slowly. Don’t want to drown it. 😉

When the beef is almost cooked, drop the heat to med-high, add the green beans and corn. Across the whole pan, lightly shake over the entire pan the following spices: minced onion again, unless using chopped onions, garlic powder, thyme, sage, and parsely. Add a small pinch of salt, and a grind or two of pepper.

Keep adding beef stock – you’re not making stew, but you still want enough liquid to make a thick gravy-ish sauce.

Add another round of spices – minced onion, garlic powder, sage, and parsely only.

When the meat is fully cooked, kill the heat. You should have enough to fill 3-4 ramekins up halfway with the yummy mixture. Do so.

***While my meat cooked, I turned on the teapot, and boiled some water. I used a package of Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes – just pour 2c boiling water into a bowl, add the package of potatoes, moisten with fork, let it set for five minutes, then fluff, and use to cover the ramekins.***

Put these in the oven, along with your biscuits for 22 minutes.

**You can choose to pull them out sooner, to sit, by about 3 minutes.**

*After the biscuits are done, if you want a nice color on the mashed potatoes, turn on the broiler and put the ramekins under briefly ^,~. *

These were REALLY good! I was so proud of myself for making a thick sauce!!!! It didn’t turn out crappy at all!!

Definitely going to do these again ❤

Picture time!

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