Monday, November 29, 2010

Red Wine Lasagna

I'm pretty sure this is the best lasagna I have ever had. If I've had better, I'm not remembering. It's so healthy, too, with the replacement of the Ricotta with tofu. If you're not into tofu, don't worry, you won't even notice it in this dish. It takes on the creamy texture that you would typically get with the Ricotta without all the fat that comes with it! And since it's tofu, it just tastes like everything around it, and really, you can't go wrong with that since this lasagna is bursting with flavors! We received this as a post-pregnancy meal and Scot and I both rated it as one of the top three dishes we ate in that wonderful time period where I did no cooking due to the fact there was a newborn in the house. Anyway, I finally got around to recreating the meal and it was fabulous, just like we remembered!

Red Wine Lasagna
Serves 8-10
  • Oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb sausage (you can do Italian or spicy it you'd like -- I just add a ton of Italian seasonings. I"m sure you could do, beef, too, the possibilities are endless!)
  • 1 box firm tofu drained
  • 1 box frozen spinach - thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 large can tomato sauce (I use the Traditional, but you could use whatever you wanted)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 eggs
  • Cheese for the top (about 2 cups Mozzarella or a combo of Italian cheeses)
  • 1 cup red wine
--Cook sausage until done. Drain and add tomato sauce.
--Mix the tofu, Parmesan, spinach and egg together.
--In a 9x13 pan:
--Layer: noodles, cheese mixture, meat. Repeat. Top with shredded cheese.
--And now, the fun part. Drizzle the wine over everything and watch the cheese turn a wonderful purple!
--Bake at 400 for an hour (covered for the first 45 minutes)

**This is very easy to freeze! Just wrap and freeze before you pour the wine. When you're ready to bake it, pour the wine and bake 90 minutes instead!

Green Bean Casserole

Almost everyone loves a good green bean casserole. Some, though, don't like the 'traditional' Campbell's version with the mushrooms (something I myself am trying to come to terms with) and fried onions. For those people, I have a solution! And for everyone else who was like me and thought that green bean casserole didn't get better than French's and Campbell's combined -- have I got news for you! This feeds 8-10 and if green bean casserole just isn't the same without fried onion - just substitute!

**I apologize for the lack of a picture. I forgot until after it was too late (read: until after it was all gone).

Green Bean Casserole
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 2 (16oz) bags frozen green beans (the long skinny kind) -- thawed
  • 1 cup grated Co-Jack cheese (or cheddar)
  • 1/2 (or more) crushed buttery rounds/Ritz crackers
  • 2 T butter
--Melt the 2 T butter in large skillet. Whisk in the flour.
--Add sour cream, onions, and pepper to taste. Stir well.
--Stir in the green beans and coat well
--Transfer to a greased 2 Qt baking dish
--Sprinkle cheese on top
--Melt the 2 T butter and toss with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle on top.
--Bake for 30 minutes at 350.


I just wanted you all to know that I recently went through and tagged all my holiday meals! So if you go to the sidebar, you'll now be able to search meals by that classification! Hope this helps with all your holiday meal planning!

Granny's Cranberry Salad

This is my all time favorite Thanksgiving item on the menu. For those who know me, this is saying something huge since I love green bean casserole and sweet potatoes! Truly, though, when I think of a laden-down table full of good food to eat, it is not complete unless we have the cranberry salad. Very simple to make (you can make it up to 48 hrs ahead of time!) and tasty! It feeds about 12-15 (depending on how much people put on their plate) and if there are any leftovers, it keeps super well!

Granny's Cranberry Salad
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 (3oz) boxes Jello - 2 Raspberry, 1 Cherry
  • 1 bag (no more than a pound!) of raw cranberries
  • 1 orange - thinner skinned is best, and seedless is even better
  • 3-4 ribs celery - diced
  • 2 small McIntosh apples - diced (I'd imagine you could use Gala's if you had to, I'm just partial to Macs!)
  • Chopped Pecans (opt)
--Fully dissolve the sugar and Jello powder into the boiling water in a large bowl (what you'll serve it in). There can be no particles floating around in there or the salad just won't be the same.
--Put the bag of cranberries along with the orange (cut up with skin still on) in a food processor and pulse until everything is pretty little. Add to jello mixture.
--Add the diced celery and apples (pecans, too, if you choose to go that route) and stir to evenly distribute.
--Put it in the fridge to set and then cover with plastic wrap until you're ready to dig in!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Parisian Chicken

I don't know where I got this recipe. It's on one of my old index cards that I had in college and I never tried it because of the mushrooms. But I've since gotten over my dislike for mushrooms (as long as they're disguised somehow) and so I was willing to give this a try. I think this is probably the single easiest chicken dish I have ever put together. Maybe BBQ Chicken or Catalina Cranberry Chicken are close competitors, but my goodness this is easy! As always, tasty, too! I used all 'light' ingredients, so it wasn't unhealthy considering it's a cream-based dish. Something I never do.

Parisian Chicken
  • 6 chicken breasts or 3 big ones cut in half
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (98% fat free)
  • 1 cup sour cream (light or fat free)
  • 3/4 cup sherry or dry red wine
--Mix ingredients and pour over chicken
--Bake 75 minutes at 375
--Serve over rice with some extra sauce

Amish Bread

I am so scared of yeast it's not funny. If a recipe calls for yeast I'll usually just stop looking. If it has to rise and be kneaded and rise again...there are just so many steps where you have to do things just so and I'm so afraid of messing up. Well, no more! Now this is not a hard recipe at all to follow. And it seems pretty fool-proof it I can do it. It's not fancy or complicated, but it's good yummy bread to have with soup on a cold fall or winter night. It doesn't take too long and it's slightly sweet. It gives you 2 wonderful loaves and it makes the house smell amazing. If I'm brave enough to try it, you can, too!!

Amish Bread
  • 2 cups warm water (110 F)
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 T active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 vegetable oil
  • 6 cups flour (the original says bread flour, but I used all-purpose and it turned out fine)
--In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in the water and then stir in the yeast. Wait a few minutes for it to get foamy and smelly-good.
--Mix salt and oil into the bowl and then the flour one cup at a time.
--Knead onto a lightly floured surface until smooth.
--Place in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise 1 hour or until double in size (My trick for this is I put it in the microwave so there's no draft getting to it -- I turn the microwave on for a couple minutes with some water in there to warm/moisten the atmosphere before i put the bread in)
--Punch down and knead a few minutes. Divide in half and shape into loaves. Put them in 9x5 loaf pans and allow to rise 30 minutes or until they are 1 inch higher than the edge of the pan.
--Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Beef and Barley Soup

So this was an experiment that turned out really well. The original recipe is not for a soup, but for some odd togetherness of everything in this soup - just minus the broth. So I just added broth and cut out the cheese because I thought the recipe was for soup and that's what I was in the mood for. This would be easy to cut in half or make as directed and freeze half since it feeds so many (12!). Make some nice warm bread and you're good to go!

Beef and Barley Soup
  • 2 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 1 large onion - diced
  • 1 (11oz) box quick cooking barley
  • Vegetables (I used about 2 cups sliced carrots, 4 stalks celery - sliced, and 1 cup frozen corn -- but you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • Seasoning (I used 1 T Italian and 1 T basil and it was great!)
  • 10-12 cups beef or vegetable broth (depending on your meat)
  • Splash of red wine or apple cider vinegar
--Saute beef and onion in LARGE pot (stock pot if you have it!) - drain as best as possible
--Add seasoning and let the aroma out!
-- Cook barely according to directions while meat is cooking
--Add veggies
--Add 10-12 cups beef or vegetable broth (depending on how soup-y or stew-y you want it)
--Add barley when it's done
--Add your splash of vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer about 30 minutes until the vegetable
are tender.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sesame-Ginger Chicken

This was a very easy meal to prepare and it was pretty tasty, too. It wasn't an "Oh my goodness, this is out of this world" amazing, but for how easy it was, it was really good. Tender, juicy, and flavorful. It's healthy, too! I served this with Angel Hair (my stand in for Asian noodles) and just drizzled extra 'sauce' over it all and yummo! Hearty salad and bread and you're in business!

Sesame-Ginger Chicken
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • Fresh ginger to taste (I used powdered - about 1 t I think)
  • 2 large scallions (I used a small bunch) - chopped
  • 1 T + 2 t sesame oil
  • 2 t soy sauce (separated in half)
  • 2 t sesame seeds for garnish (not pictured because I forgot until after the first bite)
--Mix ginger, scallions, 1 T sesame oil and 1 t soy sauce until paste like. Spread over chicken (make sure your chicken at this point is in a baking dish).
-- Mix the remaining oil and soy sauce together and drizzle over chicken.
-- Bake chicken uncovered for 15 minutes at 400. Cover with foil and bake another 15-25 minutes.
-- Sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve over noodles or rice.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce

Everyone needs a basic spaghetti sauce, right? Well, here it is! I got this recipe from a friend who got it from a friend who had just heard rave reviews about it. Now that I've made it - I can see why! I made a few tweaks to the original and I liked the way it turned out. You could very easily add ground beef/turkey to this to 'bulk' it up. The robust flavors and all the textures were just amazing - I doubled the batch and froze half of it, which I highly suggest doing. If you're going to simmer something for an hour or two, you better make it worthwhile, right?

Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes and just used my hand blender to "crush" them)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 large garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t basil
  • 1 t tarragon
  • 1 t parsley
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 c shredded Romano cheese
  • S & P to taste
--Lightly saute garlic in some Olive Oil in a large sauce pan
-- Add all other ingredients plus one small tomato paste can of water
-- Bring to a slow boil and then reduce and simmer 1-2 hours

Friday, November 12, 2010

Salsa Bean Chicken

This dish is pretty much the easiest thing ever. Really. Put everything in the crockpot and the just serve it over rice -- toss a salad and bingo, you have yourself a great meal that's healthy and tasty! I like to shred my chicken so it soaks up more of the yummy juice.

Salsa Bean Chicken
  • 4-6 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup salsa (the thicker the better)
  • 1 can black beans
  • Cheese, shredded, for the top if you want
--Put chicken breasts in the crockpot.
--Dump the salsa and beans (undrained) on top.
--Cover and cook on high for 3 or 4 hours.

You can also choose to put it in tortillas instead. So versatile. Gotta love that!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cauliflower Parmesan Cake

This is probably the meal I have been dying to try for the last couple weeks when I saw it on Smitten Kitchen and I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, I was blown away. And that doesn't happen very often. We both went back for seconds. It was moist and the flavors all matched perfectly. I can't even fully describe it's effect on me - so you'll just have to make it and see...umm...I mean taste....for yourself.

Cauliflower Parmesan Cake
Yields: 6
  • 1 medium cauliflower (1 1/2 pounds) broken into medium florets
  • 1 large red onion, peeled - I wish I had a red onion (I thought I did!), but a yellow worked just as well
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 10 medium or 8 large eggs
  • Handful basil, chopped
  • Scant 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 heavy cups finely grated parmesan cheese or about 1 generous cup of grated Romano cheese (or a little of both like I did)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds - I used normal and it was fine, but the black would have been cooler looking
-- Simmer florets in a pot of water for 15-20 minutes until soft. Strain and let cool.
-- Meanwhile, halve the onion and take off a few this slices - set aside. Chop the rest of the onion and saute them with the rosemary in all the olive oil until soft. Let cool.
-- Now whisk the eggs with the onions. Yes. Right there in the sauce pan.
-- In a big bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients (except the butter and sesame seeds)
-- Add the egg mixture and whisk until there aren't any more clumps
-- Now carefully stir in the cauliflower until coated
-- Pour into a spring form pan with parchment paper on the bottom and sides greased (with the butter) and coated (with the sesame seeds). Put the sliced onion on top and bake for 45 minutes at 350 until set.

I served this with brown rice and salad. YUM YUM YUM.