22 March 2013

Our Favorite Lasagna



Our Favorite Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. sausage
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 small onion, diced
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
3 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 large container part skim Ricotta cheese
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1/2 cup grated (not Shredded) Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Salt
1 pound grated mozzarella
1 package oven ready Lasagna noodles

In a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, onion and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain the fat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and salt. Simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes while you are working on the other steps.
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 Tbsp. parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well. Set aside.
Arrange 3 oven ready lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon a third of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover ricotta cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon a third of the meat/sauce over the top. Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top with extra Parmesan.
Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly. We prefer to refrigerate it for a day and let the flavors blend, and then cook it.

19 March 2013

Menu Plan Monday


Yesterday, I sat at my kitchen table and watched a squirrel. It would run out on the branch above my bird feeder, smack the bird feeder and get it swinging and bounce the branch so that the seeds fell out on the ground. Then, it would run down to the grass and eat the seeds. Repeated over and over. I was wondering why the level of seed in the feeder was going down so fast. I wish I had thought to take a photo then...

It's the week before Spring Break. We have one of those viruses that is going through the family, one person at a time. I am looking for crocus in my yard. I need a real sign of Spring. Going for easy food this week.

MONDAY

Mixed veggies
 
TUESDAY

Sandwiches (turkey, ham, roast beef)
Fruit

WEDNESDAY

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

THURSDAY

Pancakes
Fruit

FRIDAY

Take-out: Kids' choice

SATURDAY

Dinner Party
Balsamic glazed pork loin
Rice
Vegetable stir fry

SUNDAY

Leftovers

15 March 2013

Southwest Panini


I belong to a recipe group that meets monthly. Each month we have a different theme. This month was lime and cilantro. I marinated chicken in lime juice, cilantro and chili powder, grilled some veggies and added a fresh salsa with lime and cilantro to boost the flavor. Delicious!


Cilantro-lime Chicken Panini
Ingredients:
Marinade
Salsa
Grilled Veggies
Lime Mayonnaise
16 thick slices of French bread
8 slices Monterey Jack cheese

Marinade:
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. fresh lime zest (optional)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 lb. chicken tenderloins or strips
Marinate for at least 1 hour, in the refrigerator. Grill or cook under broiler until done. Do not over cook.

  
Salsa:
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
½ jalapeno seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Grilled veggies:
1 red or orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
Toss veggies in lime juice and olive oil and grill or cook under the broiler until done.

Lime Mayonnaise:
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Whisk together and refrigerate until ready to use.


Heat a pan or Panini maker until it’s good and hot.  Make your sandwich as follows:
Butter one side of two slices of French bread. Spread the un-buttered side with the lime mayonnaise. Layer 1 slice Monterey jack, a Tbsp. salsa, grilled veggies and the grilled chicken, then another slice of Jack cheese, if desired. Top with the other slice of bread, butter side up. Grill until brown and toasty. Serve with chips and salsa.

YUM!


13 March 2013

Burlap Love - Wonders 4 You


Do you ever run across something you love so much you just have to share it? That's how I feel about this little Etsy shop called Wonders 4 You.  Eiginta is the owner. She grew up in Lithuania, but now lives in the United States. She blogs over at Ginta's World

Eiginta's designs are clean and simple, and so elegant. Here are some of my favorites. Pop over to her shop and take a look, then come back and tell me what you love.










12 March 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Couldn't have thought of a better way to spend the weekend...
my adorable nephew Charlie came to visit with his family. 


MONDAY

Best Lasagna - Look for the recipe next Thursday
Salad

TUESDAY

Roasted veggies

WEDNESDAY

Fajitas
Spanish rice

THURSDAY

Leftovers

FRIDAY

Mixed veggies

SATURDAY

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Potatoes
Soda Bread
yes, I know it's a day early...

SUNDAY

Leftovers!

08 March 2013

Abuelita Hot Cocoa







I know it may be warming up for some of you, but it's still chilly where I live and we're expecting snow this weekend. Besides, it's always a good time for hot cocoa. Here's a recipe I shared a year ago for Abuelita's Hot Cocoa.


The beautiful thing about Abuelita is that it is already sweetened, already has cinnamon and vanilla in it. Yum. The following recipe is how I make it in my cocoa latte machine, which froths it up nicely in place of using the molinillo.
Abuelita Hot Chocolate
In a small saucepan, melt an Abuelita tablet in 1 cup of milk. Stir to prevent the chocolate from burning.
Pour melted chocolate/milk mixture into cocoa latte machine, add 3 more cups of milk and 1 tsp. of your favorite chile powder. Turn on machine and while you're waiting, make some whipped cream.

Pour the heated chocolate into a mug, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Serve and enjoy.

05 March 2013

Menu Plan Monday


I felted some wool sweaters this weekend. I have big plans for them this week. Have you ever done a project with felted sweaters? I like the looks of this and this...

This is the week before Junior Olympics (swimming). My son is qualified in 5 events. The meet starts Friday and so this week needs to be full of healthy, filling food. Think pasta...

MONDAY

Chili baked potatoes
Cantaloupe

TUESDAY

I might use asparagus instead of peas

WEDNESDAY

Southwest Panini
I am inventing this for my recipe group, so the family gets to eat it too.

THURSDAY

Lasagna

FRIDAY

Take-out for me and the 2 non-swimmers

SATURDAY

Salad and sandwiches

SUNDAY

leftovers or pancakes

01 March 2013




Have you ever made homemade pasta? If you haven't, I highly recommend it. It's really easy, and so delicious.

You don't have to have a pasta maker, but it sure makes life easier. There's a whole range of pasta makers out there.
Cucina Pro Pasta Machine
 This one is called the Cucina Pro and it is available at Target for under $30.

Imperia Pasta Machine

If you want to go a little higher end, you could go with the Imperia Pasta Machine from Williams-Sonoma, for under $70.  It is rated as one of the top three pasta machines available.

Once you have chosen your pasta maker, then you can look into attachments. I have an attachment for ravioli and the lasagna attachment is on my wishlist.

Our Favorite Pasta Dough

1 egg
3/4 cup flour

Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Break the egg into the flour and whisk it with a fork, then start incorporating the flour into the egg. Scrape the surface with a dough scraper every so often and knead until smooth and elastic. Process as desired. Makes 5-6 oz. pasta.

In reality, because 5-6 oz. pasta is nowhere near enough for my family, I make my dough in the KitchenAid using the dough hook. I usually go with about 5 eggs and 3 3/4 cups flour. If the dough seems a bit dry, I add a little water. If it's wet, a little flour. It's different every time.

Once you have processed your dough into pasta, you need to let it dry for a little while. You can see in the photo at the top of this post - last Christmas, we just used hangers. You can also twist it up and let it dry in a bundle. We often freeze the leftovers - before we cook them - and have it to use another day.

To cook - boil for about 2 minutes in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Serve with your favorite sauce.