Tag Archives: lasagna

Lasagna made easy kind of

Last weekend we went to Montreal with another couple for a dinner reservation; yeah it sounded crazy to me to! When we were there last spring with the same couple; the talk of town of where to eat dinner was that there were three restaurants on Rue Notre Dame right in a row.  One of the guys we were talking to said and I quote “you’re not getting in there!” at that point it became kind of a quest to eat at “the best”  – alas humble pie; we didn’t get in BUT we were able to get into one of the others and it was an excellent Tapas type place called Le Vin Papillon we had an awesome time.

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This past weekend was our dinner reservation at Joe Beef; consensus is out of the 4 appetizers, and the 4 entrees there were some hits and some were misses. Was it worth the 3+ month wait; probably not. Would we go back, definitely! Did we have too high of expectations? Possibly! Did we have a great weekend in Montreal? Always! While there we also visited 2 farmers markets; Atwater is still my favorite! I brought home; across the border some homemade sausage, homemade pasta, and some fresh bread.  All so far have been excellent!

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Drying Peppers at Jean Talon Market in Montreal

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Rainbow of pepper Jean Talon Marche’ Montreal

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Joe Beef Menu – yes all in French

Saturday we had lunch at L’usine De Spahetti in Old Montreal; my husband had their individual lasagna and it was ridiculously delicious. While at the market I picked up some fresh made lasagna noodles with intent of making a similar version at home. He was so on board that when I told him I was making lasagna for dinner he got super excited and asked if I had the right dishes; um yeah I do not own restaurant individual lasagna dishes sorry! He asked if there was any place in town where he could pick some up. Our town is so small I chuckled and gave him the only option in town; of course they didn’t have any. So I made due with what I had and it worked out perfectly.

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He wanted to make sure I made them correctly!

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It’s a process but everyone can help!

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Super cute – only small baking dishes I have on hand

I think this was my best lasagna to date and SO easy!

Lasagna made easy

Fresh lasagna noodles – if you can find them
2 Sausage (sweet or hot Italian) casing removed crumbled and browned
1 Onion diced
3 cloves of Garlic pressed
32 oz Jar sauce – pick your favorite
package Mozzarella cheese
16 oz Ricotta
1 Tsp dried Parsley
Crushed red pepper flakes – to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
1 Egg

Brown the sausage, add the onions and garlic. Once softened add the sauce and let it simmer for the time it takes the water to boil for the noodles. Fresh takes less time than the boxed kind so roughly 5 minutes.  Mix the ricotta with the egg, parsley and a cup of grated cheese.

Place a little sauce in the bottom of your dish. Cover with a layer of noodles then ricotta and sprinkle some of the grated cheese then repeat, sauce, noodle cheese till you used up all your ingredients.

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Bake at 350’ for 20-40 minutes. Smaller containers take less time than an entire sheet pan

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Yeah they were that good, fresh bread needed to sop up all the deliciousness!!!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese comfort food simple and delicious

As you are reading this my husband and I are in Key West FL for good friends of ours wedding.  My son is home taking care of the house, dog and my husband’s construction business. While I know he will never go hungry I still wanted to make sure he didn’t survive on takeout pizza.  He must have been thinking the same thing as he asked me if I would teach him how to make a few dishes.  The funny part of this is we both were thinking the same dishes. So Sunday morning we made chili, shepherd’s pie, lasagna and macaroni and cheese. All can be frozen and keep really well – we packaged them up into small meals for him.

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When making this many different dishes you really want to make the most of prep and cooking so you don’t spend the rest of the day doing dishes.

We used one pot to cook the meat one meal at a time and set aside. We browned the burger for the pie, sausage for the lasagna and the burger, sausage and ground turkey for the chili. We cooked the pasta as directed on the box for the mac and cheese then use the same pot for the potatoes, rinsed and wiped it out so we could use it for the sauce for the lasagna. We diced and sliced the onions and garlic for all the dishes and then the veggies and set aside. I bet we had all dishes made and assembled in about 2.5 hours and all but 1 pot fit in the dishwasher. It was a very successful morning.

While I do use the internet and magazines to find recipes to try I know they are just a starting point, there are so many ways you can take a recipe to make it to you and your families tastes.  Everybody’s shepherd’s pies is a little different; I use creamed and niblet corn to add moisture. I know of a family the use pre-bought gravy to add moisture to theirs. There is nothing like good homemade comfort food.

Easy Mac and Cheese that has great flavor and comes together quickly

1 small onion diced very small

4 tbs. Butter

4 tbs. Flour

2 cups milk

1 box elbow macaroni or other small pasta

4-6 cups shredded cheese – cheddar, mozzarella, Provolone your favorite combination works here

3-4 slices American cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

In salted water cook the pasta according to the direction on the box; drain and set aside. In a sauté pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the onions and cook to translucent about 3 minutes. Add flour stirring to mix.  Let cook about 2 minutes, it helps remove the flour taste. Using a whisk add the milk all at once. Whisk thoroughly till all incorporated.  Let this thicken on low heat, do not boil just simmer and stir frequently.  Remove from the heat and add all the cheese.  Lightly stir to incorporate.  Add the cooked pasta and salt and pepper to taste.  If you chop the onions small enough the kids won’t even know they are there.

Eat as is or bake for 15 minutes in a 350’ oven.  Add a crumb top or not – whatever is your preference

Lasagna throw down

Last weekend a girlfriends’ mother asked “would you like this magazine (all recipes) I won’t be making anything out of it” I generally grocery shop on Sunday’s; I take a look at my supermarket flyer, ask the guys what they might like and have a tentative weeks’ worth of meals planned before I head out.  I am pretty lucky that my family are willing to try anything at least once; or maybe they are the lucky ones that I love cooking new recipes. You never know when you will come across a winner and in some cases a dud.

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I took the magazine and immediately ripped out 6 recipes I would like to try. I ended up making 2 of them on Sunday 2 more by Wednesday.  A couple of them were definite keepers (Gumbo, Slow-Cooker BBQ Ribs), one was very good (Stuffed Peppers) but maybe not a weekly/monthly meal but I will be making them again. The last turned out to be a pretty sweet surprise for me.  It was dubbed “World’s Best Lasagna” I was very intrigued how this could be; I never had a formal recipe for the lasagna that I have been making for many many years. I followed this recipe and instructions exactly.  Since it makes a 9×13 inch dish I invited my in-laws over to share. The consensus was it was good, but they all liked mine better.  They said my lasagna had more of a bite than this one.  Everyone was in agreement that you could serve the “World’s Best” to just about anyone and they would all like it, it was a solid good lasagna.

OK not a real thrown down but 5 people voted mine better – might not count since they were all family but if you knew my family they will let you know if they like something or not. if you get my drift.

Here is my recipe – I only make a huge pan of it if we are having guests otherwise I use smaller dishes and freeze all but one that we cook up and eat for dinner with a nice salad and some yummy bread.

Package Sweet Italian Sausage casing removed and crumbled and cooked

2 jars’ of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Large yellow onion diced

4 cloves Garlic crushed

Olive Oil if needed

White wine

1TBS dried oregano

1TBS dried basil

1 TBS Garlic powder

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked Black Pepper

32 oz. Ricotta cheese

2 Eggs

2 TBS dried Parsley

1 ¾ Cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano

2-3 Packages Mozzarella

1 Box no-bake Lasagna Noodles

The amounts above can all be adjusted to your taste

In a large stock pot cook the sausage to well done.  Remove and set aside; add the onions to the sausage oil and sauté until softened about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.  Add sauce, take the wine and swirl around the empty jars; add to the pot.  Add oregano, basil, garilc, salt and pepper to taste.  Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime mix the Ricotta, eggs, parsley and ¾ Cup parmesan cheese.  Once you have the above made you can decide if you want to make 1 9×13 pan OR 3 or 4 smaller one.   The layering is the same.  1/3 of the Sauce – Noodles slightly overlapping – Ricotta – Mozzarella – Parmesan cheese; repeat 3 times.  Cover with tinfoil and cook for 45 minutes, remove tinfoil and cook for another 45 minutes.

Midnight McDonald’s Run & The Worm

The title may have grabbed your attention; but I promise they have nothing to do with each other.

So last night we went to surprise a very good friend at a pub about an hour and half away.  You know how you get there kind of early; around 9pm and no one is really taking advantage of the DJ playing songs. There was a guy dancing all by himself having a ball; I know this because I read his lips when he looked over at his friends and said; “I just can’t stop” He was definitely worth watching. Think Elaine from Seinfeld Hilarious!!!!

The night goes and people (including our party) start getting their groove on; I am guessing in part because of liquid courage (not me I was DD); if you know what I mean. We have one person in our party is ALWAYS the life of the party and she decided to do “the worm” not once but several times. Majority of our party are in their 50’s or getting close too (I have a few more years). One notable comment was; I haven’t been to a bar that plays music for years; “is this the crap they play now” Yeah he was older than 50.

We left very close to midnight; I could’t believe we stopped at McDonld’s for a midnight snack. I can’t even remember the last time that happened. It was pretty disapointing; but it filled the void.

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Today was pretty productive: I made homemade waffles – YUM! got some Christmas shopping done; got my CC shutoff; seems they thought there was some fraud going on; I didnt buy that much and nothing odd I swear; they did call to double check so we are good to go! Went grocery shopping; made Corned Beef and Cabbage, a couple of Lasagna’s I always more than one; you make that much of a mess; you need to make it worth your while.  It freezes well and I love having a yummy homemade dinner without ANY effort on busy week nights.  I even made brownies.  I am about to start gathering some recipes for an Appetizer class I am going to have later this week.  Need to mention that I will need to wash my floors before class; I will just say that my buddy who likes to do the “worm” wants to take one of my classes and is signed up for this one coming up.  Going to be a good one I think!

Waffles

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Egg yolks

1/2 cup canola oil (or like)

2 egg whites

In a small bowl combine flour, salt, powder.  In another bowl slightly beat the egg yolks, beat in the milk and oil. add the egg yolk mixture to the flour and stir just till incorporated; lumpy is OK. I use my mixer to beat the egg whites till frothy. Gently fold into the batter. Do not over mix and OK to leave some egg whites unmixed.  Use your waffle make according to it;’s direction.  My batter this morning made 8 waffles.