Lasagna Supreme : Just Like the Pizza but Better

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

All the flavors of a supreme pizza in a lasagna.

Supreme Lasagna

1 package no cook lasagna noodles

1 lb ricotta cheese

1 T  chopped fresh oregano

1 T chopped fresh basil

2 eggs

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

4 hot italian sausage links (I used Turkey sausage)

1 green pepper sliced

1 c sliced onion

1 c sliced mushrooms

1 large jar marinara sauce

2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400. in a large bowl mix ricotta, oregano, basil, eggs, salt and pepper and 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese.  Cut open casing of sausage and squeeze meat into a large saute pan, cook over med high heat until no longer pink. Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is translucent, add mushroom and cook until slightly soft. Drain any liquid from pan.

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Using a large spoon, put approx 1/4 c of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add one layer of noodles, then 1/3 ricotta mixture, a layer of sauce about 1 c and then 1/2 of the sausage mixture. Add another layer of noodles, 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1 c sauce, then noodles. The 1/3 ricotta mixture,  1 c sauce , 1/2 sausage mixture, and then noodles. Cover noodles with sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese and cover with foil. (The middle layer will be just cheese)

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Bake for 30 minutes with foil on, then remove and cook 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted and golden. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

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The Monsters of Templeton: Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

The Monsters of Templeton

This month’s book club selection was the Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. I admit this was an ambitious piece of literature, family secrets, ghosts, sea monsters, a complete family lineage going back several generations, a student’s affair with her professor, a best friend dealing with a terrible disease, an unwanted pregnancy, and a girl’s search for her father. However this was just way too much information for one book. the main idea was so watered down by the enormous cast of characters that I ended up just not caring about any of  them.It made it a difficult book to read but that also made it a great book for book club. There were many things to discuss and dissect. I think the discussions are always better when everyone doesn’t love the book. (usually I am the everyone, I can be a bit critical)

Some of us even dressed as “The Running Buds, a group of friends that have run together for years and who may or may not be important characters in the book. They were just the easiest costume, headbands, running shorts etc… Unfortunately I don’t have a sea monster outfit in my costume box. The food didn’t jump right out at you in this book but there was a lot of it if you paid attention ( I didn’t really ) I chose to make my version of Tomatoes Farci, Willie mentions this is her favorite dish when her mother makes it for her. We have quite a few vegetarians so I stuffed my tomatoes with goat cheese and mushrooms instead of meat. Another great one was a Huevos Rancheros casserole, Willie’s mom also makes this during an eventful breakfast in the book.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

10 Campari Tomatoes ( or 4 large for a meal)

1 T olive oil

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms, (I used baby bellas and porcini)

2 T chopped shallot

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/4 c chopped tomato

2 T chopped parsley

1/4 c white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

1 T balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1 3 1/2 oz log goat cheese

Core tomatoes and remove seeds and pulp, leaving just a shell.( if using a large tomato, cut top off and scoop out insides, leaving a bowl) In a large pan. Add oil and saute mushrooms, shallot and garlic, until mushrooms are soft and shallot is translucent. add tomato, wine, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add bread crumb, cheese and parsley. Let cool.

IMG_7416 IMG_7418

Stuff tomatoes with the cheese and mushroom mixture , place in an oven safe dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cheese slightly browns on top.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

(oops, so excited for book club I didn’t take a picture of the final product, but they looked the same with a slightly brown top)

Rapini and Sausage

Rapini and Sausage

If you know me or follow my blog you know that I am a sucker for produce. I love all the colors and textures and the way all the fruits and vegetables look stacked in neat piles. I wish I could decorate my kitchen to look like a farmer’s market. I also will buy anything I haven’t seen or eaten before, or anything out of the ordinary, my youngest son and I are suckers for any exotic fruit or vegetable. So I have tried Rapini, otherwise known as Broccoli Rabe or Broccoletti before but I am sure many people haven’t. It looks like greens with little pieces of broccoli attached and is actually a member of the turnip family.

Rapini or Broccoli Rabe

It can be prepared like most any leafy green, sautéed, blanched etc… It is somewhere between cabbage and collards as far as bitterness. To prepare just wash and chop off the very bottom of the stems, the rest of the plant is edible. Great as a side dish or part of a main meal like this Rapini and Sausage dish.

Rapini and Sausage

1 bunch Rapini or Broccoli Rabe

1 t salt

2T oil

1 lb smoked turkey sausage ( you could use any sausage in this dish)

1 small onion chopped

1 t garlic chopped

1 t red pepper flakes

1 T lemon juice

1 c mushrooms sliced ( I used baby bellas)

Bring a pot of water and 1 t salt to a boil, toss in rapini and cook for 4 minutes. drain.

Blanched Rapini

In a large pan heat oil over med high heat, add sausage and onions saute until sausage in cooked through. add garlic, red pepper flakes, rapini and mushrooms (add another T of oil if needed). Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft, squeeze lemon juice over dish and salt and pepper to taste.

Rapini and Sausage

Guinness Beef Stew: Alternative to Corned Beef and Cabbage

Guinness Beef Stew

I myself love Corned Beef and Cabbage , well if it’s cooked the right way, but I know many people who do not. So if you are planning a St. Patrick’s Day celebration and want to veer slightly from the traditional, give this recipe a try.

Guinness Beef Stew

2 lbs Beef Stew meat

1/4 c flour

1/4 t garlic powder

1/4 t salt

1/8 t black pepper

1/8 t dried thyme

1T oil

1 large onion cut into 8ths

115 oz can diced tomatoes

1 t chopped garlic

1/2 c Guinness stout  (or any stout)

1 T brown sugar

2 T Dijon mustard

3/4 c beef broth

6 carrots peeled and cut in half

10 small potatoes peeled and cut in half

1 cup baby portabella or button mushrooms

salt and pepper to taste

Add flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper and thyme to a large ziplock bag, add meat and shake until well coated. Heat oil in a large pot, add meat and onion sauté until browned. add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add beer, tomatoes, mustard, brown sugar and broth. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, add potatoes and carrots and cook 45 minutes more. Add mushrooms and cook 10 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Guinness Beef Stew Guinness Beef Stew

Beef Stroganoff, aka Fauxganoff

I usually try not to cook with pre made sauces, soups, dressings etc…, too much unneeded sodium, sugar, and weird ingredients I can’t pronounce. But there are a few family members in my house that will not eat mushrooms, I won’t name names. So for my quick weeknight stroganoff I use a can of cream of mushroom soup to get the mushroom flavor without any visible mushrooms. Some may call this trickery, I choose to call it delicious and comforting.

Beef Fauxganoff

2 T oil

1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced top sirloin

1/4 c chopped onion

1/2 t salt

1/8 t pepper

1/4 c flour

1 t  chopped garlic

1T sherry

1 c water

1 10 oz can of cream of mushroom soup ( I used Campbell’s)

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 c sour cream

Toss meat and onions with flour, salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet and add meat and flour mixture.

Cook meat until browned on all sides, add garlic and sherry and scrape bits up from pan with a wooden spoon, (deglaze) Add soup, water and Worcestershire sauce, stir until combined and simmer for 5 minutes, stir in sour cream. Serve over cooked noodles, top with chopped parsley if desired.

60 is Nifty! A Birthday Party and Stuffed Mushrooms

My mom turned 60 last week so my siblings and I, there are a lot of them, threw her a birthday party.  As it has become tradition for milestone birthdays, I made her a slide show of pictures throughout her life, teamed it up with some of her favorite songs and showed it during the party . It’s on DVD so she will have it as a take home souvenir. My sisters and I did the decorations. I am not one for the typical black and gloomy, over the hill type parties so we went for a festive and colorful look. We made lots of tissue flower bouquets.

To make, take large sheets of tissue paper and cut into fourths. stack 6-8 sheets of the cut paper together and accordion fold the short side. wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle tightly and cut the ends into a scallop or point. then gently pull each piece of tissue apart until it looks like a flower.

Here’s a tutorial  since I forgot to take pictures of the process: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Nature/mexicantissuepaperflowers/mexicantissuepaperflowers.html 

We also made large tissue pom, pom flowers to hang on the porch, with some white twinkle lights. Here is the tutorial for the pom poms http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/tissue-paper-pom-poms-how-to

So everyone could share their well wishes and memories for the birthday girl, I cut a large 60 out of cardboard and spray painted it (colored poster board would work as well)

and had bright colored post it notes and a pen so guest could write on them. I am using the post it notes and the pictures of her party to make a scrapbook for my mom.

Everyone pitched in for food and drinks, my sister-in-law made a gorgeous “sunflower” from mini cup cakes, an 8″ round cake and blackberries

60 IS NIFTY! A BIRTHDAY PARTY

There was lots of great food. One of my contributions was stuffed mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms:

2 pints whole mushrooms, stems removed and saved

1 T oil

1 c chopped onion

1c mushroom stems chopped

1 cup chopped spinach (I used fresh)

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1/4 c white wine

1 block cream cheese softened

1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1/4 c parmesan cheese grated

In a large pan heat oil and saute onion, and chopped mushroom stems until soft, add spinach and saute until wilted. add salt and pepper and white wine, bring to boil and reduce heat to low, simmer for 5 min.remove from heat.

add cream cheese, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and cooled onion mixture to a food processor and puree.

Toss mushroom caps with olive oil and stuff with cheese mixture, bake in a preheated oven, 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes depending on size of mushrooms. Serve.

Happy Birthday Mom! and thank you to everyone who made the party a success.