Friday, September 24, 2010

Lasagna Night

I got this recipe from a site called "An American Housewife".   The site is a lot like my blog, she cooks her own recipes and takes pictures as she goes.
This is just a basic recipe to start off with. As with any recipe you are able to tweek it anyway you see fit.  
A Basic Lasagna

1 package dry, flat lasagna noodles (9-12 noodles depending on how thick you want to make it)
1 jar (30 oz. or so) spaghetti sauce of your choice
1 egg
30 oz. ricotta or cottage cheese - or a mixture of both (2 containers of ricotta is 30 oz.)
3 cups (about) of shredded mozzarella, some Parmesan and even a little cheddar if you wish
2 t dry Italian blend spice (or use a mixture of oregano and basil if you have them instead)
1 salt
Garlic: fresh or powdered - just about a teaspoon. I like to use some garlic salt too
Optional: Meat - a pound of ground beef or Italian Sausage (hot or mild)
Optional: Diced tomatoes from your garden or a can, an extra small can of tomato sauce, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc.

Brown the ground beef or the Italian sausage. If I have any tomatoes to use up I sometimes throw them in as well. Add the sauce to the meat and let that simmer while you mix the cheese layer. If you feel like adding a small can of tomato sauce, some onions, mushrooms, green peppers or shredded carrots, etc. be sure you simmer the sauce until the firm vegetables are softened or cook them in a bit of water first in the microwave to soften them.

In a bowl mix the ricotta and/or cottage cheese with the egg, a teaspoon or so of fresh garlic or garlic powder, the Italian spice mixture, and about 1 cup of the mozzarella.

In a large 9X13" pan place about 3/4 cup of the sauce. I like to line my pans with heavy duty aluminum foil but you don't have to. Spread the sauce around a bit and lay 3 dry noodles down to cover the bottom of the pan. Pour about 3/4 cup of sauce over, top with about a cup of the cheese mixture and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Now add another layer of dry noodles, meat and cheese. And a third layer. If you have enough ingredients and noodles make a fourth layer. End and stop with a nice layer of sprinkled shredded cheese on the top - mozzarella with parmesan is a good mixture. I like to sprinkle the top with just a bit of Italian spice mixture or even parsley.

Using the spaghetti sauce jar, fill it with a bit of water (about 3/4 cup) and swish it around and then pour it around the edge of the noodles in the pan. Cover the entire pan with aluminum foil to seal. Place in a 350-375 degree oven and bake about 45-50 minutes. Uncover the foil and continue baking about 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and it's bubbling and golden brown. Let the lasagna set for 10 minutes before slicing so it has time to 'set up'.

browning my onion and chopped garlic in some EVOO

Finished!! Doesn't it look sooooooooo good?? It was. :)

Country Breakfast Burritos

I cooked up some really really good burritos yesterday morning. I got this idea from a burrito I ate in Chico, CA @ CJ's Last Chance Country Store & Cafe.

I cooked up some sausage links and diced them into little pieces.

I then made some country sausage gravy from a packet. I don't remember the brand and any will do.
I had some frozen hash browns that I baked in the oven and chopped up into tinier pieces.
Once I had all these fillers prepared I put a little of each into a flour tortilla and topped it with some Monterrey jack cheese. I rolled em' up and we were good to go.

Super easy, soo very good, and pretty darn fast.

doesn't look like much but soooo yummy inside :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Sorry there hasn't been any new posts the last couple of days...I've hit a funky patchy and need to get myself out. There will be dinner tonight, lasagna.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Baked Chicken Over Garlic Basil Spaghetti

I searched the web and my cook books for a couple hours on Friday, trying to figure out what I had in my frig that I could find a good recipe for. I finally gave up and went at it all on my own. I had chicken breasts that needed cooking and a ton of pasta in my pantry so I went from there.


In an oven safe baking dish I put:
             2 cups of spaghetti sauce, 2 cups of water, 1 tsp each of dried basil, thyme, and rosemary.
Then I stirred it all together and placed 4 chicken breasts in it. I covered it with foil and put it in my 375 degree oven for 50 minutes.

fresh out of the oven

Pasta & Sauce

           I boiled my spaghetti noodle until Al dente' and set them aside. For my sauce I started with 2 cloves of chopped up garlic, put them in a sauce pan with some EVOO and began to cook them on medium heat until they began to turn brown. I then added 2 tablespoon freshly chopped basil and a little bit more EVOO. I let those flavors cook for a couple of minutes, until I could really smell the basil. Then I added in 2 table spoons of pasta sauce and let it cook again for a few minutes. When that was all done I pour it on top of my spaghetti noodles and tossed it in really well.

I served the pasta with the chicken breast on top and a side of sourdough bread. Super easy and pretty damn healthy too. I was proud of myself for the sauce on the noodles. I didn't really want plain ol' spag sauce on my noodles since the chicken was baked in it and it turned out really well.

My sister and Mina made cookies earlier in the day. Chocolate Chunk Cookies...sooo yummy.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place one oven rack in the top third of the oven, and one oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes).

Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating until well combined.

Beat in the vanilla extract.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat just until incorporated.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Form dough into balls, using 1/4 cup (55 grams) for each cookie.

Place six balls of dough on each baking sheet. Gently flatten each ball of dough into a 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm)  round.

Bake the cookies for about 15-17 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.

Makes about 18 large cookies.

2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
2/3 cup (140 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (210 grams) chocolate chunks (can use chocolate chips)

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