Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lasagna rolls

This is my new favorite recipe!  I've always been intimidated by lasagna because it makes soooo much and I'd be the only one eating it.  When I found this recipe for lasagna rolls from Homemade by Holman, I was thrilled at the smaller quantity.  It's now my go-to comfort make-ahead lunch!  The sauce is also a new fave and I'm starting to make that on it's own to use for other stuff :-)

Lasagna roll-ups
8 lasagna noodles
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 onion
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese*
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese*
1 1/2 T fresh basil, chopped*
1 1/2 T fresh oregano, chopped*
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a large pot of water to boiling over high heat.  When it reaches a boil, salt liberally and drop noodles.  Stir occasionally and cook to just al dente.  You want to leave them slightly more firm since you'll be baking the pasta.  Drain noodles and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add turkey and brown.  When almost cooked through, add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add 1/2 the basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, lightly beat egg.  Add ricotta, Parmesan and remaining basil and oregano and stir together.  Spray pan lightly with cooking spray.  Add enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.  To assemble, on a drained noodle, add a spoonful of ricotta mixture.  Top with a spoonful of meat sauce and roll up.  Place seam side down in pan.  Continue until you've used all the noodles.  Top each with a little more meat sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining crushed red pepper flakes.  Bake approximately 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

* I omitted the ricotta, used a 3 cheese parm blend and used dried herbs.

Copycat nuggets

For the Super Bowl, the hubs and I wanted to try to make some Chick-fil-A style nuggets.  We don't have CFA here anymore and we miss it tons!  I found this recipe on Pinterest from theMy Name is Snickerdoodle blog.  

We did use peanut oil, but we don't have a deep fryer, so it took a little longer to cook.  I keep seeing other recipes that call for marinating in pickle juice, so I may just try that next time.  They weren't exactly like CFA, but they came close.

Chicken Nuggets2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
2 TBSP powdered sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
peanut oil (is best) or canola oil

In a medium bowl whisk the egg and stir in the milk. Trim any fat away from chicken. Cube chicken into bite size pieces. Place chicken in milk mixture,and cover. Let it 'marinate' for 2-4 hours in the fridge. This will make the chicken very nice and tender. In a gallon size resealable baggie combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper. Seal and shake to combine. Place about 2 inches of oil in a medium deep pot. Over medium high heat (more towards the high side) heat oil until hot. If using a thermometer let the temperature reach 375°. If you don't have a fancy gadget like most people, I always test my oil by dropping a few drops of water into it. You want it to sizzle and not pop too much. Adjust your heat if necessary. Using a fork or tongs remove cut chicken from milk mixture and place in the flour mixture. Seal and shake until nuggets are completely coated. Place about a 6-8 nuggets into hot oil and let them cook until golden brown, turning half way through once the edge of your chicken starts to turn white. About 1 minute each side. Always double check to see if any chicken you make is cooked through. I always just make a tiny cut to see if it's pink. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all nuggets are cooked. Serve with your favorite sauce! 

Pasta Pie

This Pasta Pie from Noble Pig was the first thing that I made from Pinterest.
It looks a lot harder than it really is and it was pretty fun squishing the sauce on top of and into the rigatoni ;-) Next time I need to really break the meat up as it's browning since it makes the last step much easier.  This is definitely a keeper!  It does make a lot, so I may try halving it and using a smaller springform pan.

Pasta Pie -- Noble Pig.comAdapted from Martha Stewart
1 pound rigatoni
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound ground beef 
(I used ground sirloin)2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 can (28 ounces) good quality crushed tomatoes
Butter, for pan
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone (I cooked mine for 12 minutes when the box indicated 14 minutes).  One pound of pasta should be cooked in 6 quarts of water, make sure you are using a big enough pot so the pasta doesn't stick together.  When done, rinse in cold water and drain again.  Toss pasta with 1 Tablespoon olive oil to coat.  Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add ground beef.  Cook, stirring occasionally until browned.  Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes more.

Add crushed tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan.  Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end.  Spread meat sauce on top of pasta.

Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up.  Stuffing the meat into the holes is a weirdly satisfying task.  Enough said.

Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden.  Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold. 

Cut into wedges and serve with any remaining meat sauce you might have.

Breakfast sandwiches

I'm always looking for quick and easy breakfast ideas. I need something with protein in the morning, so I was excited to see these English muffin sandwiches from Macheesmo Cook Something.
I used liquid egg whites instead of whole eggs and cooked them in a silicone muffin pan.  I had to cook them a bit longer than it recommended.  I froze them and took one out in the morning.  It took over 30 minutes to reheat and I generally don't have that much time in the morning.  I guess if I had a toaster oven, it might go quicker.  The next morning I tried the microwave, but just like the site said, that made them chewy and not very good.  So, I decided these would actually be better to eat on a weekend.  

The next weekend, I just made a big batch of scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese.  Then I baked some biscuits.  Each morning, I heated up a scoop of eggs in the microwave and put it between the top and bottom halves of the biscuit.  Perfect!

Banana bread without oil or sugar!

So far I've made a few recipes.  Last weekend I tried this banana bread from 8 Weeks to a Better You Recipes.

Overall, it was okay.  I love that it uses honey and applesauce instead of sugar and oil.  Next time I'll make it in 2 smaller loaf pans.  I had to cook it almost twice as long as the center just wouldn't cook.  The texture is good, but it needs something else, so I'll add pecans next time.


Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since I last posted!  In that time, I've discovered Pinterest!  I decided that I'd start blogging again to document the things that I've made from my pins.  Thanks to Pinterest, I've rekindled a love for cooking.  I'm loving finding new recipes, reading everyone's comments and changes, and then making it my own.  Not only am I cooking more, but I'm also crafting more, so I'll include those adventures, too!