Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lasagna

Lasagna intimidates me. But Josh LOVES it, so every now and then I work up the courage to make it. About two months ago I joined Pinterest. Since then I have pinned about a million things. Pinned them and then forgot them. But then after a few weeks, I decided I should actually TRY some of the things I was pinning. Oh My Goodness, every recipe I've tried so far has been out of this work DELISH.

Last night I decide to try these Lasagna Cups. But when it came time to assemble them, I noticed the recipe called for JUMBO sized muffin tins; all I had were regular sized cupcake pans. I know I could have made them smaller, but I also knew it would be twice as many to make and really, I just wanted to hang on the couch with hubs. So instead I decided to put it together the traditional lasagna way in a pan. I also changed up the recipe a bit because I was worried my cheese layer would be too small.

I really didn't think I'd like this recipe since it calls for Ricotta cheese (I think that stuff is nasty), but since it was my first time trying the recipe, I decided to try it that way. I was amazed at how much I LOVED this lasagna. It was about as close to perfection as I have ever done with lasagna. This will probably be my go to recipe for lasagna from now on.

LASAGNA
Ingredients:
for the sauce-
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef cooked and drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-6 oz. can tomato paste
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (I buy the kind that has sweet onion mixed in.)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 tablespoons diced onions
1 teaspoon sugar (Next time I might skip the sugar, the sauce was almost too sweet.)
salt & pepper to taste

for the cheese filling-
1-10 oz. tub Philadelphia Italian Herb & Cheese Cooking Cream
2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 cups mozzarella cheese, grated & divided
1 small container ricotta cheese
2 eggs

1 box Lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
----------
Directions:


For the sauce- heat olive oil over medium heat and pepper and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in cooked ground beef and tomato paste until well incorporated. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes or so. {The longer it cooks, the better it will taste!} This will be very thick.

For the cheese filling- stir all ingredients together using 1-1/2 cups of the Parmesan cheese and 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese.

Cover the base of your cooking dish with about 1 cup of the meat sauce. Layer with noodles then a third of the meat sauce and half of the cheese mixture. Top with some of the extra mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining meat sauce and cheeses.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes covered in tinfoil. Remove tinfoil and bake 10-15 minutes longer, until bubbly.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Belgium Waffles

Belgium Waffles
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3-1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
---------
In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. In another bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add milk, butter and vanilla. Mix well. Stir into dry ingredients. Beat egg yolks until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Bake on a waffle iron.



Ham Cheese Rollups

Growing up, these seemed to be a family dinner staple when we got together with my dad's family. Until I met Josh, I didn't realize most people would find this to be a "yucky" food because I LOVED it. I haven't had these in years, but was craving them last night, so I rolled some up for my lunch. The problem was, I would eat 2 for every one I set aside.
Ham Cheese Rollups
Thinly sliced deli ham
Whole pickles, sliced into spears
 Cream cheese, softened
--------
Cut slices of ham in half. Add a small portion of cream cheese (about 1/2 tsp.). Top with pickle spear. Roll up all together.

Lemon Cider

Lemon Cider
1 gallon apple cider
1 can (12 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 lemon, thinly sliced or cinnamon sticks
---------
In a punch bowl, combine cider and lemonade; mix well. Float lemon slices on top. Or, serve warm, heat cider and lemonade; garnish individual servings with a cinnamon stick.


Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
----------
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans.

Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Frosted Pumpkin Cranberry Bars

Frosted Pumpkin Cranberry Bars
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
BROWN BUTTER FROSTING:
1/2 cup butter
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 to 6 Tbsp. milk
----------
In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin and butter; stir into dry ingredients until well combined. Stir in the chopped cranberries. Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For frosting, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat; cool for 5 minutes. Stir in confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread over bars before cutting.

Friday, September 2, 2011

German Chocolate Bars


German Chocolate Bars
1 package (18-1/4 oz.) German chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (15 oz.) coconut-pecan frosting
1/4 cup milk
----------
Place cake mix in a bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Press 2-1/2 cups into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes; immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Drop frosting by tablespoonfuls over the chips. Stir milk into the remaining crumb mixture; drop by teaspoonfuls over top.

Bake 25-30 minutes longer or until bubbly around the edges and the top is cracked. Cool on a wire rack.; Refrigerate for 4 hours before cutting.


Parmesan Rolls


Parmesan Rolls
2 packages (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup butter, melted 3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt 1 cup cornmeal 2 eggs
4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
TOPPING:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
---------
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, Parmesan cheese, butter, sugar, salt, cornmeal and eggs; mix well. Add 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Shape into 24 ovals; dip each into melted butter and Parmesan cheese. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire rocks.

Festive Cranberry Drink


This drink can be served warm or cold, its delish either way.

Festive Cranberry Drink
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3 quarts water, divided
1-3/4 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup red-hot candies
12 whole cloves
------------
In a large kettle, combine cranberries and 1 quart water. Cook over medium heat until the berries pop, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Strain through a fine strainer, pressing mixture with a spoon; discard skins. Return cranberry pulp and juice to the pan.

Stir in the sugar, juice, red-hots and remaining water. Place cloves in a double thickness of cheesecloth. Bring up corners of cloth and tie with kitchen string to form a bag; add to juice mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until sugar and red-hots are dissolved.

Remove from the heat. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Discard spice bag. Serve drink warm or cold.


Goblin's Orange Popcorn


This month it was my turn to host book club.; I had chosen the book "Marley & Me" and thought it would be fun to watch the movie. Of course you have to have popcorn to watch a movie. I was browsing through my Taste of Home Halloween magazines and found this popcorn recipe and decided to try it. I colored my purple. It was so good that now I think any time I watch a movie, I should have a bowl of this stuff.
4 quarts popped popcorn

Goblin's Orange Popcorn
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. light corn syrup
Dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
12 drops yellow food coloring
4 drops red food coloring
----------
Place popcorn in a very large bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat. Stir in  vanilla and the food coloring. Pour over popcorn; toss to coat. Transfer to two 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 250° for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight containers.