Black-eyed Susan in my "prairie" garden. : )
Well, yesterday I said that I would post a few recipes from my cooking/baking spree I've been on lately, so here it is! : ) Again, I'm sorry for the lack of photos. I guess when I'm hostess, the last thing on my mind is taking pictures of my food!!!!! LOL
MARY'S LASAGNE (I'm making this my personal recipe)
First, make the sauce:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. hamburger (please try to get grass-fed organic)
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add hamburger and cook, breaking the meat up and cook until no longer pink. Drain.
2, 14 oz. cans of stewed tomatoes
1, 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 Tbsp. dried basil
Stir well and simmer while you make the cheese mixture. After simmering and ready to use, taste it - I found that I needed to add a bit more salt and a bit more sugar to balance the tomato flavor. ALWAYS taste your food!!!! : )
At this point you will also need to have:
12, no-boil lasagne noodles
4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
24 oz. carton of small-curd cottage cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
and a little more pepper
In a 9 x 13 baking pan (I used the foil pans so that I could make these ahead and freeze them) that has been sprayed with oil, layer:
*Spread 1 cup sauce on the bottom of the pan
*Lay 3, NO-COOK lasagne noodles on top of the sauce (I love these no-cook noodles)
*Spread 1/3 cup cottage cheese mixture on top of each noodle
*Top everything with 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
*One more cup of sauce
You will need to repeat this layering two more times.
Top it with the last 3 noodles, remaining sauce, remaining 1 cup Mozzarella cheese and then lastly the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
To cook right away:
Cover the pan tightly with greased aluminum foil and place on a foil-lined baking sheet (for any spill-overs) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 25 - 35 minutes until spotty brown and bubbly around the edges. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
To freeze first and then bake:
Do not bake after assembling, but cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and then tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze.
Before baking, take the lasagne out of the freezer a day before cooking, take the plastic wrap off but put the foil back on. Put on foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour or till heated through and then for 15 minutes more uncovered. * Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
*When it came to putting this into the oven, I found that even though I took the pans out of the freezer a whole day in advance, they were STILL frozen!!!! With the advice of my sisters, I put the pans in the oven anyway (still frozen) and baked them. I found that I needed a bit more time than the 1 hour and 15 minutes. So.......you may want to check your pans and see if they are indeed thawed first. But like everyone said - if you buy frozen lasagne from the store, the directions say you can bake from frozen, so it was all fine. Just a panic moment for a while!!! : )
We all agreed that lasagne is not something that any of us do on a regular basis because it is a dish that requires a good deal of time and prep, but I think that it's totally worth it for those times when you want to serve something a bit special. I can't remember if I told you yesterday that I took 3 days (mornings) to make 3 lasagnes. When I broke it up like that it was very do-able. I hope you can try this and let me know what you think. : )
The other recipe I wanted to share was:
LEFTOVER CINNAMON ROLL FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
8 large frosted cinnamon rolls cut into 1-inch pieces
8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups of milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup white sugar
Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside.
Place the cut cinnamon rolls into a large bowl.
Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, spice, and sugar and pour over the rolls and stir until rolls are coated completely.
Pour all of this into your 9 x 13 pan, spreading it evenly and pushing it down slightly to compress. Cover with foil and place in the fridge overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the pan in the oven and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 25 minutes or till center of casserole is cooked (mine took a bit longer).
Remove, cool slightly, slice and serve!!!!
This really did taste so good. I'm going to try to remember this one for Easter or Christmas morning brunch. Just serve with a good breakfast meat, fresh fruit, juice, and coffee and you've got yourself a hit!!!! : )
And, still another recipe:
FRESH ORANGE SMOOTHIES
*4 fresh oranges, peeled and divided into segments (no seeds!)
*2 cups of ice
*1/3 cup milk (I used regular but the recipe said any kind would do - soy, coconut, etc.)
*1 - 2 Tbsp. honey (I used 2)
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine all of the above in a blender, and blend till smooth. Taste to see if you need any more sweetener or vanilla. Very refreshing!
STRAWBERRY JAM (lots of fresh organic strawberries at the store now)
2 cups fresh strawberries (cleaned, hulled, and chopped)
1 cup sugar (or less if you want - experiment with it to find out)
Place strawberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir until sugar is melted and berry juices start to release.
Continue to stir intermittently to avoid scorching.
Bring to a boil
Continue to cook for 5 minutes at a boil, stirring often so that it doesn't boil over - you DON't want this to boil over! What a mess!!!*
Remove from heat and pour into heat proof jars. Let cool and enjoy!!!!
*One way of knowing if your jam is ready to take from the heat is to, ahead of time, put a small plate into the freezer. When cooking time is up, just put a spoon-full of jam on the cold plate and run your finger through it. If the the line you make fills back in, it needs more cooking. If the line you make remains a line, it's done!!! If you put your jam in freezer containers, this is excellent to keep around until you want/need some homemade jam for your toast, muffins, etc. Hope you can try it!!! Nothing easier to do. : )
There. I think those are the 4 recipes that I wanted to share with you from yesterday's post. Thanks again for dropping in for a while. Again, I would love to hear from you on any favorite recipes you might want to share with me as well. Have a wonderful upcoming day (right now while typing it is VERY dark outside when it should be light - thunder in the background - so it looks like a storm!). God bless you and your homemaking for this day.