Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

I made this recipe at home last week and Isaac’s response was “please make again!” The recipe was sent by our friend, Bob Pastore, an Italian who knows what good food is and enjoys making it for family and friends. His wife Roxy, though not Italian by blood, is also an outstanding cook and has mastered Sunday “gravy” which is a staple in any true Italian home. It was out of this world. My mom is also a non-Italian woman who married an Italian man. How can you live up to the expectations or cooking standards of an Italian guy who has been spoiled by an Italian momma making him amazing wonderful dishes during his childhood?! After severals years of marriage my mom now makes my dad’s favorite spaghetti sauce. Because of my mom’s and  Roxy’s Italian cooking chops, I am a firm believer that anyone who is willing to practice can master Italian dishes. Here is a great one to start off trying. Good luck! The more you cook Italian, the more you will wish Italian was truly in your blood!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plain fine dried bread crumbs
2 Tbs. sea salt, plus more, to taste
1 1/2 lb. broccoli rabe, trimmed
1 lb. dried orecchiette
1/2 lb. Italian sweet fennel sausage, casings discarded and meat coarsely
chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

In a fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and stir to coat them with the oil. Season lightly with salt and cook, stirring often, until the crumbs are an even, deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Pour onto a plate and let cool.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil and add the 2 Tbs. salt. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, testing often, until the stems are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a wire-mesh skimmer, lift out the broccoli rabe into a sieve and cool it quickly under cold running water. Drain and squeeze gently to remove excess moisture. Chop coarsely and set aside.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir well and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in the fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the 1/3 cup olive oil. Add the sausage, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage meat with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned, about 7 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and stir to combine with the sausage. Cook until the broccoli rabe is hot throughout, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.

When the pasta is ready, scoop out and reserve about 2 ladlefuls of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sausage mixture and the cheese and stir and toss well over low heat to combine, adjusting the consistency with some of the cooking water, if needed.

Divide the pasta among warmed plates or shallow bowls, top each portion with a sprinkle of the toasted bread crumbs and serve immediately. Pass the remaining bread crumbs at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

From Williams & Sonoma 

Katie’s Tips:

  • I used broccolini instead of broccoli rabe because that is what my grocery had available. Broccolini is a member of the cabbage family whereas broccoli rabe is a member of the turnip fanily and is fairly bitter. Both are great options for this dish. Broccoli rabe is earthy and nutty. It is more bitter, but does become milder as it cooks. Broccolini is a long skinny vegetable where broccoli rabe has a thicker stalk and has big leaves.
  • I use gragnano pasta because it is made from an area of Italy that allows the fresh pasta to dry in the mediterranean air. It soaks up sauce well and I find remains al dente.
  • I love using extra pasta water to help thicken a sauce. The hot water is starchy and helps bind the sauce to the noodles.
  • My favorite thing about Italian pasta dishes is that Italians use simple ingredients but try to use the best version of these ingredients. Real aged Parmesan Reggiano cheese, fresh sausage, good pasta, etc. Simple yet full of flavor.
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Pasta cooked al dente with bright green broccolini, crusty Italian sausage, fresh parmesan reggiano- all the components of a delicious Italian pasta.

My little chef Georgia who seeks great pleasure in making a mess and getting dirty.

My little chef Georgia who seeks great pleasure in making a mess and getting dirty.

My other chef Maya who now makes her own scrambled eggs!

My other chef Maya who now makes her own scrambled eggs and gladly peels garlic and grates cheese for me.

Thank you Pastores!

 

 

Superhero Muffins

I felt like I was getting fat this summer. The answer to my weight issue was to get a scale and weight myself every morning. Not fun. What is fun is seeing how small food changes make a difference in my weight. I hate being 30 and having to worry about staying healthy and thin. Ok, fine, I’m actually 31. These muffins are one of the treasures found in my quest for healthy food options. I love baked goods, and my best friend bought me the cookbook “Run Fast, Eat Slow.”  I have not mastered either, but this is a recipe I have made three times already. My girls eat the muffins because we add chocolate chips to the batter. I freeze extras, and pull them out the morning  Heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave and they taste like they are fresh from the oven. Enjoy!

Superhero Muffins

Fuel up for the day with this power house muffin-full of ingredients that will make you feel good.

Fuel up for the day with this power house muffin-full of ingredients that will make you feel good.

Ingredients:

2 cups almond meal
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I skipped)
1/2 cup currants or raisins, optional (I skipped)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
1 cup grated carrot (about 2 carrots)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
paper muffin cups

Directions:

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, oats, walnuts, currants or raisins, if using, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, zucchini, carrot, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling each to the brim. Bake until the muffins are nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes.

Link to the Run Fast, Eat Slow blog

Maya and Georgia helping me cook from the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook.

Maya and Georgia helping me cook from the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook.

A note: Almond Flour is jus flour made from grinding blanched almonds. Find it at the store in the health food area or in the normal baking aisle. I t has gained in popularity so most stores carry it. I like to buy the bag that has a resealable bag and after it has been opened, keep it in the refrigerator.

 

Lemon Yogurt Cake

This is in my top five of favorite desserts. It is a mix between a sweet bread and a cake. I have served it for brunches and after dinner dessert because of it’s versatility and crowd pleasing reviews. Lemon yogurt cake is sweet, moist and simple to make. This is a must try! Ok, back to watching the Cubs game. Go Cubs Go!

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Lemon Yogurt Cake is from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties

 

Peas & Pancetta

This is a perfect side dish to almost anything. My latest time making this was with roasted garlic shrimp and herbed basmati rice. The salty pancetta plays wonderfully with the sweetness of the peas. Boxed peas makes this recipe a breeze to pull together for a last minute side. To make the pancetta easier to cut, place it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Or, if i’m in a hurry I use kitchen scissors instead of dicing with a knife.

Peas & Pancetta

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 1/2 ounces Pancetta (1/4″ dice)
1 large Shallot (halved and sliced)
10 ounces Box Frozen Peas
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Julienned Fresh Mint Leaves

Directions:

Heat the Olive Oil in a medium sauté pan, add the Pancetta and Shallot, and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Pancetta is browned and the Shallot is tender.
Add the Frozen Peas, 1 teaspoon Salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of Pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the Peas are hot. Stir in the Mint, taste for seasonings, and serve.

From Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead Cookbook which I recommend. This was also featured on the show, The Chew.

Crispy pancetta and bright green peas come together in minutes for a delicious side dish.

Crispy pancetta and bright green peas come together in minutes for a delicious side dish.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon & Cheese

Cauliflower gets a bad rap for being the lonely vegetable left over in a vege tray at the party. But in this creamy soup, cauliflower is the star. I love cooking soup on the weekends when I have a little extra time. Soup keeps well in the fridge and gets better over time so I like to make it one to two days before serving. Then on a busy weeknight all I do it heat up the soup, cook up some bacon, and shred some cheese for a quick dinner. Eating better at home does take some planning, but it is so satisfying to have a home made dinner on crazy busy days. Thank you to my friend, and fellow Arizona lover, Judy, for this wonderful recipe!!

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon & Cheese

Ingredients:

1 small yellow onion

3 cloves garlic

1 head cauliflower, leaves and core removed, chopped.

1 Qt chicken stock
1/2 C  heavy cream
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1Tbs truffle oil (optional)
1 Tbs honey
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp. Salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper (or more to taste)
For Serving:
4-5 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Directions: 
Heat olive oil in a heavy pot. Cook onion about five minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Next, add cauliflower and stock and bring to boil, then cover and simmer 18 minutes or till cauliflower is soft.  Purée mixture off heat.  I do this in a Vitamix blender. You could also use a hand mixer. Pour puree back into the pot. Stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. If it is too thick, add in more chicken stock to desired consistency.
A wonderful meal idea! Try garnishing with roasted cherry tomatoes and grilled cheese.
Adapted from Lulu Powers Food to Flowers
Creamy cauliflower soup is an easy soup to make for  your family. Crunchy bacon bits and shredded cheese are  icing on the cake.

Creamy cauliflower soup is an easy soup to make for your family. Crunchy bacon bits and shredded cheese are icing on the cake.

Overnight Raspberry Challah Bread French Toast

Having guests stay? Try this one. It’s beautiful and helps take stress off of baking in the morning. Assemble the night before, pop in the fridge, and in the morning just put it in the oven. Warm maple syrup and some dusted powdered sugar makes this French toast irresistible.

Overnight Raspberry Challah Bread French Toast

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
10 eggs
2 3/4 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 cups (1-inch diced) day-old challah bread
12 ounces fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar for serving
Maple syrup for serving

Directions:

1) Grease a 9×13 inch oval baking dish with the butter and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, 1/3 cup of sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and salt.
2) Spread half of the diced bread in the baking dish. Spread on the raspberries in one layer. Top with the rest of the bread and pour on the egg mixture, pressing lightly to moisten the bread. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. (If you are making this the day before, leave the assembled dish in the fridge overnight, and continue with the remaining steps once you’re ready to bake.
3) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the custard is set and the top is puffed and browned. Check after 45 minutes. If the top is getting too browned, cover lightly with foil. Cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve with maple syrup!
Notes
* If the bread isn’t a day old, slice it 1 inch thick and place on a sheet pan, bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, turn, and bake for 5 more minutes.

From Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead Cookbook (a great cookbook to add to your collection)

 

Breakfast imade elegant and easy with this gorgeous French toast casserole lightly dotted with fresh raspberries. Make it the night before and bake in the morning.

Breakfast imade elegant and easy with this gorgeous French toast casserole lightly dotted with fresh raspberries. Make it the night before and bake in the morning.

Limoncello Tiramisu

Italian lady fingers dunked in limoncello layered to perfection and topped with fresh whipped cream.

Italian lady fingers dunked in limoncello layered to perfection and topped with fresh whipped cream.

On my parent’s trip to Italy they brought home a few bottles of Limoncello which is a lemon liquor made in Southern Italy. Limoncello is sipped in small amounts after dinner, poured over gelato (one of my favorite ways to drink it), or mixed with other ingredients for cocktails. In this dessert, the Limoncello is the star. Ladyfinger cookies are soaked in a limoncello syrup and then layered with a home made zabaglione and topped with home made whipped cream. Traditional tiramisu is made by soaking ladyfingers in espresso, this this is a twist on an Italian classic. Sound good? It is! Transport yourself to Italy with this authentic dessert.

Ingredients:

5 LARGE EGGS
5 OR 6 LEMONS
1 CUP SUGAR
1-½ CUPS LIMONCELLO LIQUEUR
1 CUP WATER
1 POUND (2 CUPS) MASCARPONE, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
40 LADYFINGERS (PREFERABLY IMPORTED ITALIAN SAVOIARDI) OR MORE AS NEEDED *people of Wheaton- I found this brand at Mariano’s

Directions:

Pour just enough water in a double boiler pan so the water level is right below the bottom of the mixing bowl when it is sitting in the pan. Separate the eggs, putting yolks into the large bowl of the double boiler and the whites into another stainless bowl for whipping by hand or with an electric mixer.
Remove the zest of 2 or more of the lemons, using a fine grater, to get 2 tablespoons of zest. Squeeze out and strain the juice of these and other lemons to get ¾ cup of fresh lemon juice.
To make the base for the tiramisù, heat the water in the pan to a steady simmer. Off heat, beat the egg yolks with ¼ cup of the sugar and ½ cup of the limoncello until well blended. Set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly, frequently scraping the whisk around the sides and bottom of the bowl, as the egg mixture expands and heats into a frothy sponge, 5 minutes or longer. When the sponge has thickened enough to form a ribbon when it drops on the surface, take the bowl off the double boiler pan and let it cool.
Meanwhile, pour the remaining cup of limoncello, all of the lemon juice, the 1 cup water and ½ cup of the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and cook for 5 minutes, evaporating the alcohol. Let the syrup cool completely.
In another large bowl, stir the mascarpone with a wooden spoon to soften it then drop in the grated lemon zest and beat until light and creamy. Whip the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup sugar, by hand or by machine, until it holds moderately firm peaks.
When the cooked limoncello sponge (or zabaglione) is cooled, scrape about a third of it over the mascarpone and fold it in with a large rubber spatula. Fold in the rest of the zabaglione in 2 or 3 additions. Now fold in the whipped egg whites in several additions, until the limoncello-mascarpone cream is light and evenly blended.
Pour some of the cooled syrup, no deeper than ¼-inch depth, into the pan to moisten the ladyfingers (Savoiardi). One at a time, roll a ladyfinger in the syrup and place it in the dessert pan. Wet each cookie briefly—if it soaks up too much syrup, it will fall apart. Arrange the moistened ladyfingers in neat tight rows, filling the bottom of the pan completely. You should be able to fit in about 20 ladyfingers in a single layer.
Scoop half of the limoncello-mascarpone cream onto the ladyfingers and smooth it to fill the pan and cover them. Dip and arrange a second layer of ladyfingers in the pan and cover it completely with the remainder of the cream.
Smooth the cream with the spatula and seal the tiramisù airtight in plastic wrap. Before serving, refrigerate for 6 hours (up to 2 days) or put it in the freezer for 2 hours.
To serve, cut portions of tiramisù in any size you like and lift each out of the pan onto dessert plates.

To find this recipe and more of Lidia Bastianich’s Italian recipes, visit this link. I love Lidia’s recipes and use her cookbook often.

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I made the tiramisu for a non traditional Italian style Easter feast for my friends.

Roasted Red Potatoes & Peppers

While chicken is on the grill in your back yard, pop this gorgeous side dish in the oven to make a complete meal.  I made this tonight and am using the small amount of leftovers for an egg scramble tomorrow morning. That is if don’t get lazy and press snooze too many times. Here are a few hints when roasting:

  1. Use a high heat in your oven.
  2. Don’t mess too much with the ingredients on the pan. Toss and then let them be!
  3. Keep the size of your vegetables relatively small to amplify the amount of crusty, caramelized,and golden brown vegetables.
  4. A clean oven will help to make sure there is no smoke-thus setting off your smoke alarm. I wish I was not speaking from experience on this one.

Roasted Red Potatoes & Peppers

Ingredients:

5 pounds red potatoes, roughly chopped/diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, olive oil, butter, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and some kosher salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan twice.
Raise the heat to 475 degrees and bake until crisp and brown, 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper before serving.

From the Pioneer Woman’s Dinnertime cookbook. Check it out here on Food Network.

Katie’s Notes:

*I halved this recipe. It is plenty for four people.

*To make a wonderful grill menu, combine this side dish with grilled chicken and the sauce from Maya’s Chimichurri Steak recipe on my website.

Oven ready. Just chop and drop onto a pan.  No peeling of potatoes necessary.

Oven ready. Just chop and drop onto a pan. No peeling of potatoes necessary.

This is a wonderful combo. For extra flavor, shave some parmesan on top and sprinkle with truffle salt. I knocked my truffle salt off my counter and is broke into a million pieces all over my kitchen yesterday. "Katie, slow down" is Isaac's favorite phrase.

This is a wonderful combo. For extra flavor, shave some parmesan on top and sprinkle with truffle salt. I knocked my truffle salt off the counter and it broke into a million pieces all over my kitchen yesterday. “Katie, slow down” is Isaac’s favorite phrase.

Zaino’s Eggplant Parmesan

Last week I went to my friend Meg’s house and she taught me how to make eggplant parmesan. Her husband is Italian and this is his grandmother’s recipe. Gotta love stealing an Italian grandma’s recipe! Italians are not the best at using exact measurements, but we did out best to include our best estimates and I took lots of pictures. Eggplant is usually in season between July and October but you can find it year round at grocery stores. Look for a firm and glossy skin. Thanks for the delicious classic Italian recipe Zainos’s!

Zaino’s Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

olive oil

1/2 tsp sugar

2 Tbsp. dried basil

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce (Hunt’s)

2 eggplants

1 cup italian style bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan reggiano (or you can used romano cheese)

2 eggs

1 lb. penne pasta

Directions: 

Make the sauce: In a saucepan, sauté chopped onion in 2 Tbsp. olive oil, about 5 minutes. Add in the tomato sauce, basil, and sugar. Let simmer while you fry the eggplants. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the eggplant: With a carrot peeler, peel the skin off the eggplant. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch horizontal slices. In a shallow dish pour the bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup cheese. In another shallow dish, whisk together 2 eggs with a splash of water. In a large fry pan, heat up 2-3 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. You can add more as needed. Dip the eggplant in the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Carefully add into the frying pan and brown each side, about 2 minutes a side. When brown, transfer to a 9 by 13 baking dish. Repeat until all the eggplant is browned.

Assemble and cook: Line the 9 by 13 with a layer of eggplant. Drizzle tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. Add another layer of eggplant, sauce, and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted. While in the oven, cook the pasta according to the package and serve on the side. Serves 4-5.

Crispy eggplant served with a quick and simple tomato sauce makes a complete family meal.

Crispy eggplant served with a quick and simple tomato sauce over penne pasta makes a complete family meal.

Eggplants should be fir my with shiny skin when choosing at the grocery store.

Look for eggplants that are firm with shiny skin when choosing at the grocery store.

When frying, do not over-crowd the skillet. Use a paper towel to wipe out the  skillet in between rounds of frying if the oil starts to burn.

When frying, do not over-crowd the skillet. Use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet in between rounds of frying if the oil starts to burn.

The stars of the Mom & Tot gymnastics class. Luke Zaino, Davey Terhune, Maya, and Georgia.

The stars of the Mom & Tot gymnastics class. Luke Zaino, Davey Terhune, Maya, and Georgia. Luke Zaino has some great recipes from  his grandma he can use when he cooks to impress his future girlfriends!

Lasagna with Turkey Sausage & Four Cheeses

Yum. This lasagna has it all. Fresh and gooey cheese, noodles you don’t have to pre cook, and an easy, homemade marinara sauce. I made this twice over the past week. Once for a family I brought dinner to and once for a crowd for my “Italian” Easter dinner feast. I recommend trying this at home, and making sure you invite a few friends over to sample your show stopping lasagna.

Lasagna with Turkey Sausage & Four Cheeses

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one third of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

From Barefoot Contessa Family Style

The turkey lasagna is a nice balance to the richness of the cheese.

The turkey lasagna is a nice balance to the richness of the cheese. Let the lasagna sit for 10 minutes to cool before slicing. This will help you remove it easier from the pan.

I had extra filling and noodles so I made some individual ramekins of "personal" lasagnas. to keep in my fridge.

I had extra filling and noodles so I made some individual ramekins of “personal” lasagnas to keep in my fridge.

Chicken with forty cloves of garlic

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic 

Does this title sound crazy? Forty cloves? At first I thought yes, but then again I love garlic and always add more to a recipe than it calls for. One of my favorite meals to cook is Sunday dinner for friends and family. I spend a little extra time making a large dinner and cooking something special before starting a new work week. This dish is rich in flavor and will make your house smell amazing. Chicken is browned in a pot and then a cognac cream sauce is built as the chicken simmers on the stove top. Give it a try for your next family gathering.

Ingredients: 

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:

Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don’t want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

From Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris

Katie’s Notes:

*Instead of boiling the garlic to get it to peel, I simply peeled it myself. Take one clove and place it sideways on the cutting board. Bang the long side of your knife directly on the garlic. The peel will split and easily slide off. OR, you can but pre-peeled garlic at most grocery stores! I won’t tell anyone if you take this shortcut!

*I used only 1 chicken instead of two. This made enough for 6 adults and I had leftovers. I bought one chicken pre cut into 8 pieces for a dinner party of six. Plus, I like having plenty of extra sauce for dipping bread and vegetables.

*Cognac is a type of brandy made from grapes. Any grocery store should have it. You could use brandy instead, but because there are not many ingredients in this recipe, I recommend using cognac if you have it.

Garlic simmering in cognac.-doesn't this look rich and inviting?

Garlic simmering in cognac.-doesn’t this look rich and inviting?

Browning the chicken in the same pot you make the cognac cream sauce in adds flavor and depth to the sauce. All the brown bits get scraped off the bottom of the pan when you add the wine. This is called "deglazing."

Browning the chicken in the same pot you make the cognac cream sauce in adds flavor and depth to the sauce. The brown bits get scraped off the bottom of the pan when you add the wine. This is called “deglazing.”

Bone-in, skin-on chicken breast stays moist and flavorful during this slow cooking process.

Bone-in, skin-on chicken breast stays moist and flavorful during this slow cooking process.

My side dish - roasted green beans and fingerling potatoes with parmesan and truffle salt.

My side dish – roasted green beans and fingerling potatoes with parmesan and truffle salt.

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Hudson National Chili

My dad’s friend passed this recipe along from the chef Bourkney at Hudson National Golf Club. I love trying new soups, stews, and chilis because in Chicago you can unfortunately make comfort food for nine months out of the year! This is a tasty recipe that takes advantage of several chilis to enhance the depth of flavor. You will notice a good heat, one that heats the back of your throat but doesn’t set off a fire alarm in your mouth and send you rushing to gulp milk.  In my opinion, chili needs some heat. If you like less heat, discard the seeds of the chilies before adding them in the pot. I like to serve my chili topped with onions, cheddar or moneteray jack cheese, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime. Tortilla chips would be awesome on the side too. Off to watch Chicago P.D. I love Wednesday nights with Hank Voigt. While the rest of my family enjoys the Arizona weather, I will sit home well fed and happy in front of the TV. Sob story….over.

Hudson National Chili 

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. chopped bacon

2 1/2 cups chopped onions

4 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno chilies

8 Tbsp. chopped poblano chilies

2 Tbsp. chopped serrano chilies

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 cups fresh plum tomatoes, diced

3 Tbsp. chili powder

2 Tbsp. ground cumin

3/4 tsp. black pepper

24 oz. canned diced tomatoes

1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 cup of your favorite beer (sorry to say mine is Miller Lite)

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans and navy beans in cooking juice

 

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 lb. ground beef (I used 80/20)

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

Directions: In a heavy pot, cook bacon until brown. Add garlic, onions, and chilies. Cook 10 minutes until tender, stirring often. Add fresh tomatoes and cook until they begin to fall apart. Add spices, lime juice, and beer. Cook 15 minutes. Add canned tomatoes and simmer 30 minutes. Add beans and water they were cooked in for 15 minutes. Season with salt.

In a separate frying pan, brown ground beef in the vegetable oil. Drain some of the fat. Add ground beef into the chili. Cook 30 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Katie’s Tips:

*Shhh…I cheated and used 14.5 oz cans of the black and navy beans. I drained half of the juice in the can and added the rest into the chili.

*Make chili a day in advance if possible.

*I served this with my FAVORITE skillet cornbread from Nancy Souders. This is also on my blog.

Nothing says comfort food like a big bowl of chili and a warm piece of cornbread.

Nothing says comfort food like a big bowl of chili and a warm piece of cornbread.

Your house will smell wonderful as the chilies, onions, garlic, and bacon get to know each other.

Your house will smell wonderful as the chilies, onions, garlic, and bacon get to know each other.

Chili is something that cooks slowly as you add the different layers of flavor. Add a bit of water to the chili to loosen it up if it gets to thick while cooking or when reheating.

Chili is something that cooks slowly as you add the different layers of flavor. Add a bit of water to the chili to loosen it up if it gets to thick while cooking or when reheating.

In other news, guess who turned 2 this week? My crazy Georgie.

In other news, guess who turned 2 this week? My crazy Georgie. Thanks for the new jammies Cousin Enzito. 

Taco Soup

Do you ever feel pulled in too many directions? Sometimes I wish I had just one passion to focus on and give 100%  towards accomplishing full success. I guess life does not usually work that way. I  have too many ideas but not enough hours in the day to accomplish them. Oh well. Such is life. I guess Malcolm Gladwell had a point in his book Tipping Point. The people who were successful and did something amazing had over 10,000 hours of dedicated and uninterrupted time and energy to practice and achieve greatness in their skill or craft. Must be nice….!

Well I have been meaning to find time to post this dinner recipe. My sister made this the other night for a big group, and everyone loved it. It has simple ingredients and is a hearty dinner you can make in advance. Guests can add various toppings to their liking- it is the perfect one pot wonder.

Taco Soup

Ingredients:

1 can (14.5 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can  (14.5 oz)pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14.5 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 pkg. taco mix

1 small can diced green chilies

fresh cilantro (optional)

2 Tbsp (a handful) chopped green onions

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and diced)

1 can (14.5 oz) corn

2-3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

Toppings: cheese, sour cream, chips, onions

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for at least 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to combine. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with you choice of toppings.

Mix it all in, and let it do it's thing. The beauty of soup.

Mix it all in, and let it do it’s thing. The beauty of soup.

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“do, do a dollop of Daisy!”

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta

This is a fancy yet approachable appetizer that is bursting with flavor. I know it isn’t summer yet, and tomatoes can be hard to come by, but you can usually find decent cherry tomatoes at the grocery store. I made this as an appetizer for a dinner party in Arizona. It was followed by Vodka Pasta & Steak. I am always on the prowl for a good appetizer, especially one that you can fix before guests arrive. Enjoy!

A Side Note: I have many new recipes to post but I keep getting behind. I think it’s because I have a three year old and a two year old and one on the way….YES you read correctly. Baby Heath number three is en route. It will be a domestic adoption. We can’t wait. Actually, we can. We need to save a bunch of moola and also figure out how my girls will share one bedroom. A little time may be good before the next one arrives.

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta

Ingredients:

6 ounces good feta, crumbled
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup good olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, 1/2-inch-diced
3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
20 to 25 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal baguette slices, toasted
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (place nuts into a dry roasting pan for about 4-5 minutes. When you begin to smell them and they turned slightly darker, they are done.)

Directions:

For the whipped feta, place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed. Add 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.

For the tomatoes, up to an hour before you’re serving, combine the shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.

To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Put the crostini on plates and scatter with the pine nuts. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve.

From the Foolproof cookbook of Ina Garten. Here is the recipe link.

Tomatoes mixed with fresh herbs, shallots, and oil. Yum!

Tomatoes mixed with fresh herbs, shallots, and oil. Yum!

 

Rustic cutting board makes an easy serving tray.

A rustic cutting board makes an easy serving tray. Making the whipped feta in advance helps keep work to a minimum when guests arrive.

Brownie Pudding Dessert

Oh man. This was so good. I brought dinner to my best friend and had to take a sample bite out of her dessert before I left the house! Sorry Lindsay. This is a simple dessert that has a crusty outer rim and a silky smooth pudding-like inside. It reminds me of a molten chocolate cake from Morton’s steakhouse but way easier to share! For me, it’s the ultimate ending to a perfect meal.

Brownie Pudding Dessert

Ingredients:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Adapted from Ina Garten Back to Basics cookbook 

 

 

The Best Vodka Sauce with Penne Pasta

I recently made this for some close friends when I was in Arizona at my parent’s house over the past two weeks. It was a dinner party consisting of some excellent cooks, real Italians who know their stuff when it comes to good food, and my daughter Maya who only cared about the brownie that was for dessert. With a group of foodies, I needed to make something good!

This sauce is slow cooked in the oven to intensify and concentrate the onions, garlic, herbs, and plum tomatoes. The final touch is adding cream, fresh parmesan, and fresh oregano. I found the recipe after watching the Barefoot Contessa where Ina cooks with her friend and chef from a local Italian restaurant in the Hamptons. I had to give it a try after watching the episode and it is now my favorite vodka sauce I have made. You will not find a better sauce for penne pasta. I think all my dinner guests would agree. Enjoy!

Slow roasted garlic, oregano, red pepper, plum tomatoes, and onions make this sauce irresistible.

Slow roasted garlic, oregano, red pepper, plum tomatoes, and onions make this sauce irresistible.

The Best Vodka Sauce with Penne Pasta

Ingredients:

1/4 cup good olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons fresh oregano
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.

Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.

Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.

 

From the Barefoot Contessa

Chicken Enchiladas

My sister bought me the Dinnertime cookbook from the Pioneer Woman for Chrismas and I have been trying out several recipes over the last few weeks. I brought dinner to a good friend who recently had her sixth child. If you think you are a busy mom, just think of her! I used a short cut or two to make this recipe quicker but just as tasty. Hope you enjoy. PS-this recipe is not for the January dieters. It is filling and contains cheese and lots of carbs. So, it is a perfect dinner for me. I prefer to work out so I can eat freely.

Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:
10 to 12 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons Cajun spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
Three 15-ounce cans green enchilada sauce 
3 cups grated Cheddar-Jack cheese, plus more if needed
Sour cream, for serving
Diced tomatoes, for serving
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.One at a time, hold the tortillas over the stovetop burner (heated to medium heat) to brown slightly, about 30 seconds per side. Set the warmed tortillas aside. This is an important step. It wakes up the tortillas and adds a little grill flavor to them.

In a bowl, mix together the cumin, chili powder, Cajun spice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with the spice mix.Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the chicken on both sides until done in the middle and the juices run clear, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Set aside on a plate to cool, then shred finely with a fork.* See my shortcut below for quicker step.

Throw the onions into the same skillet, stir them around and cook until deep golden brown and caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes; set them aside on a plate. Pour the enchilada sauce into the skillet and reduce the heat to low, allowing it to warm through.

To assemble the enchiladas: Pour 2 cups of the sauce into a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish and leave the rest in the skillet. Dip a tortilla into the sauce in the skillet, then lay it on a baking sheet or plate. Sprinkle some cheese down the middle, followed by some chicken and finally, some of the caramelized onions. Roll it up tightly, then place it seam-side down in the casserole dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese. Give it a final sprinkling of chili powder.

Bake until hot and bubbly, 30 minutes. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve the enchiladas topped with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of diced tomatoes, a sprinkling of cilantro and a wedge of lime. Recipe is here

Katie’s Shortcuts: 

*Buy a rotisserie chicken. Shred the chicken. Heat the oil, spices, and chicken in the skillet to let the flavors mix into the chicken and you can skip the step of cooking a chicken breast. Yet another use for a rotisserie chicken. They are my favorite!

*Buy pre chopped onions to save time, a floor full of onion pieces, and runny mascara.

*To serve on a busy weeknight, buy rice, beans, and salsa from a local Mexican restaurant. It is cheep and saves time, energy, and more mess in your kitchen. I like Burrito Parilla in Wheaton on Schmale.

*Leave a few tortillas with just cheese and leave off the onions for kids. My kids and husband for that matter spotted the onions from a mile away. Next time I will make a few without the onions.

One final note: PLEASE text me a picture if you make these again. I forgot to take one!

 

Happy New Year!

Tropical Fruit Salad

I know it is the dead of winter, but this fruit salad can be made in spite of where you live or what temperature it is outside. It is sure to bring some happiness and thoughts of summer to your family. I made this fun fruit salad for my friend’s baby sprinkle and it was not only delicious but beautiful for the table.

Ingredients:

1 cantaloupe, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces

1 pineapple, peeled and diced into one once pieces

2 limes, peeled and sliced into half slices

2 oranges, peeled and sliced into half slices, removing the seeds

2 Tbsp. agave nectar

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped

Zest of one lime

 

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the cut up fruit. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, agave nectar, mint, and lime zest. Drizzle lime juice mixture over the salad. Stir to combine. Serve.

Agave nector, lime juice, and fresh mint brightens up the fruit salad.

Agave nectar, lime juice, fresh mint, and lime zest brighten up typical fruit salad into something special and unique. 

The table for the baby sprinkle. It was in December, so I used pink and red roses for easy flower arrangements.

The table for the baby sprinkle. It was in December, so I used pink and red roses for easy flower arrangements.

Mini Italian Frittatas with proscuitto, spinach, and fontina

Need a good Christmas brunch idea? Try these flavorful make ahead mini frittatas. Make them in advance and heat up Christmas morning. Yum! I made them for a baby sprinkle I hosted for my best friend Carrie and they were all gone at the end. The baby sprinkle was a brunch so I was able to make the mini frittatas the day before, keep them in the refrigerator, and bake them right before guests came. The flavor is intense in these little frittata bites-thanks Ina Garten! I love her Make Ahead Cookbook if you need any final Christmas gift ideas. It’s free shipping and 20% off at Williams & Sonoma right now and they have the cookbook listed for 35 bucks.

Merry Christmas to all my readers!

Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups chopped leaks, white and light green parts
4 ounces sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
8 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 1/2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups grated fontina cheese
8 extra large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a standard 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil, including the top of the pan.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the leeks and saute for 3 minutes, until tender. Add the prosciutto and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, breaking it up with a fork. Add the spinach, tossing with tongs, then cover the pan and cook for 3 minutes, tossing once while it cooks, until the spinach is all wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the basil and lemon juice and set aside while you put together the egg mixture.

In a bowl, beat the eggs, half-and-half, salt, and pepper together until blended. Divide the spinach mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups, leaving an liquid behind. Sprinkle the fontina evenly on top. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the filling in each cup, filling the muffin cups to the top. Sprinkle each frittata with the parmesan cheese.

Salty Proscuitto, Creamy Fontina, and Bright Spinach make this a delectable two bite treat.

Salty Proscuitto, Creamy Fontina, and Bright Spinach make this a delectable two bite treat. The best part-you can make it in advance!

Family Lasagna

Mark this down as your new lasagna recipe. It has all the components- plenty of meat, cheese, and noodles. My sister found this recipe on Allrecipes.com listed as “The World’s Best Lasagna” and has a over 9000 reviews! She tried it for her family and it was a hit all around. She graciously split the recipe and gave half to my family and Isaac ate three helpings! This makes a 9 by 13 but you can easily split it into two 8 by 8’s or two 9 by 9’s. Happy Thanksgiving and give this a try next week when you are sick of eating turkey and mashed potatoes.

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

-In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
-Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
-To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
-Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
2015 Allrecipes.com

Family dinner that everyone can get on board with!

Family dinner that everyone can get on board with!

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Can you say cheese?