March 26, 2009

Lasagna: The Perfect Food!

I love lasagna. Ever since I was a little kid, lasagna for dinner was always my favorite. I was scared to try to make it at first, but discovered that it is super easy to make, and always turns out delicious. I sometimes forget the proportions of cheese and stuff, so what I normally do is loosely follow the directions on the box of whatever lasagna noodles I buy, modifying it to my liking! I recently made a giant batch of lasagna and it was one of my best to date. These measurements are really... rough, as I kind of just eyeballed the amounts.


1 pound of ground turkey thighs
a small tub of part skim ricotta cheese (I think its 8-10 oz)
a hunk of part skim mozzarella
shredded parmesan
1 egg
A jar of basic marinara sauce. I picked one with italian seasonings
about a dozen mushrooms, sliced
half an onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 package of lasagna noodles (I bought Spelt by mistake and they were great!)
Spices: basil, nutmeg, salt, pepper. You could use some cayenne or chili powder for spice if you want.

So, to make the lasagna. First cook the meat. Once that is cooked, add in the onion, mushrooms, and the garlic. Also add in some basil, salt and pepper to taste. Once the mushrooms and onions are cooked up nicely, add the jar of sauce and let simmer. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Some noodles do not require pre-cooking, and generally I prefer those just because it is less work. But the noodles I bought turned out fantastic.

For the cheese mixture, mix the following in a bowl. The whole tub of ricotta (the small one, not the giant pound one or whatever), about 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, about a teaspoon of nutmeg, a little salt, a little pepper, a small handful of the shredded parmesan and one egg.

Next is the fun part, layering.

First some sauce on the bottom of the pan (greased, by the way). Next, a layer of (cooked) noodles, with the edges slightly overlapping. Next, a layer of cheese mixture, then a layer of the meat/onion/mushroom/sauce mixture. Then more noodles, followed by more cheese, more meat/sauce. Then more noodles, more cheese, more meat/sauce. Finally, whatever cheese left on top.

Bake covered on 350 for about 45 minutes. In the last 15 minutes you can sprinkle some of the shredded parmesan on top and remove the cover of foil. Let cool for about 10 or 15 minutes and dig in! Amazingggggg!

March 24, 2009

Eat my muff.

I originally came across this recipe on Confections of a Foodie Bride via Tastespotting and knew immediately from the picture that I would be making these. I've always fancied myself more of a baker than a cook and muffins are one of my favorite things to make. Not only for the sheer versatility, such as sweet or savory options, but also because they are so easy. You rarely have to leave butter out to soften, they come together in a snap, and I can't recall ever messing muffins up. And don't even get me started on the portability of those suckers; I've spent many a morn grabbing a muffin and shoving it into my face on the drive down to work.

The end result was extremely tasty. I love the effect of coarse salt or sugar sprinkled on a muffin. My only complaint was that they ended up being a little dry. Next time I might try subbing yogurt for the butter and seeing if they moisten up any. Enjoy!

Scallion & Goat Cheese Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs, room temp
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
5.5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Sea salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper into mixer bowl.

Lightly beat eggs and add to mixer bowl. Add buttermilk, melted butter, scallions, and goat cheese. Mix on medium speed until just combined - do not overmix.

Scoop the batter into the muffin pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, until well risen, golden brown, and firm to the touch.

Let muffins cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Serve warm or cool completely and store covered for 3 days.

Yields: 12 muffins
Source: Adapted from 1 Mix, 100 Muffins



March 19, 2009

Hello blogosphere. I suck.

As some of you may have gathered from the posts below and from Michelle's real time belly-aching, I suck at posting to this blog. Not for lack of wanting to. No no, never. It's more of a combination of thinking no one really cares and being the crazy perfectionist that I am and needing massive amounts of time to create the perfect first post. I've come back down to reality and realized that that doesn't really exist and blogs, if nothing else, are meant for all sorts of fools to spout all sorts of benign ramblings. Hence, I give you, CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP.

We made this a few months ago and we're still talking about it. It might be the best soup we've made so far. Well, at least together. This was taken from the blog From the Gallery and we thought it was fantastic just the way it is. Easy and cheap.


1 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, chopped
1/2 bell pepper (capsicum), red or green, chopped
2 jalapeno chili peppers, diced
2 chicken breasts, skinless
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsps cumin
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup corn, canned (drained) or frozen
1 Tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper

To Serve:
8 corn [or flour] tortillas, cut into 1/8" thick strips
canola oil, for pan-frying
2 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, diced (optional)
1 cup Jack cheese (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)

In a large pot saute the onion, garlic, chili peppers, and bell pepper with olive olive until soft.

Add the chicken breasts, tomatoes, cumin, and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. When the chicken breasts are cooked through (about 15 minutes) remove from the pot and shred (use two forks to pull apart meat).

Return the shredded chicken to the pot along with the corn and tomato paste and simmer 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking heat 1-inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to smoke add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until crisp on all sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

Salt & Pepper to taste. Serve topped with tortilla strips, avocado, and cheese. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serves 4-6

Also, from this recipe I was exposed to the beauty of poaching chicken. I had never worked with this method before but was most impressed at how juicy, tender and quick it was. Plus, no fat or oil is used in the cooking process. It comes out fairly flavorless though (if you're not cooking it in a soup) so I would recommend only poaching chicken to put in salads or other dishes, such as enchiladas!

Loose instructions:
Put chicken breast in a pot and cover with water. Add whatever seasonings you desire that will dissolve in water. You can use non-powder seasonings and bulkier flavorings if you like but it's suggested you then put them in a cheesecloth and tie them up before throwing it in. I'm not really sure I see the point in that as you drain the chicken anyway but I thought I might mention it for all you rule followers. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for roughly 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Drain from water and shred. Add or use in whatever dishes you like. I usually tailor the seasonings to what dish I'm using the chicken in, i.e. cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper if using in enchiladas.

et voila! That wasn't so scary. Maybe my next post won't be so far off.