Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lasagna

Lasagna
What do you think of when you hear 
Lasagna
Warm, gooey, cheese
Tomato sauce goodness
Baked and bubbly
All of the above?
Us too.

You could cheat and use a jar of sauce
but with just a little time
you can get some delicious 
homemade sauce.

Start with some onion, garlic,
and sausage.
Yes, we know many people use ground beef,
but we find that using sausage 
just gives it a little more flavor. 
We use regular Jimmy Dean, 
but you could use Italian sausage instead.



A little tip we found on the internet 
about peeling your garlic:
Take as many cloves of garlic as you like.
Put them in a mixing bowl.
Then turn another mixing bowl upside down on top.
So now you have a "dome" 
with unpeeled cloves of garlic in it.
Pick up your "garlic dome" and shake it.
Shake it hard.
Shake, shake, shake!
Open your garlic dome.
Presto!
Peeled garlic cloves!

Brown the sausage, onions and those awesome garlic cloves.
(You'll probably want to mince the garlic first!) 


Now time to add the tomatoey goodness.
Is that a word?
Tomatoey?
We know you could can your own tomatoes,
make your own paste and sauce.
But seriously who has time to do that.
Not us!
So this is what we use.

Dump in the whole tomatoes.


Chop them up.
We use this great Pampered Chef chopper.
Works great to chop up the sausage too.
 

 Add the can of sauce and paste.
 

And seasonings.


While it is cooking get your cheese filling ready.
And don't forget to cook your lasagna noodles.
Just follow the directions on the box.


Ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese.
 Look good yet?


How about now?


The sauce is ready!

  
And it looks good!
Time to start layering your sauce, noodles, and filling.
We always start with a little sauce 
on the bottom of the casserole dish.


Put a layer of lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.
Then the cheese filling.


More sauce.
 Repeat a few more times.
End up with sauce as the last item.


 Sprinkle some mozzarella on top 
and bake!


Lasagna

1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage
1 onion, chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

42 oz. can whole tomatoes
15 oz. tomato sauce
12 oz. tomato paste
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp. salt

 8 oz. of lasagna noodles
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups Ricotta cheese (we use part skim)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded to sprinkle on top


Cook the sausage, onion, and garlic
until the sausage is done.
Drain grease.

Add in the whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.
 Break up the whole tomatoes.
Add the basil, oregano, and salt. 
Stir well.

Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Cook the lasagna noodles
according to the directions on the box.
Drain.

Mix together the eggs, Ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, salt,pepper, 
and 1 pound of mozzarella cheese.


Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom
of a greased 9 x 13" casserole dish.
Then layer noodles,
cheese mixture,
sauce.
Repeat until you have used all of the items.
Finishing with sauce on the top.
Sprinkle the 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake in a 375 degree oven 
for about 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Add a fresh garden salad and garlic bread
and 
instantly you are transported 
to a garden patio in a villa in Italy 
eating a delicious meal.
Not really, but sounds good.

Enjoy!





Saturday, January 21, 2012

Walnut Pie

Pie.
Walnut Pie.
Walnuts,
No flour, and...
 Ritz crackers!
What???
Yes, made with Ritz crackers and no flour at all.
How does that work?
No clue!  But it sure does taste good.
Try it.
Trust us.
It really is delicious.


First you beat 3 egg whites until stiff.
 Gradually add in sugar.

And vanilla.

 
Oops, 
We forgot the gradual part of
"gradually add the sugar and vanilla."
Too busy taking pictures of 
the sugar and forgot to stop adding.
Well, we now know it turns out ok
if you put all the sugar in at once.


Looks like this when all of 
the sugar and vanilla is "gradually" added.

Now what you don't normally expect in a pie.


 Ritz crackers
 The easiest way we have found to crush them 
is to just put them in a baggie 
and roll something heavy over them.


Until crushed.
 Mix the crackers and walnuts 
together with the melted butter.


Then slowly add in the egg white,
sugar, and vanilla mixture.


 Next pour this into a greased pie plate.
No crust.
Nothing else.
Just this.


Close up.

Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven
and you get this.

Amazing, right?

Chill for about 1 1/2 hours.
Then top with Cool Whip 
or real whipped cream. 
There you have it.
Walnut Pie.
Made with crackers.
Walnut Pie
25 Ritz crackers, crushed
2 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Cool Whip

Beat egg whites until stiff.
Gradually add the sugar and vanilla.
In a separate bowl combine
the crushed crackers, 
walnuts, and melted butter.
Mix well.
Then slowly mix 
the butter/nut mixture
into the egg white mixture.
Pour into a well greased pie plate.
Bake in a 350 degrees preheated oven 
for about 30 minutes.
Chill for about 1 1/2 hours.
Top with Cool Whip.

Enjoy!
 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

We love Macaroni and Cheese.
Who doesn't?
This is 
THE 
best
mac & cheese
EVER!

It is creamy and cheesy.
It also has a buttery crispy cracker topping.

First we start with the basics.
Macaroni.
Any elbow macaroni will do.
  We like to use Barilla's Elbow Pasta.
"It is ridged with an extra twist, 
giving it a more sophisticated shape
that also helps to hold the sauce."


We also need some cheese and sour cream.

Yes, that is cottage cheese and sour cream.
Don't panic or freak out.
We have people in our family who refuse
to eat either of those two foods.
"Yuck! Cottage cheese!"
But trust us.
They love this macaroni and cheese!
They can't even tell it has...
cottage cheese in it.
Shhh, don't tell them!


We shred our own cheddar and swiss cheese.
You can buy them already shredded but the cheese seems smoother and creamier when you do it yourself.


This is the important part.
After you melt the butter you stir in the flour and mix well.
Stir in the milk and then cook over medium heat for a while.
Stirring the whole time until it thickens.
It will be the consistency of gravy.

Then add the salt, sugar and Velvetta.

Stir until melted.
Next add the cottage cheese and sour cream.
Mix well.
And you have this.

Get a big bowl. 
A BIG bowl!

Pour the creamy, cheesy mixture over 
the cooked macaroni, 
the cheddar,
and the swiss.
Stir well.
Really well.

 Until it looks like this.
 Pour into a greased 9 x 13" casserole.
Top with crushed Ritz crackers
and drizzle with melted butter.
Bake and enjoy!



Macaroni and Cheese
 2 1/2 to 3 cups uncooked macaroni
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
3 cups milk (we use 1%)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed
2/3 cup sour cream (we use light)
1 1/3 cup cottage cheese (small curd)
2 to 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded

Topping:
25 to 30 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, melted



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 Cook and drain macaroni.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
Stir in flour and mix well.
Add the milk and cook over medium heat,
stirring constantly until sauce thickens.
This may take a while, 
but it's worth it.

Add salt, sugar, and cubed Velveeta cheese.
Stir until cheese is melted.

Add the sour cream and cottage cheese.
Stir well.
Remove from heat.


Put the macaroni, cheddar, and swiss cheese in a BIG bowl.
Pour in the creamy cheese sauce.
Stir really well.


Pour into a greased 9 x 13" casserole.
Sprinkle the crushed Ritz crackers over the top.
Drizzle with melted butter.


Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.
Until crackers are a golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
Enjoy!


 
adapted from the recipe on
Ali Edwards website
http://aliedwards.com/blog/

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Chocolate Cake


Beware this cake is 
Very rich.
Very chocolatey.
Very good.
Very much in need of a
tall, cool glass of milk.


If you are looking for a delicious chocolate cake
then you have come to the right place.
We have been making this for so many years
and weren't sure where we had gotten the recipe.
Turns out it is from HERSHEY'S!
 Right on the cocoa box! 
Thanks HERSHEY'S!
This is great for birthday parties. 
(A certain family member always
requests this cake for her birthday.)
It's great for picnics, cookouts, potlucks,
and any other time you have chocolate cravings.


Start with some sugar, flour, and cocoa.
Add some milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
Yum. 
This looks good just like this.


Into the pans it goes. 
Make sure you grease and flour the pans well.
A circle of parchment paper in the bottom works also.
Don't forget to grease the paper.


While the cake is cooling start on the frosting.
When you add the ingredients 
to the butter, make sure
to add them in increments.
Mixing well each time.

Some butter and powdered sugar.
Then some milk & vanilla.
Then the
cocoa.


Wow! 
Look at that frosting.



Then start all over again.
Repeat until all is added.

Scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.





Layer the cakes with frosting in between.


Frost the sides next and finally the top.


Grab that tall glass of milk 
and enjoy.


Chocolate Chocolate Cake

 2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Mix the first six ingredients together.
Then add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.
Mix well.
Add the boiling water and mix slowly. 
(Trust us on this one.)

Pour into 2 greased and floured round pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Let cool for about 15 minutes in the pans.
Turn them out of the pans onto cooling racks or plates.
Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

12 Tbsp. butter, softened
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Add butter to bowl.
Then add about 1/3 of the powdered sugar.
Mix well.
Then about a 1/3 of the milk and vanilla.
Mix well.
Next 1/3 of the cocoa. 
Mixing well after each addition
and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Repeat until all is added.