Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ravioli Veggie Lasagna

My sisters been giving me a hard time about not contributing to the recipe blog lately, but since Greg is on the wacky P90X diet (and he does NOT cheat on it - dang him) I haven't been cooking much fun stuff. I did host a shower and made these two lasagna recipes. This is a RR courtesy of the Food Network.

•2 packages chopped frozen spinach, defrosted in microwave
•2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
•4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
•2 cans quartered artichokes in water, drained well
•Salt and pepper
White Sauce:
•2 tablespoons butter
•2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
•1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
•1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
•1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
•Salt and black pepper
•1 sack, 2 cups grated provolone or Italian 4 Cheese Blend, from dairy aisle, 10 ounces
•1 large package (marked "Family Size") fresh ravioli, such as Contadina brand, 24 to 28 ounces, or choose your favorite filling, such as wild mushroom or 4 cheese
•1 pound thin asparagus spears, trimmed of tough ends
Bring a pot of water to boil for ravioli.

While water comes to a boil, drain defrosted frozen chopped spinach by wringing it dry in a kitchen towel, working over a garbage bowl or your sink. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons or 2 turns of the pan, and the garlic. Saute garlic in oil 1 minute, then sprinkle spinach into the garlic oil. Add artichoke heart pieces to the pan and turn to combine and heat through. Season vegetables with and remove from heat to a bowl. Place skillet back on the heat and melt butter. Whisk flour into butter and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk stock into flour and butter and let it bubble. Whisk in cream and Parmesan. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper and thicken 1 to 2 minutes.

Preheat broiler to high. Set rack between middle of oven groove and top rack groove, about 8 inches from heat.

When water boils, salt water, add ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Ravioli should be less than al dente, still a bit chewy -- it will continue cooking when combined with sauce and vegetables. Place a colander over ravioli as it cooks and add asparagus to it. Cut thin, trimmed asparagus into 2-inch pieces on an angle. Steam the chopped asparagus while pasta cooks, 2 to 3 minutes, until just fork-tender, but still green. Remove asparagus and add to bowl with spinach and artichokes. Place colander in your sink and drain ravioli.

Drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil onto the bottom of a medium oval casserole or a rectangular baking dish and brush pan to coat evenly. Arrange a layer using 1/2 of cooked ravioli in the dish. Layer 1/2 of the cooked vegetables over the ravioli. Next, add a few ladles of sauce, then vegetables, then top casserole with the last of the ravioli. Dot top of "lasagna" with any remaining sauce and cover liberally with gratedprovolone or 4 cheese blend. Brown cheese 8 inches from broiler, 5 minutes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Apple Pancake

So it's apple time! And I wanted to make some kind of appley breakfast recipe. Doug has always loved the apple pancake from the Original Pancake House.  I found a copy-cat recipe and with some minor alterations, it was fabulous.


5 tablespoons butter
2 baking apples (peeled, cored, and sliced thin)
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add flour, milk, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and remaining cinnamon. Toss with apples.
  4. Put butter into a 10 inch Pyrex deep dish pan and put in the oven.
  5. When the butter is completely melted, remove from oven.
  6. Pour the batter into the Pyrex dish and put back in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The edges will begin to puff.
  7. Remove the half-way cooked batter from the oven and now add the apple mixture all over the top of the batter.
  8. Put it back in the oven for another 20-25 minutes.
Serves: 4

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Squash Ravioli

Yes, you read that right. Squash. Ravioli. I made it! This is the first time I have attempted to make pasta from scratch. I think it would have been easier with a pasta machine... But, it turned out well! Doug - the ULTIMATE pasta snob - commented that it had a good consistency.  As I was making the squash filling, I was doubting myself. I've had this recipe from Family Fun magazine sitting forever waiting for fall to try it out. But why? What sounds good about squash and pasta?  It actually was good! Look at the linked article for pictures of each step.

2 cups butternut squash, rind removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (a small squash will be more than enough)
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/16 of dried - basically a couple gentle shakes)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
12 to 16 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced


Make the filling. Heat the oven to 350°. Arrange the squash on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast it until tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Allow the squash to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a medium-size bowl. Blend the squash with the milk, cheese, and nutmeg until it has a smooth, mashed potato–like consistency. Note: The squash can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Make the pasta. On a clean work surface, mound the flour and make a well in the center. In a small bowl, use a fork to lightly beat together the salt and the eggs. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the well. Using the fork, gently incorporate the flour into the egg mixture, a small amount at a time. With your hands and a spatula or dough scraper, work the dough until it pulls together into a smooth, pliable ball.

Halve the dough, then form each piece into a 1/2-inch-thick disk. Cover the disks with plastic wrap and set them aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Lightly flour your work surface and halve each dough disk. Roll out one of the dough portions as thinly as you can (to about the thickness of a dime), then use a 2½-inch-diameter drinking glass, biscuit cutter, or cookie cutter to cut rounds from the dough. Arrange them in pairs. Repeat with the remaining dough. Each half disk should yield about 7 pairs of dough rounds.

Further thin the dough rounds by pinching them between your thumb and forefinger. Each round should increase in diameter by about 1/4 inch.

Use a pair of dough rounds to make each ravioli. With a pastry brush or your fingertips dipped in water, paint a 1/2-inch perimeter around one of the dough rounds. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of the squash filling into the center.

After filling the ravioli, press the other round of dough on top of it along the moistened edges. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges.

Bring two large pots of water to a boil (using two pots allows all the pasta to be cooked at once). Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sage and continue to cook the sauce until it's light brown and has a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.

Line a large plate with paper towels. Add half the ravioli to each pot of boiling water. The pasta will float to the top after 2 or 3 minutes, but continue cooking it until tender, about 15 minutes more (take one out and test its tenderness before draining an entire batch). When the ravioli are done, use a slotted spoon or spatula to scoop them out and transfer them to the paper towels to drain. To serve, place the ravioli on individual plates and drizzle them with a spoonful of the Herbed Butter Sauce. Sprinkle on more Parmesan, if you like. Makes about 30 ravioli.

Pineapple Banana Muffins

Yes, more muffins! Another great recipe from Let's Dish.  Elise only ate the tops of these (she only eats the main muffin part if it contains chocolate chips...) but Caelyn and I loved the whole thing.  I like to pop one in the toaster before eating to crisp up the coconut topping a bit. Yummo!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped nuts (<-- I omit this)
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat the eggs, oil and vanilla; stir in the pineapple and mashed bananas. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill lined muffin cups with batter, about 2/3 full.  Top with a generous amount of coconut topping.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Yield: 2 dozen

Mexican Lasagna

I found a new recipe blog that I think is going to be a "go-to" source of new recipes for me.  It's called, "Let's Dish." The first recipe I tried was a Mexican Lasagna. I've made a couple Mexican casseroles before, which I like, but this one I LOVED.  It tastes just like a Qdoba burrito!  This makes a TON, however, and it did not fit in my standard 9x13 pan. I had to take some leftover rice mixture and freeze it. I think it will taste yummy in a tortilla shell.  I also froze about half of the cooked and cooled casserole and will comment later on how that tastes warmed up.  SO, you need to have an oversized or deep-dish pan to make this all fit, or just be prepared to only use part of the layering fillings.

Serves:  10

4 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 oz.) can Rotelle tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 pound ground beef
1 (1.25 oz.) packet taco seasoning mix
2 packages (10-inch) flour tortillas, torn into pieces
4 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa verde
1 (10 oz.) can red enchilada sauce
Sour cream and salsa for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a deep, 9x13-inch lasagna pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, and garlic, and cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in chili powder, paprika, cumin, diced tomatoes, Rotelle, and beans.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Stir tomato/bean mixture into cooked rice, along with chopped cilantro.  Set rice mixture aside.  In the same skillet, cook ground beef until no longer pink.  Add taco seasoning according to package directions.  

Spread about 1 cup of the salsa verde in the bottom of the prepared pan.  Layer with one third of the tortilla pieces.  Cover tortillas with half of the rice mixture, followed by 2 cups of cheese.  Top with another third of the tortillas; cover with the remaining salsa verde.  Next, layer all of the hamburger mixture, followed by the corn, then the remaining rice mixture. Top with the remaining tortillas.  Cover with the enchilada sauce and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until cheese melts and begins to brown.