Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce

The ultimate comfort food. A dense lasagna with hearty meat sauce and an abundance of cheese.


Yesterday flew by.  Like I went into the office at 7:30 and before I knew it it was noon. Not that I mind too much.  I was super glad when the day was done but man Monday almost didn't exist for me. I am torn about whether or not I want the trend to continue today.


After a day like Monday all I want is to come home to a nice comforting meal. For me, that meal is lasagna. Lasagna was something I always requested from my mom when I came home from college. There is just something about the layered pasta, red sauce, and cheesy goodness that I cannot get enough of. 


This meal is a little time consuming for a week night but in my mind it is well worth the extra effort. Plus it leaves plenty of leftovers.  I will be eating this all week long.

Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake entree ground beef pasta Italian
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 6 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces extra-lean ground beef (93% lean)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) canned crushed tomatoes
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine ricotta, about 1/2 cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons parsley, oregano, 1 garlic clove, and egg; set aside.

Place ground beef in a large non­stick skillet over medium-high heat; sprinkle with peppers and remaining 4 garlic cloves. Cook for 9 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble; drain. Return beef mixture to pan; stir in marinara sauce, and remove from heat.
Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce in bottom of a broiler-safe 11 x 7–inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Arrange 4 noodles along the bottom of the dish. Top noodles with 1 cup meat sauce, and then 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. Repeat.

Arrange remaining 4 noodles on top. Spread remaining meat sauce over top noodles. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 4 ounces (1 cup) mozzarella cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Preheat broiler to high. (Keep lasagna in oven.)

Broil lasagna for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Best Ever Brownie #secretrecipeclub

Super gooey chocolate brownies make for a decadent treat. Best when served warm with a scoop of ice cream and a glass of milk.



Although this pregnancy feels like it is going so slow, my days and months are flying by. It seems like just yesterday I was posting my September Secret Recipe Club post.  As the norm, I got my assigned secret blog at the beginning of the month.  I spent the last few weeks perusing potential recipes all for today's reveal post.


This month I had food.baby.life.  I had fun reading her blog and learning about her life with baby.  I am keeping a pretty open mind about what my expectations will be once our baby comes but I love sneaking a peak at others' experiences.  



Susan loves baking, having the occasional indulgence of sweet treats and has a hobby of collecting cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. 


As was looking for a recipe I was so close to making this cinnamon raisin bread but at the last minute I decided I wanted needed some chocolate.  These brownies were jumping out of the computer screen with their rick, gooey center. Plus it is pretty hard to resist something called the best ever brownies.


I didn't have a mini loaf pan so I multiplied the original recipe to fit a 9x9 inch brownie pan. This may not have been the best idea as that basically quadrupled the amount of available brownies. These were so yummy and it was hard not to eat the whole pan at once.  They heat up really nicely though so it was like a fresh brownie each time if I popped it into the microwave for about 30 seconds.





Best Ever Brownie

by Emily Morris, adapted from food.baby.life
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate brownies
Ingredients (serves 9)
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
Instructions
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour and salt together and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is almost smooth. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted into the butter.

Add 1 cup of the sugar to the mixture and stir for half a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.

Put the remaining 1 cup sugar and the eggs into the bowl of a mixer and whisk by hand just to combine. Little by little, pour half the sugar and eggs into the chocolate mixture, stirring gently but constantly with a rubber spatula so that the eggs don't set from the heat.

Fit the whisk attachment to the mixer and whip the remaining sugar and eggs until they are pale, thick, and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Using the rubber spatula, delicately fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture.

When the eggs are almost completely incorporated, gently fold in the dry ingredients.

Pour and scrape the batter into an unbuttered 9-inch square glass or ceramic pan. Bake the brownies for 25-28 minutes, during which time they will rise a little and the top will turn dark and dry. The top should be just barely set and center still gooey. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack. Cut into bars and serve.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Indianapolis, Bread and cheese and #WIAW

Yesterday I hopped on a plane and made my way to Indiana for the week. I neglected to check out the weather ahead of my trip and I am afraid the 40 degree temperatures this morning are going to be quite chilly for my dresses.  Brrr....


I have been in a pretty basic food rut lately.  Breakfast seems to be the best meal of the day. When I am home I can get lots of fruits and veggies in a smoothie. When I am traveling I try to get some protein with eggs. This omelette also had spinach, onions, and green peppers. And these potato bites were so good. Very crisp and hot.  


Lunch has been increasingly hard to find something I like.  If we go to a sandwich spot, 90% of the options have cold deli meat. A big no no for pregnant women.  I have been leaning toward grilled cheese. I am all about bread and cheese.  This had a side of pickle.  


Another favorite right now is cheese pizza. I could probably have something like this every day.  This flat bread was particularly good. I always get to the last two pieces and think I probably shouldn't eat anymore but it is so good why not?  And then I finish it off. 

Snacks have been almonds, apples and chocolate chip cookies. I am going to be pretty sad when the fresh, local apples are no more. I am all about an apple a day right now. 

Do you ever get in a food rut?


If you want to join the fun for #WIAW check out Peas and Crayons.

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