Sunday, March 28, 2010

Italian Lasagna

This last week, I decided to tackle a food I'd never tried before: lasagna! 

The recipe I tried was one I found through a while ago, which can be found here

It used to be printed on the back of a lasagna noodle box, which makes me feel better about reposting it here. :)

Italian Lasagna

1/2 of a (1-pound) package lasagna, uncooked
1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can tomatoes, cut up (undrained)
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten
1 tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Here's the lasagna pasta cooking. :) I know the recipe says to only use half the box, but I went ahead and made all of it. Figured I could freeze the rest and use it later. The pasta was just cooked according to the packaging instructions, then poured into a colander.

Alrighty, so first, cook the onions and garlic in a skillet on medium heat for a couple minutes. Then throw in the Italian sausage and ground beef. 

When the meat's cooking, make sure you really cut it into little bits. I didn't do that very well, you can see a lot of mine is just in big chunks. When the meat is nice and brown, you add the fennel seed, basil, sugar, pepper, and half the salt, as well as the diced tomato and tomato paste. If you don't have a big enough skillet (mine definitely wasn't, it's pretty crowded with all the meat), just move it all into a nice big pot. I just rinsed out the pot I used to boil the lasagna and poured the meat sauce in there.

Then you just let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

In another bowl, mix up the ricotta cheese, parsley, egg, and the rest of the salt. After the meat sauce is done simmering, layer everything in a 13x9 casserole dish. (I forgot to take pictures while layering :P) Put 1/3 of the meat sauce on the bottom, 1/2 the ricotta cheese on top, then some mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and about three strips of pasta. Then repeat until you run out of sauce and ricotta cheese. 

One final layer of pasta and cheese on top, then the dish goes into a 375 degree oven, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Uncover, cook another 20 minutes. When you take it out, let it rest for 15 minutes or so before you cut into it.

It was delicious! :D I also made some spaghetti squash to go along with it and some whipped garlic and basil butter for garlic bread.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oreo Truffles

The food speeches last week went great! Everything was delicious. :D In particular though, someone made these delicious little Oreo truffles, and I knew I had to try to make them. The word ‘truffle’ is usually a warning to me that a recipe is going to be really difficult. However, this may have been the easiest dessert ever!
Oreo Truffles
1 pkg regular Oreo cookies
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 pkg semi sweet chocolate chips

Crush up all the cookies (except for 2) either in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or in a blender. They don’t have to be too finely crushed, it’s alright to have some chunks. Mix this with the whole package of cream cheese, until it forms a nice soft ball. If the mix is too soft, refrigerate it for about 20 minutes.

Shape the mix into little balls (makes about 40-45) and place them on a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet into the fridge to cool for about an hour.

In a double boiler (or like I used, a little ceramic bowl in a pot with some water) melt the chocolate over medium heat.

When it’s all melted, turn the heat back down; you don’t want it to burn. Using a toothpick, dip each ball into the melted chocolate, making sure it’s completely covered. Place them back on the waxed paper. (Warning! You may need a little bit more chocolate to cover all the Oreo balls)

Take the 2 extra Oreo cookies and crush them up really fine, then sprinkle the bits on each of the balls before the chocolate hardens completely. Place them back in the fridge until they harden completely. Store extra truffles in the fridge.


"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it."

-Julia Child

My thoughts exactly.

Since I've decided to share a quote, I might as well make this a genuine post and talk about two of my all-time favorite food related websites.

Foodgawker is a collection of some of the most beautifully photographed food I've ever seen, along with links to the recipes. Although, now that I'm thinking about Julia’s quote up there, I can't help but think about someone touching all over that delicious food. I've found quite a few gems on the site, many of which you'll probably see here at some point.

Which brings us now to Cake Wrecks. This wonderful blog showcases the most absolutely horrible cakes ever to be baked and iced. As Jen, the author, describes it, “A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it”. Though the Cake Wrecks are the main attraction of the site, often there are posts of outstandingly beautiful baked goods, such as the current Alice in Wonderland theme.

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Alrighty. First post. :)

Starting this off with a good one, whole wheat pasta with basil and cherry tomatoes. Yum. Also, a whole lotta garlic and onions, all wrapped up in melty, gooey mozzarella with a little extra asiago on top. And it was delicious. :D

Made this for a speech on food I have due this Tuesday. Hope everybody likes it.

I'm gonna try to write out a recipe for this, don't blame me too much if you try it and it isn't exactly right. I usually just wing it and don't measure anything.

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

-1 box any kind of pasta (I like the whole wheat, adds color and tastes better)

-2 small bags of cherry tomatoes (on the vine is best)

-1/2 of a medium onion (white is fine, but sweet onions are better, like shallots)

-1 chopped clove of garlic

-1 tbs basil

-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz bag)

-1 tbs olive oil

In a large pot, boil pasta according to box instructions. Wash and cut all the cherry tomatoes in half and dice up the onion fine.

Heat up a large skillet to about med heat, then pour in the olive oil, basil, onions, and garlic. Let the onions brown a little, then add the cherry tomatoes.

When the tomatoes get a little soft, press on the halves with your spoon to release the juices, making a sauce. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 or 6 min.

After draining the pasta, mix the sauce with the pasta, then pour on all the cheese and stir, until Mozzarella is melted throughout.

This recipe serves about 5 people. If you want enough for just two, just halve everything. Also, in addition to basil, you can add other spices, like rosemary, parsley, a little thyme, etc. Whatever you want. It's a versatile recipe. :D