Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Catching up

I'm a little behind on my postings so here are a few of the meals I've cooked and news updates for us. Today's recipes are Lasagna, Fresh Lemonade (without pictures) and Pizza Margherita. 

1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
1 pound of ground beef
1/2 cup of chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans of tomato paste
1/2 Cup of Water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 teaspoons fresh Basil leaves chopped
4 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
23 ounces of ricotta cheese.
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 egg
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 lasagna noodles

Start with the following in a pot:
1 pound (450 g) of sweet Italian sausage
1 pound (450 g) of ground beef
1/2 cup (120 mL) of chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic chopped
Brown the ground beef, Italian sausage, onions and garlic in a pot until they start to cook.  It takes about 6 to 9 minutes to brown the meat.  I like to use a Dutch oven to cook this portion of the recipe.  I use a medium low temperature to brown the meat.  It is optional to remove the grease from the meat once it is finished browning, your choice.

Thank you to my Great Aunt Lynn for this Dutch Oven for my wedding gift!

 1 (28 ounce) (784 g) can of crushed tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) (230 g) cans of tomato sauce
2 (6 ounce) (168 g) cans of tomato paste
1/2 (120 mL) cup of water

Gently stir this into the cooking meat.

One major key to this recipe is the fresh ingredients. Fresh basil and parsley smell amazing and make a big difference in taste!

My new spice rack:)

 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white sugar
1 teaspoon (5 mL) fennel seed
2 teaspoons (10 mL) fresh Basil leaves chopped
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh Italian parsley chopped
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Italian
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground pepper

Gently stir these seasonings into the sauce.

Cover the pot and let the meat sauce simmer.  Simmer on low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  This is the ideal simmer time but not mandatory.  If you don’t have time it will still be great after one hour of simmering.

 Soak 12 lasagna noodles.

The lasagna noodles need to be soaked in hot tap water for 15 minutes.  

While the noodles are soaking you can make the cheese filling. 

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

23 ounces (644 g) of ricotta cheese.
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) fresh grated nutmeg 

Grate fresh nutmeg over the Ricotta cheese.   

Add the following:

1 egg
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh Italian parsley chopped

Mix these ingredients together with a spoon.

This five pound back of Mozzarella is only TEN BUCKS at Costco. That is a major deal!

Now we start building the lasagna layers.
Use a 9×13 inch baking pan.
Spread 2 Cups (480 mL) of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Remove your lasagna noodles out of the water bath.  Shake water off wet noodles.
Lay 6 noodles across the layer of sauce.
Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the layer of noodles.

Spread 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese over the ricotta layer.

Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella layer.

Spread 2 cups (480 mL) of meat sauce over the cheese layer

Lay down the next layer of noodles

Spread the remaining ricotta mixture over noodles

Spread the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses saving  some cheese for the top of the lasagna

Put the last layer of meat sauce on the cheeses

I found that a rubber brush worked the best to spread the ricotta cheese mix.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Cover with foil

Bake in preheated oven at 350 F (177 C) for 25 minutes

Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 25 minutes.

The finished product!! Yummm.

Suggested Reheating: Place in oven at 200 degrees for 7 minutes. The microwave makes it gooey and greasy.

Also, Paul and I got some new furniture this last week!

Another recipe for today is Fresh Homemade Lemonade. I did not take pictures while making this, but it is super simple. Thank you to my sister, Rebecca, for both the lemonade recipe and the following Pizza Margherita recipe.

Rebecca's Fresh Lemonade/Limeade
About 10-12 medium sized limes and/or lemons (enough for about 1 1/4 cups of juice)
2 1/2 cups tepid water
1 cup sugar
2 cups ice cubes
about 3 cups cold water
pretty glass pitcher
Finely grate the rind of 1-2 limes/lemons. Reserve.
Combine sugar and tepid water in sauce pan and heat over medium heat to completely dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, juice the limes/lemons (save one empty rind). Add juice to lime/lemon zest. Cut empty rind into small wedges and add to juice mixture.
Add ice and juice mixture to sugar base and carefully transfer to pitcher. Add cold water to taste.
Serve over ice in tall glass goblets to your favorite 6-8 people =)

Do you want to make a pizza that looks like this?! It's simple!

   Honey & Wine Pizza Dough
3/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 tsp active yeast
1 tsp honey
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil 
3 cups flour
3-4 Roma Tomatoes (or any good ripe tomatoes)--diced
2 cloves garlic--minced
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
fresh chopped basil
shredded mozzarella cheese

In a mixing bowl combine:
3/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 tsp active yeast
1 tsp honey
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil
Allow yeast to foam (about 5 minutes) before stirring in:
3 cups flour

I was going to take a picture to show the foaming, but never saw any. After waiting 15 minutes, I continued anyway.

Turn on to floured board and knead 2 minutes. Place in oiled bowl, cover, and allow to double (about 1 hour).


While waiting....
In a small bowl combine:
3-4 Roma Tomatoes (or any good ripe tomatoes)--diced
2 cloves garlic--minced
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour (while dough is rising). 

After an hour. As you can see, it didn't grow much. But it still turned out. So don't let that discourage you!
Punch down and allow to rest 15 minutes. Divide in 2. Roll out into 8-10" rounds.

Spread tomato mixture evenly on the pizza dough rounds. Sprinkle with:
fresh chopped basil
Bake at 475 for 6 minutes then top with:
shredded mozzarella cheese
Return to oven and finish baking, about 4 minutes. Top with fresh basil and serve immediately.


Suggested Reheating Options: Place on foil for 7 minutes at 475 degrees.

Now that school is out, Paul and I are able to have a little more fun ... :)

Paul playing with the bow and arrow set he got from a friend last year.

We've had a good few weeks. School ended last week so now we will hopefully get more fun things up on this blog!


grandma said...

sure enjoyed all your cooking are doing a great job...!!!!!

Jess(ica) said...

Hey, I've been there! Now I can picture where you make all your meals! woot!

Michael and Amber said...

That lasagna looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe posts - keep them comin' because I'm always wondering what to cook for dinner :)