Thursday, November 20, 2008

Three (or more!) Cheese Lasagna

This is a hit at potlucks with kids.

12 pieces dry lasagna (NOT the "no-boil" kind)
2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce
1 medium container cottage cheese
1 medium container ricotta cheese
shredded mozzerella, provolone, maybe a little cheddar to make 8-16 oz. - depending on how cheese-y you are feeling.
1 egg

These are the bare bones ingredients. I usually doctor up the sauce with by sauteing some onions, garlic & mushrooms in olive oil first, and adding some wine or balsamic vinegar.

Mix all the cheeses except for about 4-6 oz of the shredded, with the egg. You could add a little parsley too if you wanted.

Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Ladle in one cup sauce (A 1 cup ladle is a MUST in any kitchen!) Line pan with uncooked lasagna, breaking pieces to fit as necessary. Top with ½ of the of the cheese mixture. Top with 2 cups (approx) of the sauce. Repeat with lasagna, cheese & sauce. Add one more layer of lasagna and sauce and top with reserved cheese.

THIS IS THE KEY TO THIS RECIPE: Spray a large piece of foil with cooking spray. Tightly and completely cover the pan with the foil. You can make ahead and refrigerate at this point.

Bake at 350 for 1 1/4 to 1 ½ hours. Remove foil and broil a couple minutes if you like your cheese browned.

For potlucks - this is a nice non-meat dish that kids love. If just the family is eating - I would add some ground sirloin to the sauce - browning with the onions, etc.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Just thinking about cooking for them them is fun for me. This is what I typically make - recipes to follow throughout the next couple weeks:

Cheddar Jalapeno Crackers - from my single days

Poor Girl's Turtles
This is what the kids love to make - although Seth wants to try something "real" this year. Cover a pan with mini pretzel twists. Top each with a Rollo. Put in oven for 3 minutes on 300 - watching very closely. Remove from oven and carefully press a pecan half into each one. Cool and enjoy! Make WAY more than you think you will need. Unwrapping the rollos is a highly recommended activity for kids ages 4-ish on up. Just give them a limit of how many they can eat while unwrapping.

Buckeyes - cause you know, you can take the girl out of Ohio but you can't take the Ohio out of the girl.

Sugared Walnuts - both this and the fudge are recipes my mother and I always made

Fudge - always always dedicated to my maternal grandpa Ray Wheeler

Potato Latkes
salt & pepper

grate potatoes, onion and carrot. If you want to get all fancy, place them all in an old dish towel and squeeze the moisture out. This involves help from your husband and makes him feel all strong and macho. If you don't want to be all fancy, just add into bowl and use the technique described later. Add in egg(s) salt & pepper, and a little flour.

Heat oil. Fry one latke first to ensure the oil is hot enough. This is one for the trashcan. It never turns out right. I find that smaller latkes work the best. Fry latkes and place on an oven-proof plate in layers of paper towels. Place on low/warm in the oven. Serve with applesauce and sour cream. We like to have horseradish in our sour cream.

If you do not remove moisture from the potatoes, quite a bit will accumulate in the bowl. I tilt the bowl and try not to get too much of it in the latkes when I scoop out the potatoes.

Puppy Chow also known as Trash - a delightful combo of chex mix, peanut butter, chocolate and powdered sugar. A recent discovery and a new fav of the kids.

Seth and I are looking for cookie recipes to add to our holiday favorites. Any ideas?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sick Mom Crockpot Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - frozen is okay (of course we use Marketday)
1 box rice pilaf
several splashes of your favorite zesty italian dressing

spray crockpot with Pam
put in chicken and splash with dressing
add 1 cup water
put in pilaf and seasoning packet
add another cup water and splash again with dressing.

Cook on low all day. Splash with some more dressing if it seems to be getting dry.

This was a hit with the kids and not just cause I served it with whole cranberry sauce. I used the dressing to keep the chicken moist - mostly cause that's usually what I marinate it in and the kids love it. The pilaf comes out sort of risotto-y. Very comforting when you are sick.

After I put this on to cook I took some Nyquil and slept all day. I was SO HAPPY to have dinner all ready to go!