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Posts Tagged ‘marinara’

Veggie Roll-up Lasagna

Veggie Lasagna Roll-up

My husband Joe is a meat lover so when I told him that I was making vegetable lasagna roll-up he immediately wrinkled his nose and I assured him that he was going to love it. And while I was cooking the sauce he kept asking me if I was adding some sausage to the sauce, but I stood my ground with a firm “no” ūüôā And when it finally came time to taste the much anticipated lasagna roll-up, guess what, he loved it and I must say that this recipe really is wonderful…even without meat.

Separate and cover noodles until ready to use. Spread ricotta cheese, roll tightly, place in pan.

Separate and cover noodles until ready to use. Spread ricotta cheese, roll tightly, place in pan.

I am always looking for good recipes that you can cook ahead, freeze and then thaw and cook for those nights when you come home tired from a long day at work. I love this recipe because it can be made into small portions, it is loaded with delicious vegetables and there is less cheese involved than a regular lasagna. Of course you can always add some meat to the recipe or change the vegetables around as you please, but all kidding aside, this recipe will definitely be a staple recipe here at our house and sometimes there may even be some meat in it.

Layer: sauce, rolled up noodles, sauce and a thin layer of cheese.

Layer: sauce, rolled up noodles, sauce and a thin layer of cheese.

Veggie Lasagna Roll-up, makes 3 foil loaf-size pans

Ingredients:

12 lasagna noodles

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 zucchini, cut into bite size chunks

1 yellow squash, cut into bite size chunks

mushrooms, sliced or diced

1 cup white wine

salt and pepper, to taste

14 oz diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the cheese filling:

15 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

large bunch fresh basil

salt and pepper

For the topping:

Your favorite Italian cheese (I used a store-bought blend of Mozzarella, Asiago, Provolone and Romano)

Directions:

Cook lasagna noodles in salted water according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and place one layer of noodles, alternate plastic wrap with noodles ending with plactic wrap on top, to prevent the noodles from drying out. Set aside.

To make sauce: heat olive oil in a large cooking pot, add onions and bell pepper, cook until onions are starting to turn translucent. Add garlic, zucchini, squash and mushrooms, cook for a few minutes. Pour in wine and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, your favorite marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese, simmer 15-20 minutes.

To make cheese filling: in a small bowl add ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and chopped basil, stir to combine.

To assemble: line up 3 loaf-size foil pans. Spoon a small amount of sauce into bottom of loaf pan. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles and spread each noodle with a thin layers of ricotta cheese mix. Roll each noodle up tightly and place on top of sauce inside foil pan. 4 rolled up noodle will fit inside each pan. Top noodles with more sauce and your favorite cheese. Close pan off with tinfoil. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cook immediately or let cool down in refrigerator before placing in freezer.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees F and cook covered for 40 minutes. Turn heat up to 400 degrees F and continue to cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until cheese is golden in color. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Ree Drummond

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Stuffed Pasta Shells

I love stuffed pasta, actually I love anything pasta. But if the pasta is stuffed with just cheese, I am not a fan. So I like to mix something else in with that cheese, in this case, some spicy sausage and lots of fresh basil. The basil gives a wonderful flavor, and the spicy sausage adds a little heat and a better texture. It’s a win win! I hope you enjoy these Stuffed Pasta Shells as much as we did.

Ingredients:

6 oz jumbo pasta shells (1/2 box or 16 individual shells)

8 oz spicy ground sausage, cooked and cooled

15 oz ricotta cheese, part skim

1 egg

10 large basil leaves, chopped

1 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese

1/2 tsp salt

your favorite marinara sauce

mozzarella cheese, for topping

Directions:

Cook sausage, drain off fat and place in refrigerator to cool.

Combine ricotta cheese, egg, basil, parmigiano-reggiano cheese and salt in a small bowl. Add cooked, cooled sausage. Stir to combine and place in refrigerator to keep cool.

Cook pasta in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a baking dish place a small amount of marinara sauce. Fill cooked shells with cheese/sausage filling and place in baking dish. Top with more marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Chicken Parmesan

Yesterday¬†turned out to be¬†the most beautiful Spring day and you could almost palpate¬†the excitement in the air. Flowers have started to bloom and it was mild and warm. You saw people out and about everywhere, smiling, walking, some daring to dress in shorts and flip-flops. Joe and I ventured to Lowe’s and picked up a new swing for the front porch. This particular swing folds down so you can¬†stretch out¬†and take a nap on it. Boy oh boy, I can hardly wait to be gently swinging, reading a book and dozing off in the summer breeze ūüôā

So what does that have to do with Chicken Parmesan? absolutely nothing! But I have been messing around with this dish for quite some time now, trying to drive in the flavor to what I consider the perfect piece of Chicken Parmesan. Tender, yet crisp, with just the right amount of that wonderful Parmigiano Reggiano flavor in the breading. This is what I have come up with and it is very delicious, if I may say so myself. Happy Spring everyone.

Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt and pepper

1 cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup plain bread crumbs

3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, plus more for topping

2 teaspoons italian seasoning

extra virgin olive oil for frying

mozzarella cheese, shredded, for topping

your favorite Marinara sauce, preheated

Directions:
Rinse chicken with cold water and cut away any remaining fat. Place each of the chicken breasts, one at the time, in a large zip lock bag, close and pound the chicken flat to approximately 3/4 inch thickness. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Mix together bread crumbs, cheese and italian seasoning and set aside. Dip chicken in flour and shake off excess. Next dip chicken breast in eggs, let excess drip off. Then place chicken in bread crumb mixture and coat to cover. Place chicken on a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

Preheat a large pan to medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place chicken breasts in pan and brown, 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place chicken in an oven proof dish. Pour your favorite preheated marinara sauce over and around the chicken breasts, top with mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Finish cooking chicken in oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Parmesan

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Excellent Meatballs

Excellent Meatballs

I have been trying and trying for years to make a tender and¬†tasty meatball but they always came out too firm. I want my meatballs to easily fall apart when you dig into it¬†with a¬†fork. So what was different this time you ask me ? Well, I think the most important part is that I got equal parts veal, pork and beef directly from the butcher instead of using one of those “meatball” ground meat packages from the grocery store that supposedly have equal parts of¬†all three meats in it. Also, the meatballs get browned and then baked plus¬†I¬†like to let them simmer in the sauce for at least 1 hour. These meatballs are so tasty and Anne Burrell also mentions another really important point and that is to test taste (why didn’t I think of¬†that)¬†a mini meatball before cooking them all up. Adjust the salt if needed! Now finally I got myself a tender meatball that I’ll be confident in¬†serving for my guests.

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

pinch of crushed red pepper

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground veal

2 large eggs

1 cup grated Parmigiano

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup water

Directions:Coat a large pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onions generously with salt and cook for 5-7 minutes. The onions should be translucent but have no color. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, Parmigiano, parsley, bread crumbs and onions. Season well with salt. Mix using your hands squishing the mixture. Add water and do one final squish. The mixture should be quite wet. Test the seasoning of the mix by making a mini hamburger size patty and cooking it. The patty should taste really good.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Shape the meat into desired size. I prefer them slightly larger than a golf ball. Coat a large pan with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Place them on a cookies sheet and bake them in oven for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through. If using right away, add meatballs to your favorite marinara sauce. If not, cool and freeze.

Source:  Anne Burrell

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Best Marinara Sauce

Best Marinara Sauce

I love love love tomatoes and Marinara sauce. I would eat it 7 days a week if they let me. But they won’t let me. Actually, truth be told, I eat a tomato every day for lunch and my coworkers¬†love to point it out to me and so¬†I never hear the end of it. ūüôā But I can’t help myself, lunch just dosn’t seem right without my shiny little red friend. Sorry, got a little sidetracked there.

Now for the Marinara sauce. This is without a doubt the very best Marinara¬†sauce that I have tried out so far. This has become a favorite in our house and I’m happy to report that even my son likes it (and that’s saying a lot because he is used to only the best from his grandmother who makes a mean¬†pasta and meatball). If you have a food mill this is a breeze to make, if not, it’s a little more work but well worth the effort. This sauce freezes really well so I always make a big batch and keep it in the freezer for easy use.¬†Enjoy.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 pound diced pancetta

2 large Spanish onions, diced

Kosher salt

4 large garlic cloves, minced

4 (28 ounce) cans Italian diced or plum San Marzano tomatoes

Directions:

Coat a large sauce pot with olive oil and add diced pancetta. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat and cook pancetta for 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion and season generously with salt, stir to coat with olive oil. Cook the onions for 6 to 7 minutes stirring frequently. The onions should become soft and translucent but have no color. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring frequently.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill or if you don’t have a food mill simply just pulse the tomatoes in a food processor to break them up and then press the tomatoes through a sieve. Make sure to press until you have a dry paste¬†left in the sieve. This part can be a little bit of a workout. Make sure to scrape all¬†the delicious pulp off the bottom of the sieve¬†or the food mill.¬†Add the tomatoes to the pot and¬†rinse out 1 of the empty cans with water and add the water to the pot (about 2-3 cups). Season¬†generously¬†with¬†salt (season in baby steps) and taste¬†it to¬†make sure it is seasoned enough. Let the sauce simmer¬†for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally and tasting frequently.

Serve sauce right away or cool down and then freeze.

Source: Anne Burrell

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Spagetthi al Pomodoreo al Forno

Spagetthi al Pomodoreo al Forno

I decided it would be fun to go to a cooking class at the Kitchen Barn. The class was hosted by Janie Jacobson and it turned out to be a really good class with lots of good information and some very delicious food. I was hoping for a little hands-on, but the class turned out to be an instructional class only. So what was on the menu you ask me, here it is:

  • Spaghetti al Pomodoro¬†al Forno (Spaghetti in Sauce with Baked Tomatoes)
  • Black-eyed Pea Salad with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Dressing
  • Tiramisu

I kept debating back and forth¬†which dish¬†I liked better and¬†the Spaghetti won……I think….or was it the Pea Salad? I guess that means I’ll just have to make them myself and test taste¬†them¬†again. In any case, I wanted to share with you the Spaghetti al Pomodoro¬†al Forno¬†dish. It’s made with anchovies and fresh tomatoes which are baked in the oven. Now, I have never cooked with anchovies before¬†and¬†let me just say this. They¬†are wonderful, however, I found it difficult to use real anchovies with their tiny little translucent bones. I know they simply just melt into the sauce but I think I’ll use anchovy¬†paste next time. The anchovies do¬†give a¬†nice subtle background¬†flavor that makes you go hmm what is that? Delicious. Note: the original recipe¬†suggested 10 anchovy fillets, I used only approx 5 anchovy fillets.

Roasting tomatoes and anchovies

Roasting tomatoes and anchovies

Ingredients:

1 lb Spaghetti

2 lb fresh tomatoes

5 anchovy fillets in oil, drained

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes

3/4 cup olive oil

15 sprigs of fresh parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To prepare the sauce slice the tomatoes horizontally into thick slices. Cover the bottom of an oven proof baking dish with a layer of the sliced tomatoes. Place the anchovies on top of tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Pour olive oil over tomatoes. Place baking dish with tomatoes in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Coarsely chop parsley and set aside until needed. Bring a pot of cold water to a boil. Season water generously with salt and cook spaghetti until desired consistency, drain and set aside. Once done, remove tomatoes from oven and pour over spaghetti. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and toss well before serving.

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