Saturday, May 29, 2010

Broccoli and Three-Cheese Lasagna

This is a delicious vegetarian lasagna, and I didn't miss the meat once while eating it. Quite possibly because there was so much cheese. :) Actually, I think the broccoli made an excellent substitute for ground beef.

The recipe says it serves 4, but I can't imagine eating 1/4 of this in one sitting. I cut it into 9 pieces and ate it for lunch (and some dinners) for a week. Next time I'll probably make it 6 portions, if for no other reason than I don't want to eat it 9 times in a week.

From Real Simple December 2009

-1 15-oz container ricotta (1 3/4 c)
-1 lb. frozen broccoli florets-thawed, patted dry, and chopped*
-2 1/4 cups grated mozzarella (9 oz)
-1/2 c grated Parmesan (2 oz)
-Kosher salt and black pepper
-1 16-oz jar marinara sauce
-1/2 c heavy cream
-8 no-boil lasagna noodles
-2 T olive oil
-4 c mixed greens
-1 T fresh lemon juice

-Heat the oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, broccoli, 2 c of the mozzarella, 1/4 c of the parmesan, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper. In a small bowl, combine the marinara sauce and cream.
-Spoon a thin layer of the sauce into the bottom of an 8-in square baking dish. Top with 2 noodles, a quarter of the remaining sauce, and a third of the broccoli mixture; repeat twice. Top with remaining 2 noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
-Cover tightly with an oiled piece of aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender, 35-40 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is golden brown, 10-15 minutes.
-Remove from oven. Let set while you toss the greens with 2 T olive oil, 1T lemon juice, and 1/4 t each salt and pepper..

I may or may not have stopped paying attention halfway through the assembly instructions for the lasagna and added an extra layer. So mine had the cheesy broccoli mixture on top, topped with even more cheese, but no sauce. And it was still awesome.
I want to call this no-fail lasagna.

Oh, and it's a good idea to maybe line your oven with aluminum foil for this. Or place some under the baking dish you use--mine spilled over the sides a bit.

*Really make sure to get the broccoi all drained and well-dried. Any excess water will mess with the consistency of the lasagna and make it runny and slightly gross, which may or may not traumatize you when you cut into it the first time.

Spiced Pork Chops with Red Cabbage and Raisins

This recipe is from the November 2009 Real Simple.

-3 T olive oil
-4 bone-in pork rib chops, about 1-inch thick (2 lbs total)
-1 tsp ground cumin
-Kosher salt and black pepper
-1 onion, sliced
-1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced (~6 cups)
-1/2 c golden raisins
-1/4 c red wine vinegar
-1/4 c chopped fresh dill

-Heat 1 T of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium hear. Season the pork with the cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, 6-8 minutes per side.
-Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 T of oil in a 2nd large skilled over menium-high heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasioinally, until softened, 3-4 minutes.
-Add the cabbage, raisins, vinegar, 1/4 c water, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cook, covered, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 6-8 minutes; stir in the dill. Serve with the pork.

Okay, I didn't use bone-in chops. I probably should have, but I ended up loving them anyway, so who really cares?
I did not, however, love the cabbage accompaniment. Maybe with a bit of sugar thrown in for good measure to cut through that red wine vinegar, but WOW that stuff is strong. The cabbage was actually more enjoyable after a day or two, but I don't think I'll make it again. I will make the pork chops again, though.

Giada's Simple Bolognese

I bought a package of Giada's Fusilli col Buco at Target several weeks ago, and decided to try one of the recipes from the back of the package: Simple Bolognese.

So easy. So good.

-1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
-1 medium onion, minced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 celery stalk, minced
-1 carrot, peeled and minced
-1 lb. ground beef chuck
-1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
-1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
-1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

In saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot; saute until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Increase hear to high, add ground beef; cook until no longer pink, breaking up large clumps, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley, basil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Stir in cheese; season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 1 quart

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On Being Normal

Have I ever shared my theory about normalcy with you, friends?

Here it is, in all of it's profound glory:

Everyone is awesome.
Everyone is average.
Everyone is awkward.

I'm convinced it's simply a matter of what situation they are placed in. There's a painfully awkward kid in all of us, there's someone who's boringly mediocre in each of us, and there is an all-out rock star in each of us.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're ever feeling awkward or non-descript, remember that you're truly awesome. (And remember that when you're talking to someone who is showing their awkward side just a bit [or a lot], that given the right stimuli they could blow you away with how brilliant/funny/kind/etc. they are.)

Sometimes I have a hard time remembering this.

Just food for thought.

Hello, again!

Wow, I knew it had been a while since I'd posted anything here, but I didn't realize it had been six weeks.

I do have a couple more great recipes to post here, but it probably won't be this week.

Just checking in to say hello and that I'm still alive.