Posts tagged ‘Dinner’

February 25, 2011

Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Okay people, this is a super easy recipe for Lasagna and it’s AMAZING to me that the noodles go in uncooked. What!? you say? Yes no pre-cooking necessary! Cooking the noodles is the biggest pain in the butt, to me.  Bringing water to a boil, cooking noodles in batches and then working with hot noodles…ugh it sucks and takes the most time!

The most amazing part about this recipe? Are you ready for this because I think it’s a shocker! I made LASAGNA the day before I moved to a new house – with 95% of my kitchen packed in boxes! YES! It is THAT easy!

The slow cooker to the rescue! Most of the work of lasagna can be done all at once – cook your noodles and make a homemade sauce that develops deep flavor with minimal effort. (seriously whoever invented the slow cooker is GENIUS!) If you are like me I like to use homemade marinara or tomato sauce for my lasagna and it takes hours to cook. Then you still have to cook the noodles, and then assemble the whole thing.  The prep time in this recipe is significantly less! (Note: I love white lasagna and am not sure how well the white sauce will hold up in the crockpot, I’ll let you know when I try it).

Alter this recipe using ingredients you like. The sauce below is just a simple sauce I use for weekenights and is not the good tomato sauce I always use, but I was moving so didn’t have any sauce pans out. Don’t hesitate to use your favorite store-bought sauce too. Mix it up a bit and use different meat – or no meat. I used sausage because that is my favorite.

2-28oz cans crushed tomatoes (I used diced but think crushed would work better)
2 teaspoons herbs de provence (or basil, oregano, thyme mixture)
1 clove garlic, smashed  (or 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 cranks of fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 large container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
1 large package of spinach
1 pound ground beef, chicken, pork, sausage (optional)
1 box of regular lasagna noodles (not the no cook kind)

Brown the meat and set aside.

If you use your own homemade sauce – start it like you would normally and once it is completely assembled and to the point in  your recipe that all it needs to do is simmer, it is ready to be used in the slow cooker lasagna (remember it’ll cook for 3-4 hours in the slow cooker.

Mix the first 7 ingredients together in one bowl.

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In another bowl, mix the ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella and salt and pepper, set aside.

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Assemble:

1.   Put a little sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker;
2.  top with uncooked lasagna noodles. You may have to break the noodles into pieces to make sure you cover the bottom of the slow cooker (don’t hold back make sure you fully cover each layer with noodles even if they are little pieces, nobody will know!);
3.   add two cups of spinach (it looks like a lot but it will cook down);
4.   add 1 cup or so of sauce;
5.   dollop 1 cup or so of the ricotta mixture, then smooth it around;
6.   top with a layer of noodles;
7.   repeat another layer or two (or until you run out of ingredients;
8.   end with sauce and top with mozzarella cheese.

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Cover and turn the slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours, or until the noodles (in the center) are tender.

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January 31, 2011

Classic Shrimp and Tomatoes

Ok so I found a recipe on Dinner: A Love Story (the “Love Story”) site and it’s pretty simple and easy. A Greek style dish with sweet shrimp and tart tomatoes and lemon. But it triggered an idea – I have a book called The Olive and the Caper (the “Caper”) written by Susanna Hoffman, who wrote her book after over thirty years of extended stays in Greece and learning from local cooks, fishermen, bakers and housewives. Not only does she explore recipes and the food, but there is some great background on Greece, the food and culture. I do love this book!

On with my point now, I know. While reading the recipe I thought I should check the Caper, for I knew it was likely there would be something similar! Alas! I was right! Classic Shrimp and Tomatoes. Well the Caper recipe included dill – which I had none of, because I planned for the Love Story version. The Caper version called for wine and tomato paste. So I clashed the two and went on my way…

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I know some of you out there do not like capers (Kim!) but don’t run away just yet – use lemon juice instead to get the tanginess.

1lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil

1- 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 /2 onion very finely diced

1 tablespoon capers and the juice (or lemon juice)

1/4 cup white wine

1 teaspoon dried oregano (neither recipe called for this, but it’s very Greek)

Kosher salt

2 cranks freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400°

 In an oven safe skillet (no nonstick pans) sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil a few minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add wine and sauté for about a minute then add the drained tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, and capers and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the shrimp and get them down into the sauce. Cook about 3 minutes, stir and crumble feta on top of the sauce. Bake until the cheese has melted about three minutes.

Top with 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley. Serve with some crusty bread or over penne pasta.

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Takes very little time – this is a great weeknight dinner – I have added it to my regular dinner list.

September 22, 2010

Make Your Own Flatbread Pizza

Homemade pizza is a great weeknight meal which the kids can participate in making. Kids take pride in making things on their own and helping to make the food they will eat is also a great way to get them interested in food and will be likely to eat a larger array of foods. Sometimes it is hard to come home from work and get time in with the kids, dinner made, homework, baths, and bed time routines.  Cooking is such a great way to get in one-on-one time with your kids, plus you all have to eat! Plus I think it is really important to involve your kids in preparing the food they eat. They have to learn how to cook anyway and the more you cook together the more you can teach your children how to eat well, while bonding with them.

Flatbread pizza is a great fast weeknight meal. While looking at a baking blog I saw a recipe for flatbread, I will attempt to make it and share it with you. Otherwise just buy some Naan bread from your local grocery store. (Savemart carries it in the bakery).

White Sauce (Or use your favorite pizza or marinara sauce)

2T butter

1T flour

1 clove garlic, halved

1/2c. heavy cream (room temp)

1 c. milk (room temp)

1/4 t. salt

1 t. oregano

1/8 t. cayenne pepper

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a pan and saute the garlic in the butter until fragrant.  Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes.  Slowly pour in cream and milk and whisk, while adding cayenne, salt and oregano. bring to a boil and add the parmesan cheese and whisk. Allow to thicken and boil a few minutes.

Spread the sauce on the flatbread. Top each flatbread with 1 cup of shredded mozzerella cheese.

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Add your toppings. My daughter choose “marshrooms” and “salami” (pepperoni). Her two favorites.

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I put tomatoes and red onion. My other Favorite is sundried tomatoes and artichokes.

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook for 10-15 minutes on the top shelf. I actually have an oven stone so I cooked the pizzas on my stone for 10 minutes (which crisps the bread) and finished them off on the top rack for 5 minutes to finish cooking the toppings.

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Alternative: saute a clove of garlic cut in half in olive oil until fragrant. Brush the oil on the bread. Add shredded Fontina cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion.  (Superb!)

December 11, 2009

Cuban Braised Beef

I have been looking for a good shredded beef recipe for some time and my slow cooker is my favorite tool right now so this recipe was right up my alley. Fast and easy and ready when I get home. This was such a good recipe and I just added a little more flavor and heat with jalapeno and my favorite mexican cheese – Cotija. Cotija is a very salty flavored crumbly cheese. You have probably eaten it many times if you eat at mexican food restaurants it’s the white cheese crumbled on top of your beans. I put it on salads too, it’s so good – my daughter likes it as well.

Adapted from Real Simple recipe for Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers

1 –  1 ½ lb flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
28 oz diced tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, ½ inch thick slices
1 onion (cut into 1/8)
2T. chopped cilantro
2t. oregano
1t. cumin
1t. cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno (or 1/4 of a small can of jalepeno)
1avocado
Cilantro (for garnish)
Cotija (for garnish)
Tortillas or Rice

COMBINE tomatoes, oregano, cumin, cayenne, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper in the slow cooker. Add onions and peppers and stir. Push flank steaks into the vegetables. Cook on low for 8 hours.

PLACE atop rice or on tortillas. Top with cilantro, avocado slices, and cotija cheese.

December 9, 2009

Roman Chicken

This is  Giada‘s Roman-Style Chicken I altered it just a bit to use crushed tomatoes instead of diced, and I like bacon better than proscuitto. I also use chicken breasts and legs (for my daughter) but thighs would be good too, or even leg quarters. This is one of my newest favorite comfort foods!

2 skinless chicken breasts (w/bones)
3 chicken legs
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
4 slices of bacon or proscuitto
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, sliced thin
½ cup white wine
1 – 15oz can crushed tomatoes
1Tbsp thyme
1Tbsp oregano
2Tbsp capers
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup Italian parsley

 SEASON chicken with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Remove chicken from pan and add olive oil, bacon, peppers until bacon is crisps and peppers have browned. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add shallots and cook for a minute more.

  

      

DEGLAZE  pan with wine. Add crushed tomatoes and chicken broth.    

Add chicken back in pan and half the capers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat and add remaining capers and parsley.

      

Servings: 4-6