Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Incredible Lasagna

In 2007 Doug and I decided that there weren't enough events in the month of December, so to spice things up I decided to graduate college and we decided to get married, hey we didn't want anyone to be bored! So I graduated the 15th, there was one week of nothing, then Christmas (which included Christmas with both of our parents, my grandparents, and Doug's mom's family), and the following Saturday (the 29th) we got married. While some thought that we were insane and were trying to cause problems other family members got in the spirit and jumped in to help.

Two of those who jumped in to help were Doug's aunt and cousin, Donna and Rachel respectively. They helped out by insisting on bringing the meal to the family gathering at Doug's parents house (this was on Thursday, our rehearsal dinner was Friday and the wedding was Saturday). Rachel made a great chicken lasagna from her husband's family and Aunt Donna made this incredible sausage lasagna. But they were nice enough to allow us to bring the bread.

This lasagna is so good, we actually had this on New Years Day this year, it was a great way to reminisce about what had happened just over a year ago. The great thing about this lasagna is that it is fancy enough to work for a special meal (like Christmas or New Years) but yet simple enough to enjoy any time. This recipe is also great because you can make it as mild or as spicy as you'd like, just by changing the sausage.

Give this recipe a try next time you're in the mood for lasagna, you won't regret it.

Italian Sausage Lasagna
Source: Aunt Donna

2# Italian Sausage (whatever spice level you want)
1 clove (or more) garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon basil
1 1/2 tsp salt
2-6 oz cans tomato paste
2-12 oz cans tomato sauce (can use some of the Italian spiced one or with added basil/garlic)

3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
2 Tablespoons parsley
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp salt
1# sliced mozzarella cheese
Lasagna noodles - may use oven ready

Brown and drain meat. Add next FIVE ingredients and simmer 30 minutes, stir frequently. Combine remaining ingredients EXCEPT sliced mozzarella and noodles.

Now build....
First Layer - thin layer of meat/tomato sauce
Second Layer - single layer of noodles - (but you can overlap if you want)
Third Layer - ricotta mixture (use half)
Fourth Layer - mozzarella slices (use half)

Repeat layers (but save some meat/tomato for top)

Top with meat sauce and additional Romano (or Parmesan) cheese.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's Awards Season!

My friend Maci of My Yummy Goodness (check it out, it's awesome), being the doll that she is, sent me two awards recently. Thanks Maci!!
The Fabulous Blog Award

The Lemonade Award for having a refreshing blog
Here are the rules…
- Add the logo in your blog.
- Add a link to the person who gave you the award.
- Nominate other (refreshing…like lemonade and fabulous) blogs of your choice.
- Don’t forget to add links to those blogs in yours.
- Also leave a message for your nominees in their blogs, informing them about the award.

So here's who I'm sending these to:

Julie of Jewels in the Kitchen
TheMilkMansWife of Milk and Honey
HornedFroggy of My Baking Heart
ThatGirl of Paved With Good Intentions

These two aren't food blogs but I love them none the less
Jessica of Reading is Sexy
Jen of My Brain's Comfort Food

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Diner Meal

I love diners. They are so much fun to eat at, even though they are hard to find. There is a great 50s diner in Branson, Missouri, that I've been to with my parents, but that's kind of a long drive for a diner meal. Enter this alternative meal.

As soon as I saw this recipe on I knew I had to make them. First of all, I've heard some great things about Katie Lee Joel's recipes and, second, the picture looked incredible. These were incredibly easy to make, cheap to buy all the ingredients for, and so tasty. I will definitely be making them again. A great thing about these is that you can tweak the recipe for your tastes. You can add or subtract ingredients from the burger mixture and change up the toppings so they resemble your favorite burger. That is the sign of a great recipe to me.

These fries are also incredibly easy. We've made these a few times since we first ordered them as an appetizer at Outback Steakhouse when we were trying to use up a gift card. They are incredibly decadent and overkill but they are so good. You could also switch these up buy using different types of fries (even homemade fries would be awesome here) or a different mixture of cheese (I'm thinking Mexican Blend Cheese could be great here). They are also great because you can make as much or as little as you want by increasing the amounts. These would make a great item for a Superbowl party, a game night, or even just a lazy meal at home.

Cheese and Bacon Fries
Inspired by Outback Steakhouse Appetizer

1 Small Bag of Frozen French Fries Type of your choice (I used spicy)
2 Cups Shredded Cheese
1 Cup Crumbled Cooked Bacon

Bake fries as directed on bag (or for your homemade fries recipe). Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and bacon. Return to 350 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.


1 Lb Ground Beef
1 Egg Beaten Lightly
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Pepper
12 Slices Wheat Bread
12 Slices Cheese

Mix the ground beef, egg, garlic powder, and pepper together. Form into thin patties (mine made 6 patties) and cook in a heated skillet until done. When burgers are done remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile butter one side of each piece of bread.
Wipe out the skillet and lay down brown, butter side down. Layer cheese, a patty, cheese and another piece of bread, butter size up.

Cook until the bread is toasted.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ETTB: Chili

This is another recipe from Doug's awesome mom that he was excited for me to make and I was rather nervous to try. The way that Doug's family thinks of chili is a lot different than how my family makes chili. Their version of chili is sweet with no kick, while my mom's chili is the only thing she adds any heat to (granted it's very little heat). I love both versions though, they each fill a different craving.

This recipe gets it's sweetness from a bit of sugar, but you could easily add some heat by adding spices or using a spicy chili bean. One thing I love about this recipe is that it can be made in the slow cooker. I love to throw this on in the morning and let is cook all day. Another great thing about this recipe is that you can easily make more to accommodate a crowd or make leftovers. In our opinion chili is one of those foods that is usually better the next day. To increase this you would just add more cans of beans and add more juice to reach your preferred sauce level.

I'm entering this recipe into Elly's (of Elly Says Opa) Eat to the Beat. When I was in middle school a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to a Foo Fighters/Red Hot Chili Peppers concert with her. At the time, I can't believe I'm admitting this, I was way more into boy bands and pop princesses then I was rock bands. But of course I wanted to seem cool so I said I'd go. Flash forward to the concert: everyone else is singing along, screaming out the names of their favorite band members. I'm sitting there going "wow, these guys are really cool. Who knew?" I'm happy to say that night started my transformation into a well rounded music fan. From then on I've been a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

This is particularly good since Doug is such a big fan of music. He loves every type of music there is (give him a type and I bet he can name at least one band in that area that he likes). He was actually pretty jealous when he learned that I had seen the peppers in concert (especially now that the band is on a break). Doug and I have definitely bonded over musicians, especially in the early years of our relationship. D is a great musician and I love to listen to him play, even though he swears up and down that he can't play chili pepper songs. Whenever I make chili I start to think about this incredible band and start to hum their songs. This time I was humming "Under the Bridge" since I've recently heard that on the radio. So, that's why I'm submitting it to Elly's awesome event.

By: Debbie, my mother-in-law
2 lbs Ground Beef
1 Medium Onion
1 Can Kidney Beans
1 Can Chili Beans
2 Large Cans Tomato Juice
2 Tbsp Sugar


Cut the onion into small pieces, brown with the ground beef.
Add beef and all other ingredients together in large pot, stock pot, or slow cooker.
Cover with lid and allow to simmer for 2-3 hours.
Great topped with crackers and a little cheese.

This makes a small to medium batch. You can play with the amounts of beans and juice to reach your preferred consistency.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TWD: Savory Corn Muffins

I was really excited when I saw that this week's recipe was a savory muffin. I'm still kind of burnt out on sweets from Christmas and I have no desire to spend a lot of time on a sweet treat that I won't feel like eating.

I didn't end up making these spicy, we aren't big on spicy around here. Without the peppers these need just a bit more sugar in my opinion. I think I will try this recipe again with just a few tweaks until I find the perfect taste for us.

This recipe was picked by Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake. Check out her blog and the TWD bloggers to see how they interpreted this recipe.

Sweet and Savory Corn Muffins from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 6.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Possibly My Favorite Muffin Ever: Banana Crumb Muffins

These are by far one of the best muffins I have ever had. They are moist and have such a great flavor. Doug has also declared these the best muffins and I'm pretty sure that we are both itching to run into the kitchen and have another one, even though I made them to have for breakfast this week.

I found this recipe on Annie's blog, which has never steered me wrong. This is also the same place that I read that you can freeze bananas if you won't be able to use them before the go bad. All you have to do is mash them up like you would if you were going to immediately use them, but then put them in a bag and stick them in the freezer. When you are ready to use them just microwave them for a short time and they will be perfect.

This is a simple recipe that is really easy to throw together and doesn't take long to bake. I cannot wait to have another one of these for breakfast tomorrow.

Banana Crumb Muffins
Source: Annie's Eats

For the muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

For the topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 ½ cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, cinnamon and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

You Want What Now?

First let me say that I have debated for a while now whether to post this or not, it's an incredibly simple recipe for something that doesn't look that pretty or sound that appetizing. But then I remembered the fact that it took me a while to find this recipe and that it wasn't on any of the blogs in my Google Reader (maybe there's a reason for that). So, with Doug's encouragement, I thought "why not" and here we are.

When Doug first mentioned that Shit on a Shingle (SOS) sounded good to him I kind of thought he had lost his mind. Really? A dish that military men joke about and that is the butt (haha) of many comedian's jokes sounds appealing? But then he told me about how he used to eat this with his grandpa and I understood, since there are foods I associate with both of my grandfathers (circus peanuts for one, ice cream for the other). So I agreed to make this meal for him and set about to look for a recipe. I started with my usual source, the awesome blogs I follow in GR, but had no luck. So then I turned to Google, and after lots of searching found this recipe (the first one to get Doug's approval).

I was a little anxious making this actually, since I've never made any type of gravy or cream sauce, so I was a little worried I'd mess that part up (either burn it or have it just taste like flour). But it actually came out really well. I made this just for Doug but did try a bite and it was actually pretty good. He ate it over some whole wheat toast and said it was really great. So, if you are so inclined, give this a try. It's way better than the name implies.

Shit on a Shingle (or Creamy Chipped Beef)
Source: Food Rules

4½ oz. dried beef

2 cups milk

2 tbs. butter

¼ cup flour
Salt and pepper

6 slices bread

Melt butter in pan, add dried beef. Cook 2-3 minutes to brown. Add flour and mix with dried beef . Add milk (reserve ¼ cup for later), salt & pepper. Bring to boil. Add remaining milk to thin to your desired likeness. Serve over toast or waffles.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I hope everyone had an enjoyable night last night, made it home safe and sound, and that no one is too hung over this morning :)
I have some pretty grand plans for 2009, many things that I want to try that are outside my usual comfort zone. I want to try my hand at making bread, become at least almost as good as Doug on the grill, and break into different Ethnic foods that I've never tried before. See, I told you they were grand plans!
But before we get started with this I thought I'd take a little look back at some of my favorite posts from 2008 (even though I have a couple things I haven't blogged yet, but oh well). I didn't blog much until April, but from then on I had a pretty good run of blog posts, especially after I joined Tuesdays With Dorie.
So, without any more delays, here are some of my favorite posts from the year that just was.

Vegetable Pizza
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta al Forno
Golden Cake and Vanilla Frosting
Berry Spicy Chicken and Grilled Baby Carrots
Brown Sugar Pound Cake
Red Beans and Rice
Fruit Crumb Bars
Oatmeal Scotchies
Apple Hand Pies
Apple Spice Cookie Bars
Chicken and Bacon Quesadillas
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
Easy Cheesy Beer Bread
Veggie Chicken Rice Casserole
Maple Sausage Breakfast Casserole
Twofer Pie
Banana Bread
Chicken Enchiladas
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Tall and Creamy Cheesecake