Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Turkey Spinach Lasagna

This recipe is similar to my Turkey-Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna, but without the mushrooms and a little more seasoning. Something was sweet in this recipe, probably the prepared tomato sauce, but I can't be sure as I did a number of things that I normally do not do. First, I sauted the onions longer than necessary just to soften but short of carmelization. I'd say about 10 minutes, then another 5-7 with the ground turkey and garlic. I worked harder than I usually do to squeeze liquid out of the frozen spinach. Finally, I added a pinch of nutmeg to the spinach (a trick I have long resisted). The end result was quite yummy, although I might mix the sauce with the meat mixture in the future for even spreading.


9-12 no-boil lasagna sheets (or enough for 2-3 layers in a 9 x 13" pan)
12 oz ground turkey
16 oz frozen spinach
2 medium onions, about 1.5 cups chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz prepared pasta sauce
1 egg
12 oz ricotta cheese
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp nutmeg (or a pinch)
salt and pepper
olive oil


Preheat oven to 375.

Saute onions in olive oil over medium high heat until softened and beginning to brown. (I kept the heat fairly high and stirred constantly to prevent scorching). Make a hole in the center of the onions and dump in ground turkey. Using a wooden spoon or spoonula, crumble the turkey. Add garlic just before the meat has finished cooking, about 1 minute. Season entire mixture with a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Continue cooking until meat is browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in 1 c sauce, and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, defrost spinach in a medium mixing bowl covered with a wet towel and a few tablespoons of water. Drain as much liquid as possible. Mix the ricotta, egg, spinach, nutmeg, and another sprinkle of salt and pepper together until well-mixed.

Pour about 1/2 c of sauce in the base of a 9x13" baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Paint 3 lasagna noodles with the spinach mixture and lay face-up in sauce. (You'll do this for each lasagna noodle, so budget your mixture accordingly.) Spoon about 1/2 of the meat and onion sauce, top with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Repeat.

The final layer will likely have a face-down spinach rub (or your could do so with the bottom layer). Pour remaining sauce over non-spinach side of the noodle. Top with mozzarella and all remaining parmesan cheese.

Spray a foil cover for your pan with cooking spray. Cover tightly. Bake 30 minutes until mixture is bubbly.

Remove cover and continue baking until golden brown, about 30 more minutes.


Allow to rest about 10-15 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife. You may need to use a spatula to prevent ingredients from falling out while serving.


Serves 6-8.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

I made these Tuesday morning, but somehow haven't gotten around to posting them today. I scribbled the recipe down from somewhere on the internet, but forgot to write the source. I'll hunt about and try to update it. This is an extremely healthy muffin as there is absolutely no oil or butter. Muffins need fat. Let me repeat, muffins need fat. These were not bad, but definitely a tad dry. Also, while it sounded interesting to use dried apples, I would recommend fresh for extra moisture.


1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
3.5 tsp baking powder (yes, that much)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of Cake Mix (that's a flavor from the Spice House which has anise, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and more), or nutmeg
3/4 c oatmeal (quick oats)
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c dried apples, chopped
1 egg
1 c skim milk
1/4 c apple sauce

Mix dry ingredients, except oatmeal, together whisk. Make a well in the center and incorporate wet. Stir in apples and oatmeal until thoroughly moistened. (At first I thought the mixture was far too wet, but then realized that the oats and apples would soak up excess liquid, which they did.)

Pour into prepared muffin tins. I used my NEW big muffin tin and got exactly six muffins. Thus, I assume 12 would be the norm.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy

This recipe was adapted from one found in the Cooking Light Slowcooker Book. The recipe called for top round steak, which did become tender, but not as much as I predict chuck roast will be. Thus, I will write the recipe below as I hope to try it next. I enjoyed peeling the pearl onions as it was a new technique. Pearl onions were available at my grocery store in three different flavors--I used white. Since I'm not a fan of extremely dry wines, I used a pinot noir that I had open. I used the suggested amount of onions and mushrooms, but in the future would use up to 50% more.


10 oz pearl onions (or more)
2 lb boneless chuck, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic
1/3 c all purpose flour
1 1/3 c beef broth
1/2 dry red wine
2 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
8 oz mushrooms (or more)
4 c egg noodles, uncooked

1. To peel the pearl onions, cut the root off. Drop in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain. Skins should slide off easily when your pull from the other end.

2. Brown beef cubes in an nonstick skillet. Add meat to slow cooker, along with pearl onions and mushrooms.

3. In same skillet used to brown the meat, saute onions until tender. Add garlic during the last minute.

4. Add flour to onion mixture; cook for one minute. Whisk in broth, wine, and tomato paste. Continue cooking until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper, and bay leaf.

5. Pour wine mixture over meat and veggies in slow cooker. Stir gently until well-mixed.

6. Cook on low 6-7 hours until meat is tender.

When ready to serve, prepare egg noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain and add noodles to meat in slow cooker so the noodles will soak up some of the sauce.

Serves 6.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Last night's dinner

Every now and again, I get a craving for an over-stuffed burger. While this guy is not near as lethal as what I might find at the The Regal Begal, it was pretty darn good. Grill pan, sauted mushrooms, little provolone, and, of course, the meat make for a nice indulgence. Recipe/method previously posted here.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Grocery shopping + menu

Instead of going to the gym this morning, I hit the Jewel around 630 a.m. I learned a number of things. First, that hour is when every aisle in the store is being restocked. I literally had to climb over or maneuver around a dozen boxes and several clerks stocking shelves in both the baking and cereal aisles. I had a fairly long list this trip because I wanted to spend enough to use a $4 off coupon if you spent $40. I planned both a beef and a chicken dish, needed juice, wheat flour and a few other baking supplies, as well as my usual staples (milk, bananas, eggs). This is what all I got for $50.25:

1.5 lbs top round
1 lb chicken breasts
1/2 gal orange juice
1/2 gal cranberry-apple juice
dozen eggs
bacon (1 pkg)
10 oz pearl onions (sadly not frozen so I have to figure out how to peal them)
bag of 50/50 baby spinach/lettuce
16 oz mushrooms
2 - half gallons of Breyer's ice cream (one ff and the other 1/2 fat)
Jewel-brand chocolate Fiber One bars (they may even be called that ;)
whole wheat flour
ground flax meal
1 gal skim milk

This weekend, I plan to make:

Burger smothered with mushrooms and cheese - dinner tonight!
Beef Burgundy (Cooking Light Slowcooker Book)
Honey Oat Quickbread
Chicken with Dried Plums
Salad w/dried cherries + mushrooms

The above should keep me busy and provide plenty of leftovers for the coming week!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Easy Apricot Glazed Chicken

I'm cheating by reposting an old recipe with a picture. This recipe is a simple but yummy way to jazz up baked chicken. To the original recipe, available here, I added a red onion and a hint of crushed red pepper. I also omitted the orange peel. The pan drippings are tasty, so I recommend serving with a grain that will soak up the sauce such as rice or pasta.


2/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 red onion, 1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
2-3 lbs chicken pieces (I used three leg/thigh pieces)

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Whisk together, apricot preserves, vinegar, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper.

3. Lay chicken in a single layer in a 9 x 13" baking pan. Place onion quarters between and around the chicken. Brush about half of the sauce over chicken.

4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

5. Turn chicken and baste with remaining sauce.

6. Continue cooking another 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Serves 4.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Garlic Alfredo with Ham and Veggies

This recipe was inspired by a desire to use multiple items in my fridge before they went bad. I had roasted zucchini, defrosted mustard-sugar-glazed ham, and a gallon of milk that I wasn't going to finish separately. I turned to my reliable light alfredo sauce but thought it tasted a little bland, so I added a little garlic powder. You could use whatever veggies and meat you have on hand.



3 c vegetables (asparagus, zucchini, peppers, carrots), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 c cooked meat (ham or chicken)
1 lb whole wheat pasta
3 c milk
3 tbs butter
3 tbs all purpose flour
1.5 c shredded parmesan
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil, dried
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper, fresh ground


1. Roast the veggies toasted in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes until tender. Certain veggies like zucchini could also be broiled for 10 minutes. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces,


2. To prepare the sauce, melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and simmer until thickened. Add salt, pepper, garlic, basil, and cheese. Continue stirring and cooking until cheese is melted. Adjust seasoning, as desired and keep warm.


3. Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to the package instructions. Drain and return to pot.


4. Combine sauce, veggies, meat, and pasta in stock pan over low heat until everything is heated through.

Serves 6


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter or Double Chocolate Cookies

Back when hard drive space did not seem so limitless, before my enormous binder/page protector collection, and before this blog, I used to paste recipes I found into a composition book. This recipe is adapted from one entitled "Double Chocolate Chip Cookies presented by Huber's Ferry Bed and Breakfast." I have no idea where Huber's Ferry B&B is or where I came across this recipe, but the result (with a few modifications, of course) sure is yummy. Having bought peanut butter chips for a song, I was looking for a recipe that used cocoa powder and this one fit the bill. I made half of the batch using milk chocolate chips and half using the peanut butter chips. Initially, the peanut butter were my favorite, but about a half dozen cookies later, it's a tasty draw. I baked these on Saturday to mail to my husband and take to friends I was visiting, but it was very hard to say goodbye to them.


2.25 c all purpose flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 c brown sugar, firmly packed (I used 1/2 c light brown and 1/4 c dark)
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 c butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg + 2 egg whites
2 c chips (milk, semisweet, peanut butter)
1 c pecans, roughly chopped and toasted

Mix flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.

Cream sugars and butter together. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.

Combine wet into dry ingredients. Stir in chips and toasted nuts gently.

Cover and chill dough for 45 minutes to an hour.

In a 375 degree oven, on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicon mat bake 10-12 minutes until edges are firm.

Cool for a minute on cookie sheet, then move to rack.

Makes 3-4 dozen 2" cookies.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cookies mailed

I absolutely love this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cherries and Pecans. This time I took pictures before eating (and packing them off to my husband), so I went back and updated this picture originally posted last year. That picture is a little sad because there were so few cookies left.


A few modifications were made this time--not sure if they are suggested by the recipe and usually skipped in haste or whether these were inspiration of my own. (1) I toasted the pecans. (2) Used granulated sugar instead of brown (this switch was definitely because I was skimming the recipe. (3) I refrigerated the dough for at least 45 minutes.

I only had about a half dozen leftover (wouldn't fit in the mailing box) to take to work and they went fast. Yum!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sage Parmesan Pork Chops

This fantastic dish was almost entirely unplanned. I had a fancier breaded version with honey mustard and sage in mind when I bought the chops, but somehow failed to get bread crumbs. I'm not sure if the pork chops (from Trader Joe's) were extra juicy as well or it was the recipe alone, but again may I say it was delicious. I neglected to take pictures, but my auntie was kind enough to make the dish for lunch and take a picture. I'm happy she liked it too. 


Two 1" pork chops, bone-in
1 tbs fresh sage, chopped finely
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt, pepper, olive oil

Rub pork on both sides with sage, sprinkle of salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Broil about 5 min, until browning begins to occur. Flip and cover with shredded cheese. 

Continue broiling until desired degree of doneness is achieved. (As many of you have noticed from your finer restaurants, pork may now be safely served "medium" with a touch of pink. I'm assuming that's to 165 degrees, but am not sure.)

Serves two. 

Easter Cards

These cards were made from the leftovers of the floral paper I used to make the apron cards and carried the stitching idea. The bunny is a Sizzix die cut from a multi-occasion pack. The flowers are made with random punches that I had. Clearly, I need to invest in embroidery floss as the white thread gets a tad lost. nonetheless, these guys are cute enough.




Monday, March 1, 2010

Apron Cards

I may retake these pictures as the colors were really washed out by the flash. I heard someone mention a "natural light" lamp that they use for youtube video-making, so I may look into something like that. Even though I finished these cards yesterday, I didn't take pictures until long after the sun went down. This card is adapted from a template found in Papercraft Inspirations Issue 69 (January 2010) with a download here of the apron. The egg-shaped letters were punched using a sizzix die. I did the stitching by hand, although the mag contemplates use of a sewing machine. One card is more three-dimensional as I used thicker foam tape more liberally than on the other.




Gnocchi with Sage and Brown Butter Sauce

This recipe was modified from Martha's recipe available here. Her recipe called for lemon zest and less flour and sage. I love sage, so used about double. I consulted this one, which gave me the idea of additional flour and freezing the leftovers. From the latter recipe, there is also a link gives closeup shots of shaping which might have been useful to check out before I began. Nonetheless, my result was most tasty. Please note that the sauce recipe only made enough for the half batch I didn't freeze. If you are using the whole recipe, double the sauce or better yet, serve with multiple sauce options.


2 - 3 cups cold mashed potatoes (Mine were garlic mashed)
1 large egg
3 Tbs olive oil
2 c flour

Sage and Brown Butter Sauce
1/4 c fresh sage leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 c shredded parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cover a cookie sheet or other large flat surface with parchment paper to set the gnocchi on while you're waiting for the water.

2. Combine mashed potatoes, egg, olive, oil and 1 c flour. If your mashed potatoes are chunky like mine, you may wish to put them through a ricer first. Continue adding flour until the dough is dough-like and not too sticky.

3. Turn dough onto a floured work surface. Divide into 4 portions. Roll each quarter into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. (My work surface was small, so I actually did 1/8 of the dough at a time). Cut into 3/4 inch pieces.

4. Press each piece with the back of a fork. Then turn the edges together making a crease in the the back. Most recipes call for bending each piece that has been pressed into a C shape, but I had difficulty with that. The bottom line is that you want a shape that is pleasing to look at while you eat.

5. Drop into boiling salted water. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon. (My pot of water fit about 1/8th of a batch at a time. Remove with a slotted spoon. I periodically added more salt to the water, but that may not be necessary.)

6. Drain in a colander with cold water.

7. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to brown.

8. Add sage leaves and pepper. Cook until sage is wilted.

9. Add gnocchi to pan and continue cooking until sage is crisp and gnocchi is heated through. The gnocchi may begin to brown, which is okay.

10. Serve with parmesan cheese.


Makes 6 to 8 servings. Alternative sauce choices include a tomato sauce, bolognese, or any other pasta sauce.