We had some neighbors over for dinner tonight. I tried to keep it simple – lasagna, salad, and garlic bread. I also made salmon dip as an appetizer. One of my neighbors brought stuffed mushrooms – they were yummy! I am going to ask him for the recipe.
My new next door neighbors brought apple pie and lemon bars. We love her apple pie. There isn’t much that tops a homemade apple pie. When they first moved in, they brought us a pie – Hubby and my oldest love the pie and were so excited for dessert. The lemon bars were made by her husband, and they went over as well. Both tart and sweet, the lemon bars made my kids think of summer.
I wish I were better making desserts – someone said the other day that I do better just throwing ingredients together, but I think it is that I don’t feel I have the ability to make up my own desserts, like I can with other foods.
The lasagna I made was sort of my own creation. I looked at recipes, and then just combined lasagnay (is that even a word?) ingredients that I like together. I think it worked well. I used three kinds of cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta. I used to mix ricotta and cottage cheese, but I feel that it made my lasagna to liquidy. I also used to use fresh mozzarella, but with the same liquidy result. I did make my own sauce – a traditional marinara recipe that I found both in a Giada cookbook and in one of my many Italian pasta cookbooks. I really like this recipe, as it is easy, flavorful, not heavy, and fresh tasting. I think it is the san marzano tomatoes. I also cooked my lasagna in my brand new lasagna pan – it worked great! I love cooking tools. They are so fun.
This was the first time I used no-boil noodles. I loved them!!!! I will be using them again and again and again. They are my new best friend. Using this sauce recipe was very good in the lasagna. It was a light almost summery tasting sauce that wasn't at all heavy with the rest of the ingredients. In fact, I think the sauce helped bring out the rest of the flavors and didn't weigh down the meal.
Following is my lasagna recipe. I have put measurements where I knew the amount. I didn’t put a measurement for cheese as some like cheese more than others. For the cheese, use your own discretion.
Three – Cheese Lasagna
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork or Italian sausage
Salt and pepper
Marinara sauce – click on link for recipe. I made and used a single batch.
2 8 oz containers ricotta cheese
1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese – shredded
Mozzarella cheese – shredded
1 ½ package no-boil lasagna noodles – I used a lasagna pan which is larger than a 9 x 13 pan. I also made 4 layers instead of 3.
Make marinara sauce. While sauce is simmering, cook meat and sausage, season lightly with salt and pepper. Drain and set aside. After sauce is complete, allow to cool for a bit.
Combine ricotta, some mozzarella, and some parmesan with parsley. Mix and set aside.
Combine some parmesan and mozzarella in a bowl. Set aside.
Set up an assembly line with the sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture, meat, and cheese mixture.
Start with sauce and spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of pan.
Add one layer of noodles.
Add one-third of ricotta mixture.
Add one-third of the meat mixture.
Add one-fourth of sauce
Add one-fourth of the cheese mixture
Repeat two more times. To the top layer add the rest of the sauce and top with rest of cheese mixture. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes and serve with salad, garlic bread, drinks of your choice and good friends. Enjoy!!
I got the mushroom recipe from my neighbor and I am going to post it here, but I have no pictures. I will take some pictures once I make it. Enjoy!!! It really is a great appetizer!
Mushrooms stuffed with bacon, spinach and blue cheese
Roasted Mushroom Caps
24 large mushrooms, stems and caps separated and washed
2 tbsp olive oil
6 ounces bacon(@6 slices), cut crossways into ¼ in. strips
½ med. Red onion
1 lg. clove garlic
6 oz. fresh baby spinach, washed/stems removed
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
3 tbsp ricotta cheese
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Heat to 450.
Toss mushrooms with olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. Arrange caps, gill side down, in single layer on roasting pan with stems alongside. Roast until mushrooms have released some juice and are brown around edges, about 12 to 15 min. Remove pan from oven and flip the caps. Continue to roast until all liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are brown, about 5 to 10 minutes longer.
Remove pan, readjust rack to center position and remove stems from pan to a bowl. Leave oven at 450.
Meanwhile, fry bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Leave 1 tbsp of oil in pan and cook onion until soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until completely wilted. Remove contents from pan and cool for 10 min.
Transfrer spinach mixture to food processor with bread crumbs, ricotta, 1 oz of blue cheese and roasted mushroom stems. Process to a chunky puree. Combine puree with bacon bits in a bowl and fill each mushroom cap with a heaping teaspoon. Top each with a bit of remaining blue cheese.
Roast stuffed mushrooms until cheese is melted and filling is hot, about 8 minutes. Serve warm with Daiquiris, Amber beer and Crown Royal(mixed or on the rocks).