Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where Oh Where Is My Lasagna Recipe?

Have you every lost a very favorite recipe and searched high and low and it was nowhere to be found?  I have and it is so frustrating.  I have a very bad habit.  Instead of putting the recipe back where I got it after using it, I will set it beside the computer while I write up a post or stick it inside whatever cookbook is open and use it as a bookmark....bad, bad, thing to do.  I am assuming that is what I did...I have done it before so it seemed like history would repeat itself.

I wanted to make lasagna.  I had my heart set on making it, so needless to say I was willing to do anything to find it....even if that meant pulling out piles of magazines.....

and newspaper clippings and pages that I had printed off...

It was time to sort through everything or there would be no dinner.  Well, all of the hours of work sorting were to no avail.  What to do?  I remembered sharing the recipe with my daughter.  Nope, she didn't have it but maybe her husband did...but they were on vacation in Hawaii.  Dinner was looking like a dream.

There is a happy ending to this story.  My SIL had it on his computer...he sorted through his emails and  forwarded the recipe to was a forward of the forward that he sent when I lost the recipe a year or so ago.  Thank you, Kevin!!  I will find my has become a quest.  But there would be lasagna for dinner!

Kate's Lasagna

1 pkg frozen cut leaf spinach
8-10 lasagna noodles
1 to 1.5 lb ground beef
1/2 lb mild Italian sausage
1 onion
2 lrg clove garlic
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 cup water (or red wine)
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
dash of pepper
1 egg
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmesan shredded + 1/2 cup more for top
3/4 cup mozzarella > 1 lb mozzarella grated

Cook spinach per directions until thawed.
Cook noddles.

In large skillet brown ground beef, sausage, chopped onion, crushed garlic; drain fat. Reduce heat. Add tomato sauce, paste, water/wine, stir until smooth. Add mushrooms.  Stir in seasonings. Simmer 20 minutes.

In a bowl mix spinach, egg, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese + 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Pour 1/2 of meat sauce into a 9x13-inch pan. Cover w/layer of noodles. Spread spinach-cheese mixture over noodles.

Add another layer of noodles, then remaining meat sauce, remaining mozzarella, plus
another 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan.

Sprinkle top with parsley. 
Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes 
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


The lasagna was delicious.  I made it and I was the only one home!  Everybody had somewhere else to didn't matter.  My SIL saved the day and I got to eat lasagna!  I shared with the neighbors as one cannot eat lasagna alone.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

One can never have too much pumpkin...and why do I continue to buy the large cans?  I think my mom has me brainwashed...from youth!  To date I have made, Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake, All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake, Pumpkin Bread, and today, Pumpkin Cupcakes!  I have pumpkin left...well, of course I would, I bought the big can.  So as not to waste, I will be making pumpkin pancakes (I have seen them popping up on all of the blogs.) and Pumpkin Gorganzola Flans.  That is the past and the future...let's talk cupcakes!

I have stumbled upon a winner!  I am not ready to give up pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving but these cupcakes are delightful.  They are light and moist with just the right amount of sweetness and spice.  The Maple Cream Cheese Frosting is a perfect match.  This definitely is a keeper.  The only change that I made was in regard to the English Toffee pieces that were suggested for the topping.  I didn't have any on hand so I used Cacaco Nibs.  I know that I liked the subtlety of the nibs as opposed to the sweetness of the toffee.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Ina Garten, House Beautiful

Yield:  10 cupcakes
Preheat oven: 350°

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Cacao Nibs (for decoration)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 10 paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely. (I removed them from the muffin tin, without casualities, to cool.)

4. Frost the cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with cacao nibs.

Maple Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Maple flavoring
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add confectioner's sugar and mix until smooth.


I played in the frosting today.  I just had to try out using the pastry bag and squirt this wonderful tasty frosting on top of the cupcakes.  I tried different tips to see the results of each.  I learned that one can get quite a bit of frosting on top of a cupcake but with varying results.  It was fun.

I think I am going to need another batch of these for next week.  They are too good not to share.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Potatoes Gratin (pommes dauphinois)

To accompany the wonderful Roasted Chicken for Les Paresseux last week, I also make potato gratin (pommes dauphinois).  I adore gratins.  They are truly comfort food.  Yes, they are rich.  Yes, I know that there are more calories in one bite than my entire breakfast and lunch put together!  (Well, maybe I exaggerate...)  I cannot think of a better calorie or better combination than the roasted chicken and the potato gratin.  It was a superb meal.

There were layers and layers of potatoes.  A ladle of creamy goodness was poured over each layer of potatoes.  I added a bit of thyme to each layer as I worked.  The creamy garlic infused goodness made its way between every slice of potato!

I will make the gratin potatoes again with one adjustment.  I will cut back on the garlic.  Or, I will try straining the cream to remove the garlic.  I like garlic in moderation and for me, less is more.  You see I cannot be content waiting to eat leftover gratin potatoes until the next night's dinner...I like them for breakfast the next day! 

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Around My French Table, which has received quite a bit of mention and numerous recommendations.  I am so glad that I have it in my cookbook library!

  Delicious food!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lucerne, Switzerland and Cheese Fondue

Our incredible trip down the Rhine River started with a three day stay in Lucerne, Switzerland.  the Chapel Bridge was constructed during the first half of the 14th century as part of the city's fortifications.  The Water Tower was built around 1300 as part of the city wall.  It has been used as archives, treasury, prison and torture chamber!

"The dying Lion of Lucerne" was cut from natural rock in memory of the heroic death of the Swiss mercenaries at the Tuileries in 1792.  It is one of the most moving monuments I have ever seen.

I was fascinated by all of the colorful window boxes!

We were very fortunate to be able to attend the performance of Sommernachts-Traum (A Midsummer Night's Dream) at the Luzerner Theatre.  It was an opera/ballet.  Our friends just happened to know one of the opera singers and she got us tickets!  How lucky was that!   The ballet interpretation was of a more modern style.  It was a fabulous performance.

The next day we were fortunate to be invited to her home for fondue!

The cheese fondue recipe will be shared in an upcoming post!

It rained heavily the next day but we were able to quickly browse the market.

Beautiful vegetables...

Beautiful fruits...

Even in the rain, I was in love with the cookies!!

It is Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer.  Thank you, Susan, for being our wonderful hostess each Wednesday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

Last week I posted on my Facebook page that I was making Roast Chicken Les Paresseux.  My cousin's daughter responded by saying, " Les Paresseux...what is that?  Because in French that means the lazy, like a lazy person.  LOL"  She was right this is the perfect recipe for somebody who wants a great meal but is feeling lazy!  Lazy people benefit from this delicious dish.  You put the chicken the oven, wait the designated time and take it out.  How easy is that?

The chicken is cooked at a very high heat (450°).  One would think that the chicken would burn but, no, it does not!  You place the chicken on a thick slice of bread and pour a bit of wine on the bottom of the pan.  Dorie suggests keeping the piece of bread to one's self.  I shared...grudingly.  Yes, I know that every calorie that was in the pan was in my bite of the bread...was it worth it, oh, yes! 

I must admit that my pictures are not the best...but we had do you keep company waiting while you try to take a picture?  Who has mastered that one?

What the chicken lacks in makes up for in flavor!  This was delicious and a keeper!

I am participating in French Fridays with Dorie.  We are cooking our way through her new cookbook, Around My French Table.  If you love to cook, you may wish to add this book to your Christmas list...or your "just because" list.  It is well worth it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

After making two pumpkin cakes, it doesn't see quite right to make pumpkin bread, also.  Maybe a bit of calorie overload?  Since the scales are still in my favor, I decided to just do it!  I have used this particular pumpkin bread recipe for close to forty years.  I got it from a gal when I was in college.  I have never found one that is better than this.  The bread is moist and tasty.  Just great to enjoy in the morning...well, afternoon, well, evening...actually, anytime!!

So, while I enjoy my coffee and a slice of pumpkin bread, I will share the recipe with you.

Pumpkin Bread

Yield:  2 loaves
Preheat Oven:  350°
Bake:  1 hour and 15 minutes

2 cups pumpkin
4 eggs
2/3 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp soda
2/3 cup water

Cream the first four ingredients. 
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture alternately with the water.
Pour into desired loaf pans. 


I love the fall and the wonderful foods!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Waste That Pumpkin!! Make an All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake!

It wasn't in me to waste the pumpkin that was left from yesterday's bundt cake.  I only had a large can on hand and was determined to bake so I had quite a bit leftover.   The Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt didn't last long so I could see no reason that I shouldn't make another!

I found a recipe for an All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake!  Wow...pumpkin, apples, pecans, cranberries, maple glaze...what's not to like?  Those ingredients are the highlight of fall from my point of view.  The recipe was in Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Baking From My Home to Yours.  It is a fabulous collection of great things to bake.  If it is not in your library, you might want to take a look.  If it is in your library you have probably already made this delicious cake.

All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 cup cranberries, halved or coarsely chopped (I used Craisins instead for extra sweetness)
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- to 10- inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. Don’t place the pan on a baking sheet-you want the oven’s heat to circulate freely through the Bundt’s inner tube.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and ground ginger, if you’re using it (not the grated ginger).

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the pumpkin, chopped apple and grated ginger, if you’re using it-don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries and pecans. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, then cool to room temperature on the rack.

Just before bringing the cake to the table, dust it with confectioners’ sugar.

Dorie suggests that whipping cream flavored with maple or a maple glaze might be nice.  She is right.  I made a maple glaze and it was a wonderful touch.

This was delightful.  I love the little crunch of the pecans and the surprise of the cranberry or apple!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Last week I was visiting Sarah's blog, All Our Fingers in the Pie, and found a recipe that she had posted earlier in the month.  Having just gotten home from our Rhine River cruise I was anxious to start cooking and knew it had to be something that said it is "fall".  Her Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake did just that!   She said that the cake was delicate and light...she was right.  This is a very nice cake.  Just perfect for a cool day and a cup of tea or coffee.

The tough part for me is going to be finding the restraint to keep from eating the whole thing!  The recipe is here at Sarah's blog.  Take a look.  I know that she would love to have you visit.  She is always cooking up delightful things to share.

The only thing that I did differently is that I sprinkled some sanding sugar on the glaze.  I haven't decided if that was a good thing or better left for something else.  The cake is delicious and that is all that matters!!