October 12, 2009

Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

Posted in Pasta: baked tagged , , , , at 10:26 pm by jenniec00ks

food 005Finally!  The weather in Atlanta is super chilly and I need to use my heater, aka my oven!  So I made this super easy 9″x9″ lasagna that makes ~3 large portions.  It’s currently meat-less because I didn’t have any cooked chicken on hand this week.  I think it would easily feed 4-5 if some shredded chicken meat was added (just buy a rotisserie from the store, shred ~2 cups your favorite parts, I like a combination of white/dark meat.)

This is similar to my garlic alfredo recipe from a while back, but even easier, if you can imagine.  In a nutshell, this is mushrooms, frozen spinach, milk, cheese, and pasta.  But here’s a more exact recipe for those who don’t have much luck tossing arbitrary amounts of food in a pot 😉

Ingredients:

2.5 cups of milk
12 oz. mushrooms, white or cremini, washed & sliced
1 cup of your favorite white cheese shredded (parm, romano, asagio, mozz)
1 box frozen spinach
6 lasagna noodles, I used the wider (~4.5 inches) no-boil kind.  If you only have the traditional kind, go ahead and boil 6-7 according to the time on the box.
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter, your choice.  I used 1 tbsp of each.
2 tbsp all-purpose white flour
Salt, pepper, nutmeg

1. Cook the spinach in the microwave per the box instructions.  Drain as best you can. Doesn’t have to be bone dry, no worries.

2. Mince the garlic and set aside to have ready.

3. Start heating your choice of fat (olive oil/butter) over medium heat in a saucepan (pot).

4. While your pot is warming up, slice up the mushrooms.  Drop them in after you’ve chopped a few so that they don’t have the chance to turn pink.

5. After all the mushrooms are in, toss the garlic in on top.  Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened and there’s quite a bit of liquid in the pot.

6. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of flour to the pot and stir.  It should absorb all of the liquid in the bottom of the pot and make the mushrooms sort of sticky.  Add a dash more if necessary.

7. Turn the heat up to medium high, and pour in the 2.5 cups of milk while stirring gently.

8. Stir until it boils, then turn the heat back down to medium and let simmer until it thickens a bit.  During all this stirring, season with a tsp of salt, pepper to taste, and dash of nutmeg.  Be careful, nutmeg can be overpowering.

9. Add 3/4 cups of cheese to the sauce and turn the heat off once it melts.

10. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of 9″x9″ pan, then 2 lasagna noodles.  If you have the narrower kind that you have to boil first, then you’ll probably need to tear them up to fit 2 in one layer.

11. Add a layer of sauce, then noodles, and repeat 2 more times.

12. Sprinkle the last 1/4 cup of shredded cheese on the top.

13. Bake in a preheated 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 35 minutes or until bubbly and brown.

Y’all enjoyyyyyyy!  ❤ Jennie

August 13, 2009

Turkey and/or Veggie Lasagna in Photos

Posted in Pasta: baked tagged , , , , , at 9:09 pm by jenniec00ks

lasagna 047Phew.  I am blogging my butt off, and I have a BAJILLION pictures of this recipe.  So might as well take advantage of it, this will be a follow the pictures kind of recipe.  I did a turkey AND veggie lasagna, so my 9″x9″ dish was filled to the brim.  I was originally going to do 2 smaller lasagnas, but then I realized I cooked the turkey before the veggies, and therefore contaminated the pot and decided to throw it all together.

Ingredients:

9 x 9 inch glass dish (9×13 would prob work, may need a lil more sauce)
1 box lasagna noodles (9-12, bake/no bake, up to you)
1/2 lb turkey
1 bell pepper (any color will do)
6-7 large mushrooms quartered, ~8 oz.
S&P to taste
5 cloves garlic
3/4 jar (~20 oz) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup diced onion (or whatever you have around)
1 small container ricotta (15 oz? sorry it’s been a while)
1 large egg
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian white cheese blend*

* Don’t get the 2% or fat-free cheese, it just WON’T MELT!!  >O

Brown the turkey.

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For the vegetarians, cut the bell pepper (click for a link to my new basics posts to keep recipes shorter) and mushrooms into large chunks & dice the onion.

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Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and toss the bell peppers in for a minute or two to give them a head start.  Then toss the mushrooms in and saute them for 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.

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With that extra room on the cutting board, finely dice the 5 cloves of garlic and add them to the pot.  Just as a refresher since I haven’t posted a garlic mincing basic – pull the cloves apart and lay them on your board.  Lay the knife flat on top of each and give the knife (not the blade side) a good whack with your fist.  Then you should be able to pull the paper right off.

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(Click the photos for a larger image.)

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Add it to the pot and give it a stir for a 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant.  Then add about 2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce (3/4 of a 24 oz. jar), sorry this amount isn’t more precise.  Also stir in the onions and cover the pan so the sauce can simmer and soften the onions.

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Time to boil the noodles and drain them according to the package.  Or you can skip this step by buying those no-bake ones – so long as you’ve got enough sauce, the no-bake ones are great because they save time, energy AND a pot while not missing any flavor.

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Last step is to beat the egg and ricotta together in a bowl – you can throw in any grated parmesean cheese for extra flavor if you’ve got it around.  Make sure this layer is mixed well!

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Finally, the layering.  Well, better get your oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit right about now.  We’re going to do pasta, ricotta, sauce, shredded cheese.  But we’re actually going to start with an exception, and put an extra layer of sauce on the bottom.  Some say to do it to prevent sticking, but it’s pretty much required if you’re using the no-bake noodles.  If you’ve got boiled noodles, I think it’s optional.

lasagna 033 Sauce at the bottom, still piping hot!

lasagna 034Noodle layer and half of the ricotta/egg mixture.  Don’t need to spread it all that evenly, it will melt in the oven and make a nice layer.

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Sauce, again.  I had veggies + meat in the sauce, but you might want just one or the other.lasagna 037Shredded cheese!

Then we do it again, but use up all the ricotta you’ve got left.

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Then the final layer of pasta, sauce, and shredded cheese for the topping:

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Pop this heavy sucker into the oven for ~45 minutes (uncovered!) or until the cheese is golden brown.  I put it on a foiled sheet pan in case anything boiled over, it didn’t mess up the oven.

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w00t! Golden brown! Time to eat!

April 23, 2009

Mushroom & Arugula Pasta

Posted in Pasta: stovetop tagged , , at 11:24 pm by jenniec00ks

So tonight I was really hungry and not feeling so well, so I wanted something comforting that wasn’t *too* fattening.  Comfort food is a personal thing, and I happen to love mushrooms and bright lemony greens.  So I dropped by the Whole Foods (they say sad people spend more) and headed straight for the produce section.  I thought about some hen of the woods and oyster mushrooms as they’re some of my favorite wild mushrooms, but at $25 and $17 a pound…I just couldn’t bring myself to splurge that much.  So I picked up some nice looking white buttons, creminis (baby portobellos), and one big daddy portobello.  Not terribly exotic, but still delicious and only ran me a couple bucks for about a 1/2lb of mushrooms.  Now for the fresh greens, I settled on baby arugula since I had never tried it before.

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The finished product!

I didn’t take pictures while experimenting because I was super hungry, but next time.  I will definitely be making this again.  Here’s the recipe for now (it makes 2 servings and didn’t take more than 20ish minutes).

Ingredients:

1 lemon

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/2 a bag of baby arugula (~2.5 oz)

1/2 lb of your favorite mushrooms

1/2 lb long pasta (I used linguine, bucatini/fettuccine/spaghetti work too)

1/2 cup of half & half

1/4 cup of white wine (I use a sauvignon blanc)

1/4 cup of the delicious EVOO for dressing the arugala & 2 tablespoons of any ‘ole olive oil for sauteeing.

Instructions:

0.  Zest (again w/ the microplane) & juice (watch out for the seeds!) the lemon, and add it to the 1/4 cup of the good EVOO.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste then set it aside.

1.  Start a pan warming up with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Also start a pot of water over high heat for the pasta.

2.  Rinse & thickly slice (think rough chop if you’ve got odd shapes) all the mushrooms.  Then put them in the pan for ~10 minutes stirring occasionally.

3.  When the water boils, put the pasta in for however long the box says.  My linguine took ~13 minutes for al dente.

4.  The mushrooms should be very dark and soft after 10 minutes, then add the white wine.

5.  When most the wine has been absorbed/evaporated, add the half & half and STIR gently, frequently.   You don’t want a film to form over the half & half.  Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes and add salt, pepper, and a dash or two of dried thyme.

6.  OPTIONAL STEP: Strain the zest from the lemon/olive oil mixture.  This is optional because it takes a pretty fine mesh to catch zest.

7.  Toss the arugula with the lemon/olive oil mixture you made in step 0.  You can eat it as a side dish or fold it in to the hot pasta to wilt it a little.  I wilted mine in for the first helping, but was too anxious the second time around and ate it walking back from the kitchen.

Enjoy!!  And I count from 0 because it’s logical to me, afterall arrays are indexed starting with 0.  🙂