Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Classic Lasagna

1.25 pounds 95% lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed

2 15 ounce cans Hunts tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
about 1 teaspoon of basil
fresh, chopped parsley
garlic powder
black pepper to taste
splash of cooking sherry
about 1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of oregano or Italian seasoning

1 15 ounce container of part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
chopped fresh parsley
dash of nutmeg
dash of black pepper

3 cups of pizza blend shredded cheese (mozzarella and provolone)
grated Romano cheese

8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained per directions

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Brown meat in a large skillet, and add in onion and garlic.  Cook till softened.  Add in tomato sauce, and season with ingredients listed. Simmer sauce about 1/2 hour.   Adjust to taste.  Meanwhile, beat the egg, add the ricotta, and seasons.  Set aside.  Boil noodles, and drain.  To assemble - spray a  15 x 10 pan, then put a few spoons of sauce on the bottom.  Layer 3 noodles.  Use 1/3 of the ricotta, then 1 cup of mozzarella, and sprinkle with Romano cheese.  Top with about 1/3 of sauce mixture.  Layer two more times.  Cover the casserole with tin foil, and bake at 350 degrees for  30-45 minutes, or till hot and bubbly.

Butternut Squash and Turkey Sausage Soup

1 pound of mild Turkey sausage links, casings removed
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 red or orange pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 20 ounce package of cut butternut squash (Wegmans), cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 package (8 ounces) of frozen corn
5-6 cups of chicken broth (I use Swanson's lower sodium, low fat)
1 can of Hunts fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained
1 can of Northern beans, 15 ounces, rinsed
1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed and chopped.  (I de-stem, too)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
about 1/2 teaspoon of basil and thyme
a few dashes of hot sauce
minced fresh parsley

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil, and cook and crumble sausage.  Add in onion, diced pepper,  and garlic, and cook till soft.  Add in butternut squash, and then when things start to stick, pour in the broth, and then the other ingredients and spices.  Simmer of low for about 1/2 hour, or till squash is tender.  Add more broth if necessary.  Serve with grated Romano cheese.

This soup can easily be adapted and changed to ingredients on hand.  If you want more of a Mexican flavor, omit the basil and thyme, and season with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder.  Substitute fresh cilantro for the parsley.  You could top with some crushed corn chips, and a Mexican blend cheese, too!

This soup was wonderful on a cold winter night!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Turkey Sausage, Lentil, and Kale Soup

1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound of turkey sausage, remove casings
4 cloves of garlic
2 bayleaves
1 onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, diced finely
1 bunch Kale, or a half a large bunch, de-stemmed, and chopped [spinach would also be good]
1/2 cup red wine
8 cups of chicken broth (Swanson's no fat, less salt)
1 8 ounce can of Hunt's tomato sauce
1 and 1/4 cup of lentils
salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and basil to taste
1 cup of DeCecco  farfelline dry (cooked and rinsed)
Pecorino Romano

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil.  Remove sausage casings, add to hot oil, break up and brown.  I put the onion and carrot in chunks in a food processor, and pulsed till finely diced.  Add the garlic cloves to this mixture, or press the garlic.  Saute' with the sausage till soft.  Add bayleaves, spices, and red wine.  Reduce slightly.  Add the tomato sauce and stir for a minute or two.  Adjust spices to taste, and add a dash of cayenne or chili powder (I did by accident, and it was good!).  Pour in the 8 cups of chicken broth or stock, and add the lentils.  Simmer.  Wash and chop the kale, and add that, too.  Simmer till lentils are cooked - about 30 minutes.  After soup has simmered about 15 minutes, boil water, and cook 1 cup of farfelline pasta (little bows).  You can use any small pasta, like elbows or shells, too.  Rinse and add to the soup when it is almost done.  Garnish with freshly chopped Italian parsley and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  I served the soup with garlic breadsticks, and a tossed green salad.  Remove the bayleaves before serving.