"Bachelorette Lasagna"


I know you all have lasagna recipes that have been handed down for centuries, from Italian Nanas who spent years perfecting their sauces…..I totally appreciate that. But, I am a Swede. I have maybe 3 recipes from my mother and I doubt they were heirlooms. I did not have a family who labored over beautiful meals to celebrate any of life’s accomplishments. I also know that this is pretty common.

One thing that I perfected a long time ago was lasagna. An easy, crowd pleasing, and filling pan of lasagna! I will admit my version is a tad “trashy”, but I like to live on both sides of the road…I am an enigma, wrapped in a quesadilla, dipped in caramel sauce!!!

I cooked this Lasagna for one of my Bestie’s bachelorette party dinner, as you know, you are required to eat mass quantities of carbohydrates before you drown yourself in Apple-tinis. I just received a request for this recipe, so I thought – what a great time to share it. I do not have a photo of the lasagna, I DO, however, have a photo of us that night……enjoy!

Ingredients
No-Cook Lasagna Noodles (these things are gold)
Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Sliced olives – the medium can
Ricotta cheese (one container)
Italian blend cheese ( 2 cups)
Medium onion
1 egg
1 lb ground turkey, chicken or beef

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Brown the meat. Sauté the onions then add to meat. Add spaghetti sauce and olives – let simmer. In a different bowl, whip the egg slightly, add the cheese & ricotta until well blended. Spray a 9×13 Glass or metal pan. Put a layer of tomato sauce, layer of cheese, then noodles. Sauce, cheese, noodles, and repeat until you finish with a final layer of cheese. You can add extra cheese on the top if you like(I Like). Cover with foil and pop in the oven for 40 minutes, then take the foil off and pop back in for about 10 minutes or until it starts to brown up a bit – not too brown!! Take out and let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Have fun with spices and different types of spaghetti sauces – there are some amazing gourmet sauces out there. I always get awesome reviews on this lasagna! It is even better the next day re-warmed. Happy cooking!

Meatballs in Peanut Sauce

It is so funny what comfort food is to different people. Everyone has their own favorite. For some it is good ole mac n cheese, for others it is stew or a pot roast. A food that brings back floods of memories are meatballs. I simply love them. My brother and I were mostly on our own as kids from after school often through the dinner hour and we cooked our own dinners in grade school. Don’t drop your jaw, it was the 70’s and early 80’s, babysitters were for rich people, which we were not. The internet had not yet told parents that they suck if they don’t put their kids in helmets and wait at the bus stop until they are 15. Yes, we even drank from the hose….call the cops!

I digress….one of the things mom taught me to cook was meatballs. I would be so excited that I was cooking dinner! My recipe was ground beef, salt and pepper, minced onions (dried), garlic powder, a piece of bread pinched apart into little pieces, mush it together, put oil in the pie tin, make meat balls and cook at 350 until Mom gets home. I always put too much salt in it. I loved salt then, and am passionate about it to this day.

Well, obviously we cannot eat that anymore…it is horribly bad for you!! So here is my new and improved meatball recipe…this one’s for you Momma!!

Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Sauce over Brown Rice
A Miss-ipe

Meatballs:
1 package ground turkey breast
2 tbsp minced garlic
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix all of this together, spray an 9×9 inch ceramic or glass dish. make about 16 meatballs – preheat oven to 350

Peanut Sauce:

1 1/4 cups fat free half and half (I LOVE this stuff)
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup salsa or sweet chile sauce

Mix in saucepan over medium high heat until all mixed and starts to lightly boil. Pour over the meatballs, cover with foil and pop into oven for 30 -40 minutes (keep checking in the last 10 minutes, I like to make sure the meat is done!

Make long grain brown rice while this cooks. Serve a fluffy pile of rice with meatballs on top and drizzled with sauce from pan. De-freaking-LISHUS!!!

Coconut Cake with Butter Cream Frosting…..and some notes!

Hi! Here is the recipe for the cake we made yesterday. For the LIFE of us we could not get the butter cream frosting to work. Two tries and 16 egg whites later we had to throw in the towel. We are NOT giving up on Butter cream Frosting….Do YOU have a good recipe?

The cake on this recipe is DIVINE! Truly one of the most delicious cakes I have tasted. For the frosting we ended up using a pre-made frosting that was in the pantry. We added some coconut extract. Also between the layers we added some shredded coconut on top of the frosting before putting another layer on. We toasted the coconut in the toaster oven – do NOT Broil…just put it at the toaster setting til lightly browned. It is divine.

HELP WITH THE FROSTING PLEASE…..

Coconut Cake with Butter Cream Frosting
Cooking Light Magazine
as found on myrecipes.com

Ingredients

Cake:
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon cake flour
2 1/2 cups cake flour (about 10 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 large eggs
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
Frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
5 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
3 tablespoons toasted flaked sweetened coconut

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, coat 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Lightly coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust pans with 1 tablespoon flour.
Lightly spoon 2 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place 2 cups sugar and 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes or until well blended. Add egg substitute and eggs to sugar mixture; beat well. Add flour mixture and coconut milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon extract.
Spoon batter into prepared pans. Sharply tap the pans once on countertop to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Remove wax paper; discard. Cool cakes on wire racks.
To prepare frosting, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, without stirring, or until a candy thermometer registers 250°. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; using clean, dry beaters, beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; continue beating until egg white mixture cools (about 12 minutes).
Beat 1/4 cup butter until light and fluffy; stir in 1/4 teaspoon extract, if desired. Fold in 1 cup egg white mixture. Fold butter mixture into remaining egg white mixture, stirring until smooth.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1 cup frosting. Repeat twice with cake layers and 1 cup frosting, ending with cake layer; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Chill until set.

Kooking with Kelsi~Coconut Cake Edition

Today I spent some time baking an extremely difficult recipe with my incredibly cool friend, Kelsi. As we went through the process of toasting coconut (burning it the first time and dang…..it STUNK!) whipping egg whites, incorporating butter, and 250 degree simple syrup to create a buttercream frosting….we talked. We talked a lot actually. We discussed my gal-pals personal life and what was going on in her incredibly hectic nursing world. We also chatted about how I am doing with the process of creating life, acupuncture, family, and a job that seems to get more and more demanding by the day. Really, we covered it all. Yes, we may have even gossiped, about what…. I will never tell!

Then…..something came up. Kelsi said “what are you going to write about on this blog entry?” I was really surprised that I didn’t know what I wanted to write about. I said something like “maybe about how hard the coconut was to toast or how important it is to read the directions if you are making buttercream frosting.” or something lame like that. Kelsi said she thought that I should talk about cooking with “love.” Now, I am not one of those hokey people who gets into sprinkling things with an “extra dash of sunshine” but my ears perked up. She went on to explain that as a single girl she doesn’t cook a lot, just simple meals for her self, but if she is cooking for other people, entertaining, she slows down, she is conscientious and wants it to be perfect. She wants people to feel that she cares, to feel loved.

You know how someone says something simple, and you just kind of stop in your tracks and realize that a huge truth is in front of you? I really understood what she said. I try to explain to people all the time about baking and cooking and what it does for me…the calmness of chopping something perfectly, how the smell of cookies baking makes a house a home, how spending 3 hours on cinnamon rolls and putting one on a plate then watching my husband devour it in 3 seconds absolutely fills me with a joy that is overwhelming. I spend most of my free time in my kitchen, pouring over cookbooks, making our regular meals, trying new recipes, but I rarely pick something because it is something I like. I pick food for other people. I actually have really simple taste. But working with all those crazy, strange and interesting ingredients is so seductive! Creating something that you know your friends will love is heaven!

EPIPHANY OF THE DAY:

For Missy…..Cooking and Baking is Love

One last note. After you have attempted and failed to make buttercream frosting…pull 2 tubs of pre-made out add some coconut extract, and ice that sucker up. More to come. I will post the recipe and photos when my new site is up and running. Tata food-friends!

Dear Cheese, I love you. Love, Missy


My love and adoration for cheese borders on an obsession. Cheese is truly one of my favorite foods. I like them all! Swiss, cheddar, bleu, ricotta, pepper jack, colby, brie (just got the shivers) and so on….It is a sick and twisted love affair. I can sit and eat 4 slices of american processed cheese back to back… Brie…if you dont watch me I will eat a whole box of triscuits and an entire wedge of brie. What I am saying is that I DO NOT discriminate. If it is a cheese product, it is welcome in my mouth.

What is the point of this ode to cheese? I will tell you. It is cram-packed with fat. The absolute fastest way to increase the calories on your plate is to add cheese. This does not deter us. We will sprinkle it on eggs, apple pie, pollenta, beef, you name it, we cheese it. So what to we do? How are we supposed to elude being part of the now 70% of American population who are considered obese? I will not feed you a line of crap like “moderation” or “only you can be responsible for you” I will give you what a crazed, whacked-out cheese junky (me) does.

I purchase 2 products on a very regular basis:
1. The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss Cheese (they come in the little round boxes) they are preportioned and at 35 calories a pop, I can melt these on my healthy brown rice and chicken and not think twice!! I learned about these from my colleague Dana M. (thanks Dana!) They are not only low calorie, but cute as hell.
2. Mini Babybel Light Cheese Rounds (these are the ones in the wax that are also individually wrapped) They are 50 calories and have that satisfying cheesey taste you long for and are perfect with an apple or crackers! The adorable factor is incredibly high on these as well.

I will note that both of these products are made by the same company. I want stock.

So, friends, keep on eating cheese! Try my little treats next time if you are looking to cool down the calories but truly need that cheese. By need, I really mean you may die if you don’t get it.

4 hours…How do I fit it all in?


I think we all go through this. For us it may seem easier with no children but we have filled that extra space in with demanding jobs, busy social schedule, and a lot of community focus (mostly for hubbys high school) One day I will be all whirled up in children, but don’t kid yourself, I stay plenty whirled up….I just do it with other things. But that is not what this is about….this is about making the 4 hours you have in the evening count. This is how we do it….

Hubby gets home, as a teacher he is often home about 30 minutes before me. He unloads dishwasher, grabs mail, etc. I get home, usually get a fabulous smoochy from this hubby of mine then it is GO-Time! I pull out the chicken breasts, put them in a sprayed, glass dish with foil over the top and put a little sweet chile sauce on it (that is the flavor choice for this month) Then I pop it in the oven at 300 degrees. I go upstairs, remove war-paint, put on yoga clothes and join husband in basement for yoga session. Currently we are doing a 45 minute “Yoga for Basketball Players” I am not kidding here. Lucky me.

THEN….I go back upstairs to the kitchen, decide…whole grain pasta or rice and quinoa? Make the decision, boil it up, chop the veggies, then pull chicken out, put together, and voila! Dinner….then we sit down in front of the TV and ignore each other for the 10 minutes it takes to gorge ourselves. After that, I shower, he puts the dishes away, and then it is relax time. Reading, movie, TV, or baking. It doesnt matter, but it is quiet time at about 8-9pm.

It’s not the Brady bunch, I know. It is not glamorous, I know this as well, but give us a break, we are children of the 80’s! On demand TV is a must, exercise is non-negotiable, and eating healthy is a requirement. Welcome to my World.