Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Easy Skillet Vegetarian Lasagna

Lasagna is a labor of love, but one that is well worth it. This one-skillet lasagna gives you all the flavor without the fuss. If you don't like zucchini or mushrooms, leave them out and substitute your favorite veggie. I've been adding chopped spinach to mine recently.

My daughter has now renamed this recipe: Super Sloppy Lasagna. It is nothing to rave about for looks, but scoop it out with a spoon from your skillet and you have the EASIEST lasagna you've ever made!

Easy Skillet Vegetarian Lasagna
1 ¼ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 26 ounce jarred marinara sauce (about 3 cups)
6-8 oven ready lasagna noodles (I use Barilla)

1. Mix the ricotta, water, salt, parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese together. Set this aside.

2. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and zucchini together until tender.

3. Add 2 cups pasta sauce and reduce the heat to medium-low.

4. Top with 3 noodles, breaking to fill the edges.  Spread the cheese mixture over the noodles.

5. Top with the remaining noodles over the cheese.  Pour the remaining sauce over and spread.

6. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

7. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes, until the noodles are tender.  Cool 5 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Meringue Topped Cookie Bars

This is a classic recipe that can often be found in old church cookbooks. The texture of the crispy/creamy meringue along with the classic cookie bar layer really can't be beat!

Wrap these bars up in a decorative tin and they make the perfect gift for this holiday Christmas season.

Meringue Topped Cookie Bars
((Printable Recipe))

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, divided
2 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12 ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x13 pan with foil going both directions so that the foil overhangs the edges to make for easy removal. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside until later.

3. In an electric mixer, cream together the soft butter, granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Add in the egg yolks only (from the 2 separated eggs) and mix well. Add in the vanilla and water and mix.

4. Slowly beat in the dry flour ingredients until all is mixed in.

5. Press the cookie layer into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the chocolate chips- pressing them gently into the dough.

6. For the meringue: Use a clean mixing bowl and a clean beater or whisk attachment and start beating the egg whites on slow speed. Gradually increases the speed to medium-high. Mix until the egg whites look frothy and then begin adding the brown sugar, a little at a time. Raise the speed to high and whip until a soft peak have formed.

7. Spread the meringue over the chocolate chip layer and gently lay a piece of parchment over the egg white layer to prevent it from over-browning*.

8. Bake for 20 minutes and allow it to cool completely before removing them from from the pan and slicing.

*Remove the parchment during the last minute or to make sure the top of the meringue is nice and crispy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Parmesan Crusted Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Easy peasy and very cheese. This twist on grilled cheese comes together in minutes and is totally delicious. This recipe got a thumbs up from every member of my family!

Parmesan Crusted Mozzarella Grilled Cheese 
((Printable Recipe))

8 thick slices white bread
1 package Buffalo mozzarella cheese
8 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
warm marinara or pizza sauce for dipping
6 tablespoons room temperature salted butter
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. In a small bowl, mix the softened butter and garlic powder together. Spread the outside of each slice of bread with the butter.

2. Slice the buffalo mozzarella cheese and divide it between the four sandwiches.

3. On a medium low flame, place a nonstick or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese and place the sandwich on top of the cheese. Grill for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove the sandwich. Sprinkle another tablespoon of Parmesan on the skillet and flip the sandwich, buttered side down on top of the Parmesan. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sandwich is golden brown.

Serve with warm marinara or pizza sauce for dipping.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Roasted Potato, Lettuce, and Parmesan Salad

Hold the croutons! Potatoes roasted with olive oil and rosemary make the perfect topping for this delicious lettuce salad tossed with Parmesan cheese and a creamy lemon garlic dressing.

Roasted Potato, Lettuce, and Parmesan Salad
((Printable Recipe))

2 pounds red potatoes, cut in half and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled with your fingers
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 clove of garlic, minced
6 cups dark lettuce, such as romaine, green leaf, or baby spinach
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Heat your oven to 450 degrees F.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss together the potatoes, oil, rosemary, and salt.  Toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.  Roast for 40-50 minutes, turning two or three times during the cooking time, until the potatoes are golden and tender.  Cool on the baking sheet.

2. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the garlic.  Add the lettuce, potatoes, and Parmesan; toss until covered with the dressing.  Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

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Recipe adapted from Delish.com

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dreamy Creamy Lemon Pie

This amazing pie (originally named North Carolina Lemon Pie from Cook's Country) combines a salty saltine crust with a sweet and slightly tart creamy lemon filling reminiscent of Key Lime Pie. Salty and sweet? I'm sold! I made two of these pies this past year for Mother's Day and they were the perfect springtime pie. (Or ANYTIME pie!) I mean, really... forget the crust and I could just sit down with a spoon and eat this heavenly lemon filling on its own. Think lemon curd, but more decadent with the addition of cream. (Hence, why I felt I needed to change the name to Dreamy Creamy Lemon Pie.)

Oh.... yes.

Now, I'm going to be honest with you, zesting lemons and squeezing them is a labor of love. This is especially true when you double the recipe like I did. But let me tell you... it is ALL WORTH IT!

A few notes: If you're unsure about using saltine crackers for the crust, feel free to use a traditional graham cracker crust instead. Also, I prefer a subtle vanilla flavor and a sweeter whipped cream than some. Feel free to click the link below to follow the original whipped cream recipe.

I hope you enjoy this pie as much as I did!

Dreamy Creamy Lemon Pie
(Source: Cook's Country)
((Printable Recipe))

6 ounces saltines
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons salted melted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. For the crust: Crush the saltine crackers and salt in a food processor until you have a medium-fine crumb. Add in the melted butter and corn syrup. Pulse until combined. Press into a pie plate with the back of a spoon. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

2. For the filling: Whisk together the condensed milk, egg yolks, cream, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 15- 17 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

3. For the whipped cream: Beat together the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.

Creamy. Dream. Delicious.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Homemade French Onion Dip

If you've ever read the ingredients in prepared French Onion Dip, you'll know why I quickly set out to make my own recipe. And of course there are no surprises here, but homemade is always better!

Make up a batch of this delicious dip for your summer barbecues or holiday parties.

Homemade French Onion Dip
(Adapted from the Food Network)
((Printable Recipe))

1 tablespoons butter
1 Vidalia onion, halved and sliced into
1/4-inch strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cups sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon regular or vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
chives or green onions for garnish

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the butter over medium high heat and sauté the onion for about 30 minutes. When the onions begin to caramelize and are golden brown, add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

2. Allow the onion mixture to cool and then take the mixture to a cutting board and give the onions a good chop.

3. Stir the caramelized diced onions into the sour cream, mayonnaise, celery salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Season well with salt and pepper to taste. Chill 1 hour or overnight. Garnish with green onions or minced chives.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Triple Berry Skillet Cake

Every year my sister and our kids go strawberry picking together. I save a few cups for eating, but the rest of the berries get turned into jam to use throughout the year. My sister mentioned how she had made a cake with some of her berries last year. I decided to give the cake from Smitten Kitchen a try. With my version, I added a variety of berries and baked it up in a cast iron skillet. This gave the cake a fabulous crust!

Now if you don't have a cast iron skillet, a regular 9-inch cake pan or springform pan will work fine. Just skip the step of the extra butter and the preheating of the pan that you'll see below and grease the pan as usual.

Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, or any day- this cake would be perfect for your upcoming summer barbecues!

Triple Berry Skillet Cake
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
((Printable Recipe ))

8 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries (1 pound total, not 1 pound of each)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with your 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to heat up too.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a mixer, beat 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar together for about 3-4 minutest, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix. Add in the milk and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until the flour is incorporated.

4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the cast iron skillet to melt. Add your cake batter to the hot skillet. Arrange your berries on top. (Strawberries should be cut in half and placed cut side down.) Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool 20 minutes.

You can keep this cake simple by giving it a light dusting of powdered sugar before serving. For something a little more decadent, give it a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a drizzle of glaze, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.