Simple Sausage Lasagna

I looked at a few of the recipes that we had flagged in the Eat cookbook and decided on this simple lasagna recipe for dinner tonight. We had some leftover lasagna noodles and Italian sausage in the freezer so it seemed like a good choice. Paula made it for the two of us. She was home today and enjoying her day off.

Here is what you will need:

  • 3/4 – 1 pound of Italian sausages
  • Olive oil
  • Lasagna noodles (4-5 sheets)
  • 12 ounces of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese

Remove the sausages from their casings. Put the sausage in a bowl and add a little olive oil and mix. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Break up the lasagna noodles and soften them by soaking them in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Add 2 sheets worth of noodle pieces to the baking dish. Coarsely chop the cherry tomatoes and distribute half of them over the noodles. Add half of the sausage and then another layer of noodles. Add the rest of the tomatoes, another layer of noodles and then the rest of the sausage. Slice the 2 large tomatoes and put them on top. Stir the mustard and cream together and pour over the top. Cover with Parmesan cheese and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

This dish makes a great meal when the weather starts to turn cold. It would be good when you want lasagna but do not want all of the fuss that is required when you make a true lasagna. But it is still quite tasty!

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Ham and Sweet Potato Hash


Paula was in the mood for sweet potatoes so I made this recipe that I found in the most recent Cooking Light. I reduced the quantity so that there would be enough for the two of us. It was quite tasty. The original recipe said that you could use it as a breakfast or dinner meal. They also served it with a sunny-side egg. Paula made one for herself but I chose not to do that since I am not a fan of eggs cooked that way. It was relatively easy to make this dish. The hardest part was the preparation, especially peeling and dicing the sweet potatoes. But after that job was done, it was downhill from there. This would make a delicious dish to enjoy in the coming months as the weather gets cooler.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of diced and peeled sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Olive oil
  • 4-5 ounces of diced ham
  • 1 cup of finely chopped leeks
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red bell pepper
  • Black pepper and Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large eggs (in shells)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, if desired

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave at high for 5 minutes or until tender. Place the potatoes on a paper towel-lined plate and let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the ham and cook for 8 minutes or until browned and crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove the ham to a paper towel-lined plate.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to any drippings in the pan. Add the leeks and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the leek mixture and cook for 2 more minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil, potatoes, bell pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp. Stir in the ham and parsley. Divide the potato mixture evenly among 4 plates.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until whites are set. Place 1 egg over each serving; sprinkle black pepper and salt. Drizzle with hot sauce, if desired.

Mushroom Mac and Cheese…with Kielbasa


I found a recipe for macaroni and cheese that used Gruyere and mozzarella along with cremini and shiitake mushrooms. Paula and I decided to make it for dinner tonight. I also grilled a kielbasa to go with it. The macaroni and cheese was really delicious. The kielbasa was a good choice to go with it. Both of them had full flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces uncooked elbow pasta (Note: you can also use something like farfalle)
  • Olive oil
  • 4 ounces of cremini mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 2 ounces of shiitake mushroom caps, cut into halves
  • Chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of reduced-fat milk
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 ounces low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cup of baby spinach
  • 1-2 tablespoons of panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cook pasta until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the thyme and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook for another minute. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta, Gruyère cheese, and 1 ounce of the mozzarella cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in the spinach. Spread the pasta mixture in an even layer in the pan. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 ounce mozzarella cheese and the panko bread crumbs.

Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from oven and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons thyme.

Pasta with Cauliflower and Bacon


I read about this recipe in Cooks Illustrated and flagged it since I thought that it might be an interesting way to use some cauliflower. I am also trying to go back through my old Cooks Illustrated magazines and try out some of the recipes since I have more time to enjoy making dinner for Paula and myself.

Ingredients (for two…)

  • 3 slices of bacon that have been cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 of a large head of cauliflower that has been cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 of a finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • 1/2 pound of pasta (farfalle or gemelli or orrechiete would work well…)
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice

Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Add the panko crumbs and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the panko is browned. This should take about 3 minutes. Remove the panko and bacon to a small bowl. Wipe out the skillet.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in same skillet. Add the cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is crisp tender. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep the cauliflower warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. This should take about 4-5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the pasta, broth and wine. Bring to a simmer. Cook the pasta, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente. This should take about 8-10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, and cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the panko-bacon mixture on the side. You can top the pasta with this mixture after serving.

It was a very simple meal but it was very tasty. The bacon-panko mixture adds some terrific complimentary flavors to the cauliflower. The dish has the nutty flavor of the cauliflower and it is balanced by the meaty bacon and crunch panko crumbs. Best of all, you can make this dish using just a skillet and a Dutch oven so there is not a lot to clean up!

 

Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes and Grilled Zucchini

I made meatloaf for Paula and I tonight. Paula is working for 4 days next weekend. I am also going down to the coast to kayak for a few days. I made enough meatloaf for Paula to enjoy it as an easy meal while I am gone. This way she can sleep as much as possible and have something quick and easy to make for dinner when she wakes up.

The meatloaf recipe is really easy to make. It is my mother’s recipe and has become one of our family favorites over the years. You take 1 1/2 pound ground beef, 1 medium onion (chopped), 1 cup of Italian-style bread crumbs, 4 ounces of tomato sauce, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix all of this together. Then you put the mixture into a loaf pan and cook it at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes.

It is very flavorful and you can serve it with any sides that you want. Tonight I cooked us baked potatoes. I put my russet potato in the oven about 20 minutes before cooking the meatloaf. For Paula’s sweet potato, I microwaved it for 8 minutes. Then I put the sweet potato on a small baking sheet and I also put it in the oven about 20 minutes before starting to cook the meatloaf. Our other side was some zucchini. I sliced the zucchini lengthwise and added some salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Then I grilled the zucchini until it was slightly browned, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Corn and Poblano Pepper Pizza

I had purchased a few poblano peppers and never used them so Paula and I decided to make one of our favorite pizzas tonight. If you like pizza and want to enjoy something very different, I highly recommend it. The flavors really come together and you will enjoy it tremendously. Guaranteed!

While you prepare the topping, heat the oven to 450 degrees.

As the oven heats up, broil a couple of poblano chiles and then peel the skin off them.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 can of corn, 1 bunch of chopped green onions (or just 1/4 cup of a minced yellow onion), and several cloves of minced garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in 1/4 cup of milk and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Cool slightly. Place a mixture of 1 egg, salt, and black pepper in a bowl and stir with a whisk. Add this to the cooled corn mixture. Stir in the chopped poblano peppers along with 4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese.

After the topping is done, roll out the pizza dough – you can either make your own or buy some at the grocery store. We always make our own pizza dough. Spread the corn mixture over dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Bake for 12 minutes or until set. Serve with sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro if it is available.

This is really delicious and not very hard to make! Whenever we want a break from traditional pizza, we often make this variation because it is so good!

Pinto Beans, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Chorizo and Corn Tortillas…a great combination!


Tonight I made really amazingly delicious recipe and one that is also incredibly tasty. I found it in a cookbook called Eat that I gave Paula a few years ago. Each of the ingredients in this cookbook uses just 5-6 ingredients. The recipe that I made tonight requires: chorizo, corn tortillas, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, cheddar cheese and pinto beans. Every recipe in the book is incredibly easy to make and you can adapt them as you need. We have enjoyed a number of the recipes in this book since they are so easy to make.

Start by cooking up 2/3 of a pound of chorizo sausage in 2 tablespoons of oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Add 1 thinly sliced onion to the sausage while it is cooking and continue to cook it for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft. Add 2-3 cloves of crushed or minced garlic and 1 14-ounce can of drained pinto beans. Heat thoroughly and season before placing in a baking pan.

Tear 4-5 corn tortillas into pieces and toss with a 4 ounce jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Scatter this mixture over the sausage-bean mixture. Top with at least several ounces of shredded cheddar cheese.. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve by itself or with a salad.

This is really delicious! It is one of those recipes that can be enjoyed all year long. We have enjoyed it in the middle of winter when we wanted something to fill us up on a cold winter evening. It has also been a great meal to enjoy on cool fall days or when we are starting to come out of winter in the spring. Both of us would recommend it!

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