Wednesday, February 22, 2012

butternut squash ravioli in a brown butter sauce..

i had mentioned here how much i love wonton wrappers.. they are amazing.. now this recipe took some time.. it's not a quick after work meal.. it's when you have an extra hour or 2 to make dinner.. maybe a lazy sunday.. but it was so good.. shell liked the mushroom ravioli i made better, however i preferred the butternut sqaush.. simple.. and fresh tasting.. this recipe was inspired here..

prep time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes
servings: 4-6


1 butternut squash, approximately 2 lbs, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
salt and pepper
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup park skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 packages small wonton wrappers

brown butter sauce:

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese for garnish

preheat oven to 375 degrees (f).  on a foil lined baking sheet toss butternut squash in about 2 tbls. of olive oil, salt and pepper... bake in oven until soft and golden.. about 25 minutes... while that's cooking take a small saute pan.. two twirls around the pan with olive oil.. heat over medium heat.. cook shallots and garlic until lightly golden and fragrant about 3-5 minutes..  in a food processor, combine cooked butternut squash, shallot mixture, ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese.. pulse a few times to blend.. add salt and pepper pulse until smooth.. to make the ravioli lay out 4 wonton skins, keep the remaining wontons inside the package or under a lightly damped paper towel.. place a spoon full of squash mixture in the middle of each wrapper.. dip your finger in water and wet the edges of the wonton wrapper.. top each wrapper with another wrapper.. pinch the edges.. make sure each is sealed and no air pockets are inside... place the formed ravioli on a lined baking sheet (don't over lap use an additional baking sheet if needed) and cover with plastic wrap.. before making another batch make sure to dry the area your working on.. keep going until all ravioli are made.. you should have about 65 or so raviolis.. at this point the ravioli can be frozen on the baking sheet then transferred to a tightly sealed plastic bag or container and stored up to 6 months.. to cook. heat a large pot of salted water to a boil... then add about 4 or 5 at a time into salted boiling water and cook for about 4-5 minutes.. they will float to the top when done..about 3-5 minutes.. using a slotted spoon gently spoon the ravioli onto a serving platter and top the brown butter sauce.. sprinkle with parmesan and serve.. to make the sauce melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.. add pine nuts and cook until butter starts to brown.. about 3-4 minutes.. turn the heat off and season with salt and pepper..

take my word for it wednesday.. the best meatloaf ever and it's turkey...

this is by far the best meatloaf i've ever made or maybe even have ever had.. i love meatloaf but stopped making it a few years ago.. not sure why maybe trying to get out of a rut... then when i would try and make turkey meatloaf it would come out dry and tasteless... well let me tell you this meatloaf is far from tasteless!! now the pictures didn't come out (again...) but by the time i did all i needed to do last night we didn't end up eating until 8 which throws a total monkey wrench in my nightly routine of making lunches and breakfasts for the next day so there really wasn't much time to take pictures and definitely not enough time to make them pretty.. but i so wanted to share this recipe with you because it was so dang good.. seriously you must make this meatloaf..

turkey meatloaf

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 1 hour
servings: 6-8


2 carrots peeled and chunked
2 celery stalks chunked
1 shallot (or 1/2 an onion) diced
2 garlic cloves
1 cup panko
1/2 tblsp. worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1 egg white
2 lbs ground turkey
salt and pepper
2 tbls. tomato paste
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/8 cup of low fat 1/2 and 1/2
olive oil


1/4 cup chili sauce (ketchup can be used)
1/2 tblsp. brown sugar
1/2 tblsp. balsamic vinegar

(tip* I would make double of the glaze.. it's so good on the meatloaf  maybe a little extar for the next day left overs or on a sandwich with the meatloaf..)

heat oven to 375 degrees (f) ... process your carrots, celery, onion and garlic in a food processor until a paste.. two twirls around the pan with olive oil add your veggies and a fair amount of salt.. cook them until tender.. about 4 -5 minutes.. add tomato paste.. cook another 2-3 minutes.. add chicken broth.. stir to incorporate.. cook another 3-4 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.. remove from heat and allow to cool.. in a medium size bowl add your turkey.. panko, salt, pepper, egg, egg white,  worcestershire sauce and 1/2 and 1/2 then the cooled veggies.. incorporate it all together without over working it or it will dry out.. once it's all combined.. i took my broiler pan.. laid tinfoil in the bottom for easy clean up and made a loaf out of my meat on the top part.. if you don't have a broiler pan a lined baking sheet will do... put in the oven on the center rack for 15 minutes.. meanwhile make your glaze.. heat chili sauce, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar until it's glossy.. remove meatloaf from oven after 15 minutes and brush glaze over loaf.. (any left over glaze keep, I spread mine over my cut pieces of meatloaf.. yummmm!!) cook another 45 minutes.. or until the meat gets to internal temperature between 150-155.. (make sure your thermometer is in the fattest part of the loaf and not going all the way through and touching the pan) remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.. i served it with skinny garlic mashed taters.. recipe found here...  soo good!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

yummy apple "healthy" muffins!!

so sometimes in the morning i just need something sweet.. unfortunately with age comes things i can't eat anymore :( i have hypoglycemia and i just can't eat sugary carbs in the am.. destroys me the rest of the day.. headaches, chills, and even fainting :( so no more french toast dripping in syrup.. but over the years i have learned that certain things don't cause an attack.. recently i discovered these muffins.. super yummy.. they start from a box.. ackkkkkkkkkk the horror.. but like i said before sometimes we all just need a little help from our friends.. and by friends i mean fiber one premium muffin mix apples and cinnamon.. ha ha now on the side of the box they offer a reduced fat no cholesterol version and well i made them that way and then added a little surprise!! they turned out fantastic.. wonderful.. simply put.. delicious!! sorry some of the pictures are in a "throw away" muffin tin but i made a batch last night for our upcoming camping trip.. and i want to keep in the foil tin so they don't get destroyed!

prep. time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 15-18 minutes
servings: 12 muffins

1 box Betty Crocker Fiber One Premium Muffin Mix Apple/Cinnamon
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup apple sauce
2 eggs whites
2 tbls. cinnamon chips

heat oven to 425 degreed (f), spray pam in the bottom of your muffin tin cups.. in a medium mixing bowl using a wire whisk mix muffin mix, water, apple sauce, eggs and cinnamon chips until blended.  divide batter among muffin cups.. about 2/3 of the way full.. bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean.. remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.. i store them in a cool dry place and in the morning pop one in the microwave for about 20 seconds and send shell on her way to school with a warm cimmamony muffin.. yumm..

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

take my word for it wednesday.. wontons wrappers rock!

so i discovered wonton/eggroll wrappers last year.. i had never used them before.. ohh my..i really love them.. you can make just about anything with them.. i have made eggrolls (all kinds, mexican, veggie and traditional) also crab rangoons, shrimp puffs, ravioli and now perogies.. pete's mom is polish and for easter we get to munch on polish sausage and homemade perogies..they are amazing.. well last week i found myself with a boat load of wonton/eggroll wrappers and mashed taters that needed to be used .. shell had a tooth extraction and she couldn't really eat anything so every time i went to the store i picked up mashed potatoes and ended with a couple extra tubs.. so what to do with this combination.. perogies!! it was simple and wonderful and easy.. now sadly the pictures didn't turn out very well *story of my life* ha but take my word for it they were really good and super easy.. i will also post the pictures of the other things i have made with wontons/eggroll wrappers with full recipes to come..


prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
servings: 4

1 package of wonton wrappers (or eggroll wrappers which are just larger) *found in the refrigerated section of your market*
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 onion, sliced and sauteed until slightly caramelized
salt and pepper

in a medium mixing bowl combine everything but wonton wrappers.. i actually ended up using eggroll wrappers for the ones i took pictures of.. what i did was used a scalloped biscuit dough cutter and cut the wrappers into circles.. you do not need to do this i just did it because i thought it would make the picture nicer ha.. but the picture turned out cruddy anyway so it was kind of a waste.. ha.. take a spoon full of mixture put in the center of your wonton and fold over and crimp the edges.... i kept a little bowl of water by me and dipped my finger in and ran it along the edge of the inner circle before folding which helps it stay together.. in a medium/large pot i boiled water.. i added about 4 perogies at a time i didn't want them to stick... i cooked them for about 4 minutes.. they will float to the top.. i scooped them out with a slotted spoon and i had a skillet i was cooking onions in for something else and on the stove and thought ohh i will put them in here and i sauteed them in the skillet with a little onion and olive oil for about 5-7 minutes until slightly brown.. remove from heat and worked out perfect and tasted wonderful.. next time i will try sauerkraut ones and maybe the meat ones!!

shrimp puffs - i took 1 cup low fat cream cheese, 1/2 cup of pre cooked bay shrimp, 2 scallions (top and bottom) and 2 tsp. of thai curry in a mini food processor..then took my wonton wrapper dropped a small spoon full of mixture in the center and folded up.. sprayed my prelined baking sheet with pam and then sprayed the puffs with pam and baked on 350 degrees (f) until lightly brown and "crispy"..

pork dumplings--this is the recipe i followed here.. but instead of making the dough i used wonton wrappers..

salmon puffs and crab rangoons - these were very simple too.. very similar to the shrimp puffs but with the salmon i actually used the salmon flavored cream cheese.. for the crab rangoons i took a can of crab meat picked out all the little stuff .. ha ha .. added it to cream cheese and chives.. mixed together.. took a spoon full of mixture and put in the center of the wonton wrappers.. i experimented with different ways to fold them as shown above.. took a lined baking sheet sprayed with pam.. a squirt or two of pam on the wonton itself and baked at 350 degrees (f) for 20 minutes or until golden brown

butternut squash ravioli--i sorda kinda a little bit followed this recipe here.. but now that i am looking at it i inteded on following it but went a little off on my own so i will post a full recipe and more pictures of this later this week..

mushroom ravioli--this is the filling i used here.. obviously instead of the homemade pasta i used wonton wrappers.. shell said this is by far her favorite ravioli ever.. i have even made a small batch before at the last minute after her tooth extraction.. i served with a brown butter sauce.. how to brown butter is explained here.. and i simply added fresh garlic.. (i know most brown butter sauces call for sage but i hate bleh bleeck sage.. long story i will tell you one day..)


Friday, February 10, 2012

hand held pAsties...

ok these little babies are pronounced pAsties not payyyyyyysteeeeeeeeis.. back when we took our little trip with tina and lo to the mountains tina told me about pAsties and that her family has been eating them for years and how they were a very popular dish in northern nevada for the miners.. i, of course, growing up in sin city had never heard of them.. ask me about a 99 cent breakfast or a prime rib the size of volkswagen i can tell you .. but pAsties not so much.. being curious i googled them and found they have a rich history and tradition in mining communities across the united states.. and while each region has different variations they are all basically the same.. not sure if mine are anywhere close to traditional or not but they sure were good.. i made hand held ones and then with time running out last night i made 2 big ones.. pete and shell really enjoyed them.. also at the end of the post i thought i would throw in a few photo's from our trip to their mountain cabin..

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 40-45 minutes
servings: 40 mini "pies" or 4 large "pies"


1 lb. ground turkey, uncooked (ground beef can be used and obviously it's more traditional)
2 large waxy potatoes, diced small (i put mine in boiling water for about 10 minutes after i diced them)
1/2 an onion, sliced and sauteed for about 10 minutes to get them soft but raw is ok too 
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, zapped in the microve for 1-2 minutes to get the chill off
salt and pepper
2 boxes ready made pie crust
1 beaten egg with a tblsp. of water

heat oven to 350 degrees (f).. while it's heating combine uncooked meat, pre cooked potatoes, onions, peas, carrots, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.. for the hand held cut out individual circles and put a spoon full of filling and bring up the sides to the center and crimp edges.. 4 ready made pie crusts will make 40 mini pAsties or 4 large.. if making the large roll out your dough and place 1 cup or a little more into each pie crust and fold over and crimp the edges.. for the mini ones i poked holes in the top for steam to escape and in the larger ones i cut small slits.. brush with egg wash and bake for 40-45 minutes or until slightly golden.. remove and let sit for 5-7 minutes.. warning taking a big bite out of one of the smaller ones before it has had time to cool can be hazardous to your mouth holy guacamole they are inside is hot.. :) it is apparently very traditional to serve with ketchup and while i am not a ketchup lover by any stretch of the imagination it was perfect with these.. go figure..

 their cabin is in or by bridgeport california and there are 2 beautiful lakes i believe called twin lakes..

we got there late at night like around 12:00 and went to bed and woke up to it snowing..

the next day not nearly as much as snow as the day before..

took a stroll around the lake

boys found a fishing bank and they fished the afternoon away 

glad i wore compfy hiking/snow boots..

day of fishing coming to an end..

leaving the lake with a cooler of "dinner" aka fish.. had us a fish fry that night..

woke up to a few friends vising the next morning!

tina had thrown out the strawberry tops from the night before and boy were they enjoying them!!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

homemade chips and guac..

one of my weaknesses is homemade tortilla chips.. i love them!! first time i made them i was in high school and my bff (now my sis in law, isn't that cute he he) umm ditched errr i mean where absent from school with an excuse and went to our now, brother in law's, but then boyfriend's brothers house to "hang out" (understand that family tree diagram? ha)  anyway he had nothing and i mean nothing to eat in his house and we were on a budget.. basically meaning we were 2 high school girls who were flat broke... but he did have corn tortillas in his fridge and oil in his cabinet and us being on the brink of near starvation (ok not near.. ok not even close i am sure we had had mickey d's a mere hour before this) caused our cooking hearts to improvise.. and well i have been making them ever since.. i can't eat guacamole :( i am allergic to avocados *sigh* but shell loves it so i make it for her all the time and i am always getting awesome avocados in my bountiful basket..

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 12 -15 minutes


12 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
vegetable oil

add enough oil to come halfway up the sides of a large heavy dutch oven.. you want your oil about 360 degrees (f).. in batches.. without crowding or they won't cook evenly, deep fry the tortillas until golden brown, turning once, about 2-3 minutes.. using a slotted spoon remove chips from pan and drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet.. sprinkle with salt serve hot..


prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 0


2 ripe, haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbls. cilantro, chopped fine
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tblsp. sour cream
salt to taste

in a medium mixing bowl, mash avacado with lime juice.. with a fork or the back of a spooon.. then add all other ingredients.. and mix well.. guacamole tends to brown easily, the lime will help but won't prevent.. so if you need to store it i use plastic wrap and put it over actually touching the guacamole then put in the fridge for a few hours..

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"tina" fried brown rice..

there is something about fried rice.. i love it.. whenever we go to an asian restaurant i usually order rice as  my dinner entree and then nibble (gorge) on appetizers as well.. this is "fried" rice with a little twist.. i used brown jasmine rice.. i used bacon but you could use pork, beef, turkey, spam, shrimp or strictly leave it veggies!! very versatile and easy to make.. the other day i made sweet & spicy chicken stir fry.. recipe here.. and this rice was a perfect side.. i have been making this dish for about 20 years.. i originally got it from my friend tina.. (i've mentioned her and her amazing recipes several times here.. awesome cook) but like so many recipes it's changed, mutated and evolved over the years.. but the basic concept started many many years ago from one of tina's step mom's friend..

bacon fried brown rice

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
servings: 6-8

2 strips of center cut bacon, diced (interesting tid bit i learned from hungry girl.. center cut bacon has the same calories and fat as turkey bacon she explains here, and while i love turkey i am not a fan of turkey bacon..)
4 cups cooked brown jasmine rice
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups frozen peas and carrots, cooked in microwave according to package directions
2 scrambled eggs
2-3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbls. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
salt and pepper
scallion white and green part for garnish

i scramble my eggs and kind of crumple them up to bite size pieces.. and set aside.. make rice according to package directions.. heat a large wok over medium high heat.. cook bacon until done but not crispy.. remove to a plate an set aside.. keeping wok on medium high heat add onion and garlic cook until soft about 4-5 minutes..add cooked rice.. toss to combine.. add peas, carrots, eggs and bacon.. toss again to combine.. add soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar.. stir to combine ..cook another 4-5 minutes heating everything through.. add salt and pepper to taste.. continue to cook for about 5-7 more minutes tossing and stirring make sure it doesn't stick.. add scallions and stir to incorporate.. serve while hot..

Friday, February 3, 2012

mini chocolate kiss pies

i made these around christmas time and forgot to post but they were so yummy i thought they would make an easy dessert for a super bowl party buffet.. i got the recipe from here.. and well since there are only 2 ingredients pretty much followed the recipe.. now she has step by step instructions so you might want to check her recipe out..

1 refrigerated pie crust, thawed
14 hershey kisses
1 egg white with 1 tps. water

preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).  roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface.. cut out a circle and place a kiss in the center of the circle.. fold up half the pie dough and pinch the edges around the top of the kiss (i should have made my circle a skosh bigger).. now fold up both sides of the remaining dough up to the tip of the kiss and pinch edges (picky palate gives detailed instructions here)  now press together edges and form criss cross stars.. shown above.. keep cutting out circles and repeat process i then used the scrapes and rolled them out and used those also.. brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar .. bake for 20-25 minutes or until pies are golden.. remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.. dust each with powdered sugar and serve..

whitecastle type sliders... good for the big game!

i have sadly never had a real whitecastle burger.. i have however indulged on a few occasions on the frozen ones.. and i have heard there are a few movies about "craving" these little burgers but i haven't seen them either.. so you can basically say i have totally missed the whitecastle boat.. so i thought i would attempt to make some.. i watched a show on food network or cooking channel not sure which one they are interchangeable to me basically about these scrumptious tidbits and thought i would try and make them..

the burgers themselves are square like whitecastle but i messed on the buns and got round ones i should have gotten square potato dinner rolls.. but they were still tasty little guys.. now i googled the recipe and came across a few but not as many as i thought i would.. so i settled on this one here.. and this one here..

now i am sure they aren't really close to the whitcastle burgers but they were pretty good..

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 25 minutes
servings: 4


1/2 cup dried onion flakes
1 lbs. ground chuck, 80/20
a "blob" of peanut butter
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
24 pickle chips
cheese (optional)

preheat oven to 400 degrees (f).. in a medium mixing bowl combine everything but the dried onions.. spread an even layer of your onions a lined baking sheet/jelly roll pan and press the meat mixture over the onions into a fairly thin flat layer.. cook for 25 minutes.. remove from oven and cut into 24 equal squares.. (if you want add 6 slices of cheese and pop back into the oven for about 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted.. place your bottom buns on a platter and remove your "patty" with a spatual making to get the onions and place on the bottom bun.. place a pickle chip then the top bun.. serve with fries.. pete put mustard and ketchup on his!! i did a little mayo I know ackk they don't that but i really like mayo on my burgers! :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

fried egg/grilled cheese-sammy with spicy peach tomato jam

remember way back when.. when i made spicy peach tomato jam (here) and declared i must put this on a grilled cheese sandwich.. well i did.. and i added a fried egg.. ohh my goodnplenty it was awesome.. had i thought about it i would have added bacon too., and made it a dream come true sandwich.. my favorite wich ever is a blt.. or sometimes i make a "loosen your belt" sammy, which is a bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato wich.. we used to keep our boat at the harbor and on saturdays pete and i would stay on the boat and for breakfast hit up the harbor house cafe (best french toast everrrrrr) but because a girl can't live on french toast alone, i would order the blt off the lunch menu and ask for a side over-medium egg.. and make my own "belt" sandwich.. so if your going to make the sandwich below i suggest throwing all caution to the wind and adding 1 or 2 or heck caution is bring thrown to the wind right?? go for it.. 3 slices of bacon..

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
servings: 1 (why only 1 because i only made this for myself ha)

2 eggs, cooked over light-medium (tutorial on how to cook a perfect egg here..)
butter, room temp.
2 slices of bread (i only had whole wheat)
1 tblsp. spoon spicy tomato peach jam recipe found here..
2 slices of cheese (had i had pepper jack that would have so been on this)

take a small non stick skillet heat a tblsp. of butter and cook your eggs to your desired doneness.. an over light/medium egg would have been totally wonderful in this too.. in the meantime take your 2 pieces of bread and butter one side of each slice.. after your eggs are done remove and put to the side on a plate.. put a little more butter in your pan and over medium low add one sliceof bread butter side down, add a slice of cheese, add your eggs add your jam another slice of cheese then the final piece of bread butter side up.. cover your skillet with a lid and cook until your one side is toasty then flip your sandwich over and cover again and cook on the other side until cheese is melty and bread is toasty.. remove and slice and enjoy!!! a tomato would be yummy too or a slice of avocado (i am allergic but i bet others might enjoy it..) the sky is the limit with this one! make it this weekend for breakfast or even lunch!!

super simple yet yummy broccoli salad

a few weeks ago for dinner i was grilling burgers and wanted to make a different kind of side.. i didn't want coleslaw or macaroni salad (which i really like and have good recipes for both.. ha) but was in the mood for something different.. something crunchy and sweet perhaps.. and then i remembered way back when.. in 2008 when jake graduated from high school the coach of his varsity baseball team hosted a year end pot luck party and someone had brought broccoli salad and we all loved it.. i hit up a few blogs to get some ideas and i found the one i liked the best here.. it's simple straight forward not alot fuss or muss.. just good!!

broccoli salad

prep time: 15 minutes
servings: 6


1 bag of broccoli florets, chopped into bite size pieces
1 medium red onion, diced small (i then soaked them in water for about an hour to cut the sharpness)
3/4 cup salted cashews, chopped
3/4 cup golden raisens
3 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled or hormel precooked bacon bits
dressing (recipe below)

combine all the above and toss with dressing.. put in the fridge and chill for about an hour or 2 before serving.. just before serving sprinkle a tsp. of crushed red pepper on top and stir to incorporate.  serve..


1 cup mayo (or greek low fat yogurt if watching calories)
5 tblsp. of white wine vinegar
2 tblsp. of sugar (or splenda)

combine.. and chill if not using right away..

** for coleslaw dressing just add 1 tblsp. of celery seeds or for poppyseed dressing add a tablespoon of poppyseeds..and then chill**

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

take my word for it wednesday.. it's been a year of blogging and i made bolognese sauce.

i can't believe it's been a year.. i decided to start this blog because the kids would ask me to repeat a recipe i had made and for the life of me i couldn't remember the ingredients or if i had the forethought to write it down where i put the darn recipe (you see i have about 1000++ recipes kept for i'd like to make one day or we did like it and i would like to make again all in a chest..) or to try and remember what magazine i saw it in heck i can't remember some morning to take off my slippers and put on my work shoes no way i could remember which magazine i read 6 months.. ha ha so this seemed like the most logical choice.. a place where not only i but family and friends could have access to the recipes.. and i have enjoyed this year so much.. can't wait for the new culinary adventures this year...

sooo last sunday i cooked all day umm seems like that is turning into a sunday pattern.. it won't last long as soon as it starts heating up and the weather gets nice we will be at the lake on sundays.. i better take advantage of the time when i have it.. so last week i got an italian basket with my bountiful basket and couldn't pass up the opportunity to use it.. shell declared it her favorite basket and could we get it more often! so what i did is make the bolognese sauce on sunday and served it over penne with a salad and herb flat bread.. we had the kids and pete's parents over..  with the left over sauce i made the lasagna on monday.. yum!!! for the sauce i pretty much followed anne burrell's recipe which can be found here..  i made a few changes but not many..she cooks hers low and slow and layers her flavors.. it's to die for.. so good!!

now onto the promise.. i blog hop and see all these pretty bright pictures of tempting food and drool then i come back to mine and see dark drab pictures and my apologies for the dark drab pictures.. so NO MORE... well i will try not to anymore.. no more pictures on my black counter tops in my dark (yet oh soo gorgeous) kitchen.. now i can't say a post or two won't have them because i do have about 25 photo's and recipes to still post but i will try from this point forward to take only happy bright photos!!! *BIG BRIGHT SMILE*

bolognese sauce

prep time: 45 minutes
cooking time: 4 hours and 30 minutes
servings 6 to 8

1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic
olive oil
kosher salt
3 lbs. ground chuck (i used turkey)
2 cups tomato paste
3 cups of red wine
3 bay leaves
1 bunch, tied in a bundle
fresh grated parmigiano

in a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery and garlic into a course paste.  In a large dutch oven over medium heat, coat pan with olive oil (about 2 or 3 swirls around).. add pureed veggies and season generously with salt.. bring pan to a medium high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown.. stirring frequently, about 15-20 minutes.. anne says be patient this is where the big flavors develop. add the ground beef or turkey and again season with salt generously.. brown the meat.. as anne says brown food tastes good.. no rushing this step... cook another 15-20 minutes.. add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 5-7 minutes.. add red wine.. cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4-5 minutes.. add water to the pot until the water is about 1 inch above the meat.. toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything..bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  as the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 cups at a time..this is a game of reduce and add more water..this is where the big rich flavors develop.. if you try and add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than thick meaty sauce.. (i ended up adding 2 cups 3 different times) stir and taste frequently..(yeah you don't need to tell me that twice it was so darn good) season with salt.. simmer for about 3 /12 to 4 hours..  during the last 30 minutes of cooking bring your water to boil for your pasta.. salt your water liberally this is the only chance you get to season the pasta.. if your pasta is under seasoned  it doesn't matter how good your sauce is it will taste under seasoned!! cook your pasta to package directions.. when done drain and put in big bowls.. now back to your lovely sauce.. make sure to remove your bay leaves and thyme bundle and give your sauce a big stir.. now  heap a big ladle of sauce over your pasta.. drizzle with a little olive and parm!! i served it with a caprese salad, recipe found here.. and fresh herbed flat bread.. recipe found here.. but instead of cheese on my bread i used only my fresh herbs from my bountiful basket chopped sprinkled over a with a little olive oil.. everyone loved the bread! (ohh and on one i put roasted garlic..)

now round two....

bolagnese lasagna

approx. 10 cups bolognese sauce
1 box lasagna noodles (uncooked)
1 bag of part skim shredded mozzarella
15 oz container of park skim ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 cup fresh chopped herbs (i had oregano, basil and thyme )

in a small mixing bowl combine your ricotta, eggs and herbs together and set aside.. now heat your oven to 375 degrees (f) and arrange your rack in the middle.. spread about 2 cups of the sauce in a thin layer over the bottom of your casserole dish.. i believe i used a 13 by 9 pyrex.. start by layering your uncooked lasagna noodles over the sauce, then a layer of ricotta cheese then mozzarella then top with another approx 2 cups of sauce.. again noodle, cheese then sauce using approx the same amount each layer of ingredients.. take a cup or cup and half of water and pour around the edges of your dish (this will cook the noodles) the water should kinda float around the edges.. cover tightly with foil and place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the cheese is melty and bubbly.. remove the foil and cook another 15 -20 minutes you want the edges kinda brown.. remove from oven and let sit for about 20 minutes before slicing... so it can set up or you will have a big blobby ooeey mess.. which isn't so bad to eat but not very pretty for serving.. ha