Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Building a masterpiece for dinner.....

Fresh baby spinach lightly sauteed with extra virgin olive oil and garlic....
Lasagna noodles: I use the oven ready kind, but I softened them up in near-boiling water. This helps to ensure they are soft and cooked thoroughly.
Making your own sauce is the secret to a fantastic lasagna. My sauce includes celery, green bell pepper, onion, and Italian sausage.
The layering is the funnest part! I do not like ricotta cheese, therefore I use a cream sauce drizzled in between the layers. Sometimes I make my own, however, this time I used Alfredo sauce from a jar.
Ready for the oven!

Ingredients

4 celery ribs, chopped

· 1 large onion, chopped

· 1 large green pepper, chopped

· 2-1/2 cups water, divided

· 3 Italian turkey sausage links (4 ounces each), casings removed

· 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce

· 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

· 3 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste

· 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

· 5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced

· 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning

· 1 teaspoon sugar

· 1/8 teaspoon salt

· 1/8 teaspoon pepper

· 6 cups hot cooked spaghetti

· Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

· In a Dutch oven, combine the celery, onion, green pepper and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and water is reduced.

· Crumble sausage over vegetable mixture; cook until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, garlic, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, pepper and remaining water.

· Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with spaghetti. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

An Apple A Day......

When the apple is in this beautiful cake, I would eat it every day for sure! This Blackberry-Apple Upside Down cake is heavenly. The secret is in the topping: melted butter, brown sugar and honey. Divine!

Blackberry Apple Upside Down Cake

If using frozen berries, add them straight from the freezer so they hold their shape.

Total: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened and divided
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large Gala apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a lightly greased 9-inch round cake pan (with sides that are at least 2 inches high) over low heat. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with brown sugar; drizzle honey over brown sugar. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles over brown sugar mixture, overlapping as needed; sprinkle with blackberries.


2. Beat granulated sugar and remaining 1/2 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

3. Stir together flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Spoon batter over blackberries in pan.

4. Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto a serving plate, spooning any topping in pan over cake.

*1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries may be substituted.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Brillant

Taking a chance to make something new sometimes makes me nervous. Especially if there are several different tastes and textures being combined. But when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it.

And thank goodness I did!!!! The first bite my husband took.....well, I wish I had taken a picture of his face. Apparently he was transported to his happy place right before our eyes ;)

This will definitely be a staple in our house and the recipe will be tweaked and played with for years to come.


** I added 3 minced garlic cloves to the brine. I also added a dash of cinnamon to the apples while they were cooking. I did not have Calvados on hand, so used more apple juice.
Such a wonderful blend of flavors, your mouth will be so happy!