Friday, November 30, 2007

Roasted Tomato Lasagna

Last night I made my own recipe lasagna, with a topping of roasted tomatoes and mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

I used Campari Tomatoes (which I get from Costco), and I just halved them, sprinkled with kosher salt, drizzled with Olive Oil and then roasted in the oven at 400F for about 1 hour. Keep checking them, they might be done before the hour is up - depending on your oven.



The roasted tomatoes gave it a great flavour and it's a slightly different take on regular lasagna!


1 lb ground beef - fat free as possible
8-10 campari tomatoes roasted (see above)
6 lasagna noodles ( I like the oven ready ones - they are really easy) - if not oven ready follow package directions for prep.
2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 medium onion diced
1 clove of garlic or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1 teaspoon dried basil
Olive Oil
Mixture of grated mozarella and parmesan for the topping

Prepare lasagna noodles and then place them in the baking dish. I used a 2qt (11"x 7" x 1.5") size and the noodles fit nicely.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and then add the diced onion and the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onions are cooked through and then add the ground beef and cook until it is all browned. Add the diced tomatoes and the basil and oregano. Cook on low for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Try and make this mixture as dry as possible or there will be too much liquid when you try and serve it. I made the mixture of adding a couple of slurps of red wine and it was too wet, but I've made it before without the wine and it's been fine.

Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella and season with salt and pepper.

Lay out a layer of lasagna noodles in the baking dish and then put down the meat sauce. The spread the cheese mixture on top of the meat sauce. Lay down another layer of lasagna noodles. Place the roasted tomatoes evenly spaced apart on top of the noodles and then cover with the grated cheeses.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 mins or until hot and bubbling.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Vanilla Fairy Cakes


I adapted these vanilla fairy cakes from Nigella's basic Fairy cake recipe from Domestic Goddess. They are very easy to make and are delicious! I also doubled the recipe to make 24.

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
7 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup self-rising flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract ( I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to make them very vanilla) 2-3 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 400F

Put all ingredients except milk in the food processor, and process until smooth. Pulse while adding milk down the funnel, to make a soft dropping consistency.

Spoon mixture into cupcake papers and try to fill each cup equally.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fairy cakes are cooked and golden on top.

Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Mrs Names is having a tailgate party in her driveway today for the big Redskins/Cowboys game. She's a diehard Redskins fan and her husband feels the same way about the cowboys.


The icing is confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and then water for the right consistency. I used the Wilton concenrate food colourings. It was really difficult to get the right colour for the Redskins, I used a lot of food colour and it's still not exactly how I wanted it, but it's close enough!

Chocolate Cheesecake Torte


I also made a chocolate cheesecake to take to Mrs Names tailgate party. I took it straight from Domestic Goddess, with only a small alterations. And the reason I'm calling it a cheesecake torte is because it really fell in the refrigerator overnight and is not as tall as when it came out of the oven. However, who cares what it looks like really, it's totally delicious.


(those hands separating the egg are my husbands !!)
This recipe needs and 8" springform pan and the cheesecake is cooked in a waterbath.

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon or 4 ounces of graham crackers*
1/4 cup very very soft or melted unsalted butter
18 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2-1 teaspoon lime juice (to taste)**
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted***

*I used the precrumbled Graham cracker crumbs, but I needed 1 cup of crumbs and 1 stick of butter to make the base.

**I used 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice

*** If you have never melted chocolate before in the microwave, you only need to have it in there for about 1 min 30 seconds, and then just keep stirring until it's all melted. That way the chocolate won't burn in the microwave. You might need to pop it back in a for a few more seconds to help it, but no more than that.

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Process the crackers and butter together and press into the bottom of the pan, then stick the pan in the refrigerator until the filling is ready.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then mix in the sugar. Add the eggs and lime juice and beat until smooth and creamy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate. When I did this the mixture was cold and the chocolate started to harden up the minute it hit the cold mixture. It wasn't exactly a marble effect, which is what I think Nigella is going for, but it still turned out nicely.

Line the spring-form pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil on the outside, and then tear off another and repeat. Stand the pan in a roasting pan and fill up the spring-form pan with the mixture. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come 3/4-1 inch up the side of the cake pan and then put it in the oven to cook for 1 hour.

When the cheesecake's ready it should have browned a bit on the edges and the center should be just set on top. remove the cake tin from the waterbath, and take off the foil. Sit the spring-form pan on a rack to cool, then refrigerate before unmolding and let it get back to room temperature.

My cheesecake did flatten out in the refrigerator, but still looked good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Salmon Tacos

Tonight was Salmon Taco night. Quick, easy and delicious. I don't have a photo because I didn't take one. I was going to rely on the photo from the Everyday Food website, but it appears they have taken that recipe down.

(this is from Everyday Food, Jan/Feb 2007)

1 1/4 pounds salmon fillet
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tblespoons fresh lime juice
4 scallions, thinkly sliced
1 cup packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
8 whole wheat tortillas
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 medium carrots, peeled into strips

Place salmon in a 2 quart shallow microwave safe dish with a lid. Season with salt; drizzle with t tblsspoon lime juice. Sprinkle with scallions and 1/4 cup cilantro. Cover and microwave on high 7 mins until fish is cooked through

Pour off any liquid from dish: using a fork, flake fish.

Make Sauce: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together sour cream, remaining tablespoon lime juice and remaining 3/4 cup cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.


Arrange carrots and lettuce down centre of each tortilla

Top with salmon, Drizzle lightly with sauce and fold up.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Banana Cake

I make this banana cake a lot. It's a totally mixed recipe, partly my Grandmothers, partly Southern Living and partly came about because of a mistake I made one time, leaving an ingredient out, and it worked well, made it better really, so I kept making it the "new" way every time after that.



3 - 5 over ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip the banana's for about 5 minutes. Then add eggs and vanilla

Combine next five dry ingredients in a bowl, then add to the banana mixture.

Pour the batter in a greased and floured pan. Any size will do. This mixture will also fit nicely into 2 loaf pans.

Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes, and then check with a clean dry knife. If it comes out clean it's done. If not give it another 10 minutes and check again.


I use a coffee flavoured icing for this cake. It might sound wierd, but it's really delicious.

1 cup of confectioners sugar
Drizzel in some coffee a little at a time and mix until you have the consistency you want, and then ice the cake!


Pappardelle with Ham,Pine Nuts and Rosemary Sauce


This is a quick, easy and delicious pasta recipe that I adapted from a “Dinner in 20 Minutes” recipe from the Washington Post ( 9/26/07).

I’ve made this three times now, once with plain pappardelle, and twice with Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper Pappardelle, and it’s so much better with the Lemon Pepper pappardelle.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Own Bolognaise Recipe


As you know, last night was Halloween, so I decided to do something easy that I could pepare earlier in the afternoon and then get cleaned up quickly so the Trick or Treating could start. I made my own recipe Spaghetti Bolognaise. I have been using this one for over 20 years, and some days are better than others, but it is consistently yummy.


2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1lb ground beef - as fat free as possible
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic chopped or 1 teaspoon of preminced garlic in the jar
1 can of diced tomatoes
Couple slurps of ketchup
1 lb of white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
Dried oregano
Fresh or dried basil, 1 tspn each
Shaved fresh parmesan cheese for topping

Spaghetti or any pasta!


Rough chop the onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a saucepan, when hot add the onion and garlic, stirring until brown.


Add the ground beef and stir until all browned, turn down the heat to medium.
Add the can tomatoes, including all the juice.
Put in the few slurps of ketchup, add the wine, then the sliced mushrooms.
Add 1 tspoon dried oregano.
If using fresh basil wait until 5 mins before serving to add, if dried basil, add it now.
Simmer for about 45mins to 1 hour

Serve over spaghetti.

This sauce also freezes realy well, and this makes enough for 2 meals for 2 people.