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Monday, October 27, 2014

Recipe Review from 10/20/2014

Andy-pup is doing much better this week after his first 7 days of antibiotics.  No problems getting him to swallow his meds, but then we're hiding those in a little ball of wet food.  Down the hatch it goes!

We've been enjoying a glorious week of sunny and warm (for us - 60*) Fall weather.  The Husband has been taking advantage of this to build the foundation for the future chicken coop.  Blocks are in, cement poured and curing, and first sheets of plywood for the walls purchased.

And now...The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) grilled cheese and leftover soup  (S)  Lasagna
Mon (Yoga/IMA mtg) scrounge
Tues - leftovers
Wed - (AM yoga)  leftovers
Thurs - (yoga) sauteed pork chops
Fri - leftovers
Sat - (leading yoga workshop/out with friend Tess!)  scrounge

Lunches - Slow cooked Chicken Gumbo, fruit, yogurt, nut cups

Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce  (Ckng Lght Oct 2014)
I simplified this a bit by using no-boil noodles and adding some extra liquid to the pan.  Personally, I hate boiling lasagna noodles. Lasagna is an already labor-intensive dirty-dish creating meal, and I just despise adding boiling noodles into the mix.  It is imperative though, when using no-boil noodles to add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water to the pan.  If you like your lasagna saucy, go with the 1 cup.  If you like your lasagna firmer, use less. 

Overall, this was a basic lasagna with meat sauce.  Nothing fancy, solid comfort food, the 11x7 pan good for two - four people with some leftovers. 
photo from

1 1/2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
6 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
5 garlic cloves, minced and divided 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
12 ounces extra-lean ground beef (93% lean)   (I used mild Italian sausage)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (25-ounce) jar lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as Dell'Amore)
Cooking spray 
6 lasagna noodles, cooked  (I used 1 pkg no-boil noodles, and added ~1/2 cup water to pan)
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Combine ricotta, 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) mozzarella, 2 tablespoons parsley, butter, oregano, 1 garlic clove, and egg; set aside.
3. Place ground beef in a large non­stick skillet over medium-high heat; sprinkle with peppers and remaining 4 garlic cloves. Cook for 9 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble; drain. Return beef mixture to pan; stir in marinara sauce, and remove from heat.
4. Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce in bottom of a broiler-safe 11 x 7–inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cut bottom third off each noodle to form 6 long and 6 short noodles; cut short noodles in half to form 12 pieces. Arrange 2 long noodles along outside edges of dish; arrange 4 short noodle pieces along center of dish. Top noodles with 1 cup meat sauce. Top with 2 long noodles and 4 short noodle pieces, all of ricotta mixture, and 1 cup meat sauce. Arrange remaining 2 long noodles and 4 short noodle pieces on top. Spread remaining meat sauce over top noodles. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 4 ounces (1 cup) mozzarella cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until bubbly.
5. Preheat broiler to high. (Keep lasagna in oven.)
6. Broil lasagna for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley; cut into 6 pieces.

Slow Cooked Chicken Gumbo  (modified, Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen)
Okay, this recipe was way to long and involved to type out.  It was also rather long and involved in the prep!  This involved making a roux for the slow cooker by lightly browning 1/2 cup of flour, then adding 1/2 cup of canola oil in a dutch oven and stirring till combined.  This mixture is then placed in a 350* oven and baked until the "color of a copper penny" or about 45 minutes.

At which time this oily mixture is removed (I thought it looked oily) and 1 diced green pepper, 1 diced red pepper, 2 stalks of diced celery, 5 cloves of diced garlic, 1 tbsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper are added and cooked till soft.  Pour in 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock and bring to a simmer which lets the roux thicken.  This is poured over 2 bay leaves, 1lb of polish (recipe called for andoullie), 2 lbs of chicken thighs, and 12 oz of sliced okra (fresh or frozen, thawed).

Cook for 4-6 hours on high.  Break-up super tender chicken with a wooden spoon, and serve.

I was pretty dubious (and a bit put out) with the whole roux-in-the-oven bit, but much to my surprise it actually worked.  Was it worth the extra hour of prep for a slow cooker dish?   Not entirely certain.  A slow cooker is about convenience, and that was about as inconvenient as it comes.  That being said, the dish was flavorful, thick, and definitely a gumbo. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am betting that scrounging at your house is better than most folk's regular meals. LOL

Glad Andy is feeling better

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