broccoli and three-cheese lasagna

My poor meat and potatoes husband.  I keep feeding him these vegetarian meals.  If he doesn’t love the dish, his comment will usually be “This’d be better with some chicken in it.”  Fortunately, this lasagna didn’t get the chicken comment.

This recipe is from Real Simple, December 2009.

No substitutions were made.

broccoli lasagna 1

broccoli and three-cheese lasagna

1 15 oz container ricotta
1 lb frozen broccoli florets – thawed, patted dry and chopped
2 1/4 c grated mozzarella
1/2 c grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 16 oz jar marinara sauce
1/2 c heavy cream
8 no-boil lasagna noodles
oilve oil

broccoli lasagna 2

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, broccoli, 2 cups of the mozzarella, 1/4 c Parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  In a small bowl, combine the marinara sauce and cream.

broccoli lasagna 3

Spoon a thin layer of the sauce into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish.  Top with 2 noodles, a quarter of the remaining sauce, and a third of the broccoli mixture; repeat twice.  Top with the remaining 2 noodles and sauce.  sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 c of mozzarella and 1/4 c of Parmesan.

Cover tightly with an oiled piece of foil and bake until the noodles are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the top is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

broccoli lasagna 4

cartoon-strawberry-9Broccoli, cheese and noodles – what could be better?  The heartiness of the broccoli stands up to the richness of the sauce with cream.  Total prep and cook time is about an hour and half, but so worth the effort!

Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza

There are times in my life when I question if I can read.  This recipe is one of those times.

I’ve been keeping up with my weekly menu planning, purchasing groceries based on said menu plan and doing really well.  I read over this recipe and missed one little detail  24 hours.  The dough needs to rest and rise in the fridge for 24 hours.  No biggie, right?

I waited a couple of days to catch up and take the time to make the dough, let it sit for 24 hours, and then I was ready to make some pizza…  BUT

The 14×11 rectangle the dough was supposed to be rolled out to?  More of a 14 inch wide blob (pictorial evidence below).

I also missed how much pizza sauce was needed.  I had about half the amount needed.  What’s the fix?  A can of tomatoes blended down with salt, pepper, basil, garlic and onion powder thrown in; then mix in the pizza sauce I had on hand.

And I messed up the order of how everything was supposed to be layered.  What’s a girl to do?

This recipe is from Cooking Light, May 2010.

Substitutions made, noted below.

deep dish 1

Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza

1 c warm water (100 to 110 degrees) divided
12 oz bread flour (about 2.5 cups)
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Cooking Spray
1 1/4 c (5 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 c Basic Pizza Sauce – I used a combo of Trader Joes pizza sauce and some blended tomoatoes and spices
2 oz pepperoni slices
2 tblsp grated Parmiganio-Reggiano cheese

Pour 3/4c warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached.  Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Add flour to 3/4c water; mix until combined.  Cover and let stand 20 minutes.  Combine remaining 1/4 cup water and yeast in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.  Add yeast mixture, oil, and salt to flour mixture; mix 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms.  Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; cover surface of dough with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Deep Dish Pizza 2

Remove dough from refrigerator.  Let stand, covered, 1 hour or until dough come to room temperature.  Punch dough down.  Roll dough out to a 14×11-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Press dough into bottom and partially up sides of a 13×9-inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap.

Place a baking sheet in over on bottom rack.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove the plastic wrap – the magazine left out this little detail….  Arrange 3/4 c mozzarella evenly over dough; top with pizza sauce, pepperoni, Parm-Reg and remaining 1/2 c mozzarella.  Place pan on baking sheet in oven; bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes or until crust is golden.  Cut pizza into 6 rectangles.

deep dish 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Husband and I lived in the Chicago area for a couple months before moving to Nashville, but it was long enough to fall in love with a good deep dish pizza.  So this recipe both excited and worried me.  Would it live up to our deep dish memories?  I’m happy to report this is a great fill in to rely on until we can get back to Giordano’s.  Just remember – make the dough 24 hours in advance…

Stuffed Sausage & Spinach Loaf

A couple of Fridays ago me, husband and another couple had made plans to go to an outdoor screening of The Sandlot.  (Best baseball movie – EVER.)  The problem was it had been raining for about 3 days straight here with no signs of letting up.  Instead we decided to hang out at home and try something new.

This recipe is from the Early Summer issue of the Penzey’s catalog.  2013 issue, I think.

No substitutions were made.

sausage spinach loaf 1

Stuffed Sausage & Spinach Loaf

First is the recipe for the White Bread.
1 1/4oz package dried yeast, regular or quick rise
2 tblsp warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/3 c butter, softened
1 c hot milk
3/4 c cold water
1 egg, beaten
5 1/2 to 6 c all-purpose flour

Grease and set aside 2 standard loaf pans.  – Skip this if you are making solely for the Sausage & Spinach Loaf.  In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water.  Stir to blend and set aside.  Combine the sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl.  Add the hot milk and stir until the butter is melted.  Add the cold water and let cool until the mixture is lukewarm.  Add the yeast mixture and the beaten egg to the milk mixture.  Gradually add enough flour to make a soft dough.  This will take about 5 cups; the other 1/2 – 1 cup can be used to flour your kneading surface.  Use your hands to mix the dough in the bowl and incorporate as much of the flour into the dough as possible.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Do this by folding the edges of the dough toward the center and pushing the dough away from you with the heel of your hands and rotating it on the board as you continue to knead.  This should take about 5 to 10 minutes.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  This is the point to wrap half in plastic wrap and freeze if desired.  Use the other half for the Stuffed Sausage & Spinach Loaf.

sausage spinach loaf 2
Sausage & Spinach Loaf:
1 lb bread dough
1 lb bulk Italian sausage, hot or sweet
1 10oz box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp oregano
1/2 garlic powder

Thaw bread down on a greased baking sheet, let rise until doubled. – I put my dough into a greased bowl and let rise.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the sausage until nicely browned and crumbly.  Drain and cool slightly.  Roll the loaf of dough into a large 14×12-inch rectangle.  Doesn’t need to be perfect.  Spread the sausage mixture lengthwise down the rectangle, about 1/3 of the way from one of the long ends.  Top with spinach and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Roll up jelly-roll style, staring with a long side; pinch seams to seal and tuck the ends under.  Place on a baking sheet, seam side down.  The the ends under and form in a crescent shape.  Brush with egg.  In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, oregano and garlic powder, then sprinkle on the loaf.  If the egg drips all the way to the bottom of the loaf, be careful removing the loaf after baking because it could be stuck.  Carefully run a spatula underneath to loosen it.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Let rest a few minutes before cutting.  Serve warm.

sausage spinach loaf 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Well.  This calzone/loaf  monster tastes amazing.  Totally worth the time and effort involved.  BUT I would love to meet the person who can jelly roll a pound of sausage, 10 oz of spinach and 2 cups of cheese.  IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!  I just folded the ends up over themselves and prayed for the best.

THE Salad

The first summer we lived in TN, we invited a couple of students over for dinner to get to know them better.  I put this salad together, and it was dubbed “THE Salad”.

According to R, THE Salad tasted like summer.  Every time R comes home from college, we intend to have dinner and make THE Salad again, but it has yet to happen.  I will forever remember our evening spent talking and laughing around the table while enjoying THE Salad.

the salad 1

THE Salad

Greens & Veggies:
Enough for 4 servings
2 c chopped Romaine lettuce
2 c chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 to 3 celery stalks, diced
1/2 c match-stick carrots
I add tomatoes seperately, husband doesn’t like ’em.

The stuff that makes it THE Salad:
shake & bake chicken  – 3 chicken breasts were enough for 4 servings
fresh sliced strawberries
fresh cubed buffalo mozzarella
pecan halves – toasted or candied
homemade croutons
Poppyseed dressing

the salad 2

For the croutons:  I had some cubed focaccia bread in the freezer to make breadcrumbs or croutons out of.  I tossed them in a couple splashes of olive oil and toasted them in a 400 degree oven for 10 min.