Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lasagna with Meatballs

I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of ricotta cheese. So my favorite lasagnas do not include it. This is by far the favorite lasagna (besides Victoria's in Norman, OBVIOUSLY) of all my picky eaters. It's a time-consuming dish to make, yes, but this one is worth it! 

Lasagna with Meatballs
from America's Test Kitchen : '09

for meatballs and sauce:
1 lb ground beef
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup minced basil or parsley (or a combination of both)
3 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes

for noodles and cheese:
12 dried lasagna noodles
1 lb whole-milk mozzarella, shredded
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450. Mix meatballs- ground beef, cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, and up to 5 tbs basil, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Roll into 1 tsp sized meatballs. Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, gently heat garlic and olive oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add tomatoes, cook 10-15 minutes. Off the heat, add 3 tbs basil, season with salt and pepper. Stir meatballs into sauce and cover to keep warm.
Lower oven temperature to 400.
Boil pasta. Drain and cool under water.
Spray a 9*13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Ladle 3 tbs sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles, then 1 1/2 cups sauce/meatballs, then 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers. On the fourth and final layer, cover pasta with 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.
You can also cover well (before baking) and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Pizza (or anything!) Rolls

Remember those delicious little Garlic Knots I came up with? I've become a bit obsessed with them, but my kids aren't complaining. I love to make them for a quick bread to go with dinner, but lately I've been stuffing them with various ingredients and giving them to the kids for lunch.
Again, no complaints. Except that time I used spinach. (I ended up eating those, of course.)
Pizza (or anything!) Rolls


1 pizza crust (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
ham, pepperoni, chopped fresh spinach, etc.
1/2 stick butter, melted
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a standard sized muffin tin with cooking spray. Tear the pizza dough into 12 pieces and flatten each piece into a circle. Stuff with cheese, pepperoni, ham, spinach, etc. Pinch the dough together to completely cover the ingredients. Place roll, seam side down, in the muffin tin. Top generously with melted butter. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best Drop Biscuits

If you're a biscuit lover, like every single member of my family, please step away from the can right now. I promise you, these are the easiest and most delicious biscuits, and you can have them whipped together in less time than it takes your oven to heat up. (I promise. That's what happened to me this morning.)
These biscuits are unusual in that you use melted butter instead of cold butter that you have to "cut into" the flour. This trick makes them pretty much fool-proof as well as super light and flaky.

Best Drop Biscuits
From Best of America's Test Kitchen- 2009

Makes 12 biscuits

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup cold buttermilk (you can make buttermilk by combining whole milk with a splash of lemon juice or white vinegar, which is what I almost always do.)
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly (about 5 minutes)

Preheat oven to 475. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the dry ingredients- the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine completely, being careful not to over-mix.
Using a 1/4 cup measure (or large ice cream scoop), scoop out the batter onto a greased or lined cookie sheet. Bake biscuits 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden. If desired, brush with melted butter when you remove them from the oven.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekly Menu/Meal Planning/Prepping Ahead

One of the goals I have set for myself in 2014 to get back in the habit of meal-planning. Meal-planning keeps me from making tacos and chicken nuggets every night of the week. Not that my kids would complain if I did that.
I shopped with a friend this morning and have two solid weeks of meals planned out. So today, Saturday, I spent a good amount of time in my kitchen prepping as many of those meals as I can, just to make life that much simpler.
This was a hard-core undertaking, one that I hadn't tried before. I don't know how often I can commit to this, but I predict that Future Keely will thank me for the work I did today.

Here's what's on the menu and what I took care of ahead of time:

Lasagna with Meatballs, Garlic Knots --I'll share this recipe soon!
Completely assembled lasagna. Waiting to be baked. 

Chicken Nuggets with Rice and Green Beans

Nacho Spuds
Cooked and seasoned beef. Grated cheese. Washed lettuce.

Macaroni and Cheese
Boiled pasta after I cooked the lasagna noodles; used the same water. Grated cheese.
Mac and Cheese is easy to make in advance and freeze for later, but I was worn out by the time I got here. :)

Beans and Cornbread


Buttermilk Waffles with Eggs and Bacon
Mixed waffle dry ingredients together; stored in the fridge in a jar. Cooked 1 pound bacon in the oven. 

Parmesan Chicken, Rice, Green Beans
Pounded chicken flat before I stuck it in the freezer to fix another day. Made homemade breadcrumbs

Chicken Pot Pie
Made crust. Roasted chicken breasts at 375 until cooked through. 

Chicken Soup with Homemade Noodles
Roasted chicken breasts. The noodles are time-consuming, so I might just make this next weekend. 

Steak Stir-fry
Thinly sliced steak before freezing.

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Pasta Carbonara





Thursday, December 05, 2013

Weekly Menu- Cold Weather Edition

The temperatures are dropping fast here in Oklahoma, which is the perfect opportunity to stay in and spend some extra time in the kitchen. Here's what I've got planned for the frosty days ahead:

Beef Minestrone- made it yesterday and will be eating it again today. Soup is always better the next day, right?!

Go-to Beef Stew- obviously. It's the best!

Shredded Beef Taquitos- because the stew meat was on sale, I stocked up!

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles- a bit more time-consuming, but that's the idea when it's too cold to do anything else, right?

To accompany these great soups:
Garlic Knots
Honey Cornbread Muffins

For cozy breakfast:
Sweet Potato Spice Muffins with Perfect Hot Chocolate

And finally, just because:
Chocolate Mint Cookies

Stay warm and safe, Okies!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Butternut Squash Tart

When you live in Oklahoma and you use the phrase "a house divided," you are usually talking about a couple in which one person cheers for The University of Oklahoma and one cheers for Oklahoma State University. In the case of some good friends of ours, one person is a vegetarian and one is a big fan of all things carnivorous. So when it came time for our small group's Thanksgiving party this week, I made a special dish just for Kevin, and one for his wife Lindsay. 
Kevin is the vegetarian, and for him I tried out an appetizer from a recent issue of Bon Appetit. It was a hit, and is a great way to use up any leftover butternut squash you may have from Thanksgiving. 
Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Sage
from Bon Appetit Magazine

1 17.3-ounce package of frozen puff pastry
1 butternut squash
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
2 tbs water
1 fresno, jalapeno, or red Thai chile
3 tbs olive oil
fresh sage
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently roll out 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed, on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch square (just enough to even out). Transfer to prepared sheet.
Brush pastry with 1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp. water. Arrange twelve 1/8-inch-thick rounds peeled butternut squash (cut from squash's neck) over pastry, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1/2-inch border. Place another sheet of parchment paper over squash. Set another large rimmed baking sheet over the tart. (This will weigh down the pastry dough and steam the squash slices.)
Bake until bottom of pastry begins to brown and top begins to puff, about 10 minutes.
Remove top baking sheet and discard top sheet of parchment paper. Brush squash slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt. Return tart, uncovered, to oven and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and cooked through, 25–30 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup honey, 1 thinly sliced Fresno, jalapeƱo, or red Thai chile, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (add another thinly sliced chile if more heat is desired). Boil until thickened slightly and syrupy, about 6 minutes.
Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet until just beginning to smoke. Add 12 fresh sage leaves; fry until crisp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Slice tart. Arrange 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan on top; drizzle with chile-infused honey. 
Garnish with fried sage leaves and a few grinds of black pepper.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cookbook Winner Announced!

Using the highly scientific method of my child pulling a name out of a plastic jack-o-lantern...

Congratulations, Rachel!

You are the winner of the Dinner: A Love Story cookbook!

Check your email for instructions on getting your prize! ;)

Thanks for playing, everyone!