Wrap up

I think everyone saw this coming – I’m finding that blogging is taking up more of my time than I want to give (makes it harder to cook fun stuff!). So, thank you all for reading, however, long I had your eyeballs for and go cook some fun stuff. (Once Adam is done with grad. school, we may or may not be back up – we’ll have to see then.)

Purposely eating the same thing all week

I don’t know about you, but post Thanksgiving, I’m perfectly happy to not cook for a couple days. Thanksgiving can take a lot of my cooking mental space. The problem with trying that this year is that we didn’t have much in the way of protein leftovers – the leg of lamb Adam roasted was excellent. Also, he estimated servings pretty well, so with much effort (i.e. attempting to cut even more meat scraps off the bone) we had two lunch portions of lamb, each. I mean, hurray, more tasty lamb, but not so much with the not having too cook – we needed a protein/main course for dinners. Have enough left over sides that I didn’t really need to cook any vegetables or stuff… So what did I do?

Cook a vegetable heavy lasagna, of course.

Totally worth it.

For you vegetarians out there, and anyone who just wants to occasionally have a meatless dish, this recipe will totally work in a vegetarian version. It should since the original was developed that way🙂 We just really wanted some animal protein. And I really dislike mushrooms. It’s a personal failing I’m sure😉

Cheesy Lasagna

Original from TheKitchn
Makes 8-10 servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 9 recipes; Dinner: 1

  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 3/4 lb ground 90/10 beef
  • 1/2 lb smoked andouille sausage, sliced into bite-sized slices
  • 1 eggplant, small – medium (12-16 oz), small dice
    • [psst, go for the smaller size, especially if your skillet or pot isn’t all that large]
  • 1 butternut squash, small – medium, small dice
    • again, go for a squash on the small size
    • your favorite type of squash will work here: feel free to substitute (butternut squash was a pleasant surprise – I had not idea if it would actually work or not walking in, we just need to use up these squashes floating around the house)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, optional (but totally awesome in)
  • 5-6 oz baby spinach
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
    • (one 24 oz jar worked, but we would have been happier with more sauce. or I failed measuring whilst executing, since 24 oz should definitely be 3 cups…)
  • 15 dry lasagna noodles (not no-boil, you want the regular ones)
  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 1/4 – 3 cups mozzarella, chopped or shredded
    • we used 2 1/4 cups, but would have been happy with more
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Warm some olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and sausage; cook until the beef browns.
    IMG_0361
    Add the eggplant, squash, and bell pepper; cook until all soften, roughly 3-5 minutes.
  3. Clear some space in the middle of the pan (this is where it would have been easier if I’d used a pot with tall sides…). Add more olive oil, the garlic, salt, and spices – stir until the garlic is fragrant and beginning to turn golden, about 30 seconds. Now stir the garlic and spices into the vegetables. Add the spinach on top and stir until it wilts, about 3-5 minutes later. Remove the skillet or pot from heat.
  4. Spread some tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish (you do not need to use cooking spray or butter the dish). Lay 5 of the lasagna noodles (breaking if needed) in a single layer over the sauce. Spread 1 cup of ricotta on the noodles (I totally reached in and spread out the ricotta with my hands), half of the vegetables, 1 cup of tomato sauce, and 1 cup of mozzarella. Add another single layer of lasagna noodles using 5 pieces, the rest of the vegetables, 1 cup of tomato sauce, and 1 cup of mozzarella (in that order). Top with a final layer of 5 pieces of lasagna noodles, the remaining tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup of ricotta. Reserve the remaining 1/4-1 cup of mozzarella for later.
  5. Cover the dish with a lid or tightly with foil; bake for 1 hour. After 1 hour, check that the noodles are done by inserting a knife – if the knife does not slide easily through all the layers, recover and cook for another 15 minutes. Once noodles are done, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top and return to the oven, uncovered, until the mozzarella melts, about 10-15 minutes.

 

Shameless self promotion with Turkey Day Pictures

And by turkey, we mean lamb. Because we don’t much like turkey. And really like lamb.

So first, the shameless self promotion:
As we have said before, we cook for Feastly. It’s a lot of fun and if you’re ever in DC, you should come to one. Preferably one of ours, but there’s quite a few good cooks on Feastly in the DC area. And right now, Feastly is trying to get more people to sign up. So, the first five people who sign up using this link will have a $10 credit in their account. Full disclaimer: we get $10 too, once you sign up to attend a meal.

On to the pictures!

Quickness

Thanksgiving duties call (of course Adam and I host my family for Thanksgiving, who else would?🙂 ) – there was a pie last night. More specifically, there was a CSA delivered pumpkin cut in half, roasted at 400°F for an hour, the flesh scraped out into a processor and turned into purée. Then there was crust. Then there was a pie.

Unfortunately there was not blog post writing. See y’all next week.

Again, good, but not quite good enough

The title really says it all… tossing together cooked tortellini, nuts, dried figs, and salad greens, then drizzling with red wine vinegar is pretty decent. It’s just not terribly exciting, taste or texture wise. I’m sure it will work perfectly well as an emergency ‘I’m hungry and need to throw something together quickly; what do I have in the refrigerator’ kind of thing. It’s just not worth planning out and making sure the ingredients are available.

On the plus side, now we have a bag of emergency cheese tortellini in the freezer. Goes with the emergency pasta sauce in the pantry.🙂

Tortellini Salad

Original from TheKitchn
Makes 2 servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 10 recipes; Lunch: None! Hurray, another section done!

  • ~10 oz tortellini (I used cheese and see no reason other types wouldn’t work)
  • ~1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried Mission figs
  • Salad greens
  • Red wine vinegar
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the tortellini and cook as long as the tortellini package directs you to. Or until they bob to the surface and are tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop the walnuts. Cut off the stems of the figs and then roughly chop them.
  3. Combine the salad greens, tortellini, walnuts and figs in a bowl; toss together. Drizzle with red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinagrette) and toss again to coat. Divide between serving bowls. Alternatively, withhold the walnuts until the end and sprinkle on after the division into serving bowls.

Using up the refrigerator (that’s what I do around here)

We had lots of unused vegetables from our CSA and leftover ingredients from Feastly and life, and needed to get rid of them. So… I made a casserole; a crazy veggie corn casserole. And it has in it: 2 eggplants, 6 ears of corn , 6 bell peppers, 3 hot peppers, 1 red onion, 5 cloves of garlic, and 1 cup of leftover rotisserie chicken. This was literally what we had in our fridge, and it needed to go away.

So I diced and salted the eggplant. Cut the corn off the cob. Diced the peppers (bell and hot). Diced the chicken (again). And mixed it all up in a bowl.

Then I made a cheese sauce. Oh god. Diced the red onion. Got it simmering in olive oil. Added several tablespoons of all-purpose flour (too many tbsp of flour). Added oil back to try to recover from too many tbsp of flour. Then pulled out leftover chicken broth. And in that pan, I keep stirring and stirring until it got thin enough to add a quarter of a pound of parmesan cheese and an eighth a pound of cheddar cheese (both of these were also leftovers). I mentioned this was a cheese sauce, right? And then I added a little bit of milk to thin it out more.

And after Laura very kindly transferred the mix of veggies into our covered casserole, I poured the sauce over and mixed it in. Then I covered it with panko crumbs from our pantry and shoved it in the oven at 350°F.

We’ll let you know how it turned out.

 

P.S. We also made apple sauce today, finishing the apples from our insane, mistaken purchase of a bushel of apples.

Dictated by Adam, transcribed and edited by Laura