Delicious Distractions to get us through the days.

Simple recipes for those with simple chef skills.

Bunch Worthy Lasagna December 18, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Holiday,Pork,Summer,Themed Post — christinedel @ 7:20 pm
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As much as I like to experiment with cooking and learn new dishes, I am not a fan of watching cooking shows. So for me to actually watch a cooking show there must be something to the dish that completely intrigues me.  Normally, when I think of lasagna I picture a lump of food sitting my my belly. But this version of lasagna is light enough to serve at a brunch or luncheon with your friends. I figure, if my Japanese hosts liked this version of lasagna, then there must be something to it. I made a few changes because, well, I live in Japan and I don’t like their tomatoes (sorry Japanese tomatoes, I’m from California).  And the salsa is good enough to stand on its own and eat with chips.


Here it is Sunny’s Latin Lasagna from Food Network:

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used less because I think it smells and tastes horrible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Tomato Salsa, recipe follows
  • 18 “oven ready” lasagna noodles, about 1 (16-ounce) package (I used only 12)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl stir together ricotta, spinach, egg, cumin, salt and set aside. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat add 3 tablespoons of oil and 3 tablespoons of butter and saute ground pork and cayenne pepper until meat is brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove meat from the pan to a bowl and add mushrooms to the pan. Cook until tender, another 5 minutes. Add meat back to the pan, stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, to taste, then transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.

To assemble, layer bottom of 12 by 9-inch casserole dish with 1/3 of the salsa, then 6 noodles, overlapping to cover the entire bottom surface of the dish. Next add and evenly spread half the ricotta spinach mixture, half the pork mushroom mixture, and a layer of mozzarella. Layer another 1/3 of the salsa, 6 noodles, the remaining ricotta spinach mixture, and the remaining pork mushroom mixture. To finish add the last 6 noodles, top with the remaining salsa. Place the remaining mozzarella slices on top along with the remaining Parmesan. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper, to taste. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F, uncover, and bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Tomato Salsa:

  • 1 poblano pepper, stem removed, seeded and roughly chopped (didn’t use because the store didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeded and roughly chopped (didn’t use because the store didn’t have any)and ta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and roughly chopped (I used the large can of pureed tomatoes with basil)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until almost smooth. Adjust seasoning, to taste.

 

Stuffed Pork Chops in a Wine Sauce November 19, 2010

Filed under: 5 Ingredient/30 Minute Meals,Holiday,Pork,Themed Post — christinedel @ 5:22 pm

This is one of the best recipes I have for pork chops. Almost every pork chop recipe I come across calls for some sort of pan fry then 30 minute bake to pork chops. This cooking method seems to always make my chops over cooked, dry, and horrible tasting. So playing around with the cooking times and methods I came up with some so simple. So simple in fact, I can’t understand why so many other recipes call for so much cooking.  Hey, I figure I must be doing something right if I haven’t made us sick or killed us yet. So here is a pork chop recipe good enough to serve to company.

This recipe can stuff 4 medium sized chops decently. But since I can always only seem to find a pack of 3 chops to feed two of us, I over stuff those chops!

 


 

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 cup of your favorite herb seasoning bread crumbs (for variety mix in some Panko crumbs and stuffing mix)
  • ½ cup of finely chopped onion
  • 3 packets of sugar or about a teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ½teaspoon  of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/3 cup red cooking wine

Directions:

In a large sauce pan, heat on medium the beef broth and wine.

To cut a pocket in the pork chop, lay it flat on a cutting board.  With one hand, evenly press down on the chop with your whole hand to keep it secure to the cutting board.  Start by inserting the knife in the center of the chop and making a one inch opening. Make sure you do not cut through to the other side of the chop. This can be done by feeling the pressure of the knife as you cut. Continue cutting the pocket throughout the chop.

Mix the remaining ingredients thoroughly. Now stuff those pork chops full. If you have any remaining bread crumb mixture, shape them into balls.

By now the beef broth and wine should be simmering. Add the chops and the bread crumb balls and cover. Depending on the size of the chops, the cook time should be around 7 to 10 minutes per side.

Serve and spoon the remaining sauce over the chop. Our normal side is couscous.

Rating:

Husband- 3.75 stars

Me- 4 Stars

 

 

 

Edable Bowl Maker October 31, 2010

Filed under: Dessert — christinedel @ 11:13 pm

It’s not very often a product’s description grabs my attention long enough for me to finish reading the paragraph.  But this item sold me at corn bread with chili bowl (a dish I seldom eat!). Of course the pictures of desserts helped to push me over the edge.

There are three different sizes sold there are ” available in a 2-section pan (makes 5″-diameter bowls), 6-section pan (makes 3″-diameter bowls), loaf pan or 10″ round springform pan that also comes with a flat base for cheesecakes and more!”

If you turn over this pan, you can make 6 mini muffins too!

Here are some of the pictures on the box. Also, a small recipe book is included to help jump-start your baking experience.  So far I have used it three times, each time I was so excited that I eat my creation before I took pictures.

Just look at all the yummies you can make! I started salivating when I opened the box. I now know what I am going to make for my next Bunco game night.

You can find this product here:

http://www.freshfinds.com/cooking_cooking-baking/section-pans/

This website’s descirption is as follows:

“Enjoy your meal… and the bowl it came in! These specially designed pans create novel edible bowls that are ready to fill with all of your favorites. Great for breakfast, dinner and dessert! Start out with an ice bowl for shrimp cocktail… then move on to cornbread with chili. Finish up with a fruit-filled brownie or angel food cake. The 2-section and 6-section pans come with an idea book that includes multiple suggestions for creating delicious entrées, appetizers and desserts. Heavy-duty, carbon-coated, non-stick steel pans provide for uniform cooking and baking. Pans are oven, freezer and dishwasher safe.”

 

Crazy Loaded Pizza September 2, 2010

Filed under: Chicken,Dinner,Kids,Pizza,Themed Post — christinedel @ 4:31 am

I was flipping though some recipes when I came across a bare bones Chicken Ranch Pizza recipe and I thought it was just boring. So boring actually, I didn’t even consider making it. But after no luck on deciding what to make for dinner, I realized I had all the ingredients for it and so much more waiting in the fridge…

And this is what I came up with.

Crazy Loaded Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 package of ready-mix pizza dough*
  • 2-3 tablespoons of garlic
  • 1 Ranch salad dressing bottle (amount to be determined)
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 7 small mushrooms
  • ½ white onion sliced thinly and cut in half and separated
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (I used the flavored canned tomatoes)
  • 4 strips of bacon, crumbled
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup of cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to temperature indicated for pizza dough.
  2. Place chicken in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until no longer pink and juices run clear. Cool, then cut into thin strips.
  3. If using the ready-mix dough, add the minced garlic now. Bake crust for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until it begins to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.
  4. Spread a layer of ranch dressing over the partially baked crust.  Layer on the remaining ingredients starting with the chicken.

Hint: Sprinkle mozzarella cheese in between every few layers to help bind the ingredients together. Add extra layers of ranch to taste. We like our pizza with lots of sauce. Don’t forget some for dipping!

*Any type of pizza dough will suffice, we choose to use this type so we can infuse our pizza dough with minced garlic.

Crazy Loaded Pizza

Enjoy!

 

30 Minute Meal: Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast August 26, 2010

Filed under: 5 Ingredient/30 Minute Meals,Chicken,Dinner — christinedel @ 6:24 pm

This is a flavorful dish that will have your taste buds thanking you.

Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (use part sour cream if desired)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and drained
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • bread crumbs if desired for texture and substance

Directions:

  1. Pre heat over to 350′.
  2. Very carefully butterfly the chicken.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients.
  4. Stuff chicken breasts with spinach mixture. Place in shallow baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350′ or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Enjoy!

 

5 Ingredient/30 Minute Meals: Easy Pizza Braid July 28, 2010

Filed under: 5 Ingredient/30 Minute Meals,Dinner,Holiday,Kids,Themed Post — christinedel @ 4:06 am

This pizza braid is not only great for a quick and easy dinner but is the hit of poker night every time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated no-seam dough
  • 1 jar of meat flavored pasta sauce
  • 1 container of pepperoni slices
  • 2 cups of mozzarella shredded cheese

Directions:

Pre heat oven to recommended temperature on dough container.  Unroll dough, using kitchen scissors cut 2 inches deep and 1 each across strips down the length of each side.

Along the center of the dough, layer meat sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella. Repeat these layers one more time.

Starting at one end, take the outer most  strip of the dough and pull it across to the other side. Take the opposite side outer strip pull it across to the other side overlapping the first stripe. Repeat this with the remaining strips. Tuck the center dough edges up and under the braided dough.

Cook to the directions of the dough. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 1 ½ inch strips and serve.

Enjoy.

 

Ribs in a Savory Homemade Sauce June 20, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Steak,Themed Post — christinedel @ 11:37 pm

This is one of the simplest ways to make ribs with a homemade sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground red chile pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • *1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • *1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • *2 teaspoons whiskey

*I have made this recipe without these three items and the sauce tasted perfect. Perfect enough, that my guests never knew.

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions in oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens, about 30 minutes.

Hint: Left over sauce can be frozen.

Ribs done simple:

  1. Cut full rib rack in half and wrap in foil. Bake for 2 hours at 300 degrees.