Category Archives: meat

What I made for Dinner – Turkey Bolognese

It is finally cold out and it’s the time of year I break out my Le Creuset and make some heartwarming Bolognese sauce. It’s November so let’s make Turkey Bolognese!!!  This is one of our most favorite meals and I will have enough sauce for 2 meals because one 1/2 will get frozen for another day when I don’t have the time to cook. Perfect Sunday night meal. I must say Pasta is probably my most favorite food to eat. Bolognese sauce is one of my most favorites. Today I decided not to go to my usual Bolognese which is delicious but very heavy and rich. I went with a lighter approach today using Turkey and Chicken Sausage because I couldn’t find italian turkey sausage and didn’t feel like hunting it down, and the chicken sausage worked just fine. I did use dark meat turkey because it is much more flavorful, it is ideal but if you really don’t want to use the dark meat use 1/2 white and 1/2 dark or all white meat . The only negative to this sauce is that it really needs 3- 4 hours for the sauce to cook down. The longer the sauce cooks the more flavorful it will be.  This sauce would probably serve 4 nicely with 1 lb. of pasta. You can easily double it and freeze the leftover sauce. So nice to have it in the freezer and just have to make the pasta and you have a wonderful homemade meal. I have now started serving the sauce over shredded zucchini and spaghetti squash.  It is so delicious and you may feel a little bit better eating it over zucchini or spaghetti squash than noodles.  Pasta or Vegetable it’s pretty awesome. Look on my blog for Zucchini Bolognese Recipe for how to recipe, posted 12/20/2012.

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil, plus more if necessary

1 lb. Italian style Turkey or Chicken Sausage, removed from casings. You can also mix in hot or sweet Italian pork sausage if you don’t mind using the pork.

1 pound ground Turkey ( I used dark meat )

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced ( app. 2 cups)

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juice

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 box. Rigatoni ( or any other macaroni you like ) or spaghetti or if you like use *shredded zucchini or *spaghetti squash ( see notes)

Grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

Directions:

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy pan over medium high heat. ( I use my Le Creuset ) Add the sausage meat and break it up as it cooks, turning now and then, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside, add the ground turkey to the pan along with a good pinch of salt and a few fresh grind of pepper. Cook the meat stirring here and there, for 10 minutes as well, till meat is nicely browned. I remove and put in bowl with the sausage which was set aside. Add another 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook until onion breaks down and gets soft, another good 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice along with 1/2 cup of water. ( You may need more water as you go) Add the sausage and ground turkey, stir the sauce well. Bring the sauce to a boil, season to taste with salt and pepper and turn the heat to low. Cover almost completely with a lid (allowing a little steam to escape) and gently simmer for 4 hours. You may want to add splashes of water if sauce is drying out. After 2 hours I added the 1/3 cup of Tomato Paste, and replace lid and continue simmering for 2 more hours. I added water as it cooked, you’ll have to judge for yourself how much water you add. I added 1/4 cup at a time.

When the sauce is ready for serving, bring a large pot of water and prepare pasta according to package directions.

serve with sauce over the rigatoni ( or any pasta you like) with a nice grating of Parmesan.

Yum!

*so many stores now sell zucchini already shredded and it’s dry and ready to go. The only problem with doing it yourself is that you must get the extra moisture out.

*Spaghetti Squash – just have the store cut it in half because it’s a tough one to cut at home. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and scoop out the seeds. Spray a rimmed baking sheet and turn squash open side down on baking sheet and cook till soft, probably 45 minutes or so. Remove from oven and with a fork remove the inside of the squash into a bowl, it comes out like very thin spaghetti.

Happy New Year Brisket

Brisket can definitely be an intimidating thing to make. I once made it as a young cook, and it was perfectly inedible. Back then, I couldn’t believe how long it takes to cook, but it does take very long. Now I usually make it in the slow cooker, which is awesome; but I don’t have a slow cooker in New York, and I don’t have time to run out and buy one. So this time I used my trusty Le Creuset, which worked out beautifully. A lot of people have some pretty awesome brisket recipes and I welcome you to send me yours. This really couldn’t be any easier and it’s super tasty. This original recipe came from my friend, Michele (with a few comments from Karyn too.) I did change a few things to the original recipe, but not a lot and I thank Michele for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lb. brisket (I didn’t need larger but you can adjust this recipe for whatever size brisket you use)

Lawry’s seasoned salt (I’ve never used this before today but I found out it doesn’t contain MSG, as I had previously thought)

2 large Spanish onions (Karyn uses Vidalia, which is also good), sliced thickly

2 cans of tomato sauce , I used the 16 oz. size. You can also use the 1 can of 28 oz. size. It depends on you and how much sauce you like.

2 tbsp. brown sugar (this is my addition. It doesn’t really change the flavor so much as cut the salt a bit)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I sprinkled Lawry’s seasoned salt on both sides of the brisket (generously) then seared it in the Le Creuset pot with a little vegetable oil–probably about a tablespoon. (After the meat was seared, it shrunk to fit perfectly in my pot but I don’t think that a larger brisket would have fit.) Next, I added the tomato sauce and onions, covered the pot and put it in the oven. I cooked it for a total of 3 hours. I checked on it after each hour, which probably wasn’t even necessary. I then let it cool, off of the heat, for about an hour. Next, I sliced it with an electric knife, which came out beautifully. The meat was soft, but not falling apart at all. I then added the brown sugar to the gravy, put the brisket in a container with the gravy and froze it. I’ll take it out the night before I serve. Karyn pulses her gravy with an immersion blender. I didn’t do this but I think it makes for a good suggestion. In fact, I might still do it next time I make this recipe.  I’ll let you know. Thanks again Michele and Karyn!

Marinated Flank Steak

I was having some people over for dinner and I like Flank Steak because you cut it up into thin slices and everyone gets a little bit without feeling like they ate a ton of meat. It cooks up on the grill super fast– about 5 minutes on each side. And it is awesome when used in fajitas!!!

This is what I did. Here are some pics from that night.

Ingredients:

3 lb. Flank Steak

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice –app. 1 large lemon

1 1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

2 cloves garlic–minced

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

in a medium sized bowl, mix all the above ingredients. Pour marinade over the steak, turning meat to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours but I did it overnight till dinner the next day.

Pre heat your grill and turn to medium high heat.

I like to oil the grates and spray with Pam spray. Place steaks on the grill and discard the marinade .

Grill depending on the thickness of your flank steak app. 5 minutes each side.

Enjoy!

 

Un-Stuffed Cabbage

photo 3 (4)photo 2 (2)photo 3 (4)photo 3 (5)photo 4 (3)photo 2I love stuffed cabbage and my Grandmother made the most amazing stuffed cabbage ever . I love stuffed cabbage but do not feel like dealing with the actual stuffing of the cabbage, it is way too labor intensive for me.  I have made several variations of this and found this one to my liking the best. You can play with the ingredients which is what I did . Original recipe is from Kosher by Design and it is perfect for Passover by just leaving out the rice and substituting matzoh meal in its place. Basically this is meatballs in a sweet and sour sauce with cabbage . I doubt very much that Joel would ever eat real “stuffed cabbage” but he liked this. The cabbage cooks down so much that you don’t even realize you’re eating cabbage. I also used 1/2 chicken ground meat and 1/2 beef ground meat , this is entirely up to you. I wouldn’t do all chicken because it might be a bit dry, you can definitely make this with turkey but use dark meat turkey or the balls will also be very dry. You can also make this ahead for the holidays which is always a very good thing and feel free to freeze it.  This is the original recipe , adjust amounts for how much you’re making. I made 2 lbs. of meat but made full sauce as I was testing it out. You’ll want to use a large pot for this recipe. Enjoy!

This will be on our Rosh Hashana and Passover menu this year with raisins and meat , sweet and sour, oh so perfect!

Ingredients:

Meat

3 lbs. ground meat– I used chicken and beef (dark meat turkey is best here) white meat turkey tends to be very dry. Mixed with beef it’s fine but if using alone you’ll need to use dark meat ground turkey.

2 large eggs, lightly beaten. Use room temperature eggs they work best.*see my post about eggs–a little note on my blog.

3/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice, for Passover use matzoh meal and omit the rice

1/4 cup water

1 onion finely chopped

Kosher Salt to taste–app. 1/2 to 1 tablespoon

Pepper to taste–app. 10 grinds on a pepper mill, or app. 1/4 of a tablespoon

*garlic powder if you like

Sauce:

2 packages of shredded cabbage, probably about 1 head of cabbage finely shredded, no need to do it when you can buy it pre-shredded (not red cabbage)

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Kosher Salt to taste ( app. 1/2 tablespoon)

1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

4 8 ounce cans tomato sauce ( or 32 ounces)

1/2 cup brown sugar ( use whichever brown sugar you have in house , it won’t make a difference. Light or Dark, I actually used dark.

1 cup sugar

3 lemons squeezed , I got about 1/2 cup , they were smallish lemons

1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl combine the meat, eggs, water, rice and onions. Season with Salt and Pepper , and if you like garlic powder. Gently mix by hand, and I do mean gently, if you over do it the meat will be like concrete. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shredded cabbage and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, sugar, lemon juice and the raisins. Stir till well combined and continue cooking sauce at simmer setting.

Gently form meatballs out of the meat mixture, I made a rather nice size meatball, not too large and not too small. Make whatever size you’d like. Just do not over-handle the meat because it will cause meat to toughen. Add to cabbage mixture, just drop into the hot sauce and do not stir, you can pile them on top of one another because they will cook down.

I left it to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours . I didn’t touch the meat balls for at least the first 1/2 hour, you’ll want them to cook through and form into nice balls before you stir, so just leave them to cook. After the first 1/2 hour or so you can gently stir and move the meatballs around. They don’t require a lot of stirring around .

This dish brought back memories of my childhood and was a most satisfying main dish.

Roast Pork Loin with Apples and Onions

FullSizeRender (9)FullSizeRender (8) FullSizeRender (6)FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (3)FullSizeRender (2)FullSizeRender (7)Wow!!! What an amazing delicious and easy dish is this to make. Prep is easy and pork loin is available in most butcher shops and Whole Foods type of supermarket. It will make you look like you really know what you’re doing in a few easy steps. It’s really just a dry rub on the pork but you’ll need an instant-read meat thermometer as this is very important in the cooking of this dish. Joel and I both enjoyed this very much. A winner! The roasted apples and onions were just an amazing addition to the pork.

* you’ll need a rimmed sheet pan and a cooking thermometer ( instant-read type) and make sure yours works, sometimes they stop working for no apparent reason.

thanks once again to Jessica Seinfeld http://www.doitdelicous.com and her wonderful cookbook The Can’t Cookbook which I love even though I can cook.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. boneless pork loin * see pictures

2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into quarters ( see directions)

3 red apples

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil + 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 tsp. kosher salt ( divided 1/2 and 1/2 ) see directions

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper ( divided 1/4 and 1/4) see directions

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 Tablespoon dried thyme ( from the jar) this is not fresh thyme

2 tsp. fennel seeds ( available in most spice sections of your supermarket)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Have pork out of refrigerator and at room temperature, about 1/2 hour prior to cooking.

Cutting the onions–First peel the onions, then cut off both ends of the onions. Then cut the onions in half from end to end. Place each half of the onions cut side down and cut again. You have now quartered the onions.

Cut the apples in 1/2 from stem to end.  Remove the core, the easiest method is to use a melon-baller or a small teaspoon to remove core and seeds.  Place each half cut side down and cut in half again. Place the apples and onions in a rimmed sheet pan ( I spray with Pam cooking spray first )

Drizzle the onions and apples with 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper ( app. 12 turns on a pepper mill) Toss together with clean hands and spread into a single layer.

Chop the garlic, and combine in a small bowl with the thyme, fennel, and the remaining 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Place the pork, fat side up in the middle of the pan, push the apples and onions aside. Rub the entire pork loin with the spice rub.

Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pork reads 145 degrees. Check the temperature after 50 minutes. I cooked for one hour and mine was perfect, but check temperature after 45- 50 . Your oven will determine how long it needs to cook and all ovens vary. A slight pink hue in the center of your cooked roast is perfectly desirable. Transfer the meat to a clean cutting board and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing. Plate it up with the apples and onions. I also served alongside roasted sweet potatoes.

Red Chili with Turkey or Beef

Superbowl time and the food that always comes to mind is chili. I have already posted my white bean chili, which I love but this is a more common version. Chili is not an exact science and you can feel free to make substitutions where you like. Obviously the toppings are optional and at your own discretion. Chili is just so easy to make. It sits on the stove or your slow cooker and when you’re ready to eat it, it’s all done. I like chips or taco shells with this. I love fresh jalapeno on the side chopped up, guacamole, refried beans, sour cream, cheese, salsa, diced red onions, etc. If you don’t want beef, make it with turkey instead. I usually make it with turkey but this time out I made it with ground beef because I couldn’t get the turkey. We just landed in Aspen and the small market by the airport only had ground beef so it will have to do. I usually make this one day ahead for a special event. This allows the flavors to all meld together and then I just reheat–couldn’t be easier.

A little trick I learned a while back was to add a little Masa flour. It is usually available in the section with Mexican foods. I stumbled upon it quite by accident, and sneak it in with this recipe. I use about 1/8 a cup of Masa flour to about 1/2 cup very hot water. I add it during the first 1/2 hour and see how it thickens up. I probably use about 2/3 of the flour in the end, and it adds a corn flavor and thickens up the chili. (Directions are below.)

By the way this is so delicious you should make it all year round. I usually make it a few days ahead and keep in the refrigerator. And if it’s for two of you then you will have some amazing left-overs. This freezes amazingly well. (I have kept frozen for up to 2 months) perfect for when you remember you have this in the freezer and have no other dinner planned!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 lbs. ground beef or ground turkey–I prefer dark meat ground turkey, it’s just much more flavorful. If you prefer white try and get 85/15 white meat. 100% white meat turkey can be very dry. It’s a preference and you can use whichever you prefer–just saying….

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (12 – 14 oz) tomato sauce, and then about 1 –  2 cans of water–you may need to add more water if chili gets too thick.

1 can (Ro-tel) diced tomatoes and chilies

1 can (15 oz.)red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1/8  cup masa harina (corn flour) found in the Mexican food section of the supermarket (Mix flour with about 1/2 cup very hot water. It will be quite thick. Drop in by spoonfuls and mix well to incorporate. I probably used 2/3 of the flour mixture. This is optional but ever since I discovered it, I’ve been using it.)

1 can yellow corn (optional, but I always like to add it in. I use a small 8 oz. can)

1 small can (4 oz.) poblano green chilis, cut up or diced (also in Mexican aisle)

1 teaspoon ground oregano (I use Mexican oregano. Use it if you can get it. If not, regular is fine.)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I like the heat. This is optional. You can also take down to 1/4 teaspoon.)

1 teaspoon kosher salt (then you will taste for additional salt. I added 1/4 teaspoon more at the end.)

Grated shredded cheddar or jack cheese for serving

diced red onion and diced fresh jalapeno for serving

Tortilla chips, guacamole, sour cream and salsa for serving

*cilantro for topping (I love cilantro so I chop it up and leave it out for individual garnish.)

Directions:

Place the ground beef or turkey in a large stock pot (Le Creuset) and put in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned. Drain off any excess fat. Add in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, and reduce heat to low. I use the 15 oz. can of tomato sauce as a measuring cup and add 1 -2 cups of water (this time out I used 1 1/2 cans of water.) Let simmer for an hour or so, covered, occasionally stirring, and adding water, if necessary.

Place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Add masa mixture to the chili and stir together and taste for seasonings. Add more water if needed. Add the beans, corn, and chilis. I usually add salt at this point. Simmer for another 1/2 hour or so covered. It can simmer for a long while, if you so desire. Or, turn off heat, and just heat up 1/2 hour before serving.  You should check for thickness. During the last 1/2 hour, I added a bit more water .

Serve with assorted toppings I’ve listed. Cheese, jalapenos, chips, guacamole, salsa, chopped onions, sour cream  and cilantro.

Orzo and Lamb Shanks – Winter Comfort Food

photo (7)photo (8)photo (6)photo (5)photo (4)photo (2)photoI had just purchased Ina Garten’s new “Foolproof” cookbook back in 2013 and this amazingly delicious recipe was in there. I have to admit, I didn’t care for the way the lamb shanks looked raw but luckily I got past this. It was Oscar night 2013 and I couldn’t wait to sit down and watch. My idea of an Oscar party is to eat dinner at home and be in my pj’s by the time they start. Being out in Colorado means they start red carpet at 3, so dvr was set and I got to work on dinner. I like to watch the Oscars themselves live, so I had my work cut out for me. I also like watching alone, with texting and tweeting its like you are never alone anyway. It was a perfectly cold winter night, and Joel and I both love braised meats. This was pretty easy to pull together and I did it in under an hour, put in the oven and 2 hours later we were ready to eat this delicious meal. I must say the orzo was spectacular, and I would make this without meat as well.

This was my original post and then this New Years Eve it was on the menu again! We shared New Years Eve with our dear friends and spent the afternoon shopping and cooking! Now that’s my kind of meal. It takes a little work but totally worth the effort .I put up some pics of this as well.

Ingredients:

*this recipe serves 4, I cut it in 1/2 for Joel and I, but I made the 2 cups of orzo which we ate the next night as well.

1 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 lamb shanks ( app. 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. each)

Grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups chopped yellow onions

2 cups diced carrots ( app. 4 – 5 carrots)

3 stalks diced celery ( medium diced)

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes , including the juice

2 cups beef broth

1 1/2 cups dry white wine, plus 3 tablespoons

2 bay leaves

2 cups orzo

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and dredge the lamb shanks in it, shaking off any excess flour. In a large Dutch oven such as Le Creuset , heat 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil over medium -high heat . Add lamb shanks and cook for about 10 minutes, till browned on all sides, using tongs let them brown on all sides, be careful not to burn oil. Transfer the shanks to a plate. Don’t crowd the shanks, so do 2 at a time, you may need to add a little grapeseed oil for the second time.

Let pot cool a little and wipe Dutch oven with a paper towel, removing all remnants of old oil. Add the olive oil and heat over medium to medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary and cook for about 10 minutes until all veggies are tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the can of tomatoes, beef broth, wine, 3 teaspoons kosher salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Add the lamb shanks, try and submerge them as much as possible in the liquid. Put in the bay leaves and bring to a simmer on the stovetop. Once it is simmering, cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 hours, I turned the shanks around after the first hour.

After 2 hours, add the orzo, stir it in and return the lamb shanks to the oven for about 20 minutes, until orzo is fully cooked and the lamb shanks are very tender. Discard the bay leaves, stir in 3 tablespoons of white wine, and taste for seasonings. Mine didn’t need any more seasoning, I also cut original salt in the recipe to 3 teaspoons instead of 4 and it was perfect. You can always add additional salt at the end.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Bree’s Slow Cooked Skirt Steaks

Skirt Steak and Brody Birthday 004Skirt Steak and Brody Birthday 006I originally posted this recipe back in January of 2013 and it has gone on to be a staple in not only my house (one of Joel’s all time favs) but so many friends and family have added this wonderful and easy recipe to their menus.  It really is an easy recipe and it frees up your oven for other things you may want to cook making it a perfect addition to Holiday and Party meals.

This is how it started , my friend Karyn was raving about this simple but awesome recipe after she stayed at her Son and Daughter in Law’s house . I knew I had to make it, just sounded so good. I am always looking for new ways to use my slow cooker and Joel loves skirt steaks, so this was a win win. There are certain people in your life you just trust when it comes to food, Karyn is definitely one of them. I spoke to Bree and she said she never measures it out but was able to give me some guidelines. Now that I’ve made it for myself I get it, and it really couldn’t be easier. Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best . Again Thanks to Bree for your back and forth emails and mostly for your recipe. I love it when the young cooks turn me on to new recipes! Keep ’em coming. Joel absolutely loved it!!!!  I served with roasted cauliflower and brown rice, but you know he didn’t touch the cauliflower which was so delicious.

* I used 1.39 lbs. of meat for the 2 of us and there wasn’t a single morsel left. Increase all ingredients as you need them.

Ingredients:

*this should be good for 3 people

2 lbs. of skirt steak

Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki

1 Orange ( app. 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice) if no fresh available use concentrate

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

I pat my meat dry with paper towels, then I salt and pepper both sides. I lightly sprinkled because of the sauce which contains salt. I sprayed my slow cooker with Pam to make clean up easier on Joel. Placed steak in slow cooker, covered with enough Soy Vay just to cover , as Bree told me it doesn’t need to swim in it just to cover. Added fresh OJ, moved steak around a bit to mix up all ingredients, turned on slow cooker for 6 hours on low! Awesome! Thanks so much to Bree for sharing this recipe.

Easy Skillet Lasagna

This was truly one of the most epic meals! The whole meal in under an hour, and yes that’s lasagna folks. While I love a real lasagna I didn’t have the time to put the whole thing together and deal with it. Once you have the ingredients the prep time is minimal and you aren’t using store bought sauce , this is with sauce you make and I can’t say enough about the way it tasted! This can be done a few different ways and I invite you to play around with the ingredients and spices to your own liking. All I can say is Wow!  Delicious! Joel was very happy with our Sunday night dinner, I should have taken a picture of the big smile he had on his face when he saw this on his plate.  All in one pot is truly a great way to cook, no fuss, no muss and no having to deal with cooking lasagna noodles!!!!!! Yeah!

This can easily be made with ricotta cheese and spinach or any veggies you like. I would even try it with cut up eggplant!

*You’ll need a large oven proof skillet with lid

Ingredients:

1 to 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil–I used 1 1/2 you can start with 1 and add more to onions if you need it

1/2 lb. ground beef ( I used 80/20)

3 Italian sausage links, casings removed ( I used Hot Italian Sausage) use what you like , you can use turkey or chicken sausage as well

1 onion, diced

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 8oz.can tomato sauce

*Italian seasonings , if you have Italian seasonings in a jar that’s great if not use a little dried oregano and dried basil. Italian Seasonings is available in the spice department of all food stores.

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

App. 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt and more to taste

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

app. 10 lasagna noodles, broken into 1/4’s, if it breaks up differently don’t worry it’s a very loose recipe! 8 ounces Farfalle Pasta also works if you don’t feel like using the lasagna noodles. Un-cooked Noodles!!!!!

8 oz. mozzarella balls ( fresh) I used the small ones this time. Use whatever cheese you like but these worked out beautifully.  You can always use shredded mozzarella, or just cut a large ball of mozzarella into small pieces ( as much or as little as you’d like) if using shredded mozzarella, you’ll need about 1 cup

2 cups water

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

*you can also use 1 cup Ricotta Cheese for a very cheesy version, I would use this if I was making it with spinach and going veggie.

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook till translucent, add garlic towards the end of onion process. Add ground beef to the onions, stirring occasionally till browned. I removed with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. I then cooked up the sausage making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooked.  I then removed sausage to bowl with meat , onions, and garlic and drained all excess fat from pan.

Pre-heat oven to Broil

Return meat to pan, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spices, add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to taste, if you need more add it. Add in the meat mixture and stir, bring to a simmer and add in broken lasagna pieces and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13- 15 minutes for al dente. I stirred it gently a few times just to make certain that the noodles cooked through and didn’t stick together.

Remove from the heat . I placed my Mozzarella on top and placed in oven under broiler for about 5 mins. Check on it because you don’t want it to blacken. All ovens are different, in mine it needed about 6 minutes to just start browning without burning, but you don’t want to burn this up so set timer and keep an eye on it!

Remove from the oven and let it sit out for a few minutes. Plate it up and let everyone add their own parmesan cheese! Enjoy! you will.

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Plated up and ready to eat

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Finished Product

 

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adding mozzarella before placing under broiler

 

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placing un-cooked noodles into sauce

 

 

This would serve 4. It’s tough to double because you would need a super large pan.

This makes for an amazing leftover!

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year Brisket

Brisket can definitely be an intimidating thing to make. I once made it as a young cook, and it was perfectly inedible. Back then, I couldn’t believe how long it took to cook, but it does take very long. Now I usually make it in the slow cooker, which is awesome as well and that recipe is up on my blog as well.  Sometimes  I use my trusty Le Creuset, which worked out beautifully this time.  I just finished cooking it and froze it before I took pictures so I will post pics when it defrosts.  A lot of people have some pretty awesome brisket recipes and I welcome you to send me yours. This really couldn’t be any easier and it’s super tasty. This original recipe came from my friend, Michele (with a few comments from Karyn too.) I did change a few things to the original recipe, but not a lot and I thank Michele for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lb. brisket (I didn’t need larger but you can adjust this recipe for whatever size brisket you use)

Lawry’s seasoned salt (I’ve never used this before today but I found out it doesn’t contain MSG, as I had previously thought)

2 large Spanish onions (Karyn uses Vidalia, which is also good), sliced thickly

2 cans of tomato sauce , I used the 16 oz. size. You can also use the 1 can of 28 oz. size. It depends on you and how much sauce you like.

2 tbsp. brown sugar (this is my addition. It doesn’t really change the flavor so much as cut the salt a bit)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I sprinkled Lawry’s seasoned salt on both sides of the brisket (generously) then seared it in the Le Creuset pot with a little vegetable oil–probably about a tablespoon. (After the meat was seared, it shrunk to fit perfectly in my pot but I don’t think that a larger brisket would have fit.) Next, I added the tomato sauce and onions, covered the pot and put it in the oven. I cooked it for a total of 3 hours. I checked on it after each hour, which probably wasn’t even necessary. I then let it cool, off of the heat, for about an hour. Next, I sliced it with an electric knife, which came out beautifully. The meat was soft, but not falling apart at all. I then added the brown sugar to the gravy, put the brisket in a container with the gravy and froze it. I’ll take it out the night before I serve. Karyn pulses her gravy with an immersion blender. I didn’t do this but I think it makes for a good suggestion. In fact, I might still do it on Thursday. I’ll let you know. Thanks again Michele and Karyn!