Wednesday, December 26, 2012


If you want to feed a crowd a lasagna is the way to go.  You can make it ahead of time and then bake it when you are ready.

1 pound Lasagna noodles 
41/2 cups tomato sauce (I used a jar spaghetti sauce)
1 pound ricotta cheese
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 pound hot Italian sausage (Mine was in the sausage casings so I removed it and used the ground meat)
1 pound ground pork sausage
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
Cook the sausage and beef together.  Drain off fat.  Boil 6 quarts of water, add pinch of salt, and cook pasta to almost done. Remove from water and shock in ice bath.  In a 10-by-14-by-3-inch baking pan or dish, pour 1 cup of tomato sauce in bottom and around sides. Layer lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan, overlapping by 1/2-inch. Add 1/3 amount of ricotta, 1/3 amount of mozzarella, 1/3 amount of sausage, then sprinkle generously with the Parmesan, add 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Repeat this 2 more times.   On the very top sheet, top with remaining ricotta, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and dust with Parmesan. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for approximately 45 minutes until cheese is nice and bubbly. Remove from oven; let sit for 15 minutes. Cut and serve immediately.  You can layer this however you want but it will still come out fantastic!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Spinach Chicken Salad

I wanted to do something somewhat healthy for an alternative to the holiday dinner so I opted for salad.

Spinach Chicken Salad
Chicken breasts, grilled
Spinach (from local farmers market)
Green lettuce mixture (from local farmers market)
Feta Cheese, crumbled (from local farmers market)
Dried Cranberries
Bacon, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
Hard cooked eggs, 1 per salad quartered (from local farmers market)
Poppy Seed Dressing

Arrange items on a plate or bowl.  Add dressing and serve.

Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 cup honey (from local farmers market)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh onion puree (I used the fine part of the cheese grater for this)
1 cup olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Put all ingredients into a small jar and shake until well mixed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Cocktails 2012

Well I had to do another post this year with Christmas Cocktails.  So here is what we made this year.

These recipes, except for one came from the Cocktail Flow app that I have on my IPad.

Holiday Almond
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 part gin
1/2 part Amaretto
1 dash lime juice
Ice Cubes
Place ice cubes into snifter glass.  Pour ingredients into the glass and stir together.

Holiday Hopper
1 part midori
1/2 part mint liqueur (I used peppermint schnapps)
1/2 part White Creme De Cacao (I only had clear which is what I used)
2 parts half & half (1:1 milk and cream)
Ice cubes
Add ice cubes to the shaker.  Pour ingredients into the shaker, shake.  Strain into a cocktail glass.

Peppermint Kiss 
This was my drink and my personal favorite
1 part vodka
1/2 part peppermint schnapps
1 part midori
3 parts pineapple juice
1/2 part lemon juice
Ice cubes
Ad ice cubes to shaker, pour ingredients into the shaker, shake.  Strain into an ice filled collins glass.  I added a candy cane for a garnish.

Silent Night
My husband's concoction
1/2 part creme de menthe liquor
1/2 part creme de cacao
1 part grenadine
1 part tequila
Place ingredients into a martini glass and stir.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning

I have found that I really like my homemade taco seasoning.  You can add some kick to it if you like but it has great flavor and I think tastes better than the store bought mix.

Here is the recipe for the taco seasoning:
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground pepper

There is enough seasoning for 2 different meals.  Use about 2 tablespoons per 1 pound of grass fed ground beef.  Brown ground beef and then add seasoning and about 1/2 cup of water.  Cook until seasoning and water is absorbed. 

The tacos are store bought organic corn tacos.  The toppings included vegetarian refried beans, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa and avocado.  

Here are some helpful tips:
I grind my own cumin, it has such a better freshness to it.  I place about 1 tablespoon or so of cumin seed into a coffee grinder (be careful not to use the same one you would make coffee in).  Grind seeds until it turns into a fine powder.  Remove cumin powder to a small spice jar.  To clean your grinder just add some rice (white or brown, doesn't matter) to it and grind.  Dump rice out and wipe out grinder, you may have to do this a couple of times to get the smell out and for it to be clean.

I like to slice the lettuce for tacos and the easiest way to do this is to use a plastic knife.  Using a plastic knife to cut the lettuce will help the lettuce to not turn brown.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Turkey Carcass Soup

I am sure that by now you have given up on me posting new recipes to my blog.  I am back after being away for a while and then getting a cold.

At Thanksgiving I knew I wanted to do something with the carcass but knew that I would not have time after Thanksgiving due to traveling, so we froze the carcass so that it could be used later.

My first challenge in trying to make soup with the carcass was to find a pan large enough.  The turkey was 17 pounds which makes the bones on the larger scale.  I ended up using a lobster pot, which was wide enough.

Add carcass to a pan and add enough water to cover.  Place on stove, cover and cook for a while.  A lot will depend on the heat that the carcass is being cooked.  Any leftover meat will fall from the bones. You will want to remove the bones from the broth.  Pick any meat off that didn't come off and add back to the pan.  The fat pieces and undesirable pieces (things you don't want in your soup) will float to the top, just skim them off with a small sieve or strainer.

Add to the broth the following:
4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 small onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used Japanese sweet potatoes)
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
2 cups of rice
1 bag baby spinach
Add the vegetables and cook until tender, add spices.  Add enough spices to your taste.  Add rice and cook until soft over medium heat.   Once ready to serve add spinach and cook until wilted (this will not take very long).  Serve.

You can really add any vegetables that you want to this soup and you can use noodles instead of rice.