Lasagna 

I believe this was only the second time making lasagna in my adult life. I am kind of weird about cheese and do not care for ricotta, which has caused me to shy away from lasagna. My inlaws made it when they were visiting a few months ago and I actually really enjoyed it, ricotta and all! So I gave it a try and it came out pretty good. I served it with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. 

Ingredients: 

– 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage

– 1/2 lb. ground beef 

– 1/2 cup onion, diced 

– 2 cloves garlic, minced 

– 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes 

– 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste 

– 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce 

– 1/2 cup water 

– 1 tsp. sugar 

– basil, oregano, onion powder, parsley seasoned to taste 

– 12 lasagna noodles (I used the no-boil) 

– 1 (16 oz) container or ricotta 

– 1 egg 

– 3/4 lb shredded mozzarella cheese 

– 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 

Directions: 

In a large pan with tall sides, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until cooked through and browned. Drain the fat and return to pan. 

To the meat, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Stir everything together. 

Next add the sugar, basil, oregano, onion powder, parsley, taste and adjust accordingly. Stir to combine. 

Simmer, covered for at least 1 1/2 hours or longer. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta, egg, a bit more parsley, and a pinch of salt. 

Preheat oven to 375F. 

To assemble: grab a 9×13-inch pan and spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of noodles on top of the sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta mixture, and top with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers and add Parmesan to the top layer. 

Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Place a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drippings that may fall. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving. 

   
    
    
    
    
 

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Japanese Sweet Potato  Fries 

I have never liked sweet potatoes, and I have tried them a few different ways. Recently, I was served Japanese sweet potatoes at a friend’s house and was a bit skeptical at first, but oh my goodness they were good! I can now say that I like a type of sweet potato 🙂 If you have never seen or heard of them (I hadn’t) they have a purply skin with white flesh inside and are much milder than a regular orange sweet potato. You must give them a try! 

Ingredients: 

– 2 to 3 Japanese sweet potatoes 

– olive oil, coconut oil, or any oil you want for frying (I used coconut and olive oil) 

– salt and pepper 

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 375F. 

Begin by washing and drying your sweet potatoes, then piercing them all over with a fork. 

Bake them in your preheated oven for 60-90 minutes, depending on size. The smaller potatoes will cook much faster, so just keep checking them after that 60 minute mark. 

Once they are done, remove the potatoes from the oven, slice in half, and place in the refrigerator. 

Once the potatoes are cooled, remove from the fridge. Remove the skins, and slice into strips, depending on how thick or thin you want your fries  

Heat up your oil of choice and let it get hot. Once your oil is heated, add the potato strips a few at a time. Fry your potatoes and flip over after 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove fries to a paper towel lined plate to soak up the extra oil. Season with salt and pepper. I served them with homemade burgers last week and it was divine! 

Enjoy! 

   
    
 

Cilantro Chicken Stir-Fry 

Oh boy, was this good! I am such a sucker for cilantro so when I saw this I just had to make it. Also, the peanuts were a surprising, but great addition to the stir fry, and we all enjoyed it. 

Ingredients: 

– 2 tsp. Olive oil 

– 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

– 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts 

– 1 red bell pepper, diced 

– 4 cloves garlic, minced 

– 1 tsp. ground ginger 

– 1 tbsp. soy sauce 

– 2 tsp. rice vinegar 

– 1 tsp. Sriracha sauce 

– 1 tsp. sesame oil 

– 1 tsp. cornstarch 

– 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped 

Directions: 

Begin by heating up the olive oil in a large frying pan preferably with tall sides over medium- high heat. Addin the chicken and cook for three minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the peanuts, red bell pepper, garlic, and ginger to the pan with the chicken. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. 

While the chicken is cooking, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, Stiracha, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the sauce to the skillet and cook, stirring until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken. 

Remove the pan from the heat and add in the chopped cilantro. Stir to combine and serve over rice with lime wedges on the side. I always use brown rice in my dishes and it is delicious! 

Enjoy! 

   
    
    
    
    
    
 

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting 

Ok guys…  This is. The. Frosting!! I made it for cupcakes for my youngest daughter’s first birthday 🙂 Oh my goodness, it was so good and the secret is freeze dried berries! I’ve never done a recipe like this before, but this took it to an entire different level and no artificial flavorings or colors 🙂 A must try! 

Ingredients: 

– 2 sticks softened (1 cup) unsalted butter

– 1 cup (10-12g) freeze dried raspberries (or strawberries) I think any berry would be good! 

– 4 cups powdered sugar 

– 2 Tbsp. Heavy cream 

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract 

Place the freeze dried berries into a food processor and blend into a powder. I don’t have a food processor, so I just used a gallon bag and hit the berries with the back of a metal measuring cup until they were powder. Set aside. 

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the softened butter on medium speed about two minutes until creamy. Add the powdered sugar, raspberry powder, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Mix until well blended on low. Increase speed to medium high and beat for a full three minutes. Add 1/4 cup more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin and add a couple more tbsp. heavy cream if it’s too thick. Add a pinch of salt if the frosting is too sweet. 

Frost as desired.

   
    
    
   
     
   

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars 

These bars are really tasty and so easy to make. I love that I didn’t even have to dirty my mixer! 🙂

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

– 1/3 heaping cup of Jif Peanut butter

– 1 egg

– 1 cup packed brown sugar

– 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

– 1 cup all- purpose flour

– 1 cup chocolate chips and 2 tbsp. for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 pan with tin foil, spray with cooking spray, and set aside.

Melt the butter in the microwave

After the butter is cooked for a couple minutes, add the peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and finally the egg. Whisk until fully incorporated and smooth.

Add in the flour and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and lightly smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips. Press down slightly.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the bars to cool for about 30 minutes in the pan before removing and slicing. Enjoy!


  
  
  
  
  
  

Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala 

This was a really good recipe. Nice and easy in the crockpot and didn’t take forever. I served it over a bed of mashed red potatoes and steamed broccoli on the side. Delish! 

Ingredients: 

– 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut thinly in half 

– 3 cloves minced garlic 

– 2 cups chicken broth or 1 cup Marsala wine (I used the broth) 

– 1/2 cup water 

– 1/4 cup cornstarch 

– salt and pepper 

– 8 oz. mushrooms (I left these out because I didn’t have any on hand) 

Directions: 

Lightly spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in the bottom of the crock pot. Add the minced garlic and pour in the chicken broth/wine. Add the mushrooms. 

Cook on low for 5 hours. 

Once the time is up, remove the chicken breasts, set aside. In a small bowl, make a slurry from the water and cornstarch (mix the two together) and pour into the crockpot. Turn the setting to high and give it a big stir. Add the chicken back in and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Stir occasionally. 

Serve over mashed potatoes and top with the sauce. Enjoy! 

  

(Healthier) Tatertot Casserole 

So I am totally not above making Tatertot casserole, my only issue with it is, I think cream soups are disgusting and I try and avoid them in all of my recipes. This kind of resembled more of a shepherd’s  pie with tatertots on top, but it was really yummy, regardless! 

Ingredients: 

– 1 lb. ground beef 

– 1 onion, diced 

– 1 cup frozen vegetables (I used a mixed vegetables assortment) 

– 1 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 

– 1 tbsp. chili powder 

– 1/2-1 cup of water or beef broth (beef broth would give more flavor, I was just lazy) 

– 1-2 cups shredded cheese 

– 3/4 of a 32oz bag of tatertots 

– salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste  

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 350F. 

Begin by browning your meat and onions. Once no longer pink, drain the fat and return to pan. 

Add to the mixture: Worcestershire, seasonings, chili powder, frozen veggies, and water/broth. Give everything a big stir and taste and adjust seasonings, as needed. Also adjust your liquid amount too. Just try not to add too much liquid, you don’t want a soup! Cook for a few minutes until vegetables are no longer frozen, and you have a good consistency. 

Pour into an 8x 11-inch baking dish. Sprinkle on shredded cheese, and then top with frozen tatertots. (You could sprinkle on a bit more cheese on top, if you really want to get wild 😉

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the tatertots are crispy on top. Remove from oven and let set a few minutes before serving. I served mine with a fresh fruit salad and it was a nice light addition to our meal. Enjoy!