Blog Archives

Back to School, Back to Blogging

Hello all!  I had way too much fun this summer with friends and family-lots of breakfasts (with Jan), dinners, hot pot gatherings, potlucks, BBQs.  In short, I was so busy eating, I never got the chance to blog about it!  So I am going to play catch up.  Starting now, while I should be paying (more) attention in class.

Being back at school means that I have to really plan my meals.  I usually like to cook a batch of something that will last me a week for several lunches or dinners.  One of my favorites is the pulled pork recipe for sandwiches.  Right before I left for school however, I visited my friend Gretchen, and she had made me Chicken Cheese Lasagna!  (she knew I was visiting and made sure to have good food around-all the more reason why I love her so much!)  This is a fairly simple recipe and I think I could make it.  I have yet to attempt it, but I thought I’d put the recipe up because it was so good (I had two giant portions of it…along with some sort of fruit tart dessert).

Chicken Cheese Lasagna

  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 gloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (or 2 cups spinach)
  • 2-3 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or other cheese)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 8 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles (9-10 noodles)
  • 2 cups creamed cottage cheese OR 1 container ricotta cheese (425 g)
  • another 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan or mozzarella

Heat margarine in 2 qt saucepan over low heat until melted. Add garlic, onions, and mushrooms, then chicken.

Stir in flour and salt. Stir in ½ cup chicken broth until mixture thickens. Keep adding remaining broth slowly, and then milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.

Stir in mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan, basil, oregano, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted so that it makes a thick sauce. Let it sit for a while, to continue thickening.

Make three layers: pasta, ricotta, and sauce, then top with the rest of the mozzarella / parmesan.

Cook uncovered in 350°F degree oven until noodles are done, 35-40 minutes (with noodles already cooked,  cook it for 20-30 minutes until nice and bubbly). Let stand 10-15 minutes before cutting (to firm up a bit). Makes 12 servings.

DELICIOUS.  Thanks Gretchen!!!

EM

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Dinner and Dance Friday: Oxtail Stew with my dance crew, woohoo!

Yes I am a terrible poet; luckily I didn’t major in English.  Friday night was another successful dinner with my dance crew, Jen and Jose (some pretty mean nicknames were tossed around when I asked them what they wanted to be named as in this post, but I finally decided to go with their actual names instead of things like “butcher-rat”…don’t ask).

The slow cooker meal we went with was oxtail stew, Italian style, courtesy of this blog: http://memoriediangelina.blogspot.com/2009/07/coda-alla-vaccinara.html

Ingredients

  • pancetta
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 4-5 stalks celery
  • handful of parsley
  • one large oxtail (2 smaller ones would work too)
  • about 1 1/2-2 cups red wine
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • one bay leaf
  • whole cloves

We didn’t have pancetta so we skipped it, but it was decided that if we did have it, it would have added some nice flavour.  First, chop up all the veggies and sauté in some olive oil until tender-however, leave out half of the celery and save that for later.  Once veggies are soft, place in slow cooker.  Take the oxtail and brown on all sides in pan-season with salt and pepper.  Add the red wine and boil off.  Once wine is boiled off, throw oxtail in slow cooker and add the tomatoes (use the liquid it comes in).  Make sure oxtail is just covered with enough liquid: I found I didn’t need to add any water, but if you need to, add some.  Throw in the bay leaf and a handful of whole cloves.  Set on high for 6 hours.  Half an hour before serving, throw in the rest of the celery-this is supposed to prevent it from tasting too cloying.  Serve with a baguette to soak up the sauce.

It tasted amazing!  The meat tasted very tender; it’s hard to describe the taste of the meat itself, but oxtail is unique and I quite like it.  Just a note, it’s not super fatty, but there is fat to this cut of meat.  It is very flavourful, but I could see some people finding it heavy; the way it’s prepared here helps to offset that.  

To finish off the meal, we also had a Nutella dessert, which Jose made from scratch!  It’s called: Brioche roulée au Nutella.

Ingredients

  • 225 g of flour (just a tad less than 2 cups)
  • pinch of salt
  • 25 g icing sugar (3 1/4 tsps)
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 50 ml of milk, warmed
  • Nutella
  • Honey
  • 1/4 cup butter

Mix flour, salt, sugar, baking powder.  Add the egg.  Heat the butter, using a microwave, until liquid and pour in.  Mix and slowly incorporate the warm milk.  Mold dough with hands until homogeneous.  Add more flour or milk as necessary if too sticky, or too floury.  Cover and let stand for at least 2 hours; best to leave overnight.

Roll dough over floured surface into rectangle of about 20 x 40 cm.  Spread Nutella over dough, leaving 1 cm border.  Roll dough lengthwise and cut into small pieces, about every 5 cm.  Place on baking sheet and cover and let stand for one hour.  Brush tops with a little honey.  Preheat oven to lowest setting and bake for five minutes.  Then increase to 180 C and bake another 20 minutes.

These were really yummy.  The only thing I’d change would be to add some chopped nuts on top of the Nutella.  But Jose did a great job with these, they didn’t last long!

And, as per usual, we topped of the night with some swing dancing!  Perfect Friday night.

EM