Friday, October 21, 2011

things that are delicious

The downside to cooking all these delicious things is that I'm kind of stuck in a bit of a food rut, but that's for another day.  Also, I generally can't manage to take pictures while I'm cooking but I think you guys all know what it looks like when you stir cheese or put something in the blender.


Lasagna
This is maybe the most awesome thing I know how to cook.  It's heavy and cheesy and delicious and reheats incredibly well for as long as it survives in the fridge (usually not long).  It's easy to substitute or add ingredients (I've made it with spinach/white sauce) and cooks well even if you are missing a few ingredients.  And it doesn't take that long to make.


1 onion
1 package ground turkey (I usually get 99% lean in a weak effort to make this more healthy)
1 large jar of tomato sauce (my favorite is the sweet basil Ragu)
1 pint of ricotta (I usually get low- or no-fat, see above)
1 large package of shredded mozzarella (part-skim)
1 package of no-cook lasagna noodles
A few splashes of milk
Garlic powder or a few cloves of smashed and diced garlic
Cayenne pepper
Basil
Oregeno
Salt & pepper


Meat sauce 
Brown turkey over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Chop onion and garlic and toss it in.  Stir occasionally until meat is browned, adding basil, oregeno, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt & pepper (to taste).  Add 3/4 of the jar of sauce and stir.  Let it all simmer and become delicious for a few minutes.


Cheese sauce
Dump the ricotta in a bowl and add a few splashes of milk (I've used water when I've been out of milk).  Use a fork to mash it all up.  Keep adding milk until it's gloopy but not watery.  Stir in a few shakes of garlic powder, cayenne, basil, and pepper.  


Get out a large casserole dish.  Spray it with non-stick spray, and cover the bottom in a thin layer of sauce.  I stack my layers like this: a layer of meat sauce, a layer of cheese sauce, a fine sprinkling of shredded cheese, another layer of noodles.  Repeat until it weighs at least 12lbs.  Cover the top layer of noodles with a light layer of tomato sauce and top with shredded cheese.  I should have told you to preheat the oven to 400º, so make sure you've done that, and cook this puppy for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown and crackly.  Serve as soon as you can eat it without burning your mouth.  
Tofu Mac & Cheese
I mentioned this one earlier in the week.  I had really never made mac & cheese until a few months ago, and it makes me itchy to not have a big protein in my dinner.  But it's a delicious comfort meal for rainy nights in October, and it also reheats pretty well.


1 box of noodles
3-4 tbsp of butter
A few splashes of milk
A container of soft or smoothie-friendly tofu
Cheese of your choice
Garlic powder 
Cayenne pepper (yes, these two ingredients go in everything)
Salt & pepper


Put on water to boil.  Start melting the butter in a large sauce pan.  Add milk gradually while stirring.  Once these have turned into a sauce, add the tofu.  Break it up with a whisk for a minute, and then dump it into a blender and liquify it for a few minutes.  Put it back in the saucepan and start adding cheese.  I've made this with just about every kind of cheese and you just can't go wrong.  This week I made it with cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella and some leftover mixed-shredded from taco night.  


Your water is probably boiling by now, put the noodles in.  Cook those noodles about 2 minutes less than what it says on the side of the box.  Strain the water out and then pour them into the saucepan.  Stir everything together and then put it in a greased casserole pan (I use my 9x9 for this) and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top.  Your oven should still be preheated at 400º from the lasagna so just slide it on in.  Cook until your house smells like hot cheese in every room.  Feel vindicated about the amount of protein you are devouring (don't think about the fat or carbs).  
Chili
My chili is different every time I cook it, but the foundation of it is pretty simple.  This is the most common way I make it.


1 can light kidney beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can white beans
1 large can (32oz) crushed tomatoes
1 small can whole tomatoes
1 package of ground turkey (99% lean, bitches!)
1 onion
1 beer (pick the one in your fridge that no one wants to drink)
Garlic cloves/powder
Chili powder
Cayenne powder
Salt & pepper


Brown turkey over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Chop onion and garlic and toss it in.  Stir occasionally until meat is browned, adding spices to taste.  Put all beans and tomatoes in a large stew pot over low heat.  Add meat mixture and beer and any other ingredients you may have forgotten and increase heat until it is bubbling, then lower the heat and let it simmer for an hour or so.  Serve with cheese on top and some kind of crunch - I'm currently in love with the multigrain tortilla chips but saltines and crackers all work well.  


Some other recipe favorites:
Pizza with homemade crust
Mexican casserole
Beer bread and cranberry bread
A cracked skull


Have a great weekend, everyone!  I'll be out riding my bicycle and nothing could make me happier.

15 comments:

  1. Yes, America I am now starving. Thank you!

    When I make lasagna I use eggplant for the noodles. Sliced thinly legthwise. For the cheese mixture I use fresh herbs and an eggs all mixed together.

    Oh, and I have never had Mac N Cheese but if I ever decide to I will try your recipe.

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  2. DO NOT COOK THE PUPPY! Oh, that wasn't what you meant.

    All that cheesy goodness is making me hungry. I don't do no-fat though; whatever they put in to replace it cannot possibly be better for you, IMO.

    Thanks for the ideas - I think chili is on my weekend list now.

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  3. It's been a few weeks since I've been over for dinner, cough...cough...

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  4. Yum, cheese! I was just thinking the other day that I was excited it is chili weather again. I'll have to try your version.

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  5. I find the ricotta (which I get all-fat...I only make lasagna once a year) needs thickening, not thinning - add an egg. And if you want to make it healthier, ditch the HFCS-laden Ragu and use a can or 2 of pureed tomatoes and tomato paste.

    Not even mac and cheese can make tofu worth eating. Had some today in noodles and - blah. Like a wad of overcooked eggs.

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  6. Look at you, foodie recipe-poster! ;)

    Now I'm definitely going to need to get me some melted cheese for dinner. Those pictures...

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  7. yummy!! thank you for sharing- def gonna try the chili and tofu mac and cheese! yum!

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  8. I just recently had my 1st encounter with no cook noodles (by accident) and was not too happy, so I guess you have had better luck! Hmm interesting adding the tofu to the mac by liquifying it, I'm gonna have to try that one!

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  9. I like stuffed shells a lot too and if I make homemade rolls with them life is very good.

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  10. I.Love.All.Things.Cheese..

    I'm stealing your lasagna recipe :)

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  11. I am sooooo stealing your recipes to try.

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  12. Just started reading your blog, Katie! I love it! Thanks for being so inspiring and honest - look forward to reading more!

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  13. omg i love all of these things. i might make them all. at the same time. nom nom nom

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  14. We make our own tomato sauces, helps make things a lot healthier - lots of shop-bought ones are loaded with sugar and salt. We just use... tomatoes, with garlic and some seasoning! In fact, I just bought 11lbs of tomatoes to make up sauce and freeze!

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