Monday, February 20, 2017

NOODLE-LESS LASAGNA

I like to do some cooking on weekends in preparation for the week ahead when there is less time to cook supper.  I had some zucchini in the fridge and other vegetables along with some frozen ground beef.  I decided to make a lasagna without the noodles.  I didn't have any ricotta or cottage cheese nor mozzarella but I had frozen shredded herb cheddar along with parmesan in the fridge.  I knew that skipping the ricotta cheese would not be a hardship.  I used both fresh and frozen tomatoes to make the tomato sauce.  I added a bit of corn starch to thicken it.  Instead of fresh tomatoes you could use a can of tomato sauce.

In making this lasagna I had some ingredients leftover after assembling it in the large pan.  I used what was left and made a mini one layer lasagna in a small pan and froze it without baking for a future supper.  For a future supper, I will just need to bake it frozen and will pat myself on the back for planning ahead.

Sliced zucchini and mushrooms

Beef and vegetables sautéing. Then the tomato mixture was added to the pan.


Zucchini layer, followed by spinach and mushroom.

Second layer of meat, then zucchini followed by two kinds of cheese. 

Just out of the oven.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound lean ground beef
1-2 tbsp oil, e.g. olive, avocado
1 onion diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 coloured pepper, chopped
I small can tomato paste
5 tomatoes
1 tbsp corn starch
1 small package of frozen spinach, thaw and drained in a colander
3 zucchini, cut into thin slices
5-6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp of dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried basil or 1/2 tsp mixture of Italian herbs
6-8 ozs shredded cheese
1/3 - 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Sprinkle the sliced zucchini with some salt and place in a colander to drain.  Let it sit while you assemble the ingredients and do the initial cooking.  In a large frying pan, heat the oil to high, add the ground beef and reduce the heat to medium.  Sauté the meat breaking it up into small pieces and cooking it until the pink is gone.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Add the onion, celery, coloured pepper and oregano/bail or blended herbs.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.  Add salt if so desired.

Into a blender, add the tomatoes and puree. Add the can of tomato paste and blend well. Add the corn starch and blend for another 15 to 20 seconds.  Add the tomato mixture to the frying pan with the beef.  Mix well and let simmer for a few minutes.  Turn the heat off on the frying pan.

Oil a 9 X 13 casserole dish.  Layer about half the beef tomato mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Add a layer of zucchini slices using half of the zucchini slices.  Layer all of the spinach and sliced mushrooms over top of zucchini.  Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese.  Layer the remaining beef tomato mixture followed by the remaining zucchini.  Top with the rest of the shredded cheese and finish with the parmesan cheese.  Bake covered with foil at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil, increase the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.  It is good to let the lasagna sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 6.

Friday, February 3, 2017

TURKEY WILD RICE SOUP

With the turkey leftover from the number of meals over the holiday season, one of the things I made was turkey wild rice soup.  I had already froze the carcass and I had about two cups of leftover chopped turkey to use.  My options were to make soup or freeze the meat.  I had already made a turkey shepherd pie and froze it and had also froze part of a turkey breast after the first meal.  Freezing more turkey was not a preferred option.  I also had three sour cabbage rolls to use.  Using them would add some tang to the soup.   

I used a pressure cooker to make the soup.  My electric pressure cooker has a sauté option which I used to sauté the vegetables before cooking the soup.  I cooked it in the pressure cooker for 14 minutes on medium pressure.  The soup is delicious and the tanginess made it stand out as a soup.



Vegetables sautéing in the pressure cooker.


The wild rice and parsley added to the sauteed vegetables. 

Ready for sampling.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil

1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 small coloured pepper, chopped
2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup water
4 cups water
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup milk - regular or plant based milk


DIRECTIONS:


Add the oil to a large pot and heat to a high temperature.  Add the garlic and onions and reduce the heat to medium.  Sauté for about 3 minutes and stir so that the onions and garlic don't stick. Add the celery, carrots, pepper and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add the wild rice and combine.


In a separate jar with a lid, add the corn starch and 1 cup of water and shake the jar to mix the starch with the water.  Add this to the soup pot.  Mix everything together.  Add the turkey, 4 cups of water, parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Combine everything and raise the heat back to high until it boils.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cooked covered with a lid for about an hour.  If the soup is too thick, add some water.  When done, add the cup of milk.  Serves 6 to 8 depending on portion size.


Adapted from all recipes.com