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A Little Comfort On A Cold Winter Weekend

It has been a bitter cold weekend. The snow missed us, but it seems like the cold temps are here to stay….unfortunately.

Pat and I were able to sneak in a night on the town without the kids. Saturday night we went to a wine tasting and enjoyed an evening filled with good food, great new wines, and fun with some friends. We were long overdue for a night out without the little ones. It is something that we need to do more often.

Stove 2 wm

After sampling some fine food on Saturday, I got the bug to get in the kitchen on Sunday and make us some good comfort foods……

I don’t know about you, but for me, especially with my work schedule, I like to cook a few meals over the weekend, so I don’t have to rush around after work to try to put together a complete meal. If I can have a few things pre-made and ready to eat……it definitely helps…otherwise I would be serving dinner at 8pm, which would not be good.

Lasagna with Sausage 3 wm 2

I decided to make lasagna with meat sauce. I made a enough to make 2 medium sized trays……we cooked one and I put one in the freezer.

Here is what you will need:

Meat Sauce

3 TBSP of Olive Oil
2 Onions Chopped
4-5 Cloves of Garlic Minced
4 28oz Cans of Crushed Tomatoes
1 1b of ground meat(I like the meatloaf mix: Pork, Veal, and Beef)
1 lb of Hot Italian Sausage(out of the casing)
Salt and Pepper to taste
A dash of sugar
A dash of Red Crushed Pepper(optional)
A bunch of fresh basil

Heat the oil in a pot, add onions and cook about 5 minutes until translucent, then add garlic and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes. I usually season with a little salt and pepper. Then add the 2 lbs of ground meat and Italian Sausage. Contine to cook until browned. Add 4 cans of crushed tomatoes, a dash of sugar, and tear apart a bunch of basil and stir in. You can also add a little more salt and pepper as needed. I usually cover and simmer for at least an hour.

Cheese Mixture

1 15oz Container of Ricotta Cheese
1 bunch of Parsley Chopped
1 egg
Salt and Pepper

Additional Cheeses Needed

Shredded Mozzarella
Grated Pecorino Romano

Pasta
2 lbs of Lasagna Noodles Cooked according to the package.

Layer in the following order:

Sauce
Noodles
Riccotta mixture
A little pecorino Romano
and repeat until you have your tray filled.
On the very top layer, I do the noodles, followed by the sauce and then I use shredded mozzarella. I also take little bits of butter and drop them ontop of the cheese……it helps to brown it.

Bake at 350 Degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

Spinach 2 wm

Typically I make a salad to go with a hearty pasta dish like this, but I wanted to try something different, so I went with a spinach sidedish. I know that spinach is not the most popular vegetable, but I really love it if it is made the right way. This dish did not disappoint, I found it in one of Giada’s cookbooks, it was super quick and easy and went perfectly with the lasagna.

Ingredients:

2 10oz bags of Prewashed Spinach
1 Red Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 Cup of Chicken Stock
1 TBSP of Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp of Salt
1/2 tsp of Pepper
1/4 tsp of Red Crushed Pepper Flakes
The Zest of one Lemon

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion and the garlic and cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add the broth, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Add one third of the spinach and cook it until it just begins to wilt. Continue adding the spinach one large handful at a time, sautéing just until it begins to wilt before adding more.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve

Favorite Gadget wm

As I was cooking today, I started thinking about some of my favorite kitchen gadgets……. there are so many cool things out there that make our lives easier when we are in the kitchen.

There are quite a few that come to mind and I could never pick just one, but this one is in the top five…….. the Microplane!! I use it for everything……. it grates cheese, it zests lemons and limes, it grates garlic and nutmeg….and the list goes on!! It is such a timesaver and so easy to clean!!

What is the kitchen gadget you cannot live without?

This post is part of Recipe Monday. To see more great recipes or to post and link your own recipe, head over to Colleen’s blog.

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  • Felicia - You really need to have a cookbook. Not only could you write it, but you could do the photography too! Sounds and looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Love Letters To China - Yummy! I agree with Felicia, you definitely should write and photograph your own cookbook. Everything look delicious even at 6 am in the morning! 😉

    Funny, we have very similar ways of cooking. Your lasagna is very similar to the way I make mine. I think I might have to give that spinach recipe a try. I love fresh spinach… I usually just saute garlic in olive oil with a pinch of crushed red pepper and salt. Cook until wilted. It’s so good!

    Thanks again for the chat… you definitely inspire me!

    BTW… my new found, can’t live without gadget is the spider skimmer (http://www.amazon.com/Helens-Kitchen-5-Inch-Spider-Skimmer/dp/B000PKQ3YW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1265022510&sr=1-1). Don’t know what I would do without that one…

    Happy Monday!
    GraceReplyCancel

  • Lucy - i’m dying over here, your photograph of your lasagna is beautiful, it makes me want to eat it even though it’s 6am here. :) I want to try the spinach recipe, yum! I agree, you could write a cookbook and do all the photographs to boot! You are one amazing gal!
    Have a wonderful week!!!
    p.s. don’t you just love your microplane, i always wonder how i ever lived without one…ReplyCancel

  • Jodee Leader - That lasagna looks soooo delicious, even at 6:40 a.m. in the morning! We also do some meal prep during the week and always try to have leftovers on Monday.

    Chef Daddy’s favorite tool is the Pampered Chef chopper. I don’t have one since I try to avoid the kitchen entirely! However, I couldn’t live without a microwave!

    Hope you have a great day!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - YUMMY!!!! You are up early my dear!!!! You and Livi LOL This looks so good Lisa….I have a gadget similar to the one you mentioned but not that one…I got mine at William Sonoma..where did you buy this one it looks wonderful!!
    I cannot live with out my Wusthof chopping knife….I use it for everything!!!! I mean everything LOL It’s my go to knife….kind of like the go to lens LOL
    Thanks for playing with me on this Monday morning…: )ReplyCancel

  • Kim - I am so excited about finding your blog via a comment from a new reader on my blog!
    We too started the “long road to China” and on the very day we placed our initial deposit with the international adoption agency the unthinkable happened. An opportunity to adopt infant twins from the US. Even with a full family of five blessings today, the longing for our Chinese daughter has not faded. And now … we’ve been sent to Hong Kong for a two year expat assignment with my husband’s company. Only God! Who knows what He has planned next?! I cannot wait to follow along on your journey to your Mei Mei. Your blog is beautiful and every photo is captivating!
    Blessings from abroad,
    KimReplyCancel

  • Gail - Oh my gosh Lisa, I want to reach through my computer screen and take a bite out of the lasagna you made! My stomach is growling…lol!
    Gorgeous pics as always, you truly capture visually the delicious food and make us all want to make them.

    I have a small microplane that I love, but I’ll be checking out the one like you have.

    Happy you could have some time with Pat this weekend!

    xoReplyCancel

  • a Tonggu Momma - I never thought I’d say this at 9 AM, but that lasagna is looking REALLY good right now.

    I think Colleen might be my new favorite person – I’m loving Recipe Monday. Too bad my cooking stinks.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - I ditto Felicia’s comment. Wow! Looks and sounds amazing.

    Stop over when you get a chance, I have something for you.ReplyCancel

  • Dita - Unlike TM, I can eat lasagne day, night, afternoon…you name it.

    That lasagne looks so good I am actually a little frazzled that I can’t reach out and touch it.

    The spinach looks heavenly too. Popeye and I say SHIVER ME TIMBERS, Olive!

    xoxoxo
    DitaReplyCancel

  • Jboo - Oh my gosh Lisa — that looks so yummy!! Love lasagna and I even like spinach, so I will definitely be trying that too!

    Have a great week!

    JanetReplyCancel

  • Wanda - Oh boy…my fav. Lasagna made up right with hot Italian sausage. Yummmm……..

    I’m like you, I always make more and freeze or keep for later. It really is smart (oh, aren’t we now?)and such a time-saver. Love the spinach side too. I love everything Giada – have all her books too.

    Your pictures are right out of a magazine or cookbook. (PW watch out!!)What is my fav. kitchen gadget? Hard to pick just one but I do LOVE my garlc press. Use it everyday. And my little pureer. She’s my best friend.
    :)

    Have a great day, lovely lady.
    xoxoReplyCancel

  • Isabella's Mommy and Daddy - YUMMY..
    Looks sooo good..
    have a great week
    Hugs..ReplyCancel

  • Amy O'Connor - That looks and sound delicious! Unfortunately the rest of my family isn’t big on lasagna. Very unfortunate. I may make it anyway just because I want it! Same with spinach.ReplyCancel

  • Patricia/NYC - OK…you MUST start writing your own cookbook!!!

    My mouth is watering for this lasagna & it’s only 10am!! lol!

    Gadget I can’t live without? It’s not really a gadget per se, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my “tempt-ations” cookware! Broiler, to oven, to microwave to freezer! And clean up is a BREEZE!ReplyCancel

  • Norah - Yeah, if you just heard something funny, it was my tummy growling.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - Oh boy does this look yummy & it’s only 10 a.m. :) I might have to give this a try tonight. My sweet guy would love it!

    Thanks! RobinReplyCancel

  • Marla - Holy crap! That looks amazing, I may get on a plane right now just so I can sample it. And that spinach dish is right up my alley too! I’ll be trying that one this week. LOVE the pics too, it looks like you get some amazing light in that gorgeous kitchen of yours.

    My favorite tool hands down is my Pampered Chef garlic press. It hardly has a chance to be put away because we use it so much.

    Have a good week, my friend!ReplyCancel

  • The Cabrals - this is absolutly wonderful. i love both the recipe and photo. you should have your own cook book to sell.
    actually i thought about making one aswell. you should really consider it.
    thanks for sharing this great recipe and the pics.ReplyCancel

  • Missy - I’m with Norah, the noisy sound you hear would be my tummy! This all looks soooo delish! I love spinach, too, and we eat it a lot. I’m going to try your lasagna recipe this week. Your pics make the food look too pretty to eat :) Hope you are doing well! Miss ya! xoxoReplyCancel

  • 3 Peanuts - Lisa,

    These images are STUNNING! You are a great photographer all around but your really ROCK the food photography (which can be challenging). Where do I sign up for your cookbook?

    KimReplyCancel

  • jenbusymom - Looks good, glad you enjoyed your night out!ReplyCancel

  • Tutus and Choo-Choos - Your post has my mouth watering. That looks so good!

    I’m not sure what my favorite kitchen gadget is. Today I will say my mixer because I love to bake. But, my choice will probably change by tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • Ivy - This looks yummy! ONly you could make pots look good LOL.
    Sounds like you had a great weekend.

    I’m going to give this recipe a try!

    HMMMM good!

    IvyReplyCancel

  • Lourie - A night out with the husband is always good. And the lasagna looks super!ReplyCancel

  • Robin - Send that extra one my way, I have no idea what’s for dinner at this house tonight!!!

    Blessings,
    RobinReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Mmmmmmmmmm…. your recipes never fail to disappoint. And the pictures, too! We had some friends over last night for dinner and I made my same old lasagne. I want to try this recipe the next time. And as for that microplane, I don’t have one but it looks like a handy gadget (although I think I might microplane off about three layers of skin). :)ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - This looks divine, but everything you make does :) YUM!ReplyCancel

  • Jo - Yummy!

    I love having a few dishes in the freezer ~ makes my busy week nights so much easier!

    JoReplyCancel

  • Mrs. Dunbar - That looks delicious! I am going to put that on my menu for next week. I just made your recipe for cream cheese frosting the other day and it was divine. (I actually put a picture of our cupcakes in my header for this month.) My boys didn’t want to share any of the cupcakes we made, so I told them we would make them again next week. We ended up taking them by two’s to different neighbors.

    Thanks for the inspiration and beautiful photographs.ReplyCancel

  • Colin and Jill Canada - Looks scrumptious! And I also LOVE myself some spinach. Mmm.

    Must. Make. This.

    JillReplyCancel

  • Colin and Jill Canada - Looks scrumptious! And I also LOVE myself some spinach. Mmm.

    Must. Make. This.

    JillReplyCancel

  • Terri - Oh my goodness! YUMMY!!! I’m still drooling over the pictures!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Cotterill - I love lasagna! Though I’m vegetarian, so I make it differently 😉ReplyCancel

  • Keisha - Yum! That looks so good! And,.. I love your pictures! I felt like I was on Giada’s personal website! For REAL! I love it!
    Thanks for the recipie!ReplyCancel

  • Shell in your Pocket - Looks so very yummy!

    sandy toeReplyCancel

  • Maddy - Wow! If it tastes as good as it looks, it’s divine!ReplyCancel

  • Football & Fried Rice - Hmmm, there are actual tools for the kitchen?

    I thought the MICROWAVE was a tool!?

    heh.

    Your pictures, as always, have made me hungry! Glad you & Pat got a night out sans kids – THAT sounds like fun :)ReplyCancel

  • Cop Mama - Wow, that looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, Your new header is wonderful. The center picture of your kiddos holding hands is precious!

    Looking forward to Black and White Wednesday tomorrow!ReplyCancel

  • ashia - i loved this post! it gave me some good ideas to spice up my lasagna!ReplyCancel

  • wife.mom.nurse - What an incredible meal!!! I’ll be over by the end of the week :)ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - Very awesome! I can’t wait for Sunday. I love the smell of Sunday dinner cooking and I am going to try this recipe. Doubly good is your photography and inspires me. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Deb - YUM! I am so making this soon! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Jeni - Thank you for sharing your recipes. Hey I have RevereWare (sp) too.

    I LOVE spinich salads…my kids to do. Everything looks yummy.

    I am making Pioneer Woman’s enchilladas tonight.ReplyCancel

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