Happy Easter

I was lucky enough to have the whole 4 days off, but man was it busy.

I thought I’d take a moment to share the recipe I used for the slightly unorthodox Easter dinner I hosted.

Instead of the usual ham and egg-y fare, we had Italian food! The feast was complete with cesar salad and tiramisu for dessert. I also made these little guys as something for people to snack on (I had to have something that reminded me of Easter):

I got the recipe for them here. They were very good. Scroll down on that page to see my notes for some changes I made (including adding pretzels, a definite improvement).

And now, for the pièce de résistance,

Lasagna with spinach, mushoom, and pine nuts

A fairly traditional version, but with the addition of extra veggies and pine nuts. The pine nuts are particularly great in the vegetarian version, as they add a bit of “meaty” flavour.

You will need:

  • 1lb lean ground beef (not extra lean as it is too crumbly) OR 1lb textured soy protein (such as Veggie Ground)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1/2 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 5.5 oz cans of tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper
  • 4-6 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 15 oz container of light ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 50 grams of toasted pine nuts (or toast ’em yourself for 5-8 min at 350°C)
  • 1 500 g bar of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna noodles

Directions:

1) Dice onion and place in large pot with the ground beef or soy (if using soy, add 1 tbs olive oil) and the garlic powder. Stir frequently until beef is browned and/or onion is clear.

2) Add the next nine ingredients. Simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off any fat (likely there won’t be any).

3) Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ casserole pan. Cover bottom with one layer of noodles. Be careful to slightly overlap the noodles so that the bottom is not visible.

4) Cover the noodles with half of the meat mixture, followed by a think layer of spinach and half of the pine nuts. Mix the ricotta and eggs together well. Spoon half of this mixture over top of the meat mixture. Then sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese.

5) Place another noodle layer over top, followed by the meat mixture, spinach, and pine nuts. Cover with the last of the ricotta mixture. Finish by sprinkling the remaining mozzarella over top. Bake at 375°C for 45 min. Let cool at least 10 min before serving

It’s nom time

I’m still working on part 2 of Knitting Self-Help Books, but in the meantime here’s a random recipe! As Mom says, I’m becoming a regular house wife – knitting, baking, cooking 😛 Except that I work. It’s a miracle that I manage to blog.

Anyway.

When I was little, there was only one way my mom could get my brother to eat broccoli: smother it in cheese and noodles. I loved it too – it was a favourite Sunday meal in our house.

Seeking to make it on my own, I realized it is perhaps a bit heavy on the fat. Below is the rendition I developed that is a little lighter on the arteries, but equally as delicious.

Mom’s Broccoli n’ Cheese Noodles

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 tbps margarine
3 tbps all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese.
¼ cup grated parmesan
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 large heads broccoli crowns, cut off close to stalk
1 ½ cups dried macaroni noodles, cooked and drained

Directions:

1) In a large pot bring enough water to cover broccoli to a boil. Add broccoli and let boil over medium-high heat until stems are easily punctured through with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain.

2) Meanwhile, melt margarine over low heat. Slowly sift flour into margarine, stirring constantly.

3) Add milk slowly while whisking mixture. Continue to whisk frequently over medium heat until mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.

4) Reduce mixture to low heat. Add cheeses, garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper and stir until cheese is well dissolved.

5) Add broccoli to mixture and stir well to separate florets. Let mixture simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

6) Combine with noodles in a large dish. Stir well. Serve hot!