May 28, 2008

ROUND FOUR REBUTTAL: Spinach Lasagna Rolls

I had every intention of rebutting Jamie's lasagna with a fabulous Niffer's-style veggie lasagna. But then some friends left a package of ground sirloin in my fridge after a Memorial Day cook-out and my lasagna-fate was sealed. Meat sauce it would be!

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

1 package lasagna noodles (not the no-boil type)
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground sirloin (optional)
1 small can tomato paste
1 large can strained tomatoes
1 pint mushrooms
1/4 t dried basil
1/4 t dried thyme
1/4 t dried oregano
1 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper (adjust all herbs/seasonings to taste)
2 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 tub (12 oz?) ricotta cheese
1/2 C shredded Parmesan
1 C shredded mozzarella

Boil lasagna noodle according to package, reserve 1 C of pasta cooking liquid, and drain off the rest. Go ahead and separate the noodles or they'll all be one big lump by the time you get around to rolling them.

Saute diced onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add beef, if using, and saute until cooked through. Add tomato paste and stir until distributed throughout veggies/beef.
Add strained tomatoes, mushrooms, spices, and reserved pasta water and simmer with the lid on for half an hour, testing for seasonings.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay out several noodles on a chopping board or cookie sheet. Spread a spoonful of ricotta on each, then layer spinach, tomato sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Once the dish is full of lasagna rolls, spoon the remaining sauce over the top and cover with mozzarella cheese and any remaining ricotta. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melty and golden.

That's it! It was darn tasty even if they did tend to explode and come unfurled when I dug in with a fork. I undercooked my noodles, so I'm sure that was part of the problem. Just cook them according to the package and you'll be fine.

May 21, 2008


OK, to start off the next round, lets do something with tons and tons of variations. I need to add a disclaimer though, I originally posted this recipe on my other blog, but it will definitely be a good Round starter here. As Ben Stiller in Starsky and Hutch says, "Do It."


8 lasagna noodles
1.5 lb of ground meat
3 c. tomato sauce
1 large white onion diced
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 t. garlic minced
2 t. garlic powder
16 oz. ricotta cheese
2 eggs
½ c. parmesan/ramano sprinkle cheese
1 t. oregano
1 t. parsley
2 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. black pepper
8 slices of mozzarella cheese
1 c. mozzarella cheese
salt to taste

Cook noodles as per the instructions on the box in salted water. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot and add onions and minced garlic. After cooking for about 3 minutes, add the ground meat and cook until done. Add the tomato sauce, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan/ramano cheese, oregano, parsley, black pepper and salt.

Put a little bit of the sauce on the bottom of a 9”x13” baking dish. Then add a layer of noodles (4 noodles). Next add half the tomato sauce mixture. Next add the slices of mozzarella cheese. Next add half the ricotta cheese mixture. Next layer is back to noodles, then comes the rest of the tomato sauce mixture, followed by the rest of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top the ricotta cheese with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Note: You may notice that the top of my lasagna looks a little orange. Well, I thought I had picked up some shredded mozzarella cheese at the grocery store but I hadn’t. I had to use cheddar and provolone instead. I would definitely recommend mozzarella though.

May 15, 2008


On the novel theme of "healthy" (huh? what's that?) treats, I bring you my berry parfait!

Vanilla yogurt
Fresh/frozen strawberries and blueberries
Granola (I bought granola bars and pounded them w
ith a saucepan)

This would be really pretty la
yered in a champagne flute, so let's pretend that's how I served them. What I actually did was bring all the components to a friend's house and assembled in juice glasses when I got there. I didn't take photos, so have this drawing instead:

Yeah, who's slinking away in shame now? Yes...that would be me.

May 12, 2008

ROUND THREE REBUTTAL: Strawberry Muffins

These muffins would be a great addition to Jamie's healthy smoothie. I can just imagine sitting out on a patio, reading the Sunday paper, while enjoying a nice warm muffin and a chilly smoothie!
I made these muffins last week after our first trip to the strawberry patch. I halved the original recipe because I didn't want to use up all of our strawberries and I didn't have 4 eggs at the time. I don't have a picture though but they were a hit!

1c strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 c + 1T all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2c + 1/8c applesauce (instead of oil)
2 eggs

1 Preheat oven to 350.

2 Slice strawberries and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar (not the cup of sugar called for in the recipe, but just a tablespoon or so) and set aside.

3 Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix well. Blend applesauce and eggs into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until combined. I followed Alton Brown's muffin instructions and tried not to over-mix but I ended up under-mixing and had a few clumps of dry ingredients in my cooked muffins. As he would say, not good watch out for that!

4 I used my large scoop to put the perfect amount of batter in each cup. Bake in muffin tin with paper liners for 20 minutes. Yield 12 muffins.

May 11, 2008

ROUND THREE: Strawberry Blueberry Smoothie

Since it was my turn to get the next round started, and since the last two rounds have been filled with decadent desserts, I decided that a nice healthy entry might be a good idea. So, it is Sunday morning, my husband is hours away from waking up, that means actual food is hours I decided to make myself a smoothie! Now, I do have the ultimate smoothie machine ever built and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone - The Magic Bullet. I use it everyday for something. Like last night I used it to make a paste out of chilies and ginger...this morning I used it to make a healthy smoothie!

Strawberry Blueberry Smoothie

(single serving)

1 c. nonfat vanilla yogurt
¼ c. blueberries
½ c. frozen strawberries
1 t. lime juice
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (optional)

Combine everything in a blender and let ‘er rip. I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh strawberries because that way, it makes the smoothie cold and I don’t need to add ice cubes. In my opinion, the fruit sweetens the smoothie enough that sugar is not necessary. Now how healthy does that sound!?

May 10, 2008

ROUND TWO REBUTTAL: Chocolate Mousse & Caramel Trifle

Okay, so I didn't get too crazy with this one. I have a dinner party tonight for which I'm supposed to provide dessert, so I didn't want to chance making a huge gamble, tossing the result in the azalea bush and bringing a Publix pie to the party.

I know first-hand that Susan's Brownie Trifle is a home run, so I only changed it slightly. Here goes:

Chocolate Mousse & Caramel Trifle

1 recipe brownies (homemade or from mix, whatever)

1 recipe chocolate pudding (the large box)
1 container whipped topping
1/2 bag of Heath Bits o' Brickle (b/c I'm too lazy to crush Heath bars)
1 recipe caramel sauce (recipe below or just use a jar of caramel topping)

Fold whipped topping into chocolate pudding to create chocolate mousse. Crumble brownies into a bowl and alternate layers of brownie, caramel, brickle, and mousse.

Caramel Sauce:

1/2 C sugar
1/2 packed brown sugar
3/4 C water
1/4 C yogurt, heavy cream, or sour cream (I used sour cream)
1 t vanilla extract

Place in heavy saucepan, bring to boil over medium heat. Boil, WITHOUT STIRRING, for about 10-12 minutes and remove from heat. Let cool and stir in yogurt/heavy cream/sour cream and vanilla.

I even took a bunch of pictures for this one, but I'm an idiot and can't figure out how to upload them so that they're not the size of a postage stamp and aligned to the right. Oh well.


Once I saw Susan's Heath Bar Trifle, I knew that I was going to have to put together something good. I immediately thought of brownies, but then I thought, why not make blondies with toffee and chocolate chips! So that is what I did. Trouble was that the toffee bits seemed to have melted while baking so there are no crunchy toffee pieces in the blondie, yet the whole blondie has a toffee flavor. Another problem I ran into was that chocolate chips seemed to have gone straight to the bottom while baking. But overall, it was a good experiment, and the blondies tasted good.

Toffee Blondies

1 c. flour
½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
1/8 t. baking soda
1 c. brown sugar
1 stick butter melted
1 egg
½ t. vanilla extract
½ c. toffee bits
½ c. chocolate chips

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a bowl. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, mix melted butter and brown sugar. Once mixed, add egg and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Once a nice batter is formed, add toffee bits and chocolate chips. Pour batter into a greased 8”x 8” baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. These would be darn good with some vanilla ice cream.

May 9, 2008

ROUND TWO: Chocolate Heath Bar Trifle

I took this creation to my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting yesterday and I won best dish! There was some pretty stiff completion up on that buffet table too. I must admit that I took it two years ago and walked away with the same award. Let's see what my fellow Bloggin' Beauties can do to this one! It's a crowd pleaser...or at least it's a women who-are-sleep-and -chocolate-deprived pleaser!

Chocolate Trifle
Brownies- I use a box mix and follow the instructions and bake it in a 9x9 pan. After they cool, I cut the brownies into about 1 inch cubes.

Chocolate pudding
- I use the big box of Jello Chocolate pudding and follow the directions for a pie filling. It's just less milk so the pudding is thicker.

1 tub of Cool Whip

Heath Candy Bar pieces
- I haven't been able to find the large size Heath bars lately so I've been using the mini bars. I bought mine at Target and I've seen them at Publix too. I used about half of the bars in the bag. You can either put them in the food processor to crunch them up or put them in a heavy duty Ziploc and hit them with a rolling pin...good to get out frustration too!

Layer 1/2 of the brownies in a clear bowl (it looks neat when it's finished that way), followed by 1/2 the pudding mixture, 1/2 the Heath bar bits, and half of the Cool Whip. Then repeat the layers.

I didn't think to take a picture of it before I left yesterday morning but here is what I came back home with!

Get it...everyone liked it so much they licked the bowl clean!

May 8, 2008


You are wondering what in the world I am talking about right...rimocha? I will tell you right now it is something I just made up. I am going out on a limb on this one, but I think it's pretty good. I felt pressured to post my recipe this evening because Susan and Beth were totally on the ball with theirs. So, I thought to myself, its 10:30 pm ET, all I have is regular coffee to tinker around with and with that being the case, I would be up to at least 3:00 am from the caffeine. I looked in my refrigerator and low and behold, I had half a container of ricotta cheese left from making Susan's Chicken Capri. So I had a thought.


(single serving)

½ c. part skim ricotta cheese
2 t. cocoa powder

½ t. instant coffee grounds

3 packets of splenda

mini chocolate chips for a topping

Mix all ingredients together. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. That's it!

ROUND ONE REBUTTAL: Peppermint Mocha Coffee

This is my take on Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Latte, which I was introduced to last Christmas. I don't have the time, money or gumption to go to Starbucks every time the mood strikes me for for one of these. Can you imagine me throwing two children into a mini-van, driving to Starbucks while they sing "it's a small world," putting said children in a double stroller and hauling that into the tiny Panama City Starbucks! I think not! For those without money or time...I give you Susan's Peppermint Mocha Coffee!

1 cup brewed coffee (8 oz)
2 oz milk (or coffee creamer)
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 T peppermint simple syrup (recipe follows)

Peppermint Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Bring the mixture to a simmer until all the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and put in a container in the refrigerator.

I don't have a picture either because Susan doesn't do caffeine Must be genetic, right Beth? This just in...I took a picture of my coffee this morning so all could view it's chocolate, caffeine wonderness!


Okay, so I brought it up in the rules, so I'm probably asking for it. Stand back, Bobby Flay, because Beth is about to...THROW DOWN!

Iced Mocha Cofferino

2 t instant coffee
1 T granulated sugar
1/2 t cocoa powder
3 T hot water

Dump all in a small jar with lid (or without lid, if you happen to hate your kitchen walls). Shake it like a Polaroid (R) picture.

Dump over glassful of ice. Fill to top with milk and stir. Drink. Then ask yourself...why do people pay $4 for this at a drive-thru? Darn tasty, though - am I right? RIGHT???

Yeah, I don't have a picture. Because it's 9:15 pm and Beth does not deal well with caffeine after 6pm. Sad but true.