Turkey Parmigiana Lasagna

Turkey… and lots of it. What to do, what to do?! I wanted to be somewhat creative and because I couldn’t decide what to do, I ended up with Turkey Parmigiana Lasagna.

To start, I prepared my version of Turkey Parmigiana but dredging cooked turkey breast slices in a bit of flour, dipped in egg wash and then in italian seasoned breadcrumbs. Once I baked them and saw them finished on my baking sheet, I took a look and didn’t feel like having them as is. That’s when I thought of chopping them up and throwing them into a lasagna! Looking back, I think its kinda silly I went a whole roundabout way to prepare this, but the end result was wonderful. The crispness of the original coating was flavorful and still shined through despite the layers of cheese, pasta and sauce. To prepare my lasagna, I adapted Ina’s recipe with the original recipe notes in red:

Turkey Parmigiana Lasagna

courtesy of Ina Garten:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
4 garlic cloves, minced (2 garlic cloves)
1 1/2 pounds breaded cooked turkey breasts (sweet Italian turkey sausage)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
4 frozen fresh basil cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1/2 pound no boil lasagna noodles (Ina used cooked noodles)
15 ounces ricotta cheese
I omitted the goat cheese (3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled)
1 cup grated Romano (Parmesan), plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
2 eggs lightly beaten (1 extra-large egg)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded (thinly sliced)

Preheat the oven to350 degrees F. (Ina heated hers up to 400 degrees F).

Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, the basil cubes, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup of Romano, the eggs, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the no boil pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Romano. Bake for 45 minutes uncovered, until the sauce is bubbling. Remove from oven and top with additional mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted.

Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip

Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted

1 10oz package frozen spinach, defrosted
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
garlic powder
onion powder
1 brick cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup italian cheese blend

Combine all the ingredients above and mix thoroughly.
Place in baking dish and bake for 20-23 minutes until warmed and bubbly OR place in mini crockpot to keep warm.
** I made this a day in advance and replenished my mini crockpot as needed.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Jalapeno Popper Dip
adapted from THIS recipe

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
2 ounces canned diced jalapeno peppers, drained & chopped
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
chives for garnish

Combine all the ingredients above except for chives and mix thoroughly.
Place in baking dish and bake for 20-23 minutes until warmed and bubbly OR place in mini crockpot to keep warm.
Garnish with chives.
** I made this a day in advance and replenished my mini crockpot as needed.

Gnocchi: Pillows of Love

With quite a few russet potatoes on hand, I decided to make gnocchi tonight for dinner. Gnocchi is a Italian dumpling made from potatoes. Inspired by Michael Chiarello’s recipe for potato gnocchi, here is my recipe for the gnocchi I made.Here’s my recipe for 4 cheese gnocchi which I served with marinara sauce, fresh basil and sweet italian chicken sausage:

4 large russet potatoes, diced
water for boiling
1 cup four cheese blend – parmesan, asiago, provolone, romano
salt & pepper to taste
3 egg yolks
1 cup all purpose flour

In a large pot, add diced potatoes and cover with water.
Boil the potatoes in water over medium high heat until soft.
Drain potatoes and place in bowl.
Add egg yolks, cheese blend, salt & pepper.
With a masher or electric beaters, mash potatoes until smooth.
Add 1/2 cup of flour and fold in slowly.
Add remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
Check the texture of the dough and if it holds together, it’s ready to roll.
Roll balls of dough into “snakes” about 1/2 inch thick.
Cut dough in about 1/2 inch lengths.
Roll each piece over the tines of a fork for ridges.
In a boiling pot of water, drop potato gnocchi to cook.
Once the gnocchi floats, remove and place on a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
This allows any moisture to evaporate and cools the gnocchi quickly.
Once cooled, you can freeze it for future use, or add your choice of sauce and heat.

Brotherly & Sisterly Love

Having my in laws as neighbors can be viewed as both positive and negative. However for us, we all like hanging out together when our schedules allow. Tonight my brother in law and sister in law came over for dinner and a movie.Originally the plan was to make individual calzones but were too hungry to attempt being creative in the kitchen. So instead, I made a big pan of pizza.Here’s how I prepared the pizza:

1 ball of pizza dough (Trader Joe’s)
1 cup of canned whole tomatoes
pinch of salt & pepper
3-4 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
shredded italian cheese blend
your choice of toppings
– italian sausage
– chopped onion
– chopped green bell pepper

Allow dough to come to room temperature before rolling out to form the crust.
I used a large stoneware bar pan, which helps make the crust perfectly crisp.
In a blender, combine tomatoes, basil and seasonings to make sauce.
Spoon sauce onto rolled out crust
Top the crust with your choice of toppings.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
(We prefer our pizzas well done!)

You can use other sauces too aside from the standard tomato sauce. Some ideas include pesto, alfredo, garlic cream, or no sauce at all!

Love is in the Air…

Today marks our one year wedding anniversary and to start it off, I prepared my loving husband a big breakfast including a fresh veggie omelette, oven baked bacon and buttered toast. An omelette or omelet or omlet is a preparation of beaten egg cooked with butter or oil in a frying pan, usually folded around a filling such as cheese, and/or mushrooms. Gourmet cook Julia Child famously described an omelette as soft-cooked scrambled eggs wrapped in an envelope of firmly-cooked scrambled eggs.

In the omelette I prepared for breakfast, I used sliced mushrooms, chopped bell peppers, spinach, chopped tomatoes, diced lean ham & turkey and a blend of asiago & parmesan cheeses.Here is my recipe for veggie omelettes (serves 2):

6 eggs
1 stalk green onion, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/8 cups chopped bell peppers
1/8 cup chopped spinach
1/8 cup seeded & chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup diced lean ham & /or turkey
1/8 cup shredded asiago & parmesan cheese
cooking spray
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon cold water
fresh thyme leaves

Spray large saute pan with cooking spray.
Saute green onion and mushrooms.
When mushrooms have caramelized, add peppers.
When peppers have softened add remaining ingredients.
Cook through until heated.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs.
Add water & a pinch of kosher salt to eggs.
Add scrambled eggs over sauted veggie mixture.
Allow eggs to set over medium heat.
When is it almost fully cooked, sprinkle cheese on one half of egg.
Fold over other half of egg over the cheese portion.
Slide onto plate to serve.
Sprinkle fresh thyme leaves for extra flavor.

I served this with buttered toasted a oven baked bacon.

Lasagna Bolognese with Parmesan Bechamel Sauce

Lasagna Bolognese with Parmesan Bechamel Sauce

Bolognese Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large finely chopped onion
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 bunch fresh & finely chopped basil
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons italian seasoning
1 pound canned or fresh tomatoes
1 jar prepared pasta sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium in a large pan.
Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Place cooked vegetable mixture in your crockpot.
In a bowl, combine ground beef, pork and italian seasoning.
Mix thoroughly and add the meat mixture to the same pan.
Brown meat, breaking up any big chunks of meat.
When browned, add to crockpot.
Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot and stir.
Cook sauce on low for 6-8 hours.

Parmesan Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream or half & half
Freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup parmesan or italian blend shredded cheese

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture is creamy and no longer smells floury.
Whisk in spices/seasonings.
Take off heat and slowly stir in shredded cheese.
Stir until smooth.

To assemble lasagna:
1 box no-boil lasagna pasta sheets
bolognese sauce above
parmesan bechamel sauce above
shredded mozzarella cheese
teaspoon dried italian seasoning

In the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan, grease lightly with cooking spray.
Add a tablespoon of the bolognese sauce to the bottom of the pan.
Add 1 row of no-boil pasta.
Add a layer of the bolognese sauce over pasta.
Add a layer of the bechamel sauce.
Top with shredded mozzarella.
Repeat until you have used up all the bolognese and bechamel sauce.
Top layer should end with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle dried italian seasoning over the top cheese layer.
Bake in a 350 oven for 1 hour.