refrigerator magnets

refrigerator magnets

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Layers of Lovely Noodles

Lasagna! Honestly - who doesn't love it? Want to know why I love it? Because you feel like you're eating something bad but with my recipe - its not! I promise!

I've made about a ZILLION lasagna's and this is the BEST ONE I'VE EVER MADE! Seriously! I feel bad for you that you aren't here to eat it with me! Ha ha!

The secret to the best lasagna? The coolest can opener ever! lol. Yes, it's avacado green and awesome! (and yes, my nails are neon pink - you know you love it!)

Want to know the second secret? The BIGGEST YELLOW OLD-SCHOOL STRAINER EVER! Check this sucker out - HUGE! This is a normal size sink and this strainer fills the whole thing! I wasn't lying last post when I said my lovely Uncle has about 10000 strainers - i choose this one because I like the color.

Want to know the third secret? I FOUND THE POT HOLDERS! YES! My mittens can rest easy tonight! They won't be needed.

Here's a quick rundown of the ingredients and amounts I've used. This should make one large lasagna or two smaller ones.
  • 1 box of lasagna noodles - I'm using whole wheat ones because I feel they are less bad for me, I could be totally wrong but who cares!
  • 1 Large red pepper
  • 1 medium size zucchini
  • 1 medium size head of broccoli
  • 1 can of Italian flavored sauce - I've used Contadina
  • 1 jar of tomato sauce - I've used
  • 2 bags of mozzeralla cheese - I've used part-skim (a little bit of fat is ok)
  • 1 package of ground turkey
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Basil
  • 1 small onion
  • Fresh garlic
  • Bit of olive oil
You'll also need a lot of pots - sorry, this isn't a clean recipe - you'll use lots and lots of pots.

First off - boil in a BIG pot some water, add about 3 pinches of salt to the pot. This helps the noodles from sticking together. Add the noodles and let them cook according to the package.

Then its time to chopppppppp! Garlic - I LOVE garlic so I always use a lot - I've got about 6 cloves and I chopped the crap out of them. Small bits but not too small. Then the onion is up next - chop the crap outta that guy - smaller is better in this case. Once you finish chopping - heat up your sauce pan with a little bit of olive oil. Save a little bit of onion for the sauce. Then you want to heat up the garlic and onions to get the juices flowing. From there - add the meat and cook till its not pink anymore.

While the meat is cooking - add the jar and can of sauce together. Just heat these guys up together and add a sprinkle or two of the Parmesan cheese. Then add the onions you set aside earlier as well. Just let this sit and mix together on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

The noodles should be about done now (they take about 15-10 minutes). You want to drain the pot and take the noodles out. The tricky thing about lasagna noodles is getting them to not stick together. I've used some tin foil spread over the counter to let them rest a bit.

So far so good eh? There is where it gets interesting. Now you want to chop up all your veggies into very small pieces - the zucchini, broccoli and peppers. I wanted to use the same sauce pan as I had used for the turkey but as you can see - the veggies don't all fit. Now it's time to get creative - there is a BIG pot that i had the noodles in - maybe that will work - YES! Rockin'.

You want to heat up your veggies so they get to be brightly colored - not too much. You want them still to have some sort of texture to them. Then add the sauce - mix that together for a minute, then add the meat, mix that together for a minute, then you're ready to build!

First start off with a layer of sauce, then a layer of noodles, then a layer of cheese (I also sprinkle a little bit of the parm here as well), then I start over again and keep layering until I end with a layer of cheese on top and it's just about the top of the pan. Sometimes this is three sets of layers, sometimes two.

You'll probably have bits and pieces of noodles leftover - you know what i do? I make a mini version and eat it while the larger one is baking! HA!

Cover your lasagna with tin foil and pop it into the over for 30-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when the cheese on top is melted and the entire thing is bubbling like crazy! Now - one thing to remember, this is HOT! I know this because I didn't heed my own warning and burned the crap outta my mouth. sucks.

Oh well. I hope you enjoy my recipe. Not too many troubles this time except for the pots. I warned you - lots and lots of pots.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Ricotta Frosting (Cannoli Cupcakes)

Yes! I did it! I had the BEST cannoli I've had in a long time last weekend and have been OBESSED with making a cupcake filled with the frosting. Tonight - I did it!

But... it gets better... try making it with these

Pretty epic if you ask me. I believe that is the smallest cupcake pan I've ever seen! And seriously - who really has one of those egg beaters? Honestly! I looked and looked but my uncle doesn't have one anywhere in sight. So I figured - we'll make it work!

The cake recipe is from, it's call Basic Hot Milk Sponge Cake so you'll have to go there to check it out.

The frosting recipe is a combination of a few different recipes I've found online and some genius ideas out of my own head.

Frosting Ingredients:
1 tub of whole milk ricotta
1 cup of powered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about two lemon's worth)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
Pinch of coco for garnish

Other item's you'll need
- cheese cloth
- strainer
- arm muscles if you're using an old school beater!

Step 1:
Grab a bowl, the cheese cloth and a strainer. You're going to want to strain the water out of the ricotta. Grab the strainer and put it on top of the bowl, then line the strainer with the cheese cloth. Put the ricotta into the cheese cloth, cover with plastic, then a towel, then with a few cans to keep the pressure up. Put the whole mess into the fridge and let it site for a few hours (or however long you can wait - for me it was about two hours.)

Step 2:
Make the cake! The Basic Hot Milk Sponge Cake recipe that's featured on really is awesome so please check it out.

The key to the cake is that it's a bit thicker so it's a nice compliment to the frosting.

The one thing i'll note is that I made the cake WITH THE EGG BEATER! Oh yes! My arm's will be nice and sore tomorrow! Also, having to cook in a kitchen with out ANYTHING made for cooking, I of course couldn't locate the potholder... Mittens come in very handy for this. Crazy, i know, but hey! I didn't burn myself!

The cupcakes came out great using that old school pan - I wish I had filled them a little higher but it all worked out. I cooked them for about 15 min - a few minutes less than listed in the recipe.

Step 3:
FROSTING TIME! (the ingredients are excited too, see the smiley face?)
After waiting for about 2 hours for some of the water to drain out. You want to pop the ricotta in a big bowl.

You want to prep the lemon and the sugar so they are ready to go. Mix up the ricotta so it's a bit smoother - then add the lemon zest and vanilla. Mix these well. Then add the sugar a bit at a time. I would add about 1/4 of a cup at a time because you don't want to over sweeten it. Make sure you taste it while you're mixing. After all the ingredients have been incorporated - you want to MIX MIX MIX!

Now it's time to assemble the cupcake!

Step 4:
Here's why it's important to have a bit of a thicker, firmer cake - you want to carve out a little section through the middle of the cake so you can put the frosting! Kinda like a cannoli...

Save the little top section you cut out because you'll want to then pop that back on top and frost the whole thing.

Step 5:
Garnish - I just used a little coco powder (yeah, I love chocolate) and just some of the lemon zest.

Fun times in my Uncle's kitchen - mittens and old school egg beaters. Love it.

Making it work

Let me tell you a little story.

There was a girl who had to move out. She needed to move quickly and decided that her uncle's house was the best option. Little did she know that things were about to get interesting...

Guess what? I'm the girl! HA!

I love to cook. I love food. Most of all, I love to eat. So I've been at my uncle's for about two weeks now and it was time to start doing some cooking. I was missing it and I was over the awkward stage of living in someone else's house. Sooooo I entered the kitchen. My first dish was going to be some cupcakes. Simple right? Flour, sugar, etc. Except that my uncle doesn't bake so finding the right tools to help me out was going to be fun.

Having my entire apartment packed in storage I had two options for finding the tools.
1. I could either purchase all new stuff
2. Use what was around and make it work.

Making it work - it's like I'm channeling my own Tim Gunn!
I think I'm going to try to make it work... this is going to be fun.