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More Ramekin Fun! Featuring Lasagna!

Here is another recipe featuring Ramekins! I love using them, and basically am going to make everything I can in them. I like that it makes portions that are perfect for one person, which makes it easier to control how much is made (less wasted leftovers) and easier to store in the fridge or to take for lunch to work, etc. This time I tried making some lasagna in them- and they were delicious, better than lasagna that I usually make in the pan. I didn’t do all of this homemade. Instead of making my own sauce, I just added some stuff to canned spaghetti sauce because I didn’t have enough tomatoes to make my own and I was feeling lazy. I was also feeling slightly lazy when writing this entry. It is 2AM after all, and I usually try to do this early in the day and schedule them for later. So I’m sorry if things don’t make sense!

I made half of mine with meat in the sauce, and half without. I’m not a vegetarian, but I prefer lasagna to be all cheese and sauce and noodles. I also saw a recipe online where this was done with round ravioli noodles- but I couldn’t find any at my local grocery store so I went this route. This is great when paired with garlic bread. The garlic parmesan bread that I made a few weeks ago would be even better.

Ingredients

  • Lasagna Noodles
  • Jar of spaghetti sauce (your choice)
  • Bag of shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1 small container of Ricotta cheese
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Browned ground beef (optional)

Directions

  1. Grease four ramekins
  2. Put your meat on to brown if you’re choosing to include it.
  3. After browning the meat, place it on a plate of paper towels to drain the grease. Set aside.
  4. Pour the jar of spaghetti sauce into a pot, set the heat on low-medium to start warming the sauce.
  5. Dice 1/2 of a tomato and 1/2 of an onion. Stir the tomato and onion into the sauce.
  6. Add the herbs. You can use more or less to taste. I love the taste of herbs. Garlic is also a great additive if you want to add some!
  7. After stirring in the herbs and the tomato/onion, add the browned meat to the sauce.
  8. Break 12 lasagna noodles in half. Place them in a small pot of boiling water. The noodles need to be fairly limp to fit into the ramekin- because they’ll have to bend without breaking.
  9. Add a spoonful of sauce into the bottom of the ramekin.
  10. Sprinkle some of the shredded Italian cheese on top of the sauce.
  11. At this point, take two halves of a lasagna noodle and tuck them into the ramekin on top of the sauce and cheese. This is easily done if you make an X shape (which I figured out half way through making these!).
  12. Spread some of the ricotta cheese on top of the noodles.
  13. Top the ricotta cheese with more sauce and shredded cheese.
  14. If needed- add another layer of noodles/cheese/sauce. If you’re close to the top, go ahead to the next step..
  15. After you have reached the top of the ramekins, cross two of the noodles on top. You can tuck them into the sides and have them pop up- like a lid almost. (Picture after the cut.)
  16. Tuck some ricotta cheese between the “lid noodles”. Top with a little bit of sauce. Then sprinkle a generous amount of the Italian cheese on top.
  17. Repeat steps 9-16 until all ramekins are full! (Do as few or as many as you like, but this recipe is for four.)
  18. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350.
  19. Set the ramekins on the upper rack of the oven.
  20. Bake for about 10-15 minutes- until the cheese on top of the ramekins is very brown.
  21. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  22. Turn them upside down on the plate, and then flip them back over (if you want the cheese on the top). They should slide out easily since you greased the ramekins.
  23. Serve with garlic bread!

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Sunday Summary 4/18-4/23

So this week I didn’t post as many recipes as usual. I took one day to update you about my herb garden, and another to announce the site’s makeover (which was kind of a redundant thing to do) because I hadn’t prepared anything. It’s been a rough week with the family (my mom is very sick and has been in the hospital for over a month), so I don’t always have time to prepare posts as I would like. That being said, the few recipes I did post this week were pretty good ones. My favorite being the best donuts ever. So let’s take a moment to recap this week’s posts!

4.18 | The Best Donuts Ever!

This recipe made some amazing donuts. It takes a long time to prepare and then to cook and then to glaze- but I genuinely feel as though it is worth it. My family and friends are both anxious for me to make some more of these!

4.19 | Herb Adventure Part 1

I planted some herbs last week, and I wanted to share with you guys how my pots looked and which herbs I planted. I’ve dried a little at this point, and I intend to update all of you on my drying process and storage after I get it all done!

4.20 | Chocolate Chip Waffles

These waffles were a semi-success. I liked them but nobody else in my family did. Then again, not everyone is a huge fan of bittersweet chocolate like I am. These are great as pancakes or waffles, and if you just leave out the chocolate chips they’re still delicious.

4.21 | A Makeover In Blue

The site got a makeover! I activated a new theme and I changed the layout colors to blue instead of green. We are also now on Twitter, Facebook, and have a Website as well as Forums.

4.22 | O’Charley’s Dinner Rolls

These are the dinner rolls I made as a result of the best donuts ever recipe. These dinner yeast rolls taste almost exactly like the ones that you get from the O’Charley’s restaurant- which means they are irresistibly scrumptious.

4.23 | Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These are good, homemade cookies of the oatmeal raisin variety. They taste just like my grandmother’s cookies and make me miss being a little kid and eating her baked goods. They’re simple and great.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Just Like Gramma’s!)

Growing up, my grandmother always made oatmeal raisin cookies. They were my favorite treat, and when I made these they tasted just like hers and it was the best feeling ever. Like being a kid again. These stay soft and chewy for days if you bake them correctly, and they definitely are not an “old lady cookie” as some might think. If you’re a fan of oatmeal or raisins, then these are probably some of the best cookies you will ever eat. This recipe does call for Crisco (shortening). I’ve never substituted in the butter for it- which a lot of people do. I’m not sure what difference it would make, so I would suggest just following the recipe. When storing the cookies, to prevent them from getting hard, you can always place a piece of bread in the container. It will even make hard cookies soft. It works!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup crisco
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Cream together the crisco, butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla
  2. Mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda
  3. Stir in the oatmeal until well combined. Then stir in the raisins.
  4. Chill the dough for at least one hour prior to baking.
  5. After chilling the dough, drop it by spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (or onto a greased sheet). Make sure there is space for the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes- until the cookies are just starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven before the whole cookie is brown. They’ll keep baking after you take them out of the oven, and over baking will result in brittle cookies instead of soft and chewy ones.
  7. Cool on wire racks before eating.

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Vanilla Wafers (Banana Pudding Part 1)

So it is obviously no secret at this point that I love Alton Brown and I enjoy using his recipes when I’m cooking. I had watched the episode he did on Banana Pudding and decided that I wanted to try and make it. So the banana pudding will come in two installments- first, this post, on how to make vanilla wafers. Tomorrow will be the pudding and putting it all together. Just so you know, pure vanilla is going to taste a lot better here than imitation vanilla extract. It is more expensive, but it is also worth it. This is the original recipe– I didn’t deviate much. I didn’t have vanilla sugar- and was too lazy to make any. Also, I didn’t want very crispy wafers. I like softer cookies because I’m weird and love how soggy they get in banana pudding. But to each his (or her) own!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Combine flour/baking powder/salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together. Then add the egg, vanilla, and milk- mix again.
  4. Add flour to the mixture slowly on a low speed- just until combined.
  5. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 10 minutes. I gave it about half an hour.
  6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Scoop the batter into small balls and drop onto the baking sheets. Gently press each ball with your hand.
  8. Bake until golden brown- 15-20 minutes for crispy wafers. About 12 minutes for soft cookies- which I prefer. Keep in mind this will make at least 4 dozen wafers.
  9. Cool and eat- or store to use in a banana pudding.

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Mesquite Fried Chicken

I definitely slept for fourteen hours last night which made me feel super rested! It was nice. So I decided, after my brother told me he wasn’t going to cook the chicken we thawed, to fry it and have a little bit of fun. (I enjoy making things up as I go along. You should try it sometime!) I ended up with a delicious (and huge) stack of chicken tenders that were fried in mesquite deliciousness.

Ingredients

  • Bonless, skinless chicken breast
  • Flour
  • Pepper, Salt, Mesquite
  • Heavy Cream
  • Vegetable Oil
  • A deep frying pan
  • An Oven

First you’ll want to put your oil in your frying pan to get hot. I use less than a half an inch of oil in my pan. Enough, really, to cover half of the chicken when you place it into the pan.

Second, you’ll want to give your chicken a “bath”. I used heavy cream mixed with a little water because we didn’t have milk or eggs. Put your boneless, skinless chicken (mine was cut rather small) into the bath to soak.

Third, mix about half a cup to one cup of flour (depending on how much chicken you have) with some pepper, salt, and mesquite. I rarely measure things (unless I’m baking). Basically I put so much pepper it looked like I had too much and mixed it in. (Maybe a tablespoon or two?) and did the same with the mesquite. I threw in about a teaspoon of salt with it, too.

Fourth, take your bathed chicken and roll it around into the flour. Make sure it is very coated. Place the chicken into the hot oil, close together. Place the lid on the frying pan, and let it sit for a while. Soon the edges will be a very dark brown, at which point you flip your chicken. Keep an eye on it until the other side is equally dark.

I drain mine by putting it on a rack over a pan. A lot of people use papertowels or paperbags. I didn’t have any available.

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