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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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O’Charley’s Dinner Rolls | My Replication!

So I have been experimenting for quite some time with different types of yeast rolls, tweaking the recipe constantly- trying so hard to find a delicious, sweet dinner roll like they serve at O’Charley’s. Whenever I made the best donuts ever, I ended up baking some of the dough. I just had this feeling- and when I did, it turned out to be a delicious bread that was almost exactly like what I was looking for.

Whenever I made these dinner rolls, I cut that recipe in half and altered it- just slightly. What came out were dinner rolls that could have been brought home from O’Charley’s. They were the best ever. No lie. They were better than my first few tries at yeast rolls.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup warm whole milk
  • 1/6 cup of sugar
  • .25oz dry active yeast
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 1 minute, and pour it over the active yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Stir gently to combine and set aside for about 10 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter in a separate bowl. Add the butter and beaten egg to a large mixing bowl. Pour the yeast concoction on top of this.
  3. Fit the mixer with dough hooks. Stir together the butter/eggs and the yeast mixture with the hooks.
  4. Mix the flour and salt together.
  5. Add the flour/salt to the wet mixture in 1/2 cup increments.
  6. After adding all of the flour, gather it into a ball and place it into a greased bowl. The dough is going to be wet.
  7. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm, dry place. Allow it to rise for about an hour.
  8. After rising, turn the dough out on a floured surface. Roll it out to about 1/4-1/2 inch thickness.
  9. Punch out rounds with a cutter, and place on a parchment paper lined pan.
  10. After cutting out your rolls, cover them and allow to rise about 45 minutes.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes- or until golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.

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What’s Up Doc? – Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Me, DL Dzioba, and Neesha like to go to this local Japanese restaurant called Ichiba. They have the most delicious sweet carrots that they serve, and when we had chicken pie and squash last week, I made these carrots to with it. They were really great- not as good as what we get at Ichiba, but still pretty freaking delicious. Just like the squash, after dinner all of the carrots were gone. They were tender and sweet. And it was my first time ever cooking carrots, so I can’t really complain about the results. I followed this recipe for the most part, and ended up with way more glaze than was needed and had to drain it a few times before I could get a small enough amount in the pan to thicken. So that’s one thing to keep in mind. (Although I’m not quite sure I had the 2lbs of carrots that it called for, either.)

Another thing to keep in mind is this post is being written after midnight. Usually I write my posts early in the day and schedule them to post right after midnight. Today I’ve been playing World of Warcraft and kind of… forgot. So this post might make very little sense or be a tad more whimsical than it usually is.

Ingredients

  • 2lbs carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter/margarine

Directions

  1. Steam your carrots. We have a vegetable steamer that I used. The recipe above says to simmer the carrots 12-15 minutes or until tender.
  2. When you carrots are close to being done, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Then stir in the brown sugar and salt. Make sure the sugar is well dissolved. Stir this brown sugar mixture or it will scorch and taste… well, scorched! After all of your sugar is gone, remove it from the heat.
  3. Drain your carrots from step 1, and then stir them into the brown sugar mixture.
  4. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The glaze will thicken slightly and the carrots should soak a lot of it up.
  5. If needed, you can drain off some of the brown sugar mixture (like I had to do).
  6. Make sure the carrots cool a little before eating! Or you will burn your mouth.

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What The Cluck? — Chicken Pie!

Chicken pie has always been a favorite of mine. Chicken anything, really. Especially chicken and dumplings. Last week when I made the fried squash, it was a side-dish to my chicken pie. This is relatively simple, and it’s really good. I love to drown my chicken anything in pepper, so I left that out for the most part when seasoning the pie itself. My family used to complain that I’ve put too much pepper in chicken pie or chicken and dumplings- so I just let them do it themselves now.

Baking the chicken is going to take a while- as well as letting it cool so that you can take it off of the bone. About an hour and a half of the chicken in the oven, and then it will have to cool for at least an hour to be easy to handle. So keep that in mind if you decide to make this. And then it will have to bake for another 30 minutes on top of that. So there is a lot of prep here. (But worth it!)

We don’t put vegetables in our chicken pie, because none of us like the same vegetables. You can always add the standard peas and carrots. I’ve wondered what it would be like with squash or zucchini added in- but haven’t gotten that adventurous yet. Next time I might make a few miniature pies in my ramekins to test out different vegetable additives.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth (either from baking the chicken or from a can)
  • a family sized can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup of milk

Directions

  1. Clean out the chicken. Make sure you remove all of its innards. Then wash with cold water.
  2. Place chicken in a large baking dish- breast side up.
  3. Insert one clove garlic into the chicken (where all of its innards used to be).
  4. Season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover the chicken with foil to keep the moisture in.
  6. Bake at 350° for about an hour.
  7. Remove the foil from the chicken and bake another 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to cool for about an hour- maybe longer. It needs to be cool enough for you to handle.
  9. Pull the chicken from the bone. Tear the chicken into small pieces to go into your pie.
  10. After getting all of the chicken off the bone, set it aside.
  11. In a large pot, mix together the cream of chicken soup and about 1/2-1 cup of chicken broth. I used about 3/4 of a cup because I like mine to be very thick.
  12. After this is heated, pour the chicken in and stir until it is all well combined.
  13. Pour this chicken mixture into a 13x9x2 pan. Set aside.
  14. To make the dough for the crust, cut 3 tablespoons of butter into 1 cup of flour. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the 1/3 cup of milk. Fold in the milk.
  15. Turn dough out onto a floured surface or pastry mat. Knead it until smooth, then roll it out into a rectangle.
  16. At this point you can either lay it as one whole piece onto your pie- or tear it into pieces and add it. I do the latter because it looks prettier and it makes it easier to scoop out servings after it has baked.
  17. Brush the top of the crust with egg whites or butter.
  18. Cover the chicken and soup with the crust. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350°- or until the crust is nice and brown.
  19. Remove from oven and let it cool before serving- it’s going to be hot!
  20. Salt and pepper to taste (you can do this before or after baking).

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Sunday Summary 3/28 – 4/9

Sunday! So it is time, yet again, to do a summary. I missed it last Sunday- because I entirely forgot about the whole summary thing I was going to do. The list will be long, but it’s going to feature some delicious recipes. The featured recipe from this summary is most definitely the Homemade Pizza. Everyone should give this a try! There is a nice mixture of successes, failures, dinner, and dessert.

  • No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

    This was the best homemade cheesecake I have ever had. It is a featured recipe from a dear friend of mine- DL Dzioba. It’s rather simple- but makes a huge pie. Get two pie crusts to make it most effective. Maybe a chocolate drizzle or some sort of whipped topping would be great too!

  • Homemade Pizza (crust & sauce)

    This pizza was amazingly delicious! The crust is better if you fold in some garlic and then butter the edges and dust it with garlic salt- which I did the second time that I used this recipe. It’s time consuming, but it is definitely worth the time and the effort.

  • Failure: S’mores Pie

    Don’t waste your time on this one ladies and gents! The pie was basically fudge in a crust, and eventually had to be microwaved to even cut it. If you figure out how to make it work- let me know. Be careful not to set it aflame like I did!

  • Moon Pies!

    These moon pies were amazing! The recipe worked well and they were all devoured. They were very rich, and you need more marshmallow than you might expect. I would also like to try them mixing some peanutbutter in with the filling on some. Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Amazing!

  • Cinnamon Rolls

    This is my first recipe that is totally mine. I made it up as I went along, and it turned out about a million times better than I had expected. Great for breakfast. Cream cheese icing would make them even better.

  • Toffee Bars

    These were a semi-success. They were goodish… but not the best. They could be great with proper tweaking and if my recipe had worked how it was supposed to work.

  • Vanilla Wafers (Banana Pudding Part 1

    This is the first half of my banana pudding experiment. These wafers were great- use pure vanilla if you have it. I prefer them softer so that they get soggy, so I’m not sure if they’re as good when cooked crispy. Recipe from Alton Brown.

  • Vanilla Pudding & Assembling the Banana Pudding

    This is homemade vanilla pudding that goes into the banana pudding. Again, from Alton Brown. This banana pudding was gone within 2 days my family liked it so much. If you don’t like bananas, you can substitute pineapples or just leave them out all together.

  • Fried Squash

    This was a rather simple recipe. Can be boiled down to: slice squash, flour squash, fry squash, eat squash. Really great way to fix this vegetable. I haven’t tried fried zucchini, but I bet it’s just as great. Maybe I’ll do that soon…

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