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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Grilled Veggie Lasagna


This recipe was created using the produce I had on-hand.  I had 2 small eggplants and 3 small zucchini.  I grilled the veggies and then cut them up and used them as the “meat” in this veggie lasagna.  The end result is a smoky tasting lasagna.  Enjoy!


Grilled Veggie Lasagna


Ingredients

¨            3 small zucchini
¨            2 small eggplants
¨            1 ½ jars of your favorite tomato sauce
¨            1 package of lasagna noodles
¨            2 containers of ricotta cheese
¨            1 teaspoon dried basil
¨            1 egg
¨            Salt and pepper to taste
¨            1 bag of mozzarella cheese
¨            ¼ cup of parmesan cheese

 

Directions

1.    Peel eggplant, cut into large circles about ½ inch thick.  Salt and let sit for 30 minutes to get rid of bitter juices.  Rinse to remove salt and pat dry with paper towel, coat with olive oil.
2.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.   In large bowl combine the ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, basil parmesan cheese and egg, set aside.
4.   Cut zucchini into long strips about ½ inch thick, coat with olive oil
5.   Cook zucchini and eggplant on grill over medium heat until soft.  About 7 minutes on each side.
6.   Allow veggies to cool slightly and cut into small pieces.  Add to ricotta cheese mixture.
7.   In 9X13 baking dish, put down a layer of lasagna noodles.  Cover with tomato sauce; add 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture.  Continue to layer until you run of out ingredients.  Your final layer should be cheese.
8.   Cook for 1 hour in oven.
9.   Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Overall
This lasagna was delicious!  The smoky flavors from the grill gave it a great flavor.  I will be making this again.

Frugality
The zucchini was $.77, the eggplants were $1 each from Sprouts.  The ricotta was $5 for both containers and the mozzarella was $2 from Fresh and Easy.  The lasagna noodles were $2 and the pasta sauce was $2.  The total for a big pan of delicious lasagna is $13.77. 


Look Forward To
I have some brussel sprouts and some green beans to use.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baked Pasta


This recipe is for a baked pasta dish.  I make it for 2 people (with leftovers) so you might want to double for a whole family.  It combines the flavors of ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, pasta, your favorite red sauce and fresh basil.  Enjoy!


Baked Pasta


Ingredients

  • ½ pound rotini pasta, cooked according to directions.
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 ounces of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ jar of your favorite red pasta sauce
  • 1 bag mozzarella cheese

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg and basil.  Add pasta and sauce, stir to combine. 
  3. Pour mixture in 8-inch square baking dish.  Cover evenly with mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake 25-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted to suit your taste (I like mine well done).


Overall
This is a great go-to recipe for baked pasta.  You could add vegetables like peas or artichokes if you like or just keep it simple.  I’m serving mine with Smart Sausages Italian Style.

Frugality
The pasta was $1, the pasta sauce was $2, the ricotta was $2, the mozzarella was $2 and the egg and basil were on-hand.  The total for this dish is $7.


Look Forward To
I’m not sure what’s on the menu to come…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chocolate Cake


This was a recipe I found online for chocolate cake and an accompanying chocolate frosting.  It turned out moist and delicious with great texture and simple to make.  Enjoy!


Chocolate Cake


Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting


Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 4 ½  cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½  cup milk

 

Directions

1.   In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency.

Overall
This was a delicious recipe for simple chocolate cake from scratch and a perfect frosting match!  I will be making this again. 

Frugality
I had all the ingredients for this cake and frosting on hand so this recipe was virtually free.  J


Look Forward To
I bought the ingredients to make baked pasta for tomorrow night.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Minestrone


This is one of my favorite recipes.  It’s a great combination of some of the greatest flavors:  onion, tomato, basil, zucchini, potato and pasta.  The longer you cook this soup, the better it tastes.  You will definitely enjoy this one!


Minestrone


Ingredients

¨            2 large cans of stewed tomatoes with basil
¨            2 large onions, chopped
¨            Extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat bottom of soup pot)
¨            3 red potatoes, cleaned and cubed
¨            5 medium zucchini, peeled and sliced
¨            1 bunch of swiss chard, cleaned and torn into pieces
¨            ½ pound rotini pasta, prepared according to directions
¨            ¼ pound parmesano reggiano, cut into ½ inch cubes
¨            Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

1.    In large soup pot, coat bottom of pan with olive oil.  Heat and add onions, cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. 
2.   Add canned tomatoes and 2 cans of water.  Heat for about 15 minutes.
3.   Add potatoes and cook until fork tender.
4.   Add zucchini and cook until fork tender.
5.   This is the point where you should cook as long as possible.  I usually let this mixture simmer for at least 3 hours.
6.   About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, add swiss chard, 1 more can of water, the pasta and the cheese.  Cook until swiss chard is softened and slightly darkens.
7.   Serve with Parmesan cheese over the top of your soup.

Overall
This is a lengthy, time-consuming recipe that is worth every minute.  The result is a full pot of deliciousness.  This is my interpretation of a classic Sicilian recipe passed down in my family for years.

Frugality
The onion was $.88 for the pound, the swiss chard was $1.29, the zucchini was on sale for $.77, the potatoes were $1.50, the canned tomatoes were each $1.89, the cheese was about $5, and the pasta was $1.50.  The total for this entire pot is about $14.50.  Well worth it!


Look Forward To
I still have a broccoli to use and there’s a shopping trip in my near future.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chocolate Chip Nutella Cookies


I found this recipe on http://blog.e-mealz.com/2011/10/4-ingredient-nutella-cookies/.  The only change I made was I added half a bag of chocolate chips and added a second egg.  These are simple to make and taste good.  Enjoy!


Chocolate Chip Nutella Cookies


Ingredients

¨            1 cup nutella
¨            2 eggs
¨            ½ bag chocolate chips
¨            1 cup flour
¨            ½ cup sugar

 

Directions

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Place everything in the mixer and mix until well blended.
3.   Form into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet with a few inches in between the balls.
4.   Use the bottom of glass or jar to press down on cookies.
5.   Bake 8 minutes, cool on wired rack before storing.

Overall
These cookies are just the right combination of soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Very easy to make and delicious.  I will be making these again.

Frugality
The nutella was $3 and everything else was on hand. 


Look Forward To
I still have a broccoli to use and there’s a shopping trip in my near future.



Roasted Garlic French Bread Pizza


This recipe is for simple roasted garlic French bread pizza.  I love pizza but I love it more when it’s loaded with garlic.  In this recipe, I prepared some roasted garlic and used it as the first layer on the French bread.  I covered it with sauce and plenty of cheese and voila!  The outcome is a delicious, crusty, garlicky cheesy pizza.  Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic French Bread Pizza


Ingredients

¨            2 heads of garlic
¨            Extra virgin olive oil
¨            1 loaf of crusty French bread
¨            1-8 ounce bag of mozzarella cheese
¨            1 jar of pasta or pizza sauce of your choice

 

Directions

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.   Cut ½ inch off the top of the garlic.  All of the cloves should be exposed.  Place inside muffin tin and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 35 minutes in oven.
3.   Adjust temperature in oven to 350 degrees.
4.   Cut French bread in half lengthwise.
5.   Remove garlic from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Use butter knife to remove cloves and spread garlic on bread.  Cover the bread with all of the garlic. 
6.   Cover the garlic with pizza sauce.  I like extra sauce but you can use what you like.
7.   Cover the pizza sauce with mozzarella cheese.
8.   Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browned to suit your taste.

Overall
This pizza turned out delicious.  Next time I make this, I will use some artichokes and sundried tomatoes as a topping.  Delicious and easy to make. 

Frugality
The French bread was $2, the pizza sauce was $1.50, the mozzarella was $2.50 and the garlic was $.50 all from Fresh and Easy.  The total for this meal is $6.50 and much tastier than you can get from your local pizzeria.

Look Forward To
I still have a broccoli to use and there’s a shopping trip in my near future.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

9-Layer Taco Dip (Vegetarian)


This recipe is for a 9-layer taco dip.  It is my first time making it.  I used a traditional 7 layer dip recipe and adjusted it to suit my tastes and what I had on-hand.  The end result is a delicious appetizer with many delicious flavors working together.  Enjoy!

9-Layer Taco Dip (Vegetarian)


Ingredients

¨            1 can vegetarian refried beans
¨            1 can black beans
¨            1 container of sour cream
¨            1 block of cream cheese, softened
¨            1 pack of taco seasoning of your choice
¨            2 ripe avocados
¨            1 can corn
¨            1 jar salsa of your choice
¨            ¼ cup sliced green onions
¨            2 cups Mexican cheese
¨            ¼ cup sliced black olives

 

Directions

1.    In 9” square glass pan, spread layer of refried beans on bottom of pan.
2.   Add layer of drained, rinsed black beans
3.   In separate bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese and ½ of the taco seasoning.  Stir to mix.  Spread over the beans to make the 3rd layer.
4.   Spread salsa over the sour cream mixture.
5.   In separate bowl, mix avocado and rest of the taco seasoning.  Spread over salsa to make the 5th layer.
6.   Spread green onions over avocado, this is your 6th layer.
7.   Spread can of corn over green onions. (layer 7)
8.   Spread cheese over top of serving dish. (layer 8)
9.   Spread layer of black olives over cheese. (layer 9)
10. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set dish, serve with tortilla chips

Overall
This is a great dish to bring to a party.  Everybody likes it and its simple to throw together. Next time I might skip the avocado if they are not on sale.  Great combination of flavors.

Frugality
This is not my cheapest dish to make.  The sour cream was $2.50, the beans were 2 for $3, the cream cheese was $1.29, taco seasoning was $.79, the avocados were $.80 each, the corn was $.89, the salsa was $2, the green onions were $1, the black olives were $1 and the cheese was $2.50.  The total for this dish is $16.57.

Look Forward To
I have a broccoli to use and a craving for pasta with red sauce.



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