Lasagna Bolognese

img_2905

img_2898

Holy hell, it snowed again this weekend, and then when it wasn’t snowing, it was raining, and when it wasn’t raining it was perfect, foggy, San Franciscan weather that brings me peace.  It was the ideal weekend, aside from the moment yesterday when, while walking and eating an ice cream cone in the flurry-darkness, I somehow didn’t see a huge freaking puddle of rain right in front of me, and I kicked it, and rainwater splashed all over my jeans and inside of my shoes.  I probably would have been sad if I wasn’t laughing so hard, but that’s what I get for wearing old-man smoking slippers in the slushy rain-snow.

Luckily, nothing could dampen my spirits, because 1. I had mint chip ice cream from Simple!! and 2. I’m babysitting a big furry puppy this weekend while my cousin is at a friend’s wedding!  She’s a big furry ball of floof (aka a Bernese Mountain Dog) named Flower, and even though she punched me in the face while I was petting her this morning, I’ve had the best weekend hugging her squishiness!  Plus, there was that misty weather I was talking about earlier, and I had the most ethereal morning making coffee at work while the fog traipsed between the Sierras.  Oh, and then there was the lasagna…

img_2912

img_2908

Lasagna is one of my favorite meals of all time, but especially when it’s frosty and misty outside.  The melding of cheese + pasta + tomatoes hugs my insides and makes me feel cozy and warm.  This lasagna in particular has been one of our favorite family recipes for a few years now.  I’m honestly not sure where the recipe itself came from, but the flavors balance together so nicely – the ratio of cheese to meat is perfect, and the veggies add a lighter texture.  Also, the recipe uses cottage cheese, which forms these delicious little cheese clumps without the heaviness of ricotta, and yuuummm!

I’ve tried at least four different lasagna recipes by now, and this is the one I always come back to.  It takes a little work, as all lasagnas do, but of course it’s worth it!  It’s the perfect weekend project if you want to perch yourself in front of a movie or listen to classic jazz while you layer delicate noodles with veggies, meat sauce, and a pile of cheese.  While the sauce is simmering, you can make a light salad or mix some herbs & butter to make toasty garlic bread, or better yet, start some creme brulee or mascarpone cheesecake.  Lasagna is special, and it deserves proper dessert as well.  This meal is perfect for a dinner party with friends or a romantic date-night with your love (note: this will feed both of you for days).  I wish you all lasagna-making bliss ♥

lasagna-bolognese

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Cry Me a River by Julie London


Thank you to Sanford Ranch Beef for sponsoring this post!  Sanford Ranch Beef is locally-grown, hormone-free, steroid-free, all-natural, and all the good stuff.  Visit their Facebook or website if you live in the Reno area.

As always, all opinions are my own.

Advertisements

Single Lady Mac & Cheese

img_2417

img_2409

This past weekend was kind of rough for a multitude of different reasons.  Even though I had some relaxing moments spending time with friends and family, most of my weekend was spent in a state of “blah” that I couldn’t quite shake.  When I’m feeling like this, I know the best thing to do is to engage in self-care with a little bit of comfort food and TV.  My craving was mac and cheese, but I didn’t want to make a huge pan of leftovers that could go to waste.  After a few minutes of thought, I realized I could easily make a tiny mac and cheese that would feed just myself.  Even in my difficult times, my brain comes up with great things!

This recipe is perfect for a feel-sorry-for-yourself-night, because it only requires one pot and it’s super versatile.  You can use whatever cheese and pasta you have around the house, although smaller pastas with plenty of nooks and crannies are always the best!  I’m also partial to a cheddar-parmesan mixture if you have that around the house.

img_2422

img_2428

As far as fanciness, this mac and cheese is pretty fancy-free.  I just blend it all together, top it with a little parm, and broil it until browned.  I add a little ceyenne pepper, mustard powder, worcestershire, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Feel free to add whatever spices you want or none at all.  Broil or don’t broil.  Eat it out of the pan and leave the dishes for later, or wash the pot while the pasta broils (my method, because dirty dishes give me anxiety).  Once your mac and cheese craving has be fulfilled, you can crawl back in bed or take a walk or go grab a coffee.  This mac and cheese is about you and your needs after all.

img_2412

img_2421

mac-and-cheese

Take time for self love this week my friends ♥  We all deserve it.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Dandelion Wine by Gregory Alan Isakov

 

Not So College-y Ramen

IMG_6227

This is not what normal college kids do.  I’m aware of that.

I totally fathom that most kids (half) boil a pot of water, throw the noodles in for way past the recommended time until they’re soggy mush, and then accidentally drop the foil packet into the scalding water before dipping their fingers in, ripping it open, all while screaming a list of profanities and cursing corporate ramen companies worldwide.

I really understand that.

I’m just not a normal college kid.

For instance, my roommates and I had a huge Friendsgiving meal last night starting with crostini, roasted garlic, and truffle goat cheese appetizers, plenty of roasted chicken breasts (we couldn’t find turkey breasts oooops), mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, roasted multi-colored carrots, stuffing, and ending with homemade chocolate cream pie.

IMG_6217

Oh yeah, and plenty of Frank Sinatra and old-fashioneds.

Like I said, not normal. 

That’s why when I started watching The Mind of a Chef on Netflix, and got a whole history lesson on ramen, I knew I had to try a new approach to the little crinkly plastic wrapped package of noodles and MSG I normally pass in the store.

Hence “not so college-y ramen”.

IMG_6230

Ingredients:

2 boneless pork chops

4 cups chicken broth

1 package ramen (get rid of that foil flavor packet!!!)

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced and divided

1 tsp. ginger, grated

3 Tbs. soy sauce, divided

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1 carrot, grated

1/4 c. frozen corn

1 Tbs. chives, chopped

Toppings: Thai Marinated cucumbers, Siracha, bean sprouts, seaweed, whatever you have (which is what I did).

*Please note that the sun going down at 4:30 means not so great pictures.  I ask that you kindly understand.*

IMG_6136

Place pork in a bag.  Mix in 1 Tbs. soy sauce (or more, I kind of just eyeballed), 1 Tbs. brown sugar, 1 clove garlic, salt, and pepper.  Marinate for 30 minutes, or overnight if you prefer.

IMG_6138

Cook your pork chop until nice and golden brown.

IMG_6146

Uh, bad pic wow.  But yeah, nice and golden brown is the point I’m trying to get across.  Then slice it!

IMG_6137

Grate your carrot.  You can do it on a paper towel if you’re really fancy like me.

IMG_6140

Heat a little bit of oil in your soup pot.

IMG_6144

Brown your garlic and ginger.

IMG_6145

Pour in your chicken broth.  Get ready for some blurry pics.  I just got a new camera so I’m still learning to use it!

IMG_6150

Add your carrots, corn, and chives.

IMG_6153

Add soy sauce (blurry pic ah!).  Bring the liquid to a boil.

IMG_6154

And your noodle square.  And some salt and pepper, if you like.  Cook according to package directions.

Serve with your desired toppings!

IMG_6232

IMG_6238

Much better than MSG ramen!  Still not great for you, but still way healthier and much yummier!  Enjoy college and non-college students, alike.

XO Sara

Song of the Day: Buddy Holly–Weezer

Light Skillet Lasagna

DSC02351

Do you ever wish you could just always eat lasagna?  I am one of those people who has that wish.

Until I eat the leftovers for three weeks and then I take that whole statement back and regret ever making a whole pan of lasagna for just myself.

Which is why this easy skillet lasagna is just unbelievably wonderful and ever-so-helpful.

I started this whole idea of a skillet lasagna when trying to make a lightened up lasagna soup that is so popular on Pinterest and such.  However, the finished product ended up having a broth that made me feel like I was drinking tomato sauce.  Which just grossed me out for some unknown reason.  I had to try something different to satisfy my lasagna craving.

Enter skillet lasagna idea.

Plus I’m back on my healthy eating thing since the excuse “well it’s the holidays” does not apply for another ten/eleven months.  So also enter the healthy idea.

Yes I realize lasagna is not healthy and cheese is not healthy but being happy is and cheese and lasagna make me happy.  Life is too short to eat like a cow.

End rant.

Begin lasagna.

DSC02353

Ingredients:

1 lb. turkey sausage (hot or mild)

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

14 oz. can tomato sauce

14 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2-1 Tbs. brown sugar (depending on acidity of sauce)

*About 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken in bite sized pieces*

1/2 c. low fat ricotta cheese

1 c. part skim Mozzarella, grated

1/4 c. Parmesan, grated

Parsley, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Turn your broiler on (if you have the option for high or low, choose high but make sure to really pay attention to it!).  Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. *Alternatively, you can use regular lasagna noodles, gluten free, sliced zucchini, or other whole wheat small pasta*.  Add sausage and onion in a skillet and cook until sausage is browned and onion is soft.  Drain fat, if any.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and brown sugar.  Mix together.  Bring to a simmer.

Drain noodles.  Do not rinse.  Add to the pasta sauce.

DSC02341

Mix together.  It will look something like this.

DSC02342

Spoon ricotta cheese over the top.  You can choose to spread it on or not.  I chose not to because I like large bites of ricotta.

DSC02343

Sprinkle with parsley.  Take a blurry picture if you must.  Let the mixture heat up over medium heat for a little while.

DSC02344

Sprinkle Mozz and Parm over the top.

DSC02345

And then some more parsley and maybe another blurry photo.

Remove from heat and put it on the middle rack of your oven under the broiler.  Broil until it is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly and even slightly browned if that’s your thing.

DSC02352

And then eat a generous serving with some whole wheat French bread and a salad.  Your family will thank you.

DSC02349

All in all, this only took me about 30 minutes to make total.  Which is super awesome for a super delicious and filling meal.  (And leftovers are pretty cool too).

Make this for your family this week and let me know how it goes.  You won’t regret it!

*Gluten Free: Use sliced zucchini/eggplant or gluten free pasta instead of lasagna noodles.

*Vegan: Replace sausage with mushrooms or other veggies such as eggplant or zucchini.  Replace cheese with tofu and veggies.

*Vegetarian: Replace sausage with mushrooms or other veggies such as eggplant or zucchini.

*Paleo: Replace pasta with zucchini or eggplant, sliced.  Replace cheese with mushrooms, peas, and other veggies.

XOXO Sara

Lightened Up Skillet Cheesy Sausage Pasta

DSC02226

Hello hello!  Is everybody having a fabulous Thursday? Luckily for you, there are only 2 more hours until it is Friday! (On west coast time.  If you’re beyond that, congratulations!  You made it!  If you are hours behind, you can do it!)

I always like to start a day with a few words of encouragement, if that’s what you want to call that little number.

School starts back up on Monday which is giving me mixed feelings because how fun is college aside from all the school-y stuff?!  (Yes calculus tests, I’m talking to you).

But with the start of a new semester, I will now get out of my lazy funk of not working out and eating whatever I want.  You know, after I recover from my surgery (no intense physical activity for at least 3 weeks, doc?  You got it).

Although I have been doing pretty well with my “eating well” thing I have going on, tonight I couldn’t resist (and frankly, didn’t want to cook) and ended up ordering Chinese takeout.

I know, I’m being lazy.  And I’m going out tomorrow (Friday tradition).  If I go out on Thursday, I’m being lazy.  But on Friday?  Being lazy is my tradition.  Don’t mess with the traditions.

Do you guys forgive this food blogger?  Can you move past it and learn to love me again?

What if I share the recipe for this pasta….?

DSC02222

Now we talkin.

I saw this recipe ALL OVER PINTEREST.  Everywhere.   For a good month.  I couldn’t escape it.

And even though I normally tend to avoid Pinterest trends, I decided to give this a go.  (It’s not that I have anything against Pinterest trends.  I guess I’m just too hipster.  Foodie hipster?  New blog name?!)

Of course though, I had to ruin all of the fun of pasta and lighten it up.  Because I couldn’t be too mainstream (foodie hipster strikes again) and it was just in my good nature to provide people with this kind of recipe.

The pasta turned out pretty good too.  Definitely not my fave, but pretty tasty and easy for a weeknight meal when I don’t have all the time in the world to cook.

Read on good friends…

*I could not find the original source for the recipe.  There’s a ton of bloggers who have posted this on their blog with no source.  If this is yours, let me know!  I will give appropriate credit where it is deserved.  I did make some changes to the recipe to “healthify” it and also a few more just because I felt like it.  I will post original content in parenthesis.*

Ingredients:

Drizzle of olive oil

1 lb. smoked turkey sausage, cut into rounds

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced (not in OG recipe)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 c. low sodium chicken broth (or regular chicken broth)

14 oz. no salt added diced tomatoes (or Ro-Tel)

1/2 c. milk (or heavy cream)

8 oz. whole wheat Fusilli (or regular penne)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 c. part skim Cheddar-Jack cheese (or 1 1/2 c. regular Cheddar-Jack cheese)

2 Tbs. chopped parsley (or 1/3 c. chopped scallions)

Heat oil on medium high heat.  Add sausage, onion, and bell pepper.  Saute until the sausage is browned and the onion and bell pepper are soft.

Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, pasta, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.  Let it simmer until pasta is al dente (could take up to 20 minutes for whole wheat pasta).

While the pasta is cooking, preheat the broiler.

Remove the skillet from the heat when pasta is tender, and top with remaining cheese and parsley.  Broil for a few minutes, until the cheesy is bubbly and slightly browned.

Serve with a nice light salad and enjoy!

Serves about 4

DSC02216

What I liked about this pasta was that it was satisfying but still light and not overwhelming.  And it was awesome with a small green salad on the side.

DSC02227

Look at that hot mess.  That’s the kind of hot mess you want.

Trust me.

XOXO Sara

Five Cheese Rigatoni

DSC02263

I love pasta.

I absolutely love it.

Especially when it’s covered in rich, delicious cheese.

Today I had to have a little last minute surgery and anesthesia makes me crave meals like this.  You know, after I get over the “oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-throw-up-and-also-I-feel-like-I’m-dying” feeling.  If you’ve ever been on anesthesia and not reacted well, you probably have some kind of clue to what I’m sayin’.  And if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky.  You are not missing anything (I swear)!

But on the bright side, I’m feeling much better, doped up on Loritab, and am on my way to enjoying a nice big bowl of cheesy pasta in the very near future.

Life is great, isn’t it?

DSC02261

Ingredients:

8 oz. rigatoni pasta

1/4 c. butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 c. whole milk

6 oz. cottage cheese

1 c. cheddar cheese, grated

1 c. mozzarella cheese, grated

1 c. Swiss cheese, grated

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated + more for top

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

Dash paprika

Dash ceyenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 c. Panko bread crumbs

1 Tbs. butter, melted

Boil pasta according to directions until it is al dente (normally about 8-9 minutes).  Drain and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350* F.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and brown the garlic until fragrant in a medium sauce pan.  Add the flour until it forms a roux.  Stir in the milk and all five cheeses.  Allow the cheeses to melt (the cottage cheese will not melt, but will make it super creamy and delicious, trust me).

Add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ceyenne, salt, and pepper.  Stir well.  Add pasta and mix to coat.

Butter an 8×8 casserole dish and add pasta, spreading it smoothly.  Combine panko and melted butter.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs and extra parmesan on top of the pasta.  Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Serves 2.

DSC02260

Revel in happy, pasta related bliss.

DSC02268

You can do that, right?

DSC02267

I have faith in you.

XOXO Sara

Vegetable Alfredo with Crispy Prosciutto

    blog 099

Happy Monday!

I hope you are all having a wonderful beginning to your summer!  I definitely am.  Not only did I get to have an amazing graduation party, but some of my close family and my best friend (ever) got to come into town to celebrate it with me.  That meant the world to me since I don’t get to see them a lot.

Today I started packing up my stuff to move (which I have learned that I hate passionately).  If anyone has any tips to make this process a little easier, I am all ears!  I have been pinning away on Pinterest to make it a little less painful, but still, I am not diggin it.

In fact, my room is so horribly cluttered right now that I’m crashing on the futon in our guitar room until I can gain some sort of order.

But on the bright side, I will be completely moved in and organized in just a couple of weeks!  Yay for less stress.

blog 101

Lately, I have been compiling healthy, easy recipes that won’t take forever to prepare in college.  After classes, exercising, and work, an easy home cooked meal will be a treat.

This recipe checks off all of my needs!  It’s delicious, easy, and I want it right now, in fact.

*Look for my healthy alfredo sauce recipe in just a few weeks!*

Ingredients:

1 box fettuccine pasta (I use whole wheat or quinoa)

1/2 lb. prosciutto, diced

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

10 oz. sliced mushrooms

1 small white onion, chopped

12 oz. baby spinach

2 c. alfredo sauce

1/4 c. white wine

Squeeze lemon juice

Fresh ground black pepper

blog 091

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Saute the prosciutto in a drizzle of olive oil until crispy, like bacon.  When the prosciutto is fully crispy, place it on a plate covered by paper towels to drain.

blog 092

Wipe out the pan, and heat another drizzle of olive oil.  Saute the garlic until fragrant and slightly browned.  Add the mushrooms and onion and saute until soft.

blog 094

Add the spinach and cook until wilted.

blog 095

Add the alfredo sauce, white wine, lemon juice, cooked prosciutto, and black pepper.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.

blog 105

Drain the pasta and serve with the vegetable prosciutto alfredo sauce.  Top with parmesan cheese.

blog 106

I also served the pasta with a green salad and whole wheat french bread.  Delicious!

This is super fresh and also pleases a family!

Alternatives:

  • Vegetarian: Replace the prosciutto with vegetarian bacon, tofu, or eggplant.
  • Gluten Free:  This is already gluten free if you use quinoa pasta.
  • Vegan: Replace prosciutto with vegan bacon, tofu, or eggplant.  Replace alfredo sauce with vegan alfredo sauce.
  • Paleo: Replace pasta with squash pasta.  Use vegan/paleo alfredo sauce instead of milk based alfredo sauce.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO Sara