Home Cooking · Italian

Little Bitty

Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna

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After a very mild few weeks, fall is 100% here and I’m becoming okay with that.  Something about having those extra few weeks of nice temperatures is somehow making it easier – feel like we “cheated” in a way.  The nice weather also made for some strange food overlaps as cherry tomatoes kept trickling in to the markets which are normally long gone by this point.  Again it feels like we’re cheating!  With that, I wound up with a bunch of random vegetables at the end of the week so I decided to just take everything out of the fridge and see what I could do with it.  In the end it came down to a pizza or lasagna and a rogue sweet potato made the decision for me: lasagna!

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 For a different twist switch out the sweet potato for any type of squash – or use a variety of wild mushrooms.  Spinach, swiss chard, or kale would also go fantastically in this dish either fresh or pre-cooked with the mushrooms and onions.  Since my main mission was to clean out the fridge I just used what I had on hand, and it worked fantastically!  If you don’t have alfredo sauce on hand a simple bechamel sauce can also work, tho you might want to add more garlic/salt/pepper in order to keep the dish from being too bland.

In other news, our little one made her appearance last Friday (11/27) and we are 100% smitten.  She arrived at 7:02 am weighing 8lbs 13oz and has the cutest chunkiest little cheeks!.  After years of fertility treatments and wishing/hoping/praying it is such a relief to have her home!

Hot Summer Eats · Italian · One-Pot

All Over Again

Pasta with Ricotta Herb Sauce

Pasta Ricotta

Welcome back to #HotSummerEats!  When I first started planning recipes for this link-up I had a hard time thinking of my favorite summer recipes as generally during the summer I’m living off of salads which aren’t really that exciting.  To me summer is about light meals with as little “active” cooking as possible and as many fresh ingredients as possible.  Since it’s not yet summer and most of my herbs are still in the youngling stage, I decided to take advantage of the goodies I got from Gourmet Garden.  I grabbed some chunky garlic and Italian herbs thinking they would go perfectly with some grape tomatoes I had picked up at the market – just had to figure out the main ingredient.  With such flexible ingredients, and zero prep, I debated everything from bulgar wheat to orzo to frfalle before going with some thin pasta for fear of picking a grain that would over power the simple herb “sauce” I was thinking of.  A bit of ricotta and I was in business!

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Did I mention there was a giveaway – because there is totally a giveaway!  A few awesome readers will win some of the incredible products featured during #HotSummerEats.  How cool is that?!?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsDisclaimer – Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds. Pirate Jonny’s, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheffor providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own. I’m so thrilled to be participating in another blog round-up, Camilla you are awesome!  Now that you’ve seen my recipe make sure to check out all the others below.

52Weeks · Baking · Home Cooking

Faith in Love

Vanilla Ricotta Bread

Vanilla Ricotta Bread

Following behind again with /52weeksofcooking but only one week behind so that’s not tooooo horrible – right?  Anyway, last week the theme for /52weeks was (is?) vanilla!  Simple enough ingredient but of course I couldn’t do something simple, I had to think of something non-dessert.  Which is why I’m a week late with posting this deliciously amazing Vanilla Ricotta Bread.  While I debated going full savory with vanilla, and also debated going crafty with vanilla (bad idea), in the end I decided to go with something somewhat familiar in order to lessen the odds of full failure.   I had made a ricotta bread a few months ago, pre-move, but it was just a bit blah.  I had expected the ricotta bread to have a sweetness to it, nothing as crazy as ricotta cookies – but maybe somewhat close.  Which led me to the awesome decision to add vanilla extract to the bread, and it worked!

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This bread was fantastic fresh, awesome toasted with butter and jam, and scrumptious with nutella.

Casserole · Home Cooking · Simple and In Season

Over Unannounced

Potato & Beet Casserole

Potato Beet Casserole

One of the best parts of traveling, in my opinion, if is trying new and exciting and (hopefully) delicious dishes!  One of the best parts of getting home (outside of seeing hubby and puppies) is getting in to the kitchen and attempting to recreate some of those dishes.  After my UK and Ireland adventures I knew that I had to recreate the incredible dish I had in Ireland at Cornucopia – even though I had no idea how on earth to do that.  I knew the ingredients (beets, potatoes, spinach, cheese, and phyllo) but outside of that I had no idea what needed to be done.  Since beets and I are just getting used to each other I decided to grate them, figuring the smaller amounts might blend better with the other vegetables as well as reasoning that round discs might tempt me to just remove them.  The other thing to figure out was the phyllo dough on top but some quick Googling proved that it could be done.   Once I had finished with the research and planning it was time to head to the kitchen, with some pasta and pesto on hand just in case it didn’t work out.

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There is something to be said about a pink dish – it just goes well with everything!  While I served this as a simple vegetarian main it would also be a great side dish for company as it comes together quickly and looks rather impressive coming out of the oven.  Still not sure about other versions of beets but after the success of this dish I’m willing to give them a try again, we’ll see how that goes!

Potato Beet Casserole

I’m also sending this treat over to Ren‘s fabulous Simple and in Season since it highlights two vegetables that are popping up in local gardens: spinach and beets! I didn’t grow either of this year due to my trip but my summer veggies are starting to take off so I see lots of peppers, eggplants, carrots, and tomatoes in my near future!

Home Cooking · Italian · Secret Recipe Club

New Friends

Spinach & Zucchini “Lasagna”

Spinach & Zucchini Pasta Bake

Bonus Secret Recipe Club entry!!!!  I’m a member of Group A of the Secret Recipe club but this month I was called in to assist a member of Group B that wound up orphaned.  As soon as I saw the name of the blog I knew I was in for a delicious treat as Heather’s Fit  Mama Real Food blog is stuffed with healthy and easy dishes.  I drove right in to her recipe page as I knew I had no time to lose with this – I needed to pick a WOW recipe NOW.  With the help of my husband I was able to narrow it down to a few (applesauce! refried beans!) options (carrot cake DONUTS!!!), all of which only required a quick stop by the store on the way home.  In the end I avoided the cream cheese icing (seriously??? carrot cake donuts!!!) and went with a healthy dinner option: Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna.  I had to make a few changes to the recipe (ricotta for cottage cheese) and also changed it from a lasagna to a pasta bake since I wanted the dish to be done before the incoming storm (and potential power loss).  Honestly this recipe is more like two recipes since you get a simply awesome tomato sauce as a bonus!

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Make sure to check out Heather’s blog for all her delicious recipes – as well as pictures of her adorable baby.


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52Weeks · Home Cooking · Italian

Let it Burn

Cannelloni al Forno

Cannelloni al Forno

Nothing like an Italian challenge to get back in the swing of things!  It’s been a bit of a challenge getting everything back in order, as I’m used to having at least a week’s worth of recipes ready at any time.  While I had prepared a number of posts for while I was on my trip I didn’t take in to account the adjustment time once I returned.  So with that in mind I have been going on a cooking/baking rampage in order to insure no more gaps in posts.  Thankfully I had a few blog challenges waiting for me when I got back, including the Italian challenge from r/52weeksofcooking.  I knew rather early on that I wanted to do a stuffed pasta, and that I wanted to focus on seasonal greens for the stuffing.  I decided to go with canneloni and two varieties of chard along with some young spinach.

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As an added bonus a friend joined us for dinner, supplying an amazing salad that went perfectly with the pasta and some sourdough bread.  Nothing like sharing a great meal with friends!

Casserole · Italian · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Gotta Get Out

Stuffed Shells Casserole

Stuffed Shell Casserole

I’ll admit it, sometimes I don’t want to cook or at least don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.  For example I’m a huge fan of stuffed shells but they take much longer than I’m willing to spend on the average work night.  So I decided to cut a few corners and make a stuffed shell casserole with all of the flavor and half the prep time.  To further speed up the process I used some frozen pomodoro sauce, leftover form a large batch I made in my slowcooker.  I swear one of the best things about my slow cooker is the ability to prepare huge batches of sauce (and other yummies!) and saving them for the future.  I simply placed the frozen sauce in the fridge before I left for work and then zapped it a bit to finish the process, adding a few more leaves of basil to make sure it had the right taste.

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The photo might not be the best, but it’s delicious and quick and easy – which is all that matters after a long day at work.  I served this up with some oregano bread but would be just fine on it’s own.