Saturday, May 7, 2011

Creamy Lemon Bars

What is it? It is a handheld juice squeezer.
Do you need this?
Well, no.
Is it worth having?
Oh, yes!
I used this juice squeezer to make lemon bars. In the past, when
I made anything that required fresh squeezed juice, I would simply, roll the  lemon, lime, or orange on the
counter, until the juice has broken from the pulp.
Then I would cut the fruit in half, and squeeze the halves into my
measuring cup. But this is so easy.
 I cut the top and bottom off of the fruit, cut it in half, put it in the squeezer,
and squeezed right into the measuring cup. The two pieces squeezing together
makes sure that there is only pulp left in the fruit. Then takeout the seeds!!

The best part? I bought this item of convenience at Dollar Tree!!
For a $!!!
Isn't that great?
So, if you see this item, buy it!

Here's a recipe for lemon bars that I love, and I'm betting that you will to.
You also get to use your juicer!

Let's Make The Dough First! 

  2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. If you have
a food processor combine your flour, sugar,
and butter in the bowl. Pulse until it's 
dough. But don't over mix.If you are using a mixer, 
combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, 
and butter until butter is in very small crumbs.
 It should look like this!
Press into the bottom of a 11x7 inch pan. 
 Smooth out your dough. My rolling pin was too long to fit in this pan,
so I had to improvise with the cover from my candy thermometer.
Maybe a mini rolling pin would make a 
good kitchen gadget for this blog!!
Bake for 18-20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and lightly browned.
It should look like this. Isn't that pretty?!!

Now, Let's Make The Filling.
4 eggs
2 cup confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
sifted confectioners' sugar
Here is your chance to use your fruit squeezer. It will take about
4 lemons to make your 1/4 cup.
Beat your eggs.
Blend together your sugar, beaten eggs, flour, lemon juice
and lemon peel. When you make your lemon peel, use a zester,
or microplane. (sorry, I forgot the picture!!)
When you zest, run your zester over the washed lemon,
but DO NOT get any of the white skin in with your lemon zest.
The white makes the zest very bitter.
Pour your mix over the crust you just baked.
Return to oven and bake at 325° for 20 minutes. 
 Loosen around edges, cut into bars and sift confectioners' sugar over the top while warm. 
I hope you enjoyed this little treat of a recipe.  
(It's adapted from a taste of Home recipe)
I know you will make this over and over again. 
It's that good!
Thanks for joining me this week. Come back tomorrow for the shopping list for next week.
Here's a hint~Think Steak!
See you then!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Finale!~Tiramisu Mousse

My favorite part of just about every meal is dessert. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth! I truly do believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with having dessert first!!! The dessert for our Homestyle Lasagna Dinner is Tiramisu Mousse. I have made this many times; as it was quite a popular choice when I worked for a catering company. It differs from the classic Tiramisu because we won't be using ladyfingers soaked in coffee. But you will love it. A good thing about this dessert is that it must be made ahead of time so that the mousse has time to set. So there are no last minute preparations to do. You can make this dessert and leave it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Here's what you need:

1 cup Mascarpone Cheese
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Brewed Coffee
2 Egg Yolks, beaten
1 cup Whipping Cream, beaten to soft peaks
Cocoa Powder or Semisweet Chocolate Bar

Put your Mascarpone Cheese in your mixing bowl.
Add your Sugar.
Add your Brewed Coffee.
Add your 2 beaten Eggs.
Mix your ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, mix your heavy whipping cream. We have 
made this before back on 7/16/10. If you don't recall, just go to
Beat your cream to soft peaks, like this.
Fold the cream into the Tiramisu mix.  
Carefully pour the mousse into
individual goblets.
You can make these about 3 hours ahead of time, then
chill in the refrigerator. When it's time to serve, pull them o ut, and shave 
chocolate over the top, or sprinkle cocoa powder over the top.
Isn't it pretty!!
Thanks for joining me this week. I hope you enjoyed our recipes,
and learned something you didn't know.
Remember, please email me anytime if you have 
questions or comments.
See you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Garlic Bread! What Else Could It Be?

Today we are preparing the side dish for the Homestyle Lasagne Meal!   I thought about what else I could put with this meal as a side dish. I even had a few ideas. But really, what else would you want other than garlic bread? I mean, it's really a necessity. You need the bread to sop up the sauce right?  This is really simple, and here is what you need:
Loaf of French Bread, cut into slices
2 tbl. minced or chopped Garlic
stick of Butter

 Melt the stick of butter and add 2 tablespoon of chopped or 
minced garlic. If you don't think it has enough garlic
taste, add more. You can even add garlic powder if you want.

Brush your bread slices with the garlic butter.

Place the garlic bread slices under your broiler. Watch  it carefully. 
I like to put my broiler on high, put the oven rack on the second 
shelf, and keep an eye on it almost the entire time. When it 
gets the browned, toasted look that you like, it's done.

Isn't that pretty?!!!


I hoped you enjoy this short but savory side dish. 
Tomorrow we will make the finale, Tiramisu Mousse!
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Homestyle Lasagna

Today we are making the entree of our meal~The Homestyle Lasagna!
Let's start with the sauce. This sauce makes about 4 cups. This is plenty, and you will have some left over for spaghetti with meat sauce.

 Here's the recipe:
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil                               
1 small Onion, finely chopped
2 garlic Cloves, minced
1# extra lean Ground Beef
28 ounce can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 3/4 cups Water
pinch of Sugar
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 Bay Leaf
Salt & Pepper

  Start by chopping your onions. I used
                                a food processor,but you can dice them                             
            with a knife. I used the minced garlic that 
comes in the container ready to use.
 Sometimes I use  the fresh garlic
 but these are very handy.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet until shimmering.
Add the garlic and oil; stirring a few times until lightly         
browned, about 5 minutes.

      Add the ground beef to the skillet, and cook until browned.           
As the beef cooks, break it up with a spatula or spoon,
so that it all gets cooked.

Drain the ground beef grease. I like to do this by pouring the beef into
a small colander. Let it sit so that all the grease drains. 
            Then pour the beef mix into a large pot.             

Add the tomatoes. I bought the whole peeled tomatoes. You 
can also buy tomato puree, but I love the San Marzano brand.                 
I bought them at Whole Foods.  Puree the tomatoes yourself 
in the processor.

Place the tomato puree, tomato paste, water, sugar, 
and herbs into the large pot with the beef. Add the 
salt & pepper and bring the pot to a boil. 
Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until thickened,
about 45 minutes.

Now, lets cook the pasta. Here is what you need to finish the Homestyle Lasagna. 

Lasagna Noodles, Ricotta Cheese, Shredded Mozarella, Sliced Provolone, Parmesan Cheese, Sauce

Put water in a large pot, and once it begins boiling, place the lasagna noodles in the pot. Let them cook for 15 minutes. Once they are done, drain the water and let the noodles cool. They can even get cold, as we will be putting them in the oven to cook in a few minutes.

In a 13 X 9 pan, cover the bottom, lightly, with the sauce. Cover with the lasagna noodles.

Your next layer is provolone cheese. Layer like in the picture and you will have plenty, because the cheese will melt and get on every slice.
Place a layer of sauce over the provolone cheese.

Now, start it all over again. Layer with the noodles.

Place the Ricotta Cheese on the noodles.

Layer with the meat sauce.

Top with the shredded mozzarella.
Bake at 350 until done, about 30 minutes.

There you have it! Homestyle Lasagna that you and everyone you serve it to will love.

Tomorrow we will make the side dish~garlic bread.

Thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Today we are making the soup portion of our Lasagna meal. This soup has a chicken base, although if you are looking for a vegetarian soup, you could easily substitute a vegetable broth. Here's your recipe:
(adapted from Ellie Krieger)

1  15 ounce can low sodium canellini beans, drained and rinsed (Whole Foods)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 small zucchini, diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
32 ounce low sodium chicken broth (Whole Foods)
1  14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes(Whole Foods)
2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Put half of the canellini beans in a bowl and mash with the back of a
 spoon. Don't forget to drain first!!


Heat the olive oil in a soup or stock pot over medium to high heat.
                                                                   Add the onion, 

 the carrots,

the celery,

 the dried thyme, sage, garlic, salt & pepper.
Don't forget to dice your veggies.
Add your zucchini and stir until tender. 
It should take about 5 minutes.

Add the broth.

Add the diced tomatoes, and bring the soup to a boil.
Add the mashed canellini beans, both mashed and whole,
and the spinach leaves and cook until the leaves are wilted.
 Serve the soup topped with grated Parmesan.
When I shopped for the items I needed for this recipe I got several products at Whole Foods, I love that place. Whenever I need something that is special or of a higher quality, they always seem to have what I need.

This soup is a great addition to our Lasagna meal. A chunk of the bread from the antipasto tray would taste great dipped in the soup. Thanks for dropping by, and hope to see you tomorrow when we make the entree, Lasagna.