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Beautiful Day for a Walk

Posted by on Feb 13, 2011 in Long Dog Diaries | 0 comments

This is what it's looked like around here lately. (Check out our snowman.)

Long dogs were loving the weather out today. It's beautiful for a change. They've been running around and playing all day.

So we went for a walk around the neighborhood. We even met a long dog friend along the way (his name was Sam).

And now the doggies are conked out asleep on the couch.

Bowtie Lasagna

Posted by on Feb 13, 2011 in Everyone Will Eat It, Our Favorites | 0 comments

Bowtie Lasagna

Tomato and cream is one of my favorite combinations, you know. This dish is a perfect example of the wonderful pairing. I got the recipe from one of my favorite food blogger’s recipe site. The blogger is Pioneer Woman, and the site is Tasty Kitchen. Do yourself a favor and check out both. For now though, stick with me for some tasty eats. This recipe is super simple.

Brown up the ground beef, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the meat and the pasta and combine. Add sauce, seasonings, cheese, and sour cream. Toss together, and add a little more cheese on top. Enjoy!

Ingredient List

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 16 oz. box of bowtie pasta (also called farfalle)
  • S&P
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella or Italian mix cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Here’s the original.

Becca’s Manicotti

Posted by on Feb 11, 2011 in Come Together, Everyone Will Eat It, Our Favorites, Store-bought Remix | 0 comments

This is so delightful. It’s my go-to whenever I’m ordering in a restaurant, so I was very excited when I made it at home for the first time. It’s quite easy as well!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 16 oz container cottage cheese
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided 1 cup for filling 1 cup for top
1/3  cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T Italian seasoning
1 t seasoning salt
3 lg cloves garlic
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

You will also need
1 1/2 pkg manicotti pasta (tubes), uncooked
2 jars spaghetti sauce (I use 26 oz Kroger Homestyle Tomato with Basil)
1/4 cup water

Pour a little of the sauce (1/4 of jar) into a large greased baking dish (I use 3 qt.), let it coat the bottom, and place the filled pasta on top.

Combine all ingredients for the filling.  Put into gallon ziplock bag and cut one corner off (start very small).  Fill each tube of pasta. You may want to put filling in both ends so that it gets really full. Cover with remainder of sauce. Put the water in the jar and shake to get out the last of the sauce.  Make sure all pasta is covered .

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Top with 1 cup mozzarella, recover, and bake for 10 minutes. (Yes, it takes the whole time. Be patient. Also, it is VERY HOT when it comes out of the oven, so be careful when eating.)

I made the batch half with and half without spinach for Mr. J and used half the package of spinach. If you do the whole batch with spinach you can use the whole package.

So freaking good…you don’t even know.

Notes: The deal with the really large baking dish and extra pasta and sauce requirements is due to the fact that the filling is more than will fill one box of pasta. You can make less and only use one box, but with the egg in the filling, it’ll need to be used for something else right away. I have layered it with rotini, sauce, and cheese for a baked pasta in another format. This makes a ton, but I like it.

You can also use large shells. Cook them for a little while so that you can get the filling inside easier, but not too long or they’ll be hard to handle. Cook for approx. half of the recommended cooking time, drain, toss with olive oil (so they don’t stick together), and let them cool slightly (or they will burn you).

Crockpot Lasagna

Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in Come Together, Everyone Will Eat It, Our Favorites, Store-bought Remix | 0 comments

Where all the magic happens

This has got to be #1 in the Italian Favorites category. Mr. J asks for it often, and I’ve had several people tell me it’s the best lasagna they’ve ever had. It’s super easy too, and you can’t ask for anything more.

Crock-Pot Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 1/2 t salt
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T brown sugar
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
12 oz. cottage cheese/ricotta (I usually use the large container, and it’s perfect)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz. lasagna noodles (uncooked)
16 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in skillet. Strain out grease, and add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings. Cook long enough to get warm. Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the crockpot. Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit), and top with cheeses. Repeat with sauce, noodles, and cheeses until all are used up. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serves 10.

Our crockpot is a medium oval one, so it doesn’t take as many noodles as are called for to make one batch, and it only takes 3-4 hours on low to be fully cooked. It says to double stack the noodles, but you have to be careful or they won’t get fully cooked if they’re too thick. Alternatively, you can add a layer of noodles between each layer (after cheese AND sauce).

You’ll have to experiment to get the right amounts of each ingredient per layer. The first time I made it I think I ran out of a few things toward the top. Now, I use each ingredient kinda sparingly and get 4 complete layers and end on meat sauce. Try to end with sauce on top for best results. The cheese doesn’t do well on top for that long. You can add some at the end, if you want.

Sauce in the works

Italian Favorites

Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

It’s been too long, friends. I’ve been busy with work and life. I have a special treat for you though…my favorite Italian recipes. These are tried and true delights that I make quite often, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. They are not for folks watching their waistline or with lactose intolerance. Bless you if you are in either category!