lasagna grilled cheese

lasagna grilled cheese 1243

I know what you are probably thinking as you read this…

“Really, Natalie? Lasagna inside of a grilled cheese? Is that really necessary?”

No, of course not.

But the best things never really are, are they?

This idea came to me one day at lunch. I had brought some leftover lasagna and garlic bread to work, being the frugal girl that I am, and upon eating them realized that if I put my lasagna on top of my garlic bread I could consume twice the food in half the time!

It turns out that together they are a force to be reckoned with. Better than either two could ever dream of being on their own.

Then, lightbulb.

I immediately texted Future Husband to let him know of my genius plans.

“LASAGNA GRILLED CHEESE WITH GARLIC BREAD CRUST! PREPARE YOUR ARTERIES!”

lasagna grilled cheese 1252

It’s a simple equation, really. Lasagna = Good. Grilled cheese = Good. Lasagna + Grilled Cheese = Double Good!

Am I right?  I mean, I’m pretty sure the logic there is flawless…

FH, though initially confused by the idea, accepted its genius at his first bite. In fact, he loved it so much that he told me I should do a a whole post just about the bread, because the bread alone was THAT GOOD.

I won’t do that to you though, I’ve already drawn this out enough by first sharing the lasagna recipe with you separately, of course you can use whatever lasagna recipe you like.

So here you are… Lasagna grilled cheese… In all of its glory.

Delicious homey comfort food for those of us who don’t plan on donning bikinis anytime soon.

lasagna grilled cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Ingredients

    For the sandwich
  • 4 slices sturdy bread
  • 2 slices leftover lasagna
  • 2 slices mozzarella
  • 2 slices provolone
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Garlic butter
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped or smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

    Make the garlic butter
  1. Melt butter over medium-low heat in a small pan. Add garlic and salt; continue cooking over low/medium-low until very fragrant and cloves are lightly-browned and the salt has dissolved. Keep an eye on the butter making sure not to burn either the butter or the garlic.
  2. Remove from heat and pour into heat-proof container, straining out the garlic cloves. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Make the grilled cheese
  4. Gently re-heat the lasagna in the microwave. It doesn't need to get super hot but you will definitely want to take the chill off.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot. Arrange your mise en place so you can work quickly.
  6. Brush the outsides of your bread slices with garlic butter and gently press into the parmesan cheese. You can butter the insides if you want to, I mean at this point our arteries won't really notice the difference.
  7. Place two pieces of bread with the insides-down (buttered-sides up) on the skillet to toast.
  8. Once toasted flip the bread and top 1 slice of each sandwich with mozzarella and lasagna then with provolone. Top with other slice of bread (buttered side still up) and tent with foil (or a lid) until cheese just begins to melt, being careful not to burn the bottom bread.
  9. Carefully flip the sandwiches to toast the second side and tent again with foil if the cheese still needs help melting. Continue cooking until the bottom is completely toasted.
  10. Remove from heat and cool slightly before serving.

Notes

* This would also be great as an open-faced sandwich. Just place the cheese and lasagna on one piece of the bread and tent to melt the cheese. Enjoy with a fork and knife.

* I used skillet lasagna for this grilled cheese but I suspect regular lasagna would work just fine (and be a bit less messy).

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/28/lasagna-grilled-cheese/

lasagna grilled cheese - wee-eats.com

skillet lasagna

skillet lasagna 1213

It’s been in the upper 90s around these parts lately, but this weekend is supposed to be cold and rainy (read: 70s with a 40% chance of rain) so I’ve got comfort food on the mind.  Even though I’ve already got a recipe for lasagna, this one is a bit… different.

It will not consume your afternoon to create.  It will not take hours of sauce-making and simmering, nor meticulous layering of ingredients. This, my friends, is a stove-top lasagna. As in, a lasagna that you make on the stove.

As in a 30(ish)-minute feast.

As in all of those spectacular lasagna flavors and ingredients without having to layer a single thing.

This skillet lasagna involves making your own sauce on the stove-top, stuffing a few lasagna noodles into it, adorning it with dollops of creamy ricotta cheese, and broiling some nice melty cheese on top.

If you’re into that whole broiled-cheese thing (I definitely am).

I just make my “usual” quick meat sauce, you can use your own favorite sauce recipe if you like. If that’s not easy enough, you can even cheat and make it with store-bought pasta sauce (I won’t tell).

skillet lasagna 1220

skillet lasagna

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 11-inch skillet (6 to 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef* (vegetarian option below)
  • 1/2 pound Italian sweet sausage, casings removed (about 2 or 3 links)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 4 to 5 no-boil lasagna noodles, uncooked, broken into pieces
  • Ricotta mixture (below)
  • Parsley and/or basil, minced, to sprinkle on top
  • For ricotta mixture
  • 1/2 cup ricotta (whole-milk is best for this)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons parmesan, finely grated

Instructions

  1. Mix ricotta with remaining ingredients for the ricotta mixture, set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the ground beef and sausage together until well-browned, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add onion and continue cooking until softened, about 5 minutes more. If you have formed a crust on the bottom of your pan, deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of water, stock, or wine.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and red pepper and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and stir again.
  6. Tuck broken noodle pieces into the sauce and drop dollops of ricotta mixture on top. Simmer uncovered about 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the top of the lasagna and preheat your broiler on high for about 5 minutes.
  8. Carefully place your pan in the under the broiler for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. VERY CAREFULLY remove pan from oven and sprinkle with parsley and/or basil if desired. Allow to cool slightly (about 5 to 10 minutes) before serving.

Notes

* You can use all beef or all sausage if you like, or even leave out the meat and add more veggies (mushrooms or lentils) to make it vegetarian. * Be sure to use an oven-safe skillet when making this and be very careful when moving the hot pan to and from the oven.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/25/skillet-lasagna/

easy skillet lasagna | wee-eats.com

summery chicken pasta

summer chk pasta

I AM BACK! Well, I’ve been back, but have still been recovering from vacation. You know how vacation just makes you more tired than you were before you went on vacation? Not only that, but it also sucked all the joy out of my regular life, as I don’t want to do anything except keep being on vacation.

Where you get to hang out on boats…

enjoy scenic views…

and hike through colorful canyons…

Anyway, since it is summer, and I had to be in a bikini, I decided to take a break from the sweeter things in life for a day and post this [ relative-to-what-i-usually-post ] healthful pasta recipe instead. Just a simple pasta filled with fresh veggies, lean chicken, and garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.  ;)

I do variations of this pasta all the time with different veggies … no real measurements. But this should serve as a good “jumping off point” for you. It’s actually one of BF’s favorite dinners, depending on what I throw in, of course. A splash of cream and a bit of butter never hurt anyone, though you may want to skip those depending on how far away your bikini date is.

Summery Chicken Pasta

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 (1-lb) box pasta, whole wheat if you want to feel a little better about it
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (thin cut will cook faster)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • ½ cup (1 cup if you skip the wine), low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bag baby spinach (~ 6 oz)
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, I like to halve some and leave some whole
  • ½ cup loosely-packed basil, torn, plus more for garnish (if desired)
  • Splash of heavy cream (optional, but recommended)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Italian cheese – Parmesan, Pecorino, Asiago, whatever you’ve got.

Cook pasta in salted water per package directions. Drain and set aside.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Bash your garlic cloves with your hand or a knife, you want them to be “broken” but not chopped or separated.

Preheat pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle oil to coat the bottom and add chicken, cooking in batches if necessary. Cook until done and transfer to a plate; tent with foil while you cook the veggies.

Add another drizzle of oil if necessary. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. DO NOT let the garlic burn. Once the garlic is lightly browned remove the cloves of garlic and add your onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sauté until translucent, then add your wine and cook until almost evaporated, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add your broth and bring to a boil. (Sometimes I throw my garlic cloves back in, just remember to fish them out again before you serve it).

Chop chicken to desired size pieces and return chicken, with any accumulated juices, to the pan.

Reduce heat to low and add spinach, basil, tomatoes, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Add a healthy dose of grated parmesan to the pasta. Throw in a tablespoon of butter and a dash of cream if you’re feeling saucy, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss until the spinach is wilted to your liking.

Serve sprinkled with extra parmesan and basil.

TIPS

  • You can also sauté bell peppers with your onion for an extra ‘punch’ of flavor
  • I like to drop a few strands of saffron into the broth while it boils as well
  • I also like to add half of my tomatoes while the broth is boiling so they burst and flavor the sauce, then the other half at the end so they are more “fresh”.

thursday things

wonton ravioli main

It’s Thursday!

Not quite Friday, but so close I can taste it.

We’ve had a lot going on at work, this is the time of year that we get super busy, so work like crazy all day long, go home, and crash super hard. It makes it hard to do things like, I don’t know, import all those food photos I’ve taken and type up a post. So hard.

As my time becomes more limited I turn to easier recipes, shorter posts, and less pictures. I made these surprisingly good raviolis with wonton wrappers of all things. I had just enough time for BF to snap a pic with his iPad before we devoured them for dinner… I know, I’m pitiful. I wasn’t really even planning on liking/posting the recipe so, whatever. Don’t judge.

Now, they aren’t like regular ravioli. The wonton wrapper is much thinner and more delicate than typical ravioli dough, but I actually enjoyed that. It was like a much lighter pasta that allowed the flavor of the filling to really shine through. I dunno, I liked them. A lot more than I expected to. Especially since I’m not a huge ravioli fan. Boyfriend enjoyed them too, and he is a fan of ravioli, so there must be something good going on there…

Oh, and Thursday’s Serious Eats Sweets lineup also featured my croissants – woot! A picture, by the way, that wasn’t good enough for stupid Tastespotting’s 100×100 pixels. If you have a lot of free time this weekend, you should probably make them. And by probably, I mean definitely. Definitely make them. So good.

Don’t they just look scrumptious?

I’m also dreaming about this cake recipe I saw on Food & Wine, but BFF told me I should probably give the chocolate cakes a rest and make something light and fruity… which I was totally considering until I saw that cake… I mean, it’s just so bizarre… a crunchy almond filling (that when I read, I realized was awful close to a macaron recipe) PLUS peanut butter PLUS rice krispies… I think I have to make it. At this point, I don’t think it’s even my choice anymore. It just has to be done. This is F&W’s picture, not mine. (Obviously, since I haven’t made it yet).

Without further ado, here is a quick ravioli recipe to make while your croissant dough is resting…. I filled mine with a plethora of cheese, only because I went on a recent cheese binge at Trader Joes and we have enough cheese to feed a small country for several weeks… feel free to fill yours with whatever you like. Boyfriend even recommended I fill them with my bolognese sauce or meatballs, but by then they were already closed up and ready to go so maybe next time, love.

My recipe only uses half the wonton wrappers, partly because I wanted to experiment with the rest, and partly because I got tired of making them. Feel free to double the recipe (but stick with one egg) if you want more ravioli. These are estimates, just shove whatever you want in there, it’ll be fine :)

Wonton Raviolis

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1/2 package wonton wrappers
  • 1/2 lb ricotta (use full fat, it has SO MUCH MORE flavor)
  • 1/4 cup each parmesan, pecorino, fontina… whatever else you like.
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • generous sprinkle of salt
  • any other additions you want to add (cooked italian sausage, prosciutto, whatever)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten + additional egg for egg wash

1. Mix together ricotta, cheeses, herbs, salt, 1 egg, and any other fillings you may want to add.

2. Lay out wonton wrappers and place about 1 teaspoon of filling in each.

3. Make egg wash by beating your additional egg with one tablespoon of water. Rub egg wash around the outside of each wonton wrapper, folding each wrapper in half as you go. Make sure you press around the filling first, and then press the edges together. Get as much air out of the filling as possible to ensure your ravioli don’t burst while cooking.

4. Store in refrigerator up to one day or freeze** until you feel like having ravioli.

5. When ready to cook, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and reduce heat so that the water isn’t at a violent rolling boil, but more of a gentle simmer-y boil. Drop ravioli in a few at a time and cook for about 3 minutes each, until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon into a separate pan with your warmed sauce as they finish, adding more as necessary until they are all cooked. Remember to be gentle, since the “shells” for these ravioli are so thin that they will tear or burst more easily than regular ravioli. 

I boiled my ravioli, transferred them to a wide bottomed pan with warm sauce and spooned the sauce over them, then drizzled them with a tiny bit of oil, and garnished with fresh basil. It was delicious. 

**To freeze ravioli, line a large plate or baking sheet with parchment and place sealed ravioli in a single layer. Freeze until firm and then transfer frozen ravioli into a freezer safe bag. To cook, bring water to a gently boil cook ravioli until they float to the surface.

stuffed pasta shells

stuffed shells

What’s more comforting than a big tray of pasta on a cool winter night? Answer: Not much. Then again, it’s been in the high 70s here so what do I know about winter? The biggest chill I get is coming out of the air conditioning vents in my car as I drive home from work…

Hey, don’t judge.

I made these stuffed shells for my momma when she came over to celebrate “Second Christmas” with us. She missed out on first Christmas due to circumstances beyond our control, so last weekend I had her come over, open presents, and enjoy a good home-cooked meal.

Half of these were left vegetarian (just for fun), but since I had some extra prosciutto lying around that I didn’t want to waste, the other half had prosciutto added to them. Both were delicious, and show just how customizable this recipe really is. :)

As an added bonus, you can make these in advance to bake the next day, or even freeze them for a future dinner! Play around with the flavors, do what you like, but definitely add these to your dinner rotation.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 16 – 20 jumbo pasta shells (you’ll want extra in case when some break)
  • Shredded italian cheese
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

For the filling:

  • 15 oz ricotta (I prefer Trader Joe’s, but do what you will)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large tomato, finely diced
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh basil, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 7 oz prosciutto, diced (optional)
  • salt & pepper

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and pour a layer of sauce on the bottom.
If you’re baking these right away, might as well get that oven heated to 350F

1. Bring salted pasta water to a boil, and cook shells according to package directions. When done, spread out on a baking sheet to cool. Try to gently separate any that have fused together.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the filling ingredients adding salt and pepper to taste. Realizing you probably don’t want to “taste” the filling on its own, probably about a ½ teaspoon or so of salt and a few grinds of pepper should do?

3. Once the shells have cooled, fill them with the ricotta mixture and arrange in the baking dish. Top off with more pasta sauce, shredded cheese, and grated parmesan. You can, at this time, either refrigerate the shells (covered) for tomorrow, or throw them in the oven.

4. When ready to cook, bake shells for 30 – 40 minutes, until the cheese is nice and bubbly and shells are heated through.

*If you’re going to freeze them, fill them and place them on a freezer-safe dish. Freeze about 20 minutes until firm, then place in a freezer-safe bag and store in your freezer until ready to use. When ready to bake, cover the bottom of a baking sheet with sauce, place the shells on top, cover with more sauce and cheese, then bake COVERED for 30 minutes, uncover and continue to bake for another 15 -20 minutes until hot and bubbly.