Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Family's Traditional Lasagna

Traditional Lasagna

2 lb ground beef
2 large cans of Hunt's Garlic & Herb tomato sauce (28 oz each I think)
1 large container of cottage cheese
12 slices of mozzerella cheese
1 package of Barilla no-bake lasagna noodles (flat)

Preheat oven to 350º.  Brown meat and drain fat.  Add tomato sauce to it. 

Place a thin layer of meat sauce to the bottom of the pan covering the bottom. Add Barilla no-bake lasagna noodles on top.  Add a layer of meat sauce on top of noodles.  On meat, layer mozzarella slices, then cottage cheese (schmear with a spoon as best as you can, making sure the corners get enough sauce and cheese too).  Repeat sequence with noodles, meat, cheeses until run out of room! Stop if can with meat on top. Cook at 350º for 60 minutes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

IceCream Cake

It's getting to be that time of year again.  Yes, my birthday time.  And what do I always want? Icecream cake!  Baskin Robbins - to be specific.

But years of being poor and cheap have really taken their toll on my tastebuds and now I can settle for my fabulous homemade version.

So if you're feeling super sweet on someone or just want something done now, use this as your secret weapon.

Icecream Cake

1 package of mint chocolate chip icecream (normal sized! none of this half-*ss portion size they're trying to convince the masses that we should buy now... err... Edy's, I'm talking to you) - just get BlueBell let's be honest with ourselves
1 package of chocolate delicious-looking cake (plus all the ingredients that go with it.. eggs, oil, etc)
1-2 tubs of that good gooey frosting.  I like vanilla for this version
a couple cool colors of frosting tubes for BEAUTIFUL decorating when you're done
maybe some oreos for the top if you really want to impress your audience
large deep rectangular foil cake pan (maybe 9x13x3") that you can throw away when done

In the cakepan pour the cake batter after you've mixed it like directed on the box.  Cook as directed.  If it has options to make it extra gooey (i.e. more oil/water) - I would err on this side so it doesn't dry out.

Once the cake has cooled ~15 minutes on the top of the oven, put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to get it really cool.

Pull out your icecream for 10-15 minutes until it is really soft.  Do not let unfreeze completely!!  This will result in a WAYY too icy icecream layer.  You want it pliable but not liquidy.

With a hard spatula/spoon, put the icecream all over the cake, making a thick layer.  Smooth out roughly.  Back in the freezer for at least another hour.

Frost away after the icecream has re-hardened in the freezer!  Win him over with your decor.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mexican Braised Pork Tacos

These are inspired from one of my favorite food-bloggers at For the Love of Cooking... Mom and I have both made these with pork and with beef - my favorite is pork and it was a huge hit at our mexifest...

Braised Pork (for tacos, burritos, etc)
1 large pork loin - fat trimmed off
salt and pepper
garlic powder
chili powder
2 Tbs olive oil
7 oz can of green chilis
1 poblano pepper, chopped coarsely
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped finely
6 cloves garlic - chopped
1 bunch cilantro - chopped coarsely
~2 cups of beef broth

Rub (aka coat) meat in dry herbs.  Warm large frying pan over high heat with olive oil.  Sear each side of the pork for 2-4 minutes until crust has formed to seal in the juices and flavor.  Put in crockpot.  Cover the pork with the chilis, garlic, and peppers.  Sprinkle the cilantro all over the top.  Pour broth over meat until it is full about halfway in the crockpot.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 4 hours.  Meat is ready when a fork separates the pork easily.  Serve with sour cream, guacamole... duh.. you know the rest!!

Can cook in a dutch oven in a 300 degree oven for ~3-4 hours until meat separates easily.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pensacola Bushwacker!!

Anyone from Pensacola has hopefully been privy to this tantalizing delight of a cocktail, and anyone not from Pensacola should be ASAP!  This recipe is from Cheryl Hart.  mmmmmm.


~3 1/2 cups ice
4 oz rum
4 oz kahlua
4 oz creme de cacoa
2-4 oz cream of coconut
2-4 oz chocolate syrup
8 oz 1/2 and 1/2
vanilla ice cream

Fill blender with ice.  Add wet ingredients and fill to top with ice cream, about 1/4 gallon.  Blend and enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Artichoke Mushroom Dip

Holy cow! How have I forgotten to add in this staple until now?!?  This is the entire family's go-to appetizer, there is no having enough.  I've been known, back in my old college-healthy days, to continue eating it warmed up every night the next week in lieu of regular dinner.
oh - those twenty pounds, i miss you - (spoken from the dip)

Artichoke Mushroom Dip

2 regular sized cans of quartered artichoke hearts
2 small (7-8 oz) cans of mushrooms
2 cups mozzarella shredded cheese
1 cup parmesan shredded cheese
1 cup of mayonnaise
shakes of Worchestershire, Tabasco, garlic powder, pepper
lemon juice - just a hefty squeeze

Mix all ingredients together.  In a cassarole dish or a cute baking serving dish (I use a deep square baking dish) - put in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.  I bake about 30 minutes or until top is brown and yummy and bubbly.  

Please know that my measurements above are very rough.  Add more cheese!  Add more mayo!  Whatever it takes to make it look perfect to you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tinto Verano

tinto 'BERano' - as they said it in sevilla!  my new favorite summer drink (let's be honest - i've said this before)

i'll describe it as a less-sweet version of sangria

very very simple to make

2/3 part dry red wine over ice cubes
1/3 part *sparkling* lemonade (and yes, they have this at Walmart- for all you klassy folks like me!)
(if you can't find sparkling lemonade - maybe mix part lemonade and part soda water)

mmmm scrumptious . enjoy .

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Salted Potato Fingerlings

A Memphis appetizer discovery from one of Cover and Jeff's engagement parties... these potatoes are a HUGE hit and look so good layed out - I think Cover has a picture that we'll have to upload!  Super easy, too!

Boil water and 1 box of salt and add fingerling potatoes when water boils.  I used (2) 2 pounds bags.
Remove potatoes when start to wrinkle and before peelings crack(about 20-30 minutes).  I took a large one out and
checked the tenderness with a tooth pick.

I drained the potatoes with a slotted spoon and placed on paper towels.  Separate the potatoes so
they will dry completely.


1 pint Hellman's mayonnaise
1 pint sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash original

Mix together.

Put rock salt around a large tray and put dip in middle.  Put potatoes on top of salt and serve!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blue Cheese Bread

I first had this at a Christmas party back in Birmingham when I was in college, and ever since I have made it every year for our Christmas Eve party appetizers!  Serve these in a basket for a quick pickup - and keeps well in a large ziploc!

2 loaves fresh french bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick in diagonal pieces
2 packages of blue cheese crumbles
2-3 sticks of salted butter
2 cups of toasted salted chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line slices of bread on cookie sheet.  Melt 1st stick of butter in large bowl, and mix in 1 cup pecans and 1 package of blue cheese.  Spoon mixture over bread evenly.  Add more butter to mixture if needed.  Repeat with the 2nd stick of butter, blue cheese, and pecans for the second loaf.

Put in oven for 10-20 minutes until slightly browned on top and slightly crispy.  Let cool and either serve in basket or save in ziploc for later that day or the next day.