Easy Cheesy Skillet Lasagna

Easy Cheesy Skillet Lasagna | farmgirlgourmet.com #lasagna #weeknightmeal #dinnerinunder30

I am a brand representative of Ragú® & was compensated for this post.

Easy Cheesy Skillet Lasagna | farmgirlgourmet.com #lasagna #weeknightmeal #dinnerinunder30

I am one busy momma.  I run 4 companies at a time and still need to run a house full of kids, a husband and a slough of four-legged creatures.  Dinnertime can sometimes be the last thing I want to think about after a busy day of wearing several hats.

easy-cheesy-skillet-lasagna2

Ragú® reached out and asked if I’d be up for the challenge of creating a quick weeknight meal that wasn’t bogged down with 8 million ingredients.  Something a busy Mom would whip together to feed an army.  I knew I was ready to accept so I wouldn’t have to see the “chicken again” faces around here.

Part of the challenge was to take a recipe from Ragú® website and make it my own using Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce and have it ready to eat in no more than 40 minutes.  Lasagna?  That never takes less than 40 but I knew that’s what I wanted to make.

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This is one tasty skillet of cheesy goodness.  No, it’s not your typical lasagna with layers, but for a dinner in under 30, it hits the mark!  Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional sauce helps make this dish even better with its thick texture.  Each jar has 11 juicy tomatoes and it’s packed with rich flavor.  This recipe is a great base to add in any veggies that are in season or even switch it up by using ground turkey or chicken in place of sausage.  The possibilities are endless, but the result will be delicious.

Easy Cheesy Skillet Lasagna | farmgirlgourmet.com #lasagna #weeknightmeal #dinnerinunder30

The Ragú® Better and Better Sweepstakes is going on right now and you can win prizes including a grand prize trip to Venice for a family of four!  If you only have 3, remember me…I’ll quit all 4 jobs for Venice.  :)  Kidding.  Or am I?

For the Ragú® Tra-Dish Challenge I modified this recipe:

Ragú No Boiling Lasagna
http://www.ragu.com/recipes/detail/38480/1/ragu-no-boiling-lasagna-featuring-ragu-1-lb-8-oz-jar-

Ingredients:

  • 2 containers (15 oz. ea.) ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 jars (1 lb. 8 oz. ea.) Ragú® Old World Style® Pasta Sauce
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and eggs in bowl; set aside.
  2. Spread 1 cup Pasta Sauce in 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Layer 4 uncooked noodles, then 1 cup Sauce and ½ of the ricotta cheese mixture; repeat. Top with remaining 4 uncooked noodles and remaining Sauce.
  3. Bake 1 hour covered tightly with aluminum foil. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Now for my Skillet Version in 30 minutes!

Easy Cheesy Skillet Lasagna

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Easy Cheesy Skillet Lasagna

A quick weeknight meal in under 30 minutes. Easy Cheesy Skillet Lasagna is easy and tasty.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb. ground spicy sausage
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 jar Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-package No Boil lasagna sheets, broken
  • ½ tsp. dried rosemary
  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella, shredded, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. Swirl to coat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, red pepper and mushrooms and sauté until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the jar of Ragú Old World Style Traditional sauce, broken lasagna noodles, water and rosemary. Stir to combine. Cover and turn heat down to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente. Remove the lid and add the ricotta, 2/3 of the cheese and the parsley and stir to combine. Top with remaining mozzarella and serve immediately.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2014/03/easy-cheesy-skillet-lasagna.html

To get more recipes using Ragú® make sure you check out the Ragú® Facebook page which is filled with easy and delicious recipes.

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To get more recipes using Ragú® make sure you check out the Ragú® Facebook page which is filled with easy and delicious recipes.

 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older.  Ends 5/6/14.  To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit www.RaguSweeps.com.  Void where prohibited.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ragú®. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Pasta with Tilapia, Olives and Feta with Greek Yogurt Sauce

campanelle-tilapia-2

Campanelle with Tilapia, Olives and Feta | farmgirlgourmet.com #pasta #dinnerinunder30 #whilethepastacooks

Hey guess who?  Long-time-no-bloggy, huh?  If you don’t know, I’m a co-owner of Savorx Spice & Flavor Co. and we’re a startup spice company located in Spokane, WA.  We’ve been going full speed ahead like Vin Diesel in the Fast & Furious taking our concept to market.  We just landed a big local grocery chain, so we’ve been busier than busy.  Which ultimately means – no time for blogging for this girl.

Tonights dinner forced me back to my office to hammer out this post.  I knew you’d love this quick and easy pasta dish as much as we did so here I am.  Back in the chair I sat in for 10 hours today and let me tell you, it feels good to be typing this.  Really good.  This is a pasta dish that’s done while the pasta cooks.  Talk about easy!  Less than 30 minutes and it’s time to eat!  Perfection for a busy week night.

campanelle-tilapia-2

My New Years resolution (or year plan as I like to call it) is to get myself back on a schedule.  After joining with Pete to take on Savorx in April of 2013, there hasn’t been much in the way of a schedule for me.  I just knee-jerk daily to whatever needs to be taken care of.  In the past 9 months, we took a brand that was sitting idle for almost 2 years and we launched a successful 60 day Kickstarter for our Spiceologist Block (thank you to everyone who pledged!), we sold a ton of spice rubs at every local farmers market, craft fair and vintage sale we could get into, we redesigned the packaging and labels of our rub line and we moved into our processing facility….all before October of 2013.

We are just about to launch a brand new website (Monday? Stay tuned) as well as dabbling in some wholesale opportunities locally and beyond.  We successfully managed our first holiday season as a retailer and came out of 3 months of holiday push without becoming alcoholics!  Score!

To say it’s been whirlwind is an understatement.  But, with all of that said, I can tell you that I’ve never been happier as to where my future is headed.  Great things are happening here at Farmgirl Gourmet and amazing things with Savorx Spice & Flavor Co.  I often wonder if someone pinched me, if I’d wake up and this was all a dream.  I sure hope not, because this is one roller coaster I don’t want to get off of.

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I’m really glad I took this time tonight to sit down and write.  This is definitely not a profound, thought provoking post, but it sure feels good to sit down and write from my heart.  Nothing sponsored.  No brands making sure I said everything right.  Just me, the keyboard and your eyeballs.

Thanks for reading Farmgirl Gourmet and for supporting me and especially for being patient as I slip away now and then to wear my Spicy Hat.  I have the best readers and I love you all to bits.

Ok, enough blah blah blah – let’s eat.

Pasta with Tilapia, Olives & Feta with Greek Yogurt Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 Servings

Pasta with Tilapia, Olives & Feta with Greek Yogurt Sauce

A quick dinner in under 30 minutes. This dish is done in the time it takes to boil the pasta. Serve with a crisp salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shaped pasta, such as campanelle
  • 3 tilapia loins, cut into bit sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, quartered
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced Italian parsley

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta in salted water, according to directions, until al dente.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Swirl the pan and add the tilapia pieces. Sprinkle with the greek seasoning and allow fish to brown lightly, turning, for about 5 minutes. Remove fish and place in a bowl and set aside. Note: it should be a bit undercooked in the middle as it will continue to cook while it rests.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the frying pan and turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and olives and stir until the butter begins to bubble, about 1 minute. Turn down to medium-low and add the yogurt and stir to combine. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the pasta from the water, draining as much as possible, and add to the yogurt mixture. Toss to coat in sauce. Add the fish pieces and any accumulated juice. Sprinkle with feta and parsley and serve immediately.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2014/01/pasta-tilapia-olives-feta.html

Campanelle with Tilapia, Olives and Feta | farmgirlgourmet.com #pasta #dinnerinunder30 #whilethepastacooks

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Veggie Mac & Cheese Gratin

Veggie Mac & Cheese Gratin

Veggie Mac & Cheese Gratin via farmgirlgourmet.com

I recently received a box of Veggie Mac & Cheese varieties from Mann’s Packing.  There were 4 different flavors in the box for me to try.  I prepared the Fiesta Mac & Cheese as the package directed, but decided to give the Classic Cheese a little Farmgirl twist.  The end result was a quick side dish that the whole family enjoyed.

Veggie Mac & Cheese Gratin via farmgirlgourmet.com

If you haven’t heard of Mann’s before, they are a family owned vegetable packing company located in the beautiful, sunny California.  Here’s a little about their mission and vision:

Our mission: Fresh Vegetables Made Easy.™

Our values:
Honor: where we come from matters
Passion: for excellence in everything we do
Quality: people, products and service
Vision: always innovating for the future

We value the world in which we work and live. We support our local schools and donate generously to a number of charitable organizations in our community and throughout our industry.

Veggie Mac & Cheese Gratin via farmgirlgourmet.comYou’ve probably seen their packaged veggies in your local grocery store.  They sell all kinds of prepackaged vegetables that are ready to eat including: Green Beans, Butternut Squash and Broccoli & Carrots, to name a few.  Most of their varieties are “steam in the bag” veggies, but you can also add them to stir fries or salads.

Veggie Mac & Cheese Gratin via farmgirlgourmet.com

There latest products are the “Kid-Friendly Veggie Mac & Cheese” varieties.  Having 2 kids….I can attest to the friendliness.  Both of mine were happy to eat it – including the veggies.

A side note before we get to this super easy recipe.  Mann’s did not ask me to post about their product.  They were kind enough to send me product without any mentions of me posting about them.  All opinions stated in this post are my own and priceless.  The end.  Now here’s the recipe.  And hey…thanks for reading.

Veggie Mac & Cheese Gratin

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 Servings

Veggie Mac & Cheese Gratin

An easy baked gratin side dish using Mann's Veggie Mac & Cheese kit.

Ingredients

  • 1 package Mann's Veggie Mac & Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large mushrooms, cleaned & cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes, just until beginning to brown. Add the broccoli from the mac & cheese package and saute for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and add the pasta from the pouch and the cheese sauce. Stir to combine with the mushrooms and broccoli. Add to prepared baking dish and sprinkle with panko.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2013/02/manns-veggie-mac-cheese-gratin.html

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Beef Stroganoff – Hamburger Helper Style

Beef Stroganoff via farmgirlgourmet.com

Beef Stroganoff via farmgirlgourmet.com

I took a poll on Facebook asking what you wanted to see for an upcoming post.  It was a evident that you all wanted some homemade Hamburger Helper style Beef Stroganoff.  I’m a giver, so here I am…serving it up!

Hamburger Helper Style Beef Stroganoff from farmgirlgourmet.com

This recipe is so easy to make.  I based if off my recipe for original Hamburger Helper with a few tweaks.  One bite from the Hubs and he was in HH heaven…..again.  That man likes his hamburger helper.

Beef Stroganoff from farmgirlgourmet.com

I tossed in a few mushrooms because I happen to like them.  If you want to keep it original, then just omit them.  I won’t call the Mushroom Council and tattle on you.  Swear.

Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Helper Style - farmgirlgourmet.com

This collage was swapped…add the beef stock and milk then the spices.  :)  Someone needs to fire the QA lady.  Or give her more java.

Beef Stroganoff via farmgirlgourmet.com

Cover and let that baby simmer for 10 minutes or until the pasta is done to your liking.  Last, add in the sour cream and ring the dinner bell.

Beef Stroganoff – Hamburger Helper Style

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 Servings

Beef Stroganoff – Hamburger Helper Style

A quick family-pleaser made in one pot. No need to buy the boxed stuff ever again. It's easy to make from scratch!

Ingredients

  • 4 large mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 2 cups milk (I used fat free)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water (or beef stock)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Beef Base (omit if using pre made beef stock)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (I used light)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and brown the mushrooms. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the ground beef and brown. Discard all but 1 teaspoon of fat. Bring back to medium high heat and add the noodles, milk, beef stock, mushrooms, cornstarch, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir to combine and cover. Lower the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through.
  3. Add the sour cream and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve immediately.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2013/02/beef-stroganoff-hamburger-helper-style.html

Beef Stroganoff via farmgirlgourmet.com

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Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper via FarmgirlGourmet.com

Homemade Hamburger Helper via FarmgirlGourmet.com

I would like to start this post by stating that I have never made or eaten (that I recall) Hamburger Helper.  Ever.  My husband, on the other hand adores his salty boxed 1st love and asks on occasion if I’d make it for him.  We’ve been married for over 12 years and tonight….he got his wish.  Well, sort of.  You know me, I hate boxes and processed food, so I made it from scratch-a-roo.  You know what, it takes just as long to make it from scratch as it does to make it from a processed box?  Yep, true stuff.  Best part….you get to control the amount of salt.  No vats of water will be required after consuming this meal and it will make your box loving husband a very happy boy.  Maybe now that I have him all greased up with his favorite meal, I should slip in the “I want new countertops in the kitchen” plug?  What do you think?  :)  Ok, you’re probably right…let’s go make some Triple H.

Homemade Hamburger Helper - farmgirlgourmet.com

Start off by adding a small amount of oil to your large hot skillet and add 1 lb of ground beef (see I didn’t say hamburger Nelly).  Brown it and scoop out any excess drippings before continuing.

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Toss in 2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni.

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Add in 2 1/2 cups milk (I used fat free but feel free to fatten it up to your hearts content)

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Also add in 1 1/2 cups hot tap water.

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Mix together the spices.

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Add them to the ground beef and noodle mixture and give it a quick stir.

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Bring it to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer and cover.  Make sure to watch it to make sure it doesn’t get too dry.  Add a small amount of milk or water if you notice this happening.  Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.

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As soon as the pasta is done, toss in 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese.  Give it a good stir and ring the dinner bell.

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Simple – right?  Skip the box and make it from scratch next time.  You’ll be glad you did and the kids will clean the bowls with their fingers.  (yes that happened)

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Makes 4-6 Servings

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. Try it from scratch, you'll be glad you did.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add the ground beef. Brown until cooked through and no longer pink. Discard any fat. Add the pasta, milk, water and spices and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to simmer. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Serve immediately
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2012/12/homemade-hamburger-helper.html

Try these other quick weeknight recipes:

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Herbed Pasta with Pears & Blue Cheese

Herbed Pasta with Pears & Blue Chese

Remember my trip to Harry & David two weeks ago?  Part of me is still there in the beautiful Rogue Valley.  While I was in Medford hanging with the sweet folks at H&D and 12 of my favorite bloggers, I went to the Harry & David store.  Yep, a whole store dedicated to all things H&Delicious.  I wish you could’ve been a fly on the wall as I darted back and forth through the store filling my basket, then unfilling it, then refilling.  You get the picture.  It was like being 5 in Willy Wonka’s factory.  Samples of Rogue Creamery cheese were being handed out with juicy chunks of Rogue Valley pears.  Another person passes by with a tray of chocolate covered caramels, to which I bolted to find and place in the basket (these never came back out again).  On the other end of the store, 2 gentlemen are offering wine tastings and by tasting I mean a nice portion to carry along as you load up the cart again and again and again.

The variety of products was incredible.  Anything and everything a foodie could want all wrapped up in pretty packaging.  A few of the items I came home with were Herbed Basil Fettuccine (pictured above & sold in stores), Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, Chocolate Covered Caramels (only sold in stores).  My husband reads my blog from time to time, so I better just leave it at that.  :)

A couple days after I returned from Medford my box showed up with my goodies from the store and I was instantly inspired to put the ingredients to use with one of the giant Royal Riviera pears I brought back.  This pasta is like the classic salad with pears, blue cheese and walnuts only made entirely better with the addition of caramelized shallots, herby pasta and of course….cream.  Cream makes the world a better place.

Ok ok…before I go any further I wanted to tell you that I have a gift basket to give away from Harry & David.  They were so sweet to ask if I’d like to share some of the goodies I’ve had the great pleasure of sampling and I was instantly on board.  They let me choose which basket to giveaway and I thought the Roxy Ann Classic was a good representation of their deliciousness.  Pears, apples, cheese.  OH MY!   Seriously, it’s a gorgeous basket chock full (really) of the freshest fruit and the tastiest cheese, crackers and relish.  I’m so excited to give this basket away!   It only takes ONE comment to enter, the other entries are extras.  Good luck to you!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for an easy and delicious recipe of pasta, sweet pears and pungent blue cheese.

Herbed Pasta with Pears & Blue Cheese

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces herbed fettuccine (or plain)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 Royal Riviera pear, cored, cut into bite sized chunks (or other pear variety)
  • 5 ounces blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt to taste and boil pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter and shallots and saute until beginning to lightly brown (don't burn). Add the pear and quickly saute, about 2 minutes. Add the blue cheese, cream and peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn down to low once the cheese has melted in to the sauce. Keep warm until the pasta is done.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of the pasta water to the pear mixture and then add the pasta. Toss to coat and sprinkle with walnuts and serve immediately.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2012/10/herbed-pasta-with-pears-blue-cheese-harryanddavid-giveaway.html

Good luck!!

 

 

 

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Beetroot Ricotta Gnocchi

Beetroot Ricotta Gnocchi
 

You’re probably getting tired of my beet & peach posts, right?  Let me here you say…..”No”!  It seems that’s all I have been posting lately, but it’s currently what is in season in my area.  My garden is busting with beets and I ordered 2 large boxes of peaches from a local farm, so I am in the frenzy of using them up before I am throwing them out.

After making the below recipe for Beet Pasta Carbonara I was tweeting with a friend who said – “I bet gnocchi would taste great too”.  My wheels were spinning and I couldn’t stop thinking about making it.  So, yesterday, I dug up some beets, roasted them with sage and proceeded to whip up some gnocchi.  Boy, was that the best decision (since getting a spiral perm) I’ve made in a long time!  It was so delicate and tasty….even my picky teenager liked it.  (she doesn’t like food with color, see here)

Beetroot Ricotta Gnocchi | farmgirlgourmet.com

It takes a bit of time, especially if you plan on making your own ricotta cheese, but it’s so worth the effort.  I made this as a side dish to accompany pork tenderloin.  It was just enough for us and saved a bit of room for an apple crisp and ice cream.  This could also be a great main course as well with some quick sauteed asparagus mixed in.  Mmm.  Ok, I’m drooling.  Again.

After you puree the beets, mix them with ricotta cheese and enough flour to get a soft supple dough.  Let it rest for 30 minutes and then divide into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece out to a finger-sized width and use a bench scraper or a small knife and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Give them a quick toss in some flour to coat the cut edges and start forming the gnocchi with a fork or a gnocchi board.  I use a fork, but if anyone would like to buy me a gnocchi board, I’ll be your BFF forever.

Toss the formed gnocchi onto a floured rimmed baking sheet and form form form.  Make sure that you don’t pile the gnocchi on top of one another.  I tried this once, then refrigerated and ended up getting Taco Bell for dinner that night.  They all stuck together like one big giant blob of gnocchi.  It wasn’t pretty and after you’ve spent this much time and effort, a very large disappointment.  So learn from me…Don’t Pile!

Beetroot Ricotta Gnocchi | farmgirlgourmet.com

Once all of the gnocchi have been formed, get a pot of water boiling and a large saute pan set to medium low with the butter and fresh sage.  This makes for easy removal from the boiling water and into the saute for a quick coat of melted butter and fried sage.  Mmm.

Seems easy enough, right?  If you decide to give it a shot, I’d love to hear from you!!

Beetroot Ricotta Gnocchi

Yield: Makes 6 side dish servings

Beetroot Ricotta Gnocchi

A delicate gnocchi made from earthy beets and tart ricotta cheese that is a great side dish or even a main course meal.

Ingredients

    Roasted Beets:
  • 8 small/medium beets
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Gnocchi:
  • 1 1/2 cups beet puree, from roasted beets above
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup Manchego cheese, finely grated
  • 1 egg
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 - 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10-15 sage leaves
  • Grated Manchego or parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub beets, trim tops and place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over and sprinkle with the sage, salt and pepper. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the beets are tender and a knife inserts easily. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Use a paper towel or your hands and slip the outer skin off and discard. Add the beets to a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl add 1 1/2 cups beet puree, ricotta cheese, manchego cheese, egg, salt and 2 cups of flour. Mix will to combine. Add more flour until the dough is soft and only slightly sticky. Allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Divide into 8 pieces and lightly dust the cut edges with flour to prevent sticking.
  3. Have ready a generously floured rimmed baking sheet for the formed gnocchi. Set aside. Flour a large board generously and using your hands make a long rope the width of your finger with the first piece of dough. Cut into 1 inch pieces and lightly toss with flour to coat the cut edges. Use a fork or gnocchi board to form the gnocchi, by placing the piece of dough on the tines of the fork and using your thumb to gently drag it down the fork. It should curl a little as it goes down. Add to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. NOTE: do not pile the gnocchi, or they will stick to each other. This may require 2 rimmed baking sheets.
  4. Get a large pot of water boiling and salt. In a large saute pan, add the 3 tablespoons butter and sage and turn to medium-low heat. Add the 1/3 of the gnocchi to the boiling water (or less depending on your pot size) and allow them to cook until they float. Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi from the top of the water and add to the butter/sage saute pan. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Toss lightly to coat with the butter and serve on a warmed platter topped with more machego cheese.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2012/09/beetroot-ricotta-gnocchi.html

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Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna Farmgirl Gourmet 2

I have been making this lasagna recipe forever!  Ok, not forever, that would make me really really old.  One way to tell when a recipe has been in your repertoire for quite some time….it’s located in the very back of the Main Course section of your handwritten cookbook.  

If your family loves Mexican anything, they will gobble this right up!  You can go crazy and make your own ricotta cheese and salsa or you can buy it pre-made and make your life a little easier.  I suggest you try option #1.  It doesn’t take that long to make either and the end result is deeeeelish.

To simplify this recipe I used Trader Joe’s No Boil Lasagna Noodles.  You can find other brands in your local market that are no boil as well.  The time and hassle savings are awesome.  You can thank me later.  Or send candy.  Either will work.  

The entire lasagna goes together pretty quick and bakes for 45 minutes.  Serve it with a big salad and some tasty chips and the crowd will be cheering your name.  

Note: our 14 year old house guest ate 2 large pieces.  She’s a small little thing too.  I might have to send her home with the recipe.  

Mexican Lasagna

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Mexican Lasagna

A easy recipe for lasagna that uses all of your favorite taco ingredients to make a fun dinner that the kids and adults will love.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces no-boil lasagna sheets
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 1/2 cups salsa (or 2 - 12 ounce jars of your fave)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (or store bought)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded, plus 1/2 cup for the top
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives
  • Garnishes:
  • Sour cream
  • Avocados

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine the ricotta cheese and 2 cups of cheddar cheese and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet brown the beef. Add the onions and green pepper and cook until the vegetables begin to get soft. Add the corn, salsa and chili powder and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  3. In a 13x9 baking dish add 1/3 of the meat mixture. Top with 1/2 of the lasagna sheets. Spread half of the ricotta & cheddar mixture over the pasta. Top with 1/3 of the meat mixture and repeat ending with the meat mixture. Sprinkle with olives and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to rest 20 minutes before slicing.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2012/06/mexican-lasagna.html

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Chicken & Buffalo Andouille Cacciatore

One of the great perks of working with The Virtual Potluck is the diversity of products that we’re presented with.  Each of the 12 bloggers brings a different group of brands to the table.  Today’s delicious brand is The Buffalo Guys brought to the VPers by Shelby of www.diabeticfoodie.com.  Make sure you check out Shelby’s site for a roundup from all of the 11 bloggers who got their Buffalo Sausage On.




The Buffalo Guys is a company based out of the beautiful state of Wyoming and were super sweet to send 11 of us a cooler full of assorted sausages.  I’ll just say it now, they didn’t last long in our house.  Not long at all.  And wow…they are delish!!  I think my favorite preparation of them was by far the chicken cacciatore with andouille.  It was spectacular and was made in the slow cooker for ease.  The recipe is below.  I hope you’ll check out the Buffalo Guys and make sure you use the coupon code for a discount on ordering from their online store.



Buffalo Guys Info:
Website: http://thebuffaloguys.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Buffalo-Guys/129111113976

Discount offer: 15% off any hot dog or sausage purchase through the end of March. The code is VIRTUALPOTLUCK.


Chicken & Buffalo Andouille Cacciatore
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Ingredients
6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 12 oz package Andouille Sausage, sliced into rounds
1 lb cooked pasta
2 tablespoons fresh Italian Parsley, minced


Instructions

  1. Place chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with tomatoes, onion, garlic, water, salt and pepper. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Use 2 forks and shred the chicken.
  2. In a medium skillet, brown the sliced sausage. Add to the chicken mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Top the cooked pasta with the chicken and sausage mixture and sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Makes 8 servings

Disclaimer: I was provided product for review by The Buffalo Guys and was not paid for a positive review. All opinions are my own and are priceless.
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Winter Squash, Sage & Fresh Ricotta Manicotti

Have you heard?  I have a bagillion Butternut squash in my garden.  It’ headline news.  Ok, maybe not, but WOW…thanks Mother Nature (or maybe my green thumb) for the abundance of squash this year!  My kids, well, they aren’t thanking you so much.  Even though my daughter proclaimed that my Roasted Butternut Squash Brie Mac & Cheese was “The best mac and cheese I’ve ever eaten”, until she found out it had squash in it.  Then it was game over.  I even tried to pass off the butternuts in biscuit form with my Butternut Squash & Sage Biscuits but the teenager scoffed at those too.  I think she has some fear of “orange things”.  So far I think her favorite squash laden meal was the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Sausage and Fried Sage but it’s also been almost a year since I sprang that one on her.  So who knows.  You know how teenagers are.

Anyway, I thought maybe she’d be open to it if I masked it by pureeing it and mixed it with Homemade Ricotta Cheese to make Manicotti.  Maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t notice it.  But, she has a younger brother, who has a giant mouth, who saw the butternut squash skins in the trash, who blurted it out to her immediately in an attempt to gross her out, who is not getting presents from Santa this year for this unfortunate act, who walked around with a giant smile on his face from being proud of his “accomplishment”.  Yes, he’s that brother.  And….of course, she didn’t like it.  She’s a head-case.  Moving on…

So the real deal here is this.  This manicotti is decadent.  It’s elegant.  It’s easy to prepare.  It’s so unbelievably delicious.  It’s ….well, you just need to make it.

I love making crepes for my manicotti.  It adds to the decadence of it all.  But you could use store bought manicotti noodles too and achieve fantastic results as well.

The crepes don’t take long to make (less than a minute per crepe) and can be made ahead of time and stored in a sealed container for a day or so.

Fill the crepes with about 1/2 cup of squash ricotta and roll em up!

Adding some sauce to the bottom of the baking dish aids in easy extraction later.  Cover with more sauce, parmesan cheese and foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Serve with a big salad and some crusty bread and life will be complete.  Just don’t invite my teenager…unless you want to listen to her belly-ache about eating another butternut squash meal.  Kids these days.

Winter Squash, Sage & Fresh Ricotta Manicotti
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Ingredients


For Filling
1 3 lb butternut squash, or other winter squash, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 recipe of Homemade Ricotta Cheese, or large container of store bought (2 cups)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated
1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

For crêpes
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (or cooking spray)

For sauce
1 jar of your favorite Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions
1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the quartered butternut squash on the baking sheet and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Wrap tightly with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Scoop out the pulp and add to the bowl of a food processor.  Puree the squash until it is uniformly smooth.  Measure out 2 cups worth of puree for the manicotti and reserve any remaining for another use. (See links below for ideas).

2 In a medium bowl add the 2 cups of squash puree, 2 cups of fresh ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and chopped sage.  Mix to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Set aside.

3 Crepes: In a medium bowl, add the 3 eggs and break them up with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the water until combined (don’t beat).  Sift in the flour and salt and stir until just combined.  Lumps are ok!  Force the mixture through a medium-meshed sieve into another bowl.  Brush an 8 inch nonstick skillet with butter and set over a medium-high heat.  Ladle 1/4 cup (I use the measuring cup) of batter into the skillet.  Tilt and rotate the skillet to evenly disburse the batter.  Cook for about 30 seconds then using a cake spatula, flip the crepe over and cook for another 15 seconds.  Invert onto a clean plate and repeat with the remaining batter to make 12 crepes in total and stacking them on top of each other.

4 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Warm the marinara sauce slightly.  Add about 1/2 cup to the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish.  On a clean cutting board lay out a crepe and fill with 1/2 cup of squash mixture. Roll up leaving the ends open and place in the baking dish.  Repeat with remaining 11 crepes.  Pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the top of the manicotti.  Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and cover tightly with foil.  Bake until bubbling and hot, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 6 Servings


Cook’s Note:

  • Manicotti can be made 1 day in advance and chilled, covered.  Bring to room temperature before baking.  
  • Crepes can be made a day in advance also if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before assembly to prevent cracking.
Other Squash recipes you might like:
Roasted Butternut Squash & Kale Pizza – Bev Cooks – Swoooooooooooon!
Roasted Butternut Squash & Shallot Soup – Once Upon a Cutting Board – Holy Yum!
Butternut Squash, Balsamic Onions & Ricotta Galette – Naturally Ella – Gorgeous!!  A must make on my list
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Roasted Butternut Squash & Brie Mac & Cheese with Smoky Bacon

Rich creamy Mac & Cheese is veggie-fied with roasted butternut squash.  I accidentally made one of my butternut’s slip from the vine one day in the garden.  So I brought it in the house and set it on the counter.  That squash has made eye-contact with me about 8,691 times in the past few weeks and today I finally decided to use it.

This recipe is easy to make and if I hadn’t opened my mouth about the addition of the butternut, my kids would’ve never known it was there.  Seriously.  The gorgeous orange color comes from the butternut squash puree.  The addition of brie makes it decadent and rich and the extra sharp cheese adds the bite that any good homemade Mac & Cheese should have.  Make it full fat, make it low fat, either way it will be delicious!

Start by roasting a butternut squash.  This one was about 3 lbs and I only used half of it.  The other half will go to making bread tomorrow.

Drizzle them with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Wrap tightly with aluminum foil.

Roast in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until tender.

Remove the seeds and discard, then remove the flesh to a bowl.

Puree in a blender and set aside.

For the sauce, you’ll need 2 cups of milk, 4 oz cream cheese, 6 oz Brie and 4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Add all of the sauce ingredients into a large saucepan or large skillet.  Think: Big enough to dump in the pasta later.

Once the cheeses are melted, add 2 cups of squash puree and whisk to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste and a 1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg.

Looks like Kraft!  Only no preservatives, Yellow #?, or whatever else is added to the box stuff.  Toss in 1 lb of al dente pasta and stir to combine.  Top with crisp bacon pieces and serve.

Note: Do as I say and not as I do.  If you’ll be serving this to children, wait until after they have inhaled it to tell them it has veggies in it.  Just sayin!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Brie Mac & Cheese with Smoky Bacon
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Ingredients
Squash
1 3 lb butternut squash, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Sauce
2 cups milk
6 oz brie cheese, rind removed
4 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded
4 oz cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

1 lb pasta, cooked
4 bacon slices, diced and fried crispy

Directions
1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place the quartered squash on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Drizzle with the olive oil and salt a pepper and wrap tightly with more foil.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until fork tender.  Remove the seeds and discard and remove pulp to the blender.  Puree until smooth.  Remove 2 cups and set aside, reserving the remainder for another use.

2 Cook the pasta as directed on the package.  In a large pot or large skillet over medium heat, add the milk, cheeses, nutmeg and salt and pepper.  Whisk until smooth.  Add the 2 cups of squash puree and whisk until smooth.  Add the drained, cooked pasta and toss to coat.  Top with the crisp bacon bits and serve.

Makes 6 Servings

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Kara’s All Day Spaghetti Sauce & Lasagne Muffins

Last week our family went of vacation with 3 other families.  They aren’t just any old families, but my previous work “husbands”.  When we lived in the Seattle area I worked for a major credit card company doing desktop support (and much more).  I worked a lot of hours and spent the majority of my life with Gordon, Andy and Tim.  Gordon proclaimed one day that he spent more time with me than with his wife, so I must’ve been his “work wife”.  Working with these guys for almost 4 years forged strong friendships.  After I left the company and moved 300 miles East, we still planned family camping events every summer.  Unfortunately, they became few and far between.  This year, Gordon’s wife Cary planned a super fun vacation on Lake Chelan here in WA.  Everyone was on-board and ready to reconnect for an entire week of fun, sun and maybe a cocktail or two.  One of the plans was to choose a different husband to help a wife cook dinner for a night.  4 nights of home cooked meals and 2 nights of eating out or leftovers.  It was a brilliant plan and we ate like royalty!  For the next 3 days I’ll be blogging the recipes of Kara, Angie and Cary.  Each unbelievably amazing.

Today is a recipe for Kara’s World Famous Spaghetti Sauce given to her by her mom, Bonnie.  The sauce cooks all day long in the slow cooker and is out of this world!  Seriously tasty stuff.

Are you ready for some serious pictorial enjoyment?  Fasten your seat belts this is a long one.  Let’s go make some sauce!



Start with 1 pound of hamburger and 1 pound of sausage.  I used Hot Italian, but you could use any type.  While on vacation Kara used some of my homemade garlic and red wine sausages.  Good stuff!

Break up the meats as best you can, unless you like it a little chunkier.  Either way, fry until the meat is cooked through.

Toss in a whole onion that’s been chopped and cook some more.

Add 4 chopped cloves of garlic, or more.  I added 6 or 7.  That’s how I roll.

Time for some herbs!  Kara adds 1 palmful of dried Italian Seasoning and dried oregano combined.  I have an abundance of fresh herbs in my garden right now, so I opted to go that route.  Whichever you have, add the herb, give it a stir and pour it into the slow cooker.

How do you say it?  HER-b or ER-b?  I roll the Martha way and say HER-b’s.  :)

Do some wrist stretching because you’re about to use the can opener for a bit.  To the slow cooker you’ll need to add 4 – 15 oz cans of tomato sauce, 1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes and 2 – 6 oz cans of tomato paste.  Don’t toss the paste cans, because you’ll need to fill them with red wine and add to the slow cooker as well.

Give it all a quick stir to incorporate and set the slow cooker for low and cook for 8 hours.  My slow cooker doesn’t have a temp setting, only time increments.  So I set it for 8 hours.  Go back and stir occasionally.

Gorgeous luscious sauce.  I would like to make a confession right now.  The Hubs and I stood over the sauce and ate quite a bit of it by teaspoonfuls.  We washed our teaspoons before going back for more.  :)  It is so wonderful and tasty.  Mmm!

Now, for an interesting way to use Kara’s delectable sauce.

Chop up 5 basil leaves and toss in a small bowl.

Add 3 tablespoons of Mizithra cheese to the bowl.  This is an Italian sheeps milk cheese that’s readily available at most supermarkets in the specialty cheese section.  If you can’t find it, you can use mozzarella instead.

You’ll need a small container of low fat ricotta, or make your own by following my easy recipe for Ricotta.  Give it a stir and set aside.

Spray your large muffin tin with cooking spray and line each with a wonton wrapper like so.

Using a small hinged scoop, place 2 scoops of the cheese mixture on top of the wonton wrapper.  Alternatively you could just use a teaspoon and drop 2 teaspoons of mixture.

Top with about 1 tablespoon of Kara’s outrageous sauce and repeat with another wonton, cheese and sauce.

For the last later, add the wonton wrapper, 1 dallop of cheese mixture and sauce to cover.

Top with a tablespoon or so of more grated Mizithra cheese.  Pop in the oven that’s been preheated to 375 and bake for 25 minutes uncovered.  Run a knife around the edges and serve with a big garden salad.  DELISH!!

Many thanks to Kara for sharing this recipe with me and allowing me to share it with you!

Kara’s World Famous Spaghetti Sauce
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Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground Italian sausage, spicy or mild
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 6 oz cans tomato paste
4 15 oz cans tomato sauce, or 2 28 oz cans
12 oz red wine
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1 Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and add the hamburger and sausage.  Break up the meat as fine as possible with a wooden spoon.  Add the onion, garlic and seasonings and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.  Add to the slow cooker and turn it on to low.
2 Add the cans of tomato, the red wine and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to incorporate and place lid on and cook for 8 hours on low.  Stir occasionally.

Note: According to Kara “This sauce freezes well so I always make a big pot for quick dinners later.  This sauce also makes delicious lasagne.” – Oh yes it does Kara!  Yes it does.

Lasagne Muffins
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Ingredients
2 cups Kara’s World Famous Spaghetti Sauce
18 wonton wrappers
1 15 oz container low-fat ricotta cheese
9 tablespoons Mizithra cheese, grated and separated
5 basil leaves, chopped
Cooking Spray

Instructions
1 Preheat the oven to 375. 
In a small bowl add the ricotta, 3 tablespoons of Mizithra cheese and the chopped basil and stir to combine.  Set aside.
3 Spray a large muffin tin with cooking spray and line each with 1 wonton wrapper.  Using a small hinged scoop or a teaspoon, drop 2 teaspoons of cheese mixture in each lined cup.  Top with 1 heaping tablespoon of sauce.  Repeat with wonton wrapper, cheese and sauce.  On the last layer (3rd) place 1 teaspoon of cheese on the wonton wrapper, cover with sauce and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Mizithra cheese.
4 Bake for 25 minutes uncovered.  Run a sharp knife around each muffin and remove from the pan carefully to a serving platter and serve.

Makes 6 Servings

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