Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two for One

In our home, lasagna is a favorite, especially for my son. He could eat lasagna every day if I would let him. In an effort to simplify the layering process of traditional lasagna, I compiled my super simple ingredients and wrapped up lasagna rolls instead. All the great flavor with less mess and time. In order to share this with you, I'll have to part with both my filling and my marinara...gosh, two recipes in one post. Are you overwhelmingly delighted? Are you? Even a little bit? Okay, fine...be that way. I think next time I'll stir some fresh spinach into the filling...

Lasagna Rolls

15 lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente
30 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 lb. italian sausage, cooked well, drained and chopped ultra fine in food processor
1/2 yellow onion
2 Tbs. chopped garlic
3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil, plus additional for topping
2 Tbs. chopped fresh italian flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. chopped oregano
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced

Prepare marinara sauce (recipe below). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In skillet drizzled with olive oil, cook onion and garlic until tender. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add ricotta, parmesan, shredded mozzarella, italian sausage, basil, parsley, and oregano. Stir well. In bottom of baking dish, thinly layer marinara sauce, just enough to cover the bottom of your pan. Now assemble your rolls. Scoop 1/2 cup of filling onto a single piece lasagna. Gently roll lasagna noodle around filling, guarding filling as you roll to prevent filling from being pressed out of noodle. Place in baking dish and repeat with remaining noodles/filling. Cover with marinara, slices of fresh mozzarella, chopped fresh basil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Marinara Sauce

6 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped very fine
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 28 oz. can plum tomatoes, pulsed in food processor with juices until coarsely chopped
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tsp. basil
3/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tbs. Kosher salt

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion until tender, add garlic and continue cooking 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, kosher salt and crushed red pepper. Partially cover and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Roasted chicken remains the go-to dish when nothing else comes to mind. On nights when creativity is short, tummies are growling and the natives are restless, I always know that a roasted chicken will satisfy the masses...or at least the hungry people tugging at my apron. This is a simple rub, mixed well in a small bowl and massaged enthusiastically all over the chicken. Yes, enthusiastically. Hands must get dirty. Must. Yet so well worth it. This is the old standby, the steady and true rub that's always a hit, but feel free heed to the call of adventure and create rubs from a variety of seasonings. Grab the cumin or the coriander, don't be shy. Create your own from your favorite spices. There are no rules in the home kitchen. Season and rub away.


1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Kosher Salt
2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 heaping Tbs. finely chopped garlic
1 Tbs. each fresh chopped Rosemary, Parsley, Basil

Mix well, rub away. Roast at 425 degrees or until digital thermometer reaches 190 degrees when inserted in the fattest part of the chicken.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Blueberry Love

I love reading Molly Wizenberg. Her award winning blog, Orangette, is a favorite. Maybe knowing the Seattle resident originally hailed from the state of Oklahoma, home of my alma mater, gives the sense of knowing a kindred spirit...or maybe she's simply genius at drawing readers in. Either way, her monthly column in Bon Appetit is the first place I turn upon the magazines arrival. Fortunately, Molly's July column, featuring blueberry scones, followed shortly after our own Texas Blueberry Festival. I eagerly tried her recipe with great results. Scones are a fabulous make ahead breakfast for road trips or better yet, served up fresh on the back patio with a hot cup of coffee. These were a hit in our home and I hope you enjoy them as well.

Blueberry Scones
(adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2009)

3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
11 Tbs. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plus 3 tbs. old-fashioned oats
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 3/4 cups chilled half and half
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 tsp. raw sugar (I used turbinado)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and coarse salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter. Using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add 1 cup oats and blueberries; stir to blend evenly. Stir half and half and vanilla in a small bowl. Gradually add to flour mixture, tossing until dough just comes together. Using 1/2 cup measuring cup for each scone, drop dough in mounds onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Sprinkle tops with remaining 3 Tbs. oats, then raw sugar. Bake 25-27 minutes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crab Stuffed Salmon

I must apologize for my scarcity of posts lately. I have been cooking and photographing, yet find it difficult to carve out enough time to put these great recipes into blog posts. Blame it on summer. Garden busy-ness, children home from school and afternoons chilling by the pool. I love summer! However, I have managed to find 20 minutes and armed with a fresh iced coffee by my side, I am ready to share some goodness from my week, crab stuffed salmon.

Years ago, while living in another state, I enjoyed a version of this crab stuffed salmon and have longed for more of it ever since. I love seafood and am particularly fond of salmon. The richness of the crab stuffing combined with the leanness of the salmon make a well balanced dish. I think the next time I make this I will acclimate the recipe to my current Texas location, by altering my crab stuffing to include crawfish. Yes, that would be delicious.

Brushing butter on the combination while baking, heeds a perfectly moist salmon and adds to the flavor of the crab stuffing. Serve it up with some roasted parmesan asparagus and you've got a healthy and filling dinner. Enjoy!

Crab Stuffed Salmon

3 slices white bread
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup white onion
2 Tbs. flour
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3 Tbs. each of fresh chopped parsley and basil
8 oz. lump white crab meat
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary
2-3 lb. salmon fillet

Tear the bread into pieces, place in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until you achieve fine crumbs. In a skillet, over medium-high heat, melt your butter and saute onion until soft and transparent. Whisk in the flour and stir until well combined. Slowly stir in the cream and the broth. Remove from heat and fold in parsley, basil, crab meat, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Cut your salmon fillet into 4-inch sections, then cut a center out of each section to form a large "V". Stuff the crab meat mixture into the center of the salmon sections and wrap the ends of your salmon around the mixture, enclosing all of your crab stuffing. Place in baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, brush the tops with butter, generously sprinkle with fresh rosemary and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until salmon is flaky.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Comfort Food

We've had a very rainy day here in East Texas. Nothing goes better with cloudy, rainy days than the creamy goodness of comfort food. This Chicken Tetrazzini is filling and delicious - feel free to substitute full-fat cream for my fat-free half & half. Even in comfort food, I attempt to keep the fat content to a minimum without losing flavor. Here's one for your next rainy day!

Chicken Tetrazzini

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free half & half
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 oz. vermicelli, cooked to package directions
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan

Cook cubed chicken over medium-high heat in butter for approximately 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook and stir for another 2 minutes. Stir in flour till well combined, slowly add the broth, stirring to prevent lumps. Cook, stirring, until sauce comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in cream, parsley, salt, & pepper. Fold in the cooked vermicelli. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.