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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Zucchini Lasagna

My DIL asked me to make this lasagna to cut down on carbs and calories. I used my regular lasagna recipe and substituted grilled zucchini for the pasta. 

4-5 Zucchini, sliced lengthwise about 25 slices*
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 lb ground Beef
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups Béchamel Sauce (recipe below)
4 cups Tomato Sauce
1 tsp minced Garlic
1 tsp Basil
Salt and Pepper
15 oz Ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sprinkle sliced zucchini with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. Coat a grill pan with oil and grill zucchini on both sides until lightly brown, and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil on med-high. Add ground beef, salt and pepper, and sauté until browned, breaking up large clumps. Remove from heat, drain excess fat and let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 and make sure rack is in center position of oven.

In a medium bowl, mix the béchamel and tomato sauces to blend. Add meat mixture, garlic and basil.

In another medium bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, and ½ cup Mozzarella cheese.** (You can also add fresh minced garlic, basil and other seasonings if desired.)

In a 13 x 9 baking dish, spoon a little sauce and meat mixture over the bottom of the dish. Place zucchini slices over top the sauce, overlapping slightly and completely covering the bottom of the dish.
Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles and sprinkle with ½ cup mozzarella. Place more zucchini slices over ricotta mixture, top with sauce, and sprinkle with ½ cup mozzarella. Top with remaining zucchini, then rest of sauce, and mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

*It will depend on the size of the zucchini as to how many slices you will yield. The pan is 13x9, and there are 3 layers of zucchini slices. I ended up using 5 small size zucchini cut the thickness of noodles on a mandolin slicer.

**Tip: The lasagna will puff up because of the egg in the ricotta. When the center is risen as high as the edges, it’s done.

Béchamel Sauce

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk

In a medium sauce pan, over med-high heat, melt butter and whisk in flour, stirring until lightly browned. Slowly add in milk, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring each addition until thickened and bubbly. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick, smooth and creamy but not boiling, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in a pinch of salt, pepper to taste and if desired, a pinch of nutmeg.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

English Toffee Sugar Cookies

My son loves soft sugar cookies. I made him a batch and decided to use the Heath's English Toffee Bits I bought on sale and make another batch. The hubby was my test tester on these. After "Mmmmm!" and "Oooooo!"-ing and 6 cookies later, he declared that they are delicious!

2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 cup Heath's English Toffee Bits
1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, using an electric or stand mixer, cream together the butter, and granulated sugar until combined. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add flour and mix until just combined. Using a spoon fold in the toffee bits. I used 1 cup, but use as little or as much as you like. We like a heavy toffee taste. Use a cookie scoop to scoop dough into balls, roll in sugar and place onto a baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until tops of cookies start to crack. Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before moving them to a wire rack. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sweet Pea Salad

This is a simple salad, but it is very yummy! It sounds a little strange, but it is delicious. For a change, add cucumber instead of egg and Parmesan cheese instead of Cheddar. It's another great side salad!

1 can small sweet peas, drained
1 egg, boiled and diced
1/2 mayonnaise
1/4 cup Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp bacon bits (or more for more bacon flavor)
1 tbsp red onion, diced (optional)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Mix ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Toss to combine well. Chill until ready to serve.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Taco Cheese Dip

I made this dip today with what I had on hand for my son and his friend while they were working on his car! Nice treat for a job well done! 

2 cups prepared Taco Meat
8 oz Cream Cheese, room temp
1 cup Cheddar Cheese
10 oz can Rotel (Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles)

Combine and pour into a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until melted and bubbly! Serve with chips or crackers.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Meatball Sub Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese Base:
16 oz box elbow pasta
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 tsp minced garlic 
2 cups milk
8 oz cream cheese
½ mayonnaise
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper 

Meatball Topping:
24 meatballs, cooked (or more, if you like)
2 cups spaghetti sauce
½ cup mozzarella cheese
¼ Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare pasta according to the box directions. 

Sit out cream cheese until room temperature. Combine with mayonnaise and Italian seasoning, and stir until smooth. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tbsp of butter, add in onion and garlic. Saute over medium heat until the onions become translucent. Add garlic and stir. Sprinkle the onion and garlic mixture with the 3 tbsp of flour, whisking until a paste forms. Slowly mix in milk, whisking until smooth. Continue mixing until it comes to a low boil. Stir in Mozzarella, Parmesan, and cream cheese mixture. Stir until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine cheese sauce and prepared pasta and pour into a greased 13X9 casserole dish. 

Top casserole with meatballs and pour tomato sauce over the top, Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the cheese is lightly brown and the casserole is hot and bubbly.