Thursday, February 26, 2009

No-Boil Lasagna Recipes

Who knew that lasagna noodles needn't be cooked before baking the lasagna? Here are two oh-so-easy lasagna recipes, one for a 'personal pan lasagna' perfect for cooking for one or two, another for lasagna made in the crockpot.

An individual serving of lasagna -- what I call a 'personal pan lasagna' -- ready for the oven

“I never cook anymore, now that it’s just me,” say women, especially, once their families are grown and their husbands gone. Often, it’s just easier to rely on frozen meals. That means no cooking, no waste and no clean-up – but to my mind, no pleasure, either. So I’ve been working on recipes especially suited for cooking for one or two, ones which I hope perfectly blend convenience and freshness, flavor and pleasure.

SPINACH DIP The lasagna’s spinach mixture double-duties as spinach dip, too, perfect for spreading on crackers or tucking into an omelet or packing into the slit of a thick pork chop. Use the same ingredients, just sauté the onion in a little water or oil before combining with the spinach, ricotta and seasonings.
CROCKPOT LASAGNA For busy, hungry families, just double the spinach mixture, then build layers in a slow cooker, increasing other quantities proportionately. Be generous with the bottom layer of spaghetti sauce so there’s enough liquid for the first layer of noodle to cook but not burn. Cook on high for about 2 hours, then turn to low, sprinkle with cheese and let finish cooking for about an hour. Slow cookers vary so much, please consider the timing as suggestions not absolutes. Serves four or more.
ALANNA’S TIPS: Who knew that any-old variety of lasagna noodle requires no cooking beforehand? I promise, it’s true! My favorite brand, however, is from Dreamfields, which produces low-glycemic pasta that’s perfect for diabetics and those who follow low-carb diets.

QUICK SUPPER:
PERSONAL PAN LASAGNA

Cooking for one or two, with pleasure
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Serves 1
    SPINACH MIXTURE
  • 1 pound frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounces part-skim ricotta
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    PER SERVING
  • 1 cup spinach mixture
  • 1/2 cup favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1 uncooked lasagna noodle, broken to fit
  • 1 tablespoon grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place spinach in a microwave safe dish, cover with plastic wrap and cook in microwave for about 5 minutes or until fully thawed. Put into a colander and press to remove excess liquid. Stir in onion, Italian seasoning, ricotta, salt and pepper. Makes 2 cups, enough for two generous personal pan lasagnas.

For each personal serving, layer in an oven-safe bowl about the size of a cereal bowl: a spoonful of spaghetti sauce, just enough to wet bottom; noodle; spaghetti sauce; ½ cup spinach mixture; spaghetti sauce; noodle; ½ cup spinach mixture; spaghetti sauce. Bake for 45 minutes. Top with mozzarella, bake another 15 minutes.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 449 Cal; 31g Protein; 15g Tot Fat; 8g Sat Fat; 38g Carb; 13g Fiber; 961mg Sodium; 44mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 9 points
The best part about this crockpot lasagna? The noodles need not be cooked beforehand!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.
Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher.
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More Recipes for Cooking for One or Two

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Chicken Sybil Thick Chops with Mustard Crust Roasted Salmon & Asparagus

More Easy Pasta Recipes

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Leek & Lemon Sauce for Pasta Lemon Asparagus Pasta Winter Pesto
~ more pasta recipes ~


Recent Favorites from A Veggie Venture

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog, home to the Alphabet of Vegetables where there's a vegetable in every recipe and vegetables in every course.


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Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Mom's Pancake Recipe

Perfect for Pancake Tuesday (that's Shrove Tuesday on the Christian calendar) or Sunday breakfast or Pancake Night, this is my mother's recipe for light and fluffy pancakes, either buttermilk pancakes or sweet-milk pancakes. Especially for new cooks, the recipe includes lots of pancake tips and tricks.

Make Tuesday night (or any night) a Pancake Night! My mom's recipe for light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes or sweet-milk pancakes. Recipe includes tips & ideas for new cooks. For Weight Watchers, just SmartPoints 4.


COMPLIMENTS!
"Awesome recipe! ... So nice and fluffy! " ~ Anonymous


On Mardi Gras calendars, the Tuesday before Lent is is "Fat Tuesday". On Christian calendars, that same Tuesday is "Shrove Tuesday," the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the day that we plant Lenten Grass.

But on culinary calendars, that Tuesday is "Pancake Night" – the one night a year when tradition moves pancakes from the breakfast nook to the supper table.

We're agreed, right, that pancakes deserve a place at the table more often? So, you know, how about Tuesday?! Make Tuesday night your family's Pancake Night!

Pancakes are just so quick and easy to make! They're made from pantry ingredients so they're cheap too. For dinner, you might want to add a little protein like eggs or Canadian bacon (or for something indulgent, smoked salmon). But no matter, fire up the griddle, people, it’s time for supper and pancakes it is.

This recipe includes lots of tips and extra detail to help new cooks produce light and fluffy pancakes the first time and every time. Don’t worry, pancakes are as easy as pie – hey wait, pancakes are "way easier" than pie. You’ll learn how to make them in no time.

ALANNA’s TIPS
"Sweet milk" is what regular milk is called, distinguishing it from buttermilk or sour milk. If you like the flavor and lightness of buttermilk pancakes but are out of buttermilk, just add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of sweet milk. This is called "soured milk". If you have extra buttermilk on hand and are looking to use it up, check these recipes calling for buttermilk.
I’ve made pancakes with 100% white whole wheat flour. It works fine but do add another tablespoon or two of milk and know that the color will be slightly off.
My mother always used dried milk powder to make the milk. Just mix 1/3 dried milk powder into 1 cup of water.
No pancake griddle? Use two or three skillets at once, two pancakes per skillet.
If you like, transfer the pancakes onto a serving platter to keep warm in the oven. That said, really, there’s nothing like the fluffiness of a pancake straight from the skillet so maybe on Pancake Night, people need to eat in shifts!
If the skillet’s not hot enough at first, the first one or two pancakes will look pale but taste fine.
Hot plates keep pancakes hotter! Two of my favorite cooks insist on warming plates in the oven and I’m beginning to see the light. Before making the pancake batter, put the plates in the oven on the lowest-possible temperature. Be careful – chances are, you’ll need a hot pad to remove the plates.

COOKING LESSON:
MOM’s PANCAKE RECIPE

One recipe for both buttermilk pancakes and "sweet milk" pancakes
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 9 medium pancakes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup "sweet milk" (see TIPS)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola, coconut or another neutral oil, that means no olive oil)
  • Oil or butter for the griddle or skillet, just a touch

In a medium bowl, use a wire whisk or a fork to whisk the egg until frothy. Whisk in the buttermilk or milk and the oil. Measure the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda or baking powder onto the top of the egg mixture but don’t mix them in. Then, with a fork, mix these ingredients together, just by fluffing them around a bit, but still without incorporating into the egg mixture. Now whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture, but just until combined. Don’t worry if some bits of flour are visible, better to not overmix.

While mixing the pancake batter, heat the griddle or a large skillet on medium heat. (If using a nonstick electric griddle, set at 325F/160C.) Lightly brush with just a little oil or butter. When the fat is hot (it should sizzle when drops of water are flicked off your fingertips into the skillet), fill a quarter-cup measure and drop onto the griddle, spreading the batter a little if it doesn’t flatten out by itself. Repeat until the griddle is full, leaving space between the pancakes to allow for spreading.

Without moving the pancakes, cook until the first sides are golden brown, about 2 – 3 minutes. (How to tell if the pancake is getting brown, if you can’t move it to look? The edges will get slightly crispy. And see those bubbles that form in the batter? When they "pop", the pancake is ready to be turned. Or, okay, okay, gently lift a corner with a spatula to see for yourself, no harm, no foul.) Flip the pancakes over and cook another minute. Transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with syrup and dig in!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Pancake: 124 Calories; 5g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 25mg Cholesterol; 230mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 0g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS: WW Old Points 3 & WW PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

SO MANY PANCAKE VARIATIONS!

Blueberry Pancakes – Drop a few fresh or still-frozen blueberries onto the top of each pancake when first put into the griddle.
Poppy Seed Pancakes – Add a splash of vanilla and a tablespoon of poppy seeds to the batter.
Pancake Gashouse Eggs – Remember Gashouse Eggs? At lunch yesterday, a friend mentioned how his mother made Gashouse Egg Pancakes. She'd put the pancake batter in the skillet, clear out the center a bit and drop in an egg. Voila! Gashouse Eggs made with pancakes!
Cottage Cheese Pancakes – I love these light and rich, low-carb and protein-packed Cottage Cheese Pancakes.
Pancake Mix – My dad reminds me that in later years, Mom relied on Hungry Jack as her favorite pancake mix. It's a funny story, how she came to this, it's told here.
Pancake Family – Turns out, we're a pancake family! My sister has perfected her recipe for many years, especially developing tiny, small, medium and large batches for different sized family groups. I think you'll love her Lifetime Pancakes.


More Favorite Pancake Recipes

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Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Compote Lifetime Pancakes Cottage Cheese Pancakes
~ more breakfast & brunch recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Spinach Pancakes ~
~ Carrot Buttermilk Pancakes ~
~ more breakfast recipes with vegetables ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

More Cooking Lessons

with many tips and tricks for new and experienced cooks, alike
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Cinnamon Sugar Cookies Easy-Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake How to Make Flaky Tender Pie Crust

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gashouse Eggs

For an old-time comfort food, there's no beating an egg and bread fried together in one delicious, picture-perfect package. The names are many but in my family, they’re called ‘Gashouse Eggs’ – well, except when they’re called Kellogg Eggs.

When my sister started kindergarten, our mother went back to work and our dad went back to the kitchen. Dad cooked breakfast every single day – without resorting to pop-tarts, cornflakes or even peanut butter toast.

Instead he followed his dad-designed Breakfast Plan, a two-week rotation listed on yellow-lined paper Scotch-taped inside the cupboard beside the stove. Oatmeal. Fried eggs and scrambled too. Every other Friday, hamburger patties with tomato soup -- yes, this pair for breakfast!

My favorite was Gashouse Eggs Day, when Dad dropped an egg into a slice of bread with a hole in the center and fried em up til crisp. Fried eggs ‘n’ toast – now that’s breakfast!

Others call an egg fried inside a slice of bread an ‘egg in a hole’ or a ‘toad in a hole’ or ‘hobo eggs’. (See all the funny names for Gashouse Eggs!) But in my family, eggs fried with bread are ever and always called Gashouse Eggs – well, except when they’re called Kellogg Eggs, the name assigned by my dad’s friend of 70-some years.

When I was down with a cold after Christmas, Dad cooked gashouse eggs for breakfast one morning. He waved away the bacon grease, explaining, “I use butter for gashouse eggs because that's what Mom did,” – meaning not ‘my mother’, mind you, but his, my grandmother. Talk about generations of comfort: I felt immediately on the mend.

GASHOUSE EGGS

Great, no matter the name
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 1
  • Soft butter
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Heat a skillet on medium. Lightly butter both sides of the bread. With a small knife, cut a circle about two inches wide from the center of the slice. Drop the bread slice into the skillet. (Do fry the cutout too, some people like it best!) Put a little butter in the center, then crack an egg into the hole. Season with salt and pepper, then fry until the bottom side is golden and crispy. With a spatula, flip over and cook until done. Transfer to a serving plate with the cutout served alongside for dipping into the yolk.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Assumes 1/2 tablespoon butter: 209 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 226mg Cholesterol; 283mg Sodium; 16g Carb; 1g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 10g Protein; Weight Watchers 4 points
FUN VARIATIONS:
Mexican Gashouse Eggs: Substitute a tortilla for the bread, add salsa and cheese.
Gashouse Eggs for Lovers: Cut a heart-shaped piece of bread from the center.
Piggly Wiggly Gashouse Eggs: Substitute bacon grease for butter.
Grilled Cheese Gashouse Eggs: Use two slices of bread, slipping thin slices of cheese between the slices before cutting out the center.

HA! Just check out all the funny names for Gashouse Eggs! Egg in the Basket. Egg in a Window. Egg in the Hole. Pirate's Eye. Toad in the Hole. Adam and Eve on a Raft. Bird's Nest. Bull's Eye. Cave Entrance. Camel's Eye. Eagle Eye. Egg-Holey-O. Egg Castorini. Egg in a Blanket. Egg in a Frame. Egg in a Hat and Coat. Egg in Bed. Egg in a Nest. Eggy Toast. Eye of the Beholder. Gaslight Eggs. Hobo Toast. Hobo Eggs. Nest Eggs. O'Johnnies. Submarine Egg. Victory Egg. Rocky Mountain Toast. Yolky Pokey. Hole in One. Man in a Boat. One-Eyed Jacks. Baby in a Hole. Gasthaus Eggs. Eggs in a Bonnet. Bird's Nest Eggs. Knothole Eggs. Moon Over Miami, from the Betty Grable movie. Ox Eye Eggs. Chicky in a Nest. Navy Eggs. Breakfast Bulls Eyes. Egg in a Basket. Egg in the Middle. Sunlets. Boy Scout Eggs. And now – one more name won’t hurt, surely – Kellogg Eggs.

Gashouse Eggs, just like my dad and my gramma used to make

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share that you think Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com.
Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe: Sign up for a free e-mail subscription.
How to print a recipe on Kitchen Parade.
If you like Kitchen Parade, forward this recipe to a friend who might too!

More Easy Egg Recipes

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Simple French Eggs Chilaquiles (Mexican Tortilla Breakfast) Bacon & Egg Breakfast Bake
~ more egg recipes ~


from A Veggie Venture, my food blog
Easy Spinach Nests
Baked Eggs in Cream with Spinach
Baked Eggs, Tomatoes & Anchovies

Quick Links to This Page

(for easy bookmarking and searching)
~ Names for Gashouse Eggs ~





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