Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna
It is hot here in NM.  I avoid using the oven because the house gets so hot and it takes sooo long to cool down.  I have been scouring cooking sites, magazines, cookbooks, for recipes that don't require the use of the oven or long cooking over  the stove.  I was delighted when I found this recipe for Spinach Alfredo Lasagna that was cooked in a slow cooker. In reading over the ingredients, the recipe sounded wonderful.  A hearty meat sauce, three different types of cheese, Alfredo sauce, spinach and pasta - all delicious.  This recipe was easy to prepare.  Everything is layered in your slow cooker.  You use no-cook lasagna noodles and your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce and Alfredo sauce.  What could be simpler.  Cook on low 4-5 hours and dinner is ready.  What a delicious dinner it is.  The family really enjoyed this dish.  The taste was delicious and everyone went back for seconds.  This is my new go to lasagna recipe.

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna
From Taste Of Home Simple and Delicious

Special Equipment:  Slow cooker


1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (24 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package (8 oz) no-cook lasagna noodles
8 cups (32 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 jar (15 oz) Alfredo sauce


1. In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until beef in no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain.  Stir in spaghetti sauce.
2. In a small bowl, mix ricotta and Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper.  Spread 1 cup meat mixture into an ungreased 5-or-6-quart slow cooker.  Arrange four noodles on top, breaking to fit; layer with half of the ricotta mixture, 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1 cup meat mixture.
Cheese Mixture
Layer of Meat Sauce
Cheese Mixture
Mozzarella Cheese
Meat Sauce
3. Top with four noodles, spinach, Alfredo sauce and 2 cups mozzarella cheese.  Continue layering with four noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1 cup meat mixture.  Add any remaining noodles; top with remaining meat mixture and mozzarella cheese.
Alfredo Sauce
4. Cook covered, on low 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.

Makes 8 servings

Monday, July 29, 2013

No-Cook Ginger Peach Jam

No-Cook Ginger Peach Jam
This past weekend, the kids and I made some no cook jam.  A great cooking project that required no cooking on a hot summer day.    It was very easy to make and required very little supervision.  Best of all, the kids had a great time making it and  the jam  tasted great.  It had a wonderful fresh peach taste with a hint of ginger. Great on toast, biscuits, scones, or any  other favorite breakfast breads.   I found this recipe for No-Cook Jam in Food and Wine Magazine.  They used strawberries in their recipe.  I kept almost everything the same, except I substituted peaches for the strawberries and reduced the amount of fresh ginger.
To begin, you mix sugar with pectin in a large bowl.  Add the chopped fruit, in my case peaches to the sugar mixture.  You then add lemon juice, ginger, and salt  to the fruit mixture and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Spoon the jam into glass jars or plastic containers.  The jam sits at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  The jam is then refrigerated until the jam is set -  about 1 hour.  The jam is stored in a freezer to maintain its' flavor.

No-Cook Ginger Peach Jam
Adapted from Food and Wine


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Ball Real Fruit Instant Pectin
2 pounds of fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
Pinch of kosher salt.


1. In a bowl, whisk the sugar with the pectin.  In a food processor pulse half of the peaches until finely chopped, then transfer them to the sugar mixture.  Repeat with the remaining peaches.  Add the lemon juice, ginger, and salt and stir until the sugar is dissolved, 5 minutes.

2. Spoon the jam into clean glass jars or plastic containers, leaving 3/4 inch of space at the top.  Let the jam stand at room temperature until slightly thickened, 30 minutes.  Refrigerate until the jam is chilled and set, 1 hour.
3. Store jam in the freezer.

Makes 4 1/2 cups

Friday, July 26, 2013

Meal In A Pot: Steak, Potatoes, and Corn

Steak, Potatoes, and Corn
I was looking at Facebook  the other day and someone posted this recipe for Steak, Potatoes, and Corn cooked in a Crock pot.    What could be easier.  I love one pot dishes.  They are so quick, easy, and require very little clean up.  This recipe takes little preparation time.  Set the Crock Pot on low and at the end of 6 hours you have a delicious meal.  You start by putting steak ( I used Top sirloin) in the bottom of the crock pot.  Pour 1/2 cup of steak sauce over the meat and cover with foil.   Wrap the potatoes and corn in foil and place on top of the foil covering the meat.  Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove the veggies and meat from the crock pot and serve.
This is a tasty dinner where the meat is fork tender and very flavorful.   The veggies are quite good and cooked to perfection.
When you have a busy day or just want something easy and delicious to prepare, I recommend this recipe.

Meal In A Pot:  Steak, Potatoes, and Corn 

Special Equipment:  Crock pot


1- (1.5-2.0 pounds) of top sirloin steak
1/2 cup A-1 Steak Sauce
4 - medium potatoes cleaned and wrapped in foil
4- corn on the cob wrapped in foil

1. Place steak in the bottom of the Crock Pot.
2. Pour the A-1 Steak Sauce over the meat.

3. Place a piece of foil over the meat.  Be sure to cover completely.

4. Place the corn and potatoes  on top of the foil.  Cover Crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours.

5. Serve.

Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Minty Tea Punch

Minty Tea Punch
I am always on the look out for something cool and refreshing on hot summer days to drink.  One of my favorites is iced tea with lemon.  In today's recipe, iced tea is flavored with orange juice, lemon juice, and mint.   MMM - delicious, refreshing and a wonderful thirst quencher.  You begin by brewing some tea bags with fresh mint.  To the tea mixture you add lemon juice, orange juice and sugar.  Refrigerate until cold.  Serve it over ice.  Then  enjoy a nice summer beverage that is sure to help you beat the heat.

Minty Tea Punch
From Taste of Home Simple and Delicious


8 cups water, divided
12 mint sprigs
4 individual tea bags
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
Ice cubes
Orange and lemon slices, optional

1. In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Remove from heat; add mint and tea bags.  Steep, covered, 3-5 minutes according to taste.  Discard mint and tea bags.
2. Stir in orange and lemon juices, sugar and remaining water.  Transfer to a pitcher; refrigerate until cold.  Serve over ice; add orange and lemon slices if desired.

Makes 12 servings (3/4 cup each)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lemon Sherbet

Lemon Sherbet
Lemon Sherbet was a favorite of mine as a kid during the summer.  I loved the sweet tart refreshing flavor of this frozen treat.  Today, I made my own Lemon Sherbet from a recipe I adapted from Food and Wine magazine. I omitted the fresh sorrel but everything else was the same.    It is very simple recipe to make.  Unflavored gelatin is sprinkled over some fresh lemon juice. You let it sit for about five minutes.  In the meantime, you boil some water and sugar together and add the lemon juice mixture to it.  Let the mixture cool and then put it in the fridge for about two hours.   Next, you place the lemon mixture in a blender  with some whole milk.  Blend for about 30 seconds.  Strain the mixtures in a bowl and add the lemon zest.   Freeze the mixture in an iced cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.  Place in freezer for 2 hours before serving.
The result is a tangy, refreshing frozen treat perfect for hot summer days or just to cleanse your palate.

Lemon Sherbet
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine


1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest.


1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice mixture.  Let cool completely, then refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.
3. In a blender, combine the lemon mixture with the milk and puree until almost smooth, about 30 seconds.  Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and stir in the lemon zest.
4. Pour the sherbet mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to an airtight container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes about 1 quart