Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Beep-Beep fast asleep

She's snoring too! I don't see how she can sleep with this incredible Kennedy Awards show that is blasting right now. Buddy Guy and Led Zeppelin plus all the out of this world players. Fabulous.

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies!

Obviously I need to hone my pretzel shaping skills. No plain white sprinkles so I used what I had in the cooking decorating stash. Qute! Taste test in about 10 minutes.

Lasagna - finished product and my oh my it smells wonderful!

Lasagna going in oven now. Rachael Ray lasagna bolognese recipe (altered slightly of course)

From September 2012 issue (I added ricotta, mozzarella, and a few spices)

  • tablespoons EVOO
  • ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • small onion, finely chopped
  • carrot, finely chopped
  • rib celery, finely chopped
  • clove garlic, minced
  • bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pound 85% lean ground beef chuck
  • can  (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 1/4 cups grated parmesan
  • 3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
  1. In a deep skillet or pot, cook 1 tbsp. EVOO and the pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook, stirring, until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes; push to the side of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tbsp. EVOO to the center of the pan and crumble in the ground beef; cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Break up the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups water to the skillet; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat; let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk in a steady stream and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking. Remove from the heat, stir in 1 cup parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
  4. In a pot of boiling, salted water, add the remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO and the lasagna noodles. Cook, stirring, until al dente. Drain and transfer to a bowl of cold water.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; add 34 of the cup meat sauce to coat. Add a layer of noodles, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup of the meat sauce, then a layer of noodles; add 1 cup of the bechamel, spreading to coat. Repeat the layers. Add a fifth layer of noodles and top with the remaining meat sauce; dollop with the remaining bechamel. Cover with greased parchment, then wrap the pan with foil. Bake for 1 hour; uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 14 cup parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes more. Loosen the foil; let stand for 30 minutes before slicing.

Oh my! Look!

Yummy too!

Soft Pretzels!

Going in the oven now. Not as pretty as some but I'm sure they taste better than most. Well, hopefully!

Chili on the left; sauce for lasagna on the right

I want to make homemade soft pretzels later today and also some chocolate cookies that LOOK like pretzels. Let's see how long I last in the kitchen...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Wonderland at Lowry Park Zoo

Tonight I spent the evening with Krystle and her adorable son Elijah. 

 My fav pic of the night - clowning around in the penguin photo board.

Sunday, December 16, 2012