Jenny’s Salad

This is so easy, and so delicious!

  • Greens (romaine, spring mix, spinach, whatever) about 3 cups, more if you like
  • 1/2 c pine nuts (more if you like)
  • 1 14 oz can mandarin orange slices, drained
  • 1/4 cup very thin sliced red onions (optional)
  • Dressing- balsamic, oil and vinegar, vinaigrette, whatever you like. I don’t use dressing on this, but some folks like it.

Mix it all in a big bowl and serve. Sweet, juicy, crunchy deliciousness.

 

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Lasagna

This one takes a long time, but it’s worth it. The basic recipe makes a deep 9 x 12 pan full, modify it to make more. I like to make several smaller pans full and freeze most of them, since this is so much work. I also usually buy aluminum pans from the grocery store, because they’re deeper and then I don’t have to scrape baked-on cheese off my glass pans.

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 chopped onion
  • either 2 cloves chopped garlic, or a heaping teaspoon of jar garlic
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 5 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves, broken in half
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley leaves
  • 1/8 tsp fennel seeds (about 10)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp black pepper, depending on taste
  • Salt to taste
  • A bag of sliced mushrooms, if you like them
  • 1 box wide lasagna noodles
  • 1 12oz bag fresh baby spinach
  • 32 oz small curd cottage cheese (lowfat is okay, don’t use nonfat)
  • 16 oz ball of mozzarella cheese (lowfat is okay, don’t use nonfat) in 1/8 inch slices
  • Grated parmesan cheese

So here’s how it goes, and you have to have all the separate pieces done before you put it together:

Make the sauce. Cook the onion, garlic and hamburger in a bit of olive oil, maybe 2 tsp. Add all three kinds of tomatoes, stir. Add the spices (and those are approximations, be creative with the spices!). Cook for an hour over low heat; it should simmer but not boil. Add the mushrooms, cook another hour to two hours.

Meanwhile, boil a big pot of water with a little olive oil in it. When it’s seriously boiling, add the whole box of lasagna noodles and stir til it comes back to a boil. Stir every minute or two so they don’t stick. Stop cooking them a bit on the hard side, just before ‘al dente’, because they’re going to get cooked more in the lasagna.

When the pasta is done, drain it and put it in a bowl; if it’s going ot be a while, put a cover over them to keep them moist.

When you’re ready to put the whole thing together (usually when the sauce is done, 2-3 hours along), set up a workspace. You need easy access to the sauce, the pasta, a bowl of spinach, the sliced mozzarella, the tub of cottage cheese, and the parmesan.

Just before you start putting it together, put the whole bag of spinach in a microwavable bowl and nuke it for two minutes on high.

Now you’re ready to put it all together! In your deep casserole dish(es), here’s the order:

  1. A small spoonful of sauce spread all over the bottom so the first layer of pasta doesn’t stick
  2. A layer of lasagna noodles; overlapping the edges a bit is okay, but it should just be one layer thick.
  3. A couple of spoonfuls of sauce, spread to cover the noodles
  4. Slices of mozzarella, maybe 3 slices torn in pieces scattered over a 9 x 13 inch pan; don’t worry about leaving space between, they’ll melt and there’ll be plenty of cheese.
  5. A couple of large spoonfuls of cottage cheese, spread around
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan. Maybe 1/8 cup?
  7. Another layer of noodles
  8. About half the spinach
  9. More mozzarella
  10. Repeat from step 2 until you run out of stuff. You have to kind of judge how much you have of each thing, how deep your pans are and how many pans you have. If possible, end up with the meat/3 cheeses step, so that the cheeses are on top to melt and bubble and brown.

This is the point where you can cover and freeze the lasagna, if you want. Or put it in the oven on a baking sheet at 350 for about an hour, til the edges are bubbling and the top is browned. If the top browns first, cover with aluminum foil. If the edges bubble, you can brown it with the broiler. Serve and enjoy.

Frozen lasagna- put it in the fridge for 12-24 hours to thaw, then cook as above. Cold lasagna might take an hour and a half to cook, depends on how thick it is and your oven.

You can make it vegetarian by taking out the meat, or adding tofu. You can add a layer of zucchini, slightly broiled on a cookie sheet after being brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper; don’t cook them too much or they’ll mush. Ditto slices of eggplant. You can pretty much do what you want with this- add stuff, subtract it, change up the spices, use ricotta instead of cottage cheese (I think it’s too sweet, but you might like it.) Have fun!

Berbere Stew

A camping buddy cooked this and it was AMAZING. He gave me the recipe, and it’s one of our favorites now.

  • 1 onion
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic OR a heaping teaspoon of chopped jar garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp Berbere spice*
  • 1 1/4 c red lentils*
  • 1/2 c Teff grain*
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz box of chicken broth

Saute onions and garlic in oil, add spices and cook a bit, add everything else, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Add more liquid if it starts to dry out.

*All three of these things are available at Ethiopian markets. Berbere is a spice mix, like Garam Masala in India, and it’s delicious. I also got Teff grain and a jar of Berbere spice on Amazon very inexpensively.

You can easily add meat to this, after the spices. I like boneless skinless chicken thighs, but it’s good with sausage too.

 

Patti LaBelle’s Macaroni and Cheese

You can’t make a small amount of this. I usually buy a large foil lasagna pan at the store and take it to a potluck.

  • 1 tbsp vegetable Oil
  • 1 lb macaroni
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 1 (seperate) tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly butter a 2 1/2 qt baking dish (or your foil pan)
Cook macaroni according to directions til it’s al dente – don’t overcook!
Melt 8 tbsp butter and stir it into warm macaroni
In a large bowl, combine all four shredded cheeses (NOT the Velveeta!)
Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixed shredded cheeses.
Mix the macaroni, the rest of the shredded cheeses, the Velveeta, the half-and-half, the salt and pepper, and the eggs, mix well.
Put it in your casserole dish/foil pan
Sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese
Dot with the last tablespoon of butter
Bake 30-35 minutes or til the edges are golden brown and bubbly.