Friday, July 31, 2009


I have no valid excuse as to why there is no photo here. I can only tell you that no sooner did this come out of the oven and hit my plate, it was gone. I swear I had every intention of photographing the leftovers. Yet again, it hit the plate and it was gone. I hope you take this lack of photography as a sign of just how fabulous this recipe is.

I think I talked about my awesomely easy lasagna recipe way back when I made Lasagna Rolls. If not, let me take this opportunity to share.

This is the first meal that I ever cooked for Mr.ShoeFanatic. And it was love at first bite. It's his favorite thing that I cook and when he asks for it, I am only too happy to oblige.

All of my friends swoon when I make this as well. I've made it all throughout college and it has been the ultimate comfort food. Especially after a long week of finals.

So please do me a huge favor and make this soon? I promise you won't be disappointed!

12 or 15 lasagna noodles*
Olive oil
2 lb ground beef/chuck (more or less depending on how much meatsauce you want; 2 lbs makes a good hearty sauce which I prefer)
1 jar your favorite spaghetti sauce
16 oz cottage cheese
1 bag Italian shredded cheese (~2 cups)

Boil lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.

Cover bottom of pot with olive oil. Add meat and brown until thoroughly cooked. Try to break it up as best you can. You don't want huge chunks of meat in your lasagna. You can also season your meat beforehand if you'd like. And you can add sauted onions and garlic. It's up to you.

Once meat is thoroughly browned (and smells fabulous), add your spaghetti sauce and let it simmer. Season to your liking. I usually use Basil, Oregano, Salt, Black pepper, Garlic powder, etc.

While your meat sauce is simmering, start setting up to do your layers. Grease a 9x13 dish. Get your cottage cheese open with a spoon. Open your bag of cheese. Get a big spoon or ladle for the meat sauce. And have your noodles nearby.

Ok, when your meatsauce is so good you want to bathe in it and you're all set up, it's time to layer. Here's how I do it:

--3 lasagna noodles
--layer of meatsauce
--thin layer of cottage cheese (it's ok if it doesn't spread that well, it's all going to melt anyway)
--thin layer of shredded cheese

Repeat until you're done. For the top layer you want to finish with a layer of noodles and then put the rest of the shredded cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes or until the top layer is golden brown.

*The number of noodles you use really depends on how you like your lasagna. I love the pasta so I use 15. It creates 4 relatively thin layers of meatsauce and cheese. If you prefer more sauce to pasta then just go with 12 noodles and make each layer a little thicker. It'll be just as good. I promise.

I don't even know why I'm putting a verdict for this since it's so damn fabulous. I swear Mr.SF and I fight over who gets to eat the last of it. The cottage cheese is really the key here. I am not a fan of ricotta so I don't cook with it but I am convinced that even those who do like ricotta would switch forever if they tried the cottage cheese in it's place. It melts soooo perfectly and makes everything extra creamy.

I might have to make another one this weekend...

I also occasionally throw in some green peppers and/or mushrooms with the meat. It's a good way to get the veggies in for the kiddos. Spinach also works EXCELLENT for this dish. You can't even tell it's in there!

This is also a meal that freezes really well. Just undercook your noodles, make the layers and pop in the freezer. Let it defrost before you stick it in the oven. The perfect dish to send to a friend!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Menu Monday

Happy Monday!

Or not. I'm not that cheerful of a person that Mondays are necessarily happy but I try to be upbeat. Anyway, I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Here's what the SF's are eating this week. Stay tuned for my knock-your-socks-off Lasagna recipe to be posted soon.

Monday--Shrimp Scampi
Wednesday--Sweet & Sour Chicken and Mac & Cheese
Friday--Mr.ShoeFanatic's Spaghetti & Meatballs
Saturday & Sunday--Leftover Spaghetti

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Veggie Lo Mein

Anytime we order Chinese food, we always order lo mein. Always. So when Mr.ShoeFanatic talked to me about doing an "Asian night" I immediately asked if lo mein was part of the menu.

And of course it was. :)

6 oz lo mein noodles (we used linguine)
1 T oyster sauce
2 T soy sauce
1/4 c chicken broth
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 T canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced thin
1 c sugar snap peas
8 oz broccoli
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 c carrots, sliced
1 t sesame oil

Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, make the sauce by combining the oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Whisk well and set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. Stir fry each set of vegetables one at a time, until tender. Once they are just tender, take out and set aside. When all the vegetable are cooked, add them all back into the wok together.

Add the sauce to the pan, and then the cooked noodles. Toss the mixture well to coat everything. Drizzle with the sesame oil and toss once more. Serve immediately.

This was for sure the winner in our night of Asian cuisine! I am in love with these veggies! They were cooked perfectly.

Mr.SF gets two thumbs way up for this! I can't wait to try it with chicken!

Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken

Better late than never, right?

I have had this recipe written down in my purse for about 2 weeks now and finally after some persuading from a friend, sat down to blog it (is blog a verb?). Anywho...

Mr.ShoeFanatic has been dying to cook Asian food in our household so one Friday, I let him loose in the Asian aisle and let his creative juices flow!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasoning (salt, pepper, Chinese five spice)
Vegetable oil
1 batch sesame chicken sauce (recipe below)
1/4 c sesame seeds, toasted

1 c sugar
1/4 c corn starch
1/2 c water
1 c chicken broth
2 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
1/8 c rice wine vinegar
1 t chili paste
1 clove garlic, minced

Cut chicken into strips and season well. Dredge in corn starch and fry in oil until cooked through and crispy. About 4 minutes total.

Bring all sauce ingredients to a boil, making sure to whisk out all the lumps. Reduce heat to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Plate chicken, drizzle with sauce, top with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Oh, this was soooo num yummy! It was very, very close to the chicken we get from the Chinese place down the street only much lighter. I really enjoyed it and it can't wait for Mr.SF to make it again!

Veggie Lo Mein

Chinese Food DIY

Monday, July 20, 2009

Menu Monday


That's me.

I swear I have several recipes to post, I have just been too exhausted to sit down and type them out but I PROMISE to do that before Wednesday. In the meantime...

Monday--Hamburger Steak
Wednesday--Baked Chicken, Corn, Mac & Cheese
Friday--Chicken Marsala

Monday, July 13, 2009

Menu Monday

So sorry I've been absent lately! I haven't been too adventureous in the kitchen lately but hopefully that will pick up this week. In the meantime...

Monday--Leftover Baked Spaghetti
Tuesday--BBQ Chicken Quesadillas
Wednesday--Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
Thursday--Fried Fish & Shrimp
Friday thru Sunday--weekend with the in-laws!

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Baked Spaghetti

My laziness is at a whole new level. That photo was taken with the plate literally on my lap only after I had taken a bite. I couldn't even take the time to make sure it was clear. Forgive me?

I woke up today with a craving for Italian food and for some reason, immediately thought baked spaghetti would be awesome. Now, I had never cooked (or eaten) it until today but it really seemed simple enough and Mr.ShoeFanatic was on board so I went for you.

(You should too.)

1/2 box thin spaghetti noodles
Olive oil
1/2 med onion, chopped
1 T minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
1 lb ground beef
1/2 jar Prego traditional sauce
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft; approximately 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add beef and cook until browned. Stir in spaghetti sauce and let simmer for a few minutes.

Stir drained noodles into meat sauce. Pour noodle/meat mixture into a greased corning ware dish and top with mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes.

Oh, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

This was soooo good. I have never been a big fan of grating parmesan over spaghetti but the melted cheese was seriously the best thing ever. And it was super easy! I started cooking around 7:30 and we were eating within the hour.

I do not know why it took me so long to discover Baked Spaghetti but I can assure you, that I will definitely be cooking this more often!

Adapted from

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I didn't take a photo of this as it was coming out the oven like I should have. I still have some in the fridge but I'm not sure how scrumptious it will look so this might be a pictureless post.

Everyone has a recipe for spinach and artichoke dip. So when my very good friend K told me she was bringing one to our couples shower last October, I didn't really think twice about it. But when she got here and I tasted it...whoa!

When making this, I usually end up messing with the quantities depending on how I want it to come out (creamier, cheesier, etc.). I left the artichokes out once for a friend who was allergic and it tasted just fine.

1 stick butter
1 med onion, chopped
2 10 oz packs frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
1 c Monterey jack cheese, shredded & divided
1 c parmesan cheese, grated & divided
2 T Tabasco sauce (or more if you like it spicy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion and sauté until soft. About 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, ¾ c parmesan and ¾ c Monterey jack, Tabasco and salt. Cook until well mixed.

Pour mixture into ½ quart casserole dish. (Dish can be made ahead up to this point.) Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake until warm and bubbly. About 15-20 minutes.

Like I said...whoa! This is by far the best spinach and artichoke dip I have ever had. I think what makes me like it so much is that it's spicy. The Tabasco and Monterey Jack are an amazing combination!

I made this for a party on Saturday and everyone loved it! Definitely make this for your next get together!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Menu Monday

Happy Monday, dear readers! Well I promised you a huge surprise in my soup post last night. But first, let's look at this weeks menu, shall we? Not too much new on the menu itself but I'm hoping to try some baked goods that have been starred for a while.

Monday--BBQ Meatballs
Tuesday--Grilled Fish Tacos
Thursday--Mr. ShoeFanatic
Saturday--Party Food!

So what's the surprise you ask?

It's a BABY!

That's right. We are expecting a bundle of joy in March and we are absolutely thrilled! If you're into reading about that kind of stuff, I have a new blog called Baby Booties.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

I've had this recipe bookmarked for a while and finally got around to making it this afternoon. I changed a few things from the original. Left out the potato, added all the butter in the beginning and doubled the broccoli and cheese. I think that's all I changed.

Everyone should stay tuned for Menu Monday tomorrow morning because I have a huge surprise to share!

5 T butter
1/4 onion diced
Black pepper
1 T minced garlic
3 T of flour
4 c chicken broth
2 c frozen broccoli
1 c heavy cream
4 c colby jack cheese, shredded

In dutch oven melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch (or two) of the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until soft; add garlic.

Stir frequently while garlic cooks. Add the flour and stir until thoroughly mixed together. Slowly add the chicken broth while whisking constantly. Add broccoli and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened; about 20 minutes.
Mix in cream and bring to a low simmer. Add cheese and simmer until cheese is melted. Stir until it is mixed throughly.

Serve hot.

This was good. Not great but good. I felt like the consistency wasn't quite where I wanted it to be but that could be because I didn't follow the recipe exactly.

I would make this again but I would definitely make some changes to better suit our tastes.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Isn't it Ironic...

I love that song.

I literally never win anything so I was very excited (and surprised) last week when Erica from Erica's Kitchen Adventures emailed to tell me that I had won the giveaway on her blog!

The giveaway consisted of this ah-dorable stuffed Pillsbury Dough Boy (he even does the "Whoo-Hoo" when you squeeze him!) and a copy of the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest winners magazine. I got back from vacation to the package at my front door and I was elated!

The magazine is awesome. Serioufly, I have bookmarked at least 20 of them that I want to try yesterday. (Mr. ShoeFanatic and I have been fighting over it all week.) And I swear I burst out in giggles like a 12 year old school girl every time I squeeze the dough boy. The dog is still a little unsure about it though. ;)

So what's the irony, you ask? It's ironic that the first giveaway I win is from Erica. Erica's blog is the very first cooking blog that I ever came across. I loved that her recipes were so down to earth and consisted of recipes for "real food" (as in, something that I would actually cook and my husband would actually eat). Proof of this can be found in my blog here, here and (my personal favorite) here. So I think it's safe to assume that Erica was the inspiration for this blog!

Thanks again, Erica!