Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lasagna, Modified

I don't have an actual recipe to post today. But I realized it's been over a week since I posted anything so before I get yelled at (you know who you are), I figured I'd better come up with something.

I made my yum-o-licious lasagna on Sunday but did a few things differently. And it came out SO good that I felt the need to share.

First, I made homemade pasta noodles. I used my spinach pasta recipe and just omitted the spinach. I ended up having to add more water; probably about 5 T total for it to come together in a nice dough ball. I also didn't cut it into small noodles (obviously). I just rolled it to a 6 on my pasta roller and then measured the sheets to 13 inches long (the length of my pan). I cut them with my bench scraper.

A little side note here: Pasta will stick together and will not come apart if you lay them on top of each other. And then you will have to start all over again. And you might cry. No reason to elaborate how I know this.

The second thing I did differently was I took my original lasagna recipe and added 5 links of Johnsonville Mild Italian sausage. We just cut it out of the casing and browned it up with our regular ground chuck (which I reduced to 1 pound). I can't say enough about the fabulous flavor this brought to my dish.

I swear, I don't know why I buy boxed pasta. The homemade stuff is soooo worth the extra effort! And the italian sausage was just amazing. I can't get over the awesome flavor combination that was going on in my mouth.

This is such great comfort food and would make an excellent dish for new neighbors, new parents or just a Sunday dinner!

Quit reading and start cooking. Your tummy will thank you.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

Mmm, doesn't that look fabulous? I made this for the first time last March (before I started my blog) and didn't have a photo up of it yet. So I went back, played with the recipe and posted some yummy looking photos. Definitely make this soon!

Pumpkin Bread (& Muffins!)

Edited 10/17/09:
I made some of these muffins for breakfast this morning and decided to change it up just a tad. I used 2 t of freshly grated nutmeg, 2 t of ginger and 3 t of cinnamon. And I added 1 c of nuts. Wow. I cannot believe how awesome the additional spice made these. I changed the recipe below to reflect these changes.

Mmm, pumpkin. This is how you really know it is fall!

I first made this bread many, many moons ago. Before babies and husbands and mortgages and real jobs. This bread is even pre-Mr. Shoe! I have always made it with fresh, shredded pumpkin, just like the recipe calls for. But this year, I didn't have the time or energy to shred my own pumpkin so I reluctantly bought 3 cans of pumpkin at the store.

So lets chat about the original recipe. Since I hadn't ever made it without fresh pumpkin, I was nervous about the amount of pumpkin to use. Do I use 3 cups? One can? One large can? So I read all 76 reviews. I ended up just using 1 can and I am glad I went that route. The pumpkin puree will make your batter VERY dense!

Something else I noted when at the grocery store was that I had the option of Pumpkin Pie mix and just regular Pumpkin Puree. I grabbed the puree and again, glad I went that route. The pumpkin pie mix has a lot of sugar in it so I think you would need to alter your sugar amount if you went that route. If you aren't sure, look at the ingredients. Mine only contained Pumpkin.

Another significant change I made was that I altered the spices. The only spice this calls for is cinnamon. I added nutmeg and ginger. I would have added clove and all-spice if I'd had some. Several reviews said that they doubled the spice amounts but I really wanted to be able to taste the pumpkin so I didn't go overboard. Just enough to make it fallish and spice-y. See above comments about adding more spice.

2 c AP flour
3 t cinnamon
2 t nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
2 t ginger
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix) or 3 c fresh, shredded pumpkin
1 c nuts (optional, but soooo good)

Preheat oven to 325.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In a separate (and larger) mixing bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add in dry mix. I did not use my stand mixer for this recipe. Several reviews stated that the bread was tough or chewy and I think it's from over mixing. I recommend mixing by hand.

Fold in pumpkin and nuts (if using). This is where your batter gets really dense! I was uber worried but just don't use too much pumpkin puree and it'll be ok. Cross my heart.

Here's where I'm going to mess with your minds. The original recipe says that this will make one loaf. Sorry, Alton, but I respectfully disagree. You either need to make 2 loaves or 24 muffins. Or do what I did and make one loaf and 12 cupcakes. If you put all this batter in one loaf pan, I'm pretty sure it will not cook in the middle.

So pour your batter into chosen containers. Bake muffins for 30 minutes and loaves of bread for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

When a butter knife inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, it's done!

This is sinfully good. In that, you know you should stop eating, but it would be a sin to stop.

I thought that the spice amount I used was really good but I wouldn't mind playing with it a little more. You could definitely taste the pumpkin but it could have been a tad bit more spice-y. (Again, see above comments; adding more spice definitely made this better.)

Also, I probably could have put more batter into the loaf pan. It wasn't nearly as tall as I thought it would but I was really worried it wouldn't cook all the way through.

HOWEVER, this was still just amazing as the first time I ever made it and I plan to make it many more times this fall!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Coconut Cake

Every year for Christmas, Mr. Shoe's grandmother makes this coconut cake. And every year I am way too full after dinner to eat a piece. She made it the last time we were visiting my in-laws and I literally almost died from happiness. This just goes to show my "eat dessert first" theory should be implemented all the time!

1 box white cake mix
1 1/4 c water
1/3 c milk
3 egg whites
2 t coconut extract
1 can condensed milk
1 can vanilla frosting
Coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl combine first 5 ingredients until well combined. Batter will be lumpy. Pour into a greasted 9 x 13 dish. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Using the handle end of a wooden spoon, poke holes throughout the hot cake. Pour the entire can of condensed milk over the hot cake. Set aside and let cool COMPLETELY.

Spread icing over the top of your cooled cake. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top.

This is best served cold.

Dude, get it while you can because this stuff will go FAST. My husband is not a coconut fan at all but even he got excited when he saw me making it.

The pictures that I took do not do this cake justice. I really wish I could capture just how moist it is! It's so moist that it literally fell apart as I was cutting it.

Don't worry. I still ate it. =)

Our GG!