Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentine's Day

I forgot to take any pictures of the appetizers and main course of the meal.
My husband brought me a beautiful boquet of flowers. This was the best lasagna I have ever had. It has a mixture of sausage and beef that I think made it work.

Roasted red pepper and tomato bruschetta
Romaine salad
Garlic mozzarella cheese bread
2003 Lemelson Vineyard Thea's Selection Pinot Noir
Red Velvet Cake
Korbel Rouge Champagne

The bruschetta was sliced and toasted Itailan bread. Out of the oven I rubbed it with a garlic clove. It was topped with diced tomato and roasted red pepper and mozzarella cheese and placed back in the oven to melt the cheese.

The salad was nothing special just bagged salad and bottled dressing.
The rest of the Italian bread was toasted and rubbed with a garlic clove, then topped with mozzarella chesse. It was placed back in the oven to melt the cheese.

1 box lasagna noodles
1 lb spicy Italian turkey sausage
1 lb lean ground beef
30 oz ricotta cheese
16 oz mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 jars pasta sauce
olive oil

Preaheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions. Remove sausage from casing and brown with ground beef until cooked. Drain any excess grease from meat. Drain noodles and sprinkle with olive oil to prevent them from sticking together. Mix eggs, ricotta cheese, and parmesan cheese together. Add pasta sauce to meat mixture. Into a 9 x 13 dish begin the layering process starting with a layer of sauce. Next layer noodles, then ricotta cheese mixture, then meat mixture, then mozzarella cheese. Repeat until only noodles remain on top, then cover with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake covered in aluminum foil for 35 minutes, then remove foil and cook another 30 minutes.

The red velvet cake was going to be made from scratch, but I didn't realize it called for cake flour. I made it from a box (sorry WC girls), and I used store bought cream cheese frosting.

The champagne came from a vacation we took to the Napa Valley. We did a champagne tasting at Korbel. We brought back this wonderful Rouge Champagne. It had a great deep red color, and was the best tasting champagne I have ever had. It was full bodied like a wine, but still crisp and bubbly like a champagne.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Sausage

It has been cold here in Ohio, and I was craving some nice comfort food. I threw together this baked ziti recipe, and it really hit the spot.

1 lb medium shell pasta
1 lb spicy italian turkey sausage
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar pasta sauce (I used a tomato basil variety)
Cook pasta accorining to package directions. I went a couple minutes shorter because I knew it would be going into the oven. Remove sausage from casing and saute until cooked through. Drain any excess grease off sausage. Add pasta sauce to sausage until warm. Drain pasta and mix with ricotta cheese. Combine sausage mixture and pasta. Place into 9 x 13 dish and cover with the mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 about 20 minutes until cheese on top melts and gets bubbly.

Black Bean Soup and Spicy Cornbread Muffins

This recipe comes from Dave Liberman on the food network. This is the best black bean soup I have ever had. It is a little spicy and gets great flavor from the cilantro and crunch from the tortilla chips. I forgot to take a picture of this great soup. I serve the soup with his spicy cornbread muffins. Here are the original recipes with my changes noted.

Black Bean Soup
10 slices bacon, finely chopped (used turkey bacon)
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes (canned with added chilies)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish (omitted)
Sour cream, for garnish (omitted)
Grated cheddar, for garnish
Blue corn chips, crushed for garnish

Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes

Spicy Cornbread Muffins
2 (8 1/2-ounce) boxes corn muffin mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (used 2 peppers)
1/2 cup grated Monterey jack

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Divide the batter evenly in a 12-portion nonstick muffin tin. (If using a tin that isn't nonstick, spray with cooking spray). Bake in the center of the oven until just golden and muffin springs back when gently pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and serve warm