Saturday, June 27, 2015

The mother of invention...

   What happens when you buy too much margarita for the Girls Night In? Probably most of you would say there is never too much margarita for anything that involves bunch of girls... but we really had too much and nobody wanted to finish it (I think we are getting older or wiser... probably just older). Anyways, I had at least half a bottle of a ready-to-drink margarita left and I was wondering what I could do with it... so naturally I decided to use it for cooking some pork! Isn't it what you would do? Oh well... I might just be "different"! Besides margarita is not really my drink of choice anyways... so I had to come up with a creative use of the leftovers. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, so I "invented" Margarita Braised Pork Loin recipe and here it is:

Ingredients:

* large pork loin (3-4lbs)
* 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 2 cups margarita drink
* 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tsp rosemary
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Season pork loin with salt and pepper on both sides and transfer into the Dutch oven - cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until browned.

2. Slowly add margarita and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes until all the alcohol cooks out. Be very careful adding the alcohol as it may over-boil.

3. Add Worcestershire sauce and water until it comes up to half of the loin.

4. Cover the meat with onions and garlic, sprinkle with the rosemary, close the lid and transfer into the 330F oven. Braise for 3 hours and let it rest for 15-20 minutes outside of the oven before serving




   Yum, yum! Rich, savory meat with a tiny hint of sweetness, soaked in luscious sauce. Super tender pork, that can be cut into slices or just shredded depending on your preference. I think it was a very successful use of the leftover margarita!

Enjoy,
Magda

Saturday, June 20, 2015

You could've fooled me!

   If you know me, you know how much I love potatoes. Not French fries, not chips.... the REAL potatoes, mashed, baked, cooked or roasted, I love them all! But unfortunately, plate full of potatoes is not your friend when you are trying to lose baby weight (and some of the pre-baby weight that stuck around, too). I kept hearing about the mashed cauliflower tasting almost the same as mashed potatoes, but I didn't even bother to try it... because let's be honest, I did not believe that anything can be as delicious as mashed potatoes. But after much consideration, I decided to "sacrifice" myself for the blog readers and give it a try... Wow, what a delicious dish! No, seriously, you need to try it! Don't wait as long as I did, you will love it!

Ingredients:

* 2 medium cauliflowers, cut into florets
* 1 cup cheddar cheese
* 1 tbsp coconut oil
* 2 tbsp milk
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* salt

Directions:

1. Cook cauliflower in salted water until fork tender (for about 25 minutes). Drain.

2. Transfer hot cauliflower into food processor, add all remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Depending on the size of the food processor, you might have to divide everything in half and then combine.




   So creamy, so cheesy, so flavorful! There is no bigger potato snob than myself, but I will be honest with you ... you could've fooled me into thinking that I'm eating potatoes here... maybe!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pick a side.

   Ever wondered what makes the steakhouse spinach so good? The answer is: cream and butter! Yes, I said cream and butter! Were you expecting me to say "love" they put into making it? No! If you want creamy, decadent, velvety creamed spinach, you need to invest in a "few" calories! Just skip the baked potato or have a smaller piece of meat and just enjoy this delicious spinach dish! Actually, the title should say "Pick THIS side", because it really is one of the best side dishes you can have. And if you worry about all the fat, just think about how much fiber, iron and vitamins you will get with it! It's worth it!

Ingredients:

* 20oz fresh spinach
* 1.5 cups cream
* 5 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp all purpose flour
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* pinch of nutmeg
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the spinach for 2 minutes. Drain on the colander and squeeze all the excess water.

2. Make bechamel sauce: in a saucepan melt butter, add flour and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for 5-6 minutes until sauce is really thick.

3. Transfer drained spinach into the food processor and pulse until almost pureed.

4. Add spinach to the bechamel sauce, mix until combined, cook for additional 1 minute. Serve warm.




   My husband's first reaction: man, it's so cheeeeeesy and delicious! No, there is no cheese in it... just the love, I mean butter and cream! Just go for it, splurge a little.

Enjoy,
Magda.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cravings.

   I've been craving Indian food for a while now but somehow every time we go out we end up anywhere but an Indian restaurant. So I got tired of waiting and decided to take matters in my own hands and make my own chicken korma (favorite Indian dish ever). Delicious and tender chicken, creamy and flavorful sauce (made out of my favorite nuts - cashews) and wonderful aroma of all the spices. It's a serious dish and it's very hard to stick to only one serving! It really was a hit in our house, my husband loved it (and probably ate half of it by the time I was done taking pictures for the blog) and Christopher devoured his first Indian dish like a pro!
   Recipe makes ... probably anything from 4 to 8 portions, depending on how much you love Indian food.

Ingredients:

* 4 chicken breasts
* 1 large onion
* 2 garlic cloves
* 5oz cashew nuts
* 1 cup milk
* 15oz tomato puree
* 6oz plain Greek yogurt
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* cilantro for garnish

Spices:
*1 tsp of each:
   - turmeric powder
   - garam masala
   - coriander powder
   - cardamom powder
   - ground ginger
   - curry powder
   - salt
* pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

1. Place coarsely chopped onion and garlic in the food processor and blend until pureed. Transfer into non-stick pan and cook for 5-6 minutes.
2. In the meantime, combine all the spices in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add cubed chicken breast and toss everything until every piece of chicken is coated with spices.
3. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and add spiced chicken. Cook everything for 3-4 minutes. There will be some almost burned looking crust on the bottom of the pot, but it's all good. Add 1 cup of water and cook for a minute or so until water evaporates.
4. Add cooked onions and tomato puree and mix to combine. Scrape bottom of the dish to remove all the "burned" spices and mix them into the sauce.
5. Place cashew nuts and milk in the food processor and blend until it forms very smooth paste. If it's too dense, you can add a little bit more milk. Add cashew paste to the chicken and cook everything on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
6. Add Greek yogurt, cook for 1 more minute, garnish with cilantro and enjoy with Basmati rice!




   I could eat this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner.... no kidding! Sometimes I make it with chicken tights rather than the breast - it's really good as well. To be honest, you could probably put a piece of shoe lether in this sauce and it would be delicious!

Enjoy,
Magda



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rebellious lasagna.

   No meat, no tomato sauce, lots of mushrooms and roasted bell peppers - not your usual lasagna! I created this recipe for two reasons: 1) I needed a vegetarian version of a dish that Christopher loves (since he already eats a lot of meat) and 2) I needed to create something different than my previous lasagna (that can be found here). So I used some old (ricotta and spinach) and new (mushroom and roasted bell peppers) tricks and it turned out great. Both of my boys loved it. Actually, all three of my boys loved it, because Christoper decided to share it with Spikey - our dog. He seemed to really enjoy it! The recipe makes a large (and I mean large and deep) baking dish. I shared it with few of my friends, but you can also freeze it and enjoy it later.

Ingredients:

* 16oz oven ready lasagna pasta
* 2lb ricotta cheese
* 1lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
* 1 16oz jar of roasted bell peppers
* 1 egg
* 32oz mushrooms, chopped
* 1tbsp olive oil
* 3 cups whole milk
* 2 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
* 8oz mozzarella cheese
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Mushroom sauce:
     - In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute mushrooms with a little bit of salt until soft and tender (10 minutes). Transfer mushroom into the strainer to drain.
     - In the same skillet, melt butter, add flour and cook for 2-3 minutes constantly mixing.  Slowly add milk (whisking!) and cook the sauce for 5-6 minutes until thick (whisking!).
     - Add drained mushroom, season with salt and pepper.
2. Ricotta mix:
     - In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, drained spinach and chopped roasted bell peppers.
     - Add 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, season with salt and pepper and mix everything together.
     - Add egg and mix to combine.
3. Assemble lasagna by layering:
     - 1 spoon of a mushroom sauce on the bottom of the baking dish
     - layer of pasta
     - half of the ricotta cheese
     - pasta
     - half of mushroom sauce (reserve a spoon of sauce), a little bit of mozzarella cheese on the top
     - pasta
     - ricotta mix
     - pasta
     - mushroom sauce
     - pasta
     - top the last layer of pasta with the reserved mushroom sauce (to keep it moist) and cover with mozzarella cheese
4. Bake covered with foil at 400F for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown.



   It's really creamy and flavorful. Lots of veggies, lots of mushrooms, lots of cheese - what not to like?

Enjoy,
Magda


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bacon is a veggie...

   ...right? No? How about cheese? OK, I get the point, but who said that it can't be a part of a salad?
Recently I am on the mission to create dishes that I can make in bigger quantities and portion for at least two lunches or dinners. It saves time, money and if you are starving right after work, it's there waiting for you when you get home. But it only works if the dish stores well and if it tastes delicious - otherwise who would want to eat it more than once! With that in mind,  I finally made a salad that my husband not only ate, but actually had seconds! What's the trick you ask? Well, I filled the "spaces" between the broccoli with bacon, cheese and almonds.... and yes, I still called it a salad! And guess what, for the first time in a very long time I used a REAL bacon, not the turkey one. You just need to do it once in a while, it's not going to kill you and it will make this dish out of this world delicious! Trust me, I'm a doctor! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

* 4-5 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small florets
* 4oz of sliced almonds
* 8oz white aged cheddar, finely cubed
* 10oz of bacon
* 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

Dressing:

* 1 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tbs honey
* 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Chop the bacon in small pieces, place it in the non-stick skillet and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Transfer onto paper towel and let it cool and drain.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine broccoli, cubed cheese, almonds, red onion and cooled bacon.
3. Mix together all ingredients of the dressing and combine with the "salad". Let is cool for 30 minutes before serving.



   It doesn't require any seasoning - bacon, cheese, honey and vinegar are all you need to give this dish its heavenly taste. Salty and sweet, tangy and creamy, with tones of different textures... I am telling you, this is one mean salad! At least we love it!

Enjoy,
Magda

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hiding veggies!

   If you are thinking that this post will be about hiding veggies so your kid will eat them, you are wrong! My son loves his veggies, especially broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower - no need to hide anything. But I do have to hide them if I want my husband to eat them! Yes, that's right, I trick a thirty something year old man to eat veggies! He usually knows that they are hidden somewhere in the dish, but because I make it impossible to pick them out or leave out on the plate... all the veggies end up being eaten! Hey, there could be worse things I could be tricking my husband to do, so I absolutely don't feel guilty about this one!
This time I hid broccoli and bunch of herbs in the sauce that covered Justin's beloved chicken, served it over his favorite Basmati rice (to give him some incentive to eat it) and ... he loved it! Winning!

Ingredients:

* 2 large chicken breast, cubed
* 1 large onion
* 0.5 bunch of cilantro, large stems removed
* 1 small bunch of fresh dill, large stems removed
* 2 cups of broccoli florets 
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 lime, juice
* 2 tbsp butter
* salt and pepper

* Basmati  rice, cooked

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, melt butter and sear chicken breast until lightly browned.
2. In the meantime, in the food processor, combine broccoli, onion, garlic, cilantro and dill. Run the processor adding a little bit of water (2-3 tbsp) until the sauce is smooth.
3. Add the sauce to the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add lime juice to your liking. Serve over Basmati rice.




   What a vibrant color and an amazing aroma!
   Depending on the amount of water you add, the sauce might be more or less thick, but if you don't like the consistency, either add some more water or cook it for longer to reduce it. If you go overboard with water, add a little bit of cornstarch  and it will nicely thicken it(I know, it's cheating, but sometimes it's unavoidable!).

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Non-Mac and Cheese.

   I kept hearing about the cauliflower "mac & cheese" for years and somehow I felt that it had a bad rep. Every time I would hear/read about it, it was more of a "punishment" or something you had to do when you are on a diet, trying to lose weight. I couldn't really understand why people were so disappointed when they heard that there is no macaroni in the dish. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love all kinds of pasta too, but I also like the cauliflower and I don't see anything wrong with a cauliflower smothered with a creamy, cheese sauce... with some more cheese on the top! Does that sounds like a "punishment" food to you? Exactly!
   So I decided to make my own and see what this whining was all about! Here is the recipe that makes about 6 servings (depending on if you use it as a main dish or a side):

Ingredients:

* 2 cauliflower heads, cut into small florets
* 4 cups whole milk
* 4 tbs unsalted butter
* 4 tbs flour
* 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* 1 cup fresh parsley
* pinch of nutmeg
* 0.5 cup Panko bread crumbs
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Boil the cauliflower until al dente - no more than 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour - cook for a minute, constantly whisking (very important).
3. Slowly keep adding milk, whisking constantly and cook everything for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add parsley, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. When the sauce is thick, add 2 cups of shredded cheese and mix until melted and combined.
4. Add the cauliflower to the sauce and mix gently to combine.
5. Pour everything into the baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and Panko bread crumbs and bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.




   Holly smokes, that is delicious! Obviously, if you don't want to use a whole milk you can substitute it with skim, or part-fat, it just happens that thanks to my son I have a fridge full of whole milk - so why not use it!
   I made mine very "saucy", so if you don't like a lot of sauce (that is creamy, gooey, cheese and delicious!!!) you may want to reduce the milk/butter/flour amount by 1 measurement.

Enjoy and Happy Mother's Day to all Mamas out there!!!!
Magda.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Row row row your boat...

   ... oh, how many times did I hear this song? So, when I was planning my meals the other day, thinking about what I want to make that all of us could have for dinner, I heard that song playing again! I looked at the screen, that Christopher was hypnotized by, and the girl in a "cartoon video" was rowing a zucchini boat (the things they come up with to entertain kids these days!!!). So that's how I decided on our dinner: stuffed zucchini! Normally I would probably stuff it with rice and meat, but in order to make it not only different, but also much healthier I substituted rice with quinoa. Here is the recipe, serves 4:

Ingredients:

* 4 large zucchinis
* 1 lb lean ground beef
* 1 large onion
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 15oz can of fired roasted diced tomatoes, drained
* 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1.5 cup dry quinoa
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper

Marinara sauce:

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 15oz can tomato sauce
* 1 tbsp dry oregano
* 1 tbsp dry basil
* 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tbsp ketchup
* salt

Directions:

1. Cook quinoa in salted water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the excess water.
2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute onions and garlic until translucent - 6-7 minutes. Add ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook for around 10 minutes.
3. When the meat is browned, add drained tomatoes, cook for additional 5-7 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, meat and half of the Parmesan cheese. Mix well together until combined and season with extra salt and pepper if needed.
5. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise, scoop out the flash (seeds only) and arrange on a large baking sheet. Fill the halves with the meat/quinoa stuffing, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake at 380F for 45-50 minutes until zucchini is tender.
6. The marinara sauce: in a saucepan heat the olive oil and saute onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Add tomato sauce, herbs, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, season with salt and cook for 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold.




   We really like a cold marinara with this dish. Maybe because we love ketchup and it kind of reminds us of it. It's really delicious and healthy dish. Not only it contains about 10 grams of fiber per serving, but it also has 45 grams (!!!) of protein! It can't get any better than that!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Green Eggs and Ham!

   Breakfast time! And I hope you are as excited about it as I am. I love, love, love breakfast food - especially if it involves eggs and ham. Usually (actually, almost always) weekend breakfasts in the Morgan's household are prepared by Daddy while Mommy is drinking her coffee and Christopher is watching his cartoons, but this time that wasn't a case! I decided to switch things up, took over the kitchen on Sunday morning and made a dish that fits my culinary point-of-view: quick, easy and delicious! Eggs in a basket and the basket is made out of juicy, delicious, salty ham. Add some green chives on the top and you end up with the Green Eggs and Ham! The recipe makes 6 "baskets" and serves 3.

Ingredients:

* 12 medium slices of ham
* 6 eggs
* 6 tsp shredded cheddar cheese
* chives
* salt

Directions:

1.  Line up each cup of a muffin tin with two slices of ham.
2. Add 1 tsp of shredded cheese into each cup, crack an egg, sprinkle with chives and a little bit of salt.
3. Bake at 400F for 13-18 minutes depending on the yolk consistency you like.



I baked mine for 15 minutes, and this is how they turned out on the inside:


   If I was the only one eating this dish, I would probably take it out of the oven a couple of minutes earlier to have the yolk a little bit runnier, but Justin is not a fan of a runny yolk, so I compromised!
Not only is it delicious when freshly made, but it also stores well and can be eaten the next day... that is if there is anything left for the next day.

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pork and salsa!

   Yeah, that's right... pork and salsa! Being more specific, a meat sauce with salsa used in stead of tomato puree/sauce. And, if salsa wasn't exciting enough, I also added fennel and mushrooms. Different textures and flavors all come together to create a hearty, meaty, and delicious sauce.
   You want to know a secret? I actually use salsa very often to make my tomato based sauces, and I use all different kinds: original, mango, peach, corn... you name it! It adds this light, "exotic" and fun taste to the sauce, and makes it different and exciting each time. No need to buy multiple ingredients to create an interesting flavor profile and everything comes in one jar! I'm sure this won't be the only time you see me using it in a recipe... it's kind of my new obsession.
   Anyways, here is the recipe for the salsa pork sauce:

Ingredients:

* 1 lb ground pork
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* 1 fennel bulb, chopped
* 8oz baby portabella mushroom, chopped
* 16oz jar chunky salsa (spiciness of your liking)
* 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
* 2 tbsp ketchup
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper
* Parmesan cheese for garnish

* egg noodles

Directions:

1. In a deep pan, heat up the olive oil and saute onions, garlic and fennel until soft and translucent.
2. Add pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook for additional 5 minutes.
3. Add salsa, ketchup, and parsley, stir everything together and cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Serve over egg noodles, garnished with Parmesan cheese.




   You can serve it with any kind of pasta you like, but I really think that egg noodles add some extra "bite" and texture to the dish. I guess another good option could be tagliatelle pasta which I like as well.

Enjoy,
Magda.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Guess who's back, back again...



Magda’s back, tell a friend...

   Can you believe that it’s been 16 months (!!!) since my last blog post? Life got really busy in the Morgan family, a little boy named Christopher came and changed everything!




   Yes, that's right... I couldn't resist to show off my beautiful boy(s)! Christopher not only changed the way we see the world or the way love, but he also changed the way we live, sleep or eat! Basically, we don’t sleep and we eat whatever is easier, faster, more convenient and whatever Christopher doesn’t want to eat himself! And I think it’s time to change it (I’m talking about our eating habits). He is big enough (almost 15 months) that he doesn’t need non-stop attention and mommy has some free time to relax in the kitchen and do what she loves – cook! Extra bonus – Christopher gets to taste all different things, develop his palate to hopefully become an adventures eater in the future.

   So to get everybody’s attention back, I’m starting with a delicious fruit crumble bars that are not only perfect with mommy’s and daddy’s coffee, but are also healthy enough for the little munchkins to eat! Not too much sugar and lots of fruit! Here is the recipe:

Crust:

* 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
* 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 0.5 cup slivered almonds
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 2.5 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
* 2 large egg yolks
* 2-3 tbsp ice-cold water
* pinch of salt

Berry Filling:
* 2 cups frozen blueberries
* 2 cups frozen raspberries
* 4 tbsp lemon juice
* 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
* 0.5 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 2 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

   1. Crust: whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter,  slowly mix in egg yolks and cold water. The dough should be really crumbly. 
   2.  Take half of the crumble and press into the prepared pan (13x9). 
   3. Filling: stir together fruit (no need to defrost), lemon juice, flour, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract until combined. 
   4. Evenly distribute the fruit on the top of the crust. 
   5. Add almonds to the remaining crust and sprinkle over the fruit. 
   6.  Bake at 375F for 40-50 minutes until golden brown




   I am not a fan of very sweet desserts, so I really cut down on sugar in this recipe, but if you like your desserts to be coma-inducing sweet, feel free to add more.

I’m glad to be back and I can’t wait to post recipes regularly again.

See you soon,
Magda

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pumpkin season.

   Just when I was about to write that I love fall and all fall-signature dishes... it started to snow! I guess it is December already so I shouldn't be so surprised, but I am not ready for winter yet! So I will pretend that I didn't see any snow flakes outside and I will blog about pumpkin season... and my pumpkin bread! Every single year during the fall I make lots and lots of pumpkin dishes, either soups, or sauces or cupcakes... or breads! This one is really quick and easy, you can make it in no time and enjoy it for a while ... or share it with a friend, because it makes 2 loafs.

Ingredients:

*  1 15oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix!)
*  3 cups all-purpose flour
*  4 eggs
*  2/3 cup vegetable oil
*  1 2/3 cup white sugar
*  2 tsp vanilla extract
*  2 tsp baking soda
*  1/2 tsp baking powder
*  1/2 tsp salt
*  1 tsp cinnamon
*  1/2 tsp ground ginger
*  pinch of nutmeg
*  1/2 cup chopped pecans
*  1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, vanilla extra and oil. Mix everything together.
2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
3. Pour into two greased loaf pans (8x4 inches) and bake at 350F for 60-70 minutes, until the tooth pick comes out clean.
4. Remove loaf from the pan, place on the wire rack and let them cool for minimum of 30 minutes before cutting.




   Works each time, I promise! Perfect for breakfast, dessert, or for coffee with a friend!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Easy cups.

   Somehow people think that lasagna requires lots of time and patience. Well maybe, if you are making your own pasta from scratch, sauce from fresh tomatoes and home made ricotta cheese. Nothing wrong with that and I bet you it would be delicious, but why not cut few corners and use "some help" to save some time (and sanity)? Remember when I made the skinny lasagna looooong time ago (you can find it here)? It was petty easy and healthy, but what I am going to show you today will blow your mind... super easy, super quick, super healthy and super delicious! Seriously, just check out these single wonton lasagna cups, they are genius. Recipe makes 12-14.

Ingredients:

*  wonton wrappers
*  1 jar marinara sauce
*  16oz ricotta cheese
*  2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and drained
*  1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
*  2 cups shredded mozzarella
*  salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix everything together.
2. To build lasagna cups: place a wonton wrapper into a greased muffin pan, add spoon of ricotta filling, another wonton, spoon of marinara sauce, wonton, ricotta mixture, a little bit of marinara sauce and top everything with mozzarella cheese.



3. Bake at 350F for 20-25.



   It's a perfect dish for somebody like me... somebody who has a "problem" with portion control. You don't have to worry that you will cut a big of a piece of lasagna ... it's portioned for you already. Easy to serve, easy to store, delicious to eat!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ladies reunited!

   Yes, yes, yes... all the ladies are back, at least for a few hours! After so many months of separation we had the whole crew back together last night for our "ladies-night-in". We actually gained one more girl for the evening, maybe not a "real girl" in a physiological sense, but he fit right in!  What a fun night! As one of the appetizers we had a warm artichoke and turkey bacon dip, with lots of different cheeses, chunks of artichoke and pieces of crispy bacon. Served with toasted baguette slices... the perfect appetizer.

Ingredients:

*  16oz cream cheese, room temp.
*  1 cup sour cream
*  1/2 cup mayonaise
*  1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
*  10 slices of turkey bacon
*  1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
*  2 cups mixed shredded cheese (mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan)
*  salt and pepper

*  French baguette, sliced and toasted

Directions:

1. Chop turkey bacon into small pieces and saute in a pan for 6-7 minutes until crisp, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
3. Mix everything until combined making sure that there are no lumps of cream cheese. Add bacon, mix together and transfer into a greased baking dish.
4. Top everything with remaining shredded cheese and bake at 360F for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
5. Serve with toasted baguette slices. 




   I think the dip was a huge success. Creamy, gooey, with chunks of artichoke and bacon. If you are looking for a vegetarian version, you could always skip the bacon, but I do have to admit... it might not be as delicious!

Enjoy,
Magda.