Monday, September 26, 2011

Time is Precious, USE THE CROCKPOT!!!!

Well, the kids going back to school hit us hard this time. Mondays and Tuesdays I home school my 1st grader and try to help any where I can at their school. My hubby also just started paramedic school and we are moving this week!!!!!! I think I signed up for a meltdown in a years time. Oh well, as long as it waits until then I am fine. Some people might freak out about certain happenings of the household when things get chaotic, bills, sports schedule, etc. I freak out about what everyone is going to be eating and hope they all get fed well while enduring this busy schedule, myself included. So simply put I am planning ahead, I am using what is in my pantry and I am indulging in time not spent over the stove and making my crock pot do the work. So in this simple recipe it is an amazing lasagna that we raved about and the leftovers were even better. Please make this your own and add spinach or roasted veggies or even some "good" ground beef in the layers. I just kept it simple, because at this point that's how I roll! 

We scarfed the dinner so quick I spaced and didn't take a picture!

Honey I'm Home Lasagna

2 cups marinara sauce- read my spaghetti and meatballs page for recipe
1 can diced tomatoes with the juice
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
16 oz fresh ricotta, I only had cream cheese and I used that, if you are in a pinch
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
12 oz DRY lasagna noodles- not cooked and not the fast cooking ones
12 oz fresh mozzarella

Mix the ricotta, Parmesan and parsley together in a bowl. Put 1/3 of the marinara sauce on the bottom of your crock pot and a light scoop, about a third of the tomatoes. Add a layer of noodles on top and break to fit in your shape pot. Dollop a third of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and add a layer of mozzarella. Repeat until there are at least three full layers of ricotta and sauces. Top the last layer the same but with extra mozzarella and make sure all the bare noodles are coated with everything. Turn crock pot on low and leave for about 31/2-4 hrs. 
* If you are gonna add veggies or meat just layer it on top of the ricotta mixture.

Viola! You are done for the day of dinner cooking, oh yeah!!! Go have some coffee with a friend or take your kids to the local dairy. Your free, enjoy your time!!!
God Speed

Monday, September 12, 2011

Western Portobello Mushroom Burger

If you've never had a grilled, sauteed, or fried Portobello Mushroom you are missing out on life! I first had one a few months ago and it blew my mind. It was mind-bottling! A cooked Portobello Mushroom takes on the texture of meat and flavor of something indescribable, a flavor Willy Wonka would invent if he were in the mushroom business instead of candy. I think he was in the mushroom biz on the side by his taste in home decor and friends, but that's a whole other blog topic.

I bought some huge portobello mushrooms and decided to make them into burgers, western style. By western I mean with grilled onions, BBQ sauce and more, similar to Carl's Jr's. Western Bacon Burger minus the meat, onion ring, ha! I'm making mine in a pan, but you can do it on a grill as well or in oven and it'll come out great!

First take half an onion and slice it for the grilled onions. Get a pan hot (about medium high heat) with 1/4" oil in bottom for onions.  Toss in the onions and saute them until golden brown, about five minutes. Once those are cooked, set aside.

Sauteing' the onions, oh yeah!

Now time for the mushroom to get cooked. put more oil in pan, this time more like a 1/4". the mushroom will absorb a lot of oil compared to onions, but you don't want it drowning in oil. make sure the oil's good an hot before adding mushroom so it doesn't absorb too much, just like when you fry something. Put mushroom with the top facing down on pan first. Don't worry about it being concave and not flat at first, it will get soft in a few minutes from heat. Do this so that the mushroom is soft when you turn it over and it will saute evenly on bottom side since it's softened now. I also put some Worcestershire sauce on the mushroom for that western flavor, I do the same for my burgers and it makes a world of difference in flavor! As you can see from my broken mushroom, that's what happens when you cook it with the top side up first.

Now flip mushroom right side up after a few minutes cooking upside down. You will be able to press gently on mushroom with spatula if desired to flatten it more and get the whole surface area of it to touch pan for an even cooking. Leave it on this side for a few minutes then it's done! Mushrooms cook quick and don't overcook well.

My mushroom cooking away.

While that's finishing up you can pop your hamburger buns in the toaster, i prefer mine toasted, just like In-N-Out!

I dressed my burger with mustard, tomatoes, lettuce, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce (my favorite), and of course the grilled onions! Eat your heart out fast food!

What's a burger without all the sides?! A pickle, pepperoncinis, and sweet potato fries compliment this amazing mushroom burger. Oh yeah, let's not forget the Dos XX Amber in back to wash it down with! Cheers!