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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Gluten-free Lasagna

img_0401I may have mentioned that I’m gluten intolerant.  I have only recently learned this, so I am still finding my way when it comes to gluten-free cooking.  So here is my latest find and associated recipe.

First things first, you’re going to need marinara.  I make my own, but you could just as easily buy the jar stuff.  What ever floats your boat!  For my household, I find that the Italian sausage that I buy, while delicious, is a little too much flavor wise.  I remedy this by adding in plain ground pork that I get from the regular old meat department at my local grocery store.

What you’re going to need:

4 cans marinara

3 lbs Italian Sausage, ground pork, or hamburger

6 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian Blend cheese

2 large cartons Ricotta or cottage cheese

You’ll notice I do up a lot!  These amounts make two huge pans of lasagna.  We typically eat one and freeze the other for those days when cooking just isn’t going to happen.

Step One:  Fry up your Italian sausage/pork/hamburger in a pan and add it to the marinara. Make sure that all the meat hunks are very small (otherwise your noodles won’t lay right as you are layering).

Step Two: Cover the bottom of your casserole dish with sauce.  This keeps the noodles from baking onto the bottom of the pan.  I always make sure that I have a good thick coating because I can’t stand baked on noodles (eww, gross!).

Step Three: Lay out a layer of noodles to cover the sauce.  You don’t have to cook them or anything.  Just take them right out of the box and start layering.  Try to cover the whole area, even if you have to snap off little pieces of noodle to make it work.  You can even snap these in half long-ways if you need to.  Keep the pieces that you snap off for filling in the smaller holes.  You’ll understand what I mean as soon as you start doing this step.  It is kind of like a puzzle, only you have to make some of the pieces to fit.

Step Four:  Once you have the noodles layered on the way you want them, sprinkle your shredded cheese across the top of the noodles.

Step Five: After the shredded cheese, you want to layer on your ricotta or cottage cheese.  The best way I’ve found to do this is to spoon out like dobs of cheese and then use the back of the spoon to smear it about.  Be careful because if you use too much pressure, you’re going to disturb your lower layers.

Step Six:  Layer your sauce, noodles, and cheeses again and again until you’re below the top edge of the pan (it likes to boil over), ending with a final layer of sauce.

Step Seven:  Top with shredded cheese and pop it into the oven at 375 degrees.  Let it cook for about 1 hour sometimes a little more.  It depends on the thickness of your sauce, in my experience.  If you think it is done, use a butter knife and poke at the very center.  If the noodles are still the least bit hard, cook it some more.

Step Eight:  Once your lasagna is done, pull it out and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  Otherwise, you’re going to burn the crap out of your mouth because it is going to taste so good!

Enjoy and let me know how it turned out!

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in Recipes

 

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Leeks All Summer

So one of the things that you can grow from kitchen scraps is leeks.  All you have to save is the smallest part of the white with the attached roots.  You know, that part that you cut off and throw in the trash or compost pile.  Put it in water and watch it sprout.  Once mine sprouts up good, I moved them to a raised bed outside that gets lots of light.

Now when I want leeks, I simply walk out my front door and snip off a plant or two about an inch above the ground.  Within days, it had already sprouted right back up from the stump.  With four plants, I’ve had all the leeks I’ve wanted this summer.  However, I didn’t really understanding how to cook with them.  Since I’ve had them and learned how they flavor food, I’m going to need more.  With that in mind, the next time I go to the grocery store, I’ll pick up a bundle and pop the scraps into water, which brings me to my next thought.

I’ve already started noticing a yellow tinge to the leaves, which is always my first cue that fall is here.  I’m going to want leeks this winter.  Instead of adding this new bunch to the established bed in the yard, I think, I’ll try to start them in a planter in the window.

Once, I get the ones started in the window, I’ll probably try to bring the ones in the yard into the house.  We shall see how that works out for me.

 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2015 in In the Garden

 

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Wounded

I like this and I’m not sure why, but that’s okay… I’m okay not knowing why for now. I’m sure it will come to me.

Art Veronica

She was hit, hit hard. Does she have the will to survive... Pray hard She was hit, hit hard.
Does she have the will to survive…
Pray hard

©Veronica
Acrylic/Canvas
16 x 20x 1/2

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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in Thoughts

 

Sharpening Not Just Your Knife

My father and grandfather could keep a pocket knife sharp as a razor with an Arkansas stone (a type of wet rock).  I’ve never been able to reach that level of sharp.  EVER!  With anything!  I’ve spent tons of money on all kinds of things to sharpen my knives because I’ve been totally spoiled by my dad and granddad.  I can not abide a dull knife.

image

I keep several in a favorite coffee cup in the kitchen.

CC’s dad used the bottom of one of my coffee cups to sharpen one of his knives and I had to try it.  It works.  It works well, except it is unwieldy and I wanted something that was smaller and easier to take camping and such.  Then I read something on a blog about using ceramic insulators as a sharpener.  I already knew from my research that ceramic is one of the greatest sharpeners, so…  A quick trip to eBay revealed ceramic insulators for sale for a cheap price.  I paid $5.00 for a dozen.  I then went to Home Depot and bought a wooden dowel.  Cutting the dowel into pieces, I inserted them into the insulators as a handle and TA-DA!  I have sharpeners that keep my knives razor-sharp.

I would like to note several things.  I spent the time to research before buying my knives and bought quality knives.  I managed to catch a block set of them on sale for $30.00, as a close out item.  I’ve had the set for more than ten years and the only issue I have had is the wooden handles have to be oiled periodically.  If I had it to do over, I might go with a different type of handle.  Then again, I might not.  I like natural materials.  I didn’t want serrated knives because they are a pain to sharpen, if you even can and most just don’t cut as smoothly as a honed hollow ground blade.  Don’t know what a hollow ground blade is?  You might want to research that.  The point that I’m trying to make is spending the time and money on quality decreases the quantity that you will end up using up.  (Think smaller footprint on the Earth and less aggravation for you!)

These are not wonder sharpeners in one regards.  If you do not know the proper technique for sharpening, I highly suggest you jump on YouTube and check out some videos.  Sharpen more than your knives, sharpen you mind by learning something new.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in A Penny Saved

 

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