Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

20120518-125630.jpgMaking homemade lasagna is a passion of mine. I prefer my homemade over any store bought and most restaurant served lasagnas, but that’s just me. The reason why is the attention and love I put into each lasagna.

I made two, I made one for my home and one to share at a Potluck. Both had the same ingredients, but I added more spinach and less pasta to my home version, less carbs.

For the Sausage Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
  • 2 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Italian Spices or a mix of Rosemary, oregano and thyme
  • Cracked Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan or stock pot. Add garlic and sausage and cook meat while breaking up the chunks of sausage. Add Italian herbs.

Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute before adding tomato sauce. Let cook and simmer for 15 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste.

The Noodles:

Boil 1 package of lasagna noodles with salt in the water. When they are al dente but cooked, remove from water and let them sit aside in strips and don’t let them stick! 20120518-125909.jpgLasagna Construction:

  • Cooked Lasagna Pasta
  • Pre-Made Sausage Sauce
  • 1 cup of Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • Cracked Pepper

Spray your pans with oil before starting. I add a layer of thin sauce at the bottom, then the pasta, the sausage sauce, the cheese, the spinach – then repeat. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees, let cool and enjoy. 20120518-125620.jpg

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Beer Bacon Barbeque sauce ribs

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I bought a rack of ribs to try out my new sauce. I made this yummy Beer Bacon Sauce using Young’s Double Chocolate Sauce. https://thisgirlreallycooks.com/2012/05/18/beer-bacon-barbeque-sauce/

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Place ribs in large flat pan. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides.

Roast in the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Drain any grease that has accumulated if wanted. Cover the roasted ribs in barbecue sauce and bake for additional 45 minutes to an hour or until ribs are tender.

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Young’s Double Chocolate Beer Bacon Barbeque Sauce

20120518-113631.jpgCOOKING WITH BEER! After trying the Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, I had an idea to make a homemade barbecue sauce with bacon and the chocolate stout.20120518-113640.jpg

I used a basic blend of ingredients to make my barbecue sauce. I like to add tomato sauce instead of all ketchup, like other recipes.

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 ½ cup of Young’s double chocolate stout
  • 6 pieces of cooked bacon cut into bits

In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Add beer and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, add bacon bits and simmer for up to 20 minutes. For thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed.20120518-113709.jpg

Beer Rub Steak

This is probably the simplest recipe ever, but the flavor is amazing. It’s called Beer Rub, because you do a dry rub then about 15-20 minutes prior to cook – pour a nice good beer over it. It’s important to use a good beer, since the stronger the ale or stout, the more flavor it will have.You can use a DRY steak rub purchased in most grocery stores like Lawry’s or McCormick’s Montereal Steak Rub or make your own:

  • 4 tbsp course salt
  • 1 tbsp course cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme

Rub Steaks with the dry rub, let sit for an half an hour or longer, covered yet not refrigerated. Then take a beer like an ale or stout and pour it over the steaks in a shallow bowl. The rub will start to fizz with the carbonation of the beer. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes.

Then you are ready to grill, fry or roast. Really the options are endless, different beers, different cook methods and different rubs. This is an easy one for BBQ’s and everyone likes that beer flavor in the meat. Mmmmm.

Homemade Fried Chips and Guacamole

I had some avocados that needed to be used, so I wanted to make an easy guacamole that was simple. I didn’t have any chips, so I just made some myself. It’s really easy!

The “too easy” Guacamole
3 large avocados, diced
1/2 lemon or lime, squeezed
salt, cayenne and pepperEverything mushed in a bowl, don’t forget to leave the seed in the container. It keeps the guacamole fresher, longer.

The Chips
10-12 Tortillas, any kind you like
Olive oil
Salt (as desired)

Cut the tortillas in six pieces, usually I cut them in half – then 3 triangles. I used corn tortillas, but I can assume that you can get creative. I will try flour and maybe chipotle. 😉

I heat up a pan with a little oil in it. I usually keep the oil in the pan to one side, so I can fry the chips in oil and then move them over to the other side in the pan to let them fry while I start on more. 

Let them cook until they look like fried tortilla chips. Golden with some puffs. I take them from frying to a pyrex with napkins to soak some oil. You may not want to. When they are hot and oily, you can salt them.

mmmm, homemade chips and guacamole.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict and Homemade Hollandaise Sauce

Mmm, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. Perfect Balance of Sweet Hollendaise sauce, eggs and salty smoked salmon.

Hollandaise Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch salt

Directions
Mix the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

EGGS BENEDICT
1 package of Nova Smoked Salmon
4 English muffins, split
2 teaspoons white vinegar
8 eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Hollandaise sauce, recipe above
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Fill a 10-inch nonstick skillet half full of water. Add white vinegar to the cooking water. This will make the egg white cook faster so it does not spread. Bring to a slow boil. Gently break 1 of the eggs into the water taking care not to break it. Repeat with remaining eggs. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook 3 1/2 minutes until the egg white is set and yolk remains soft. Remove with a slotted spoon, allowing the egg to drain. To assemble: Lay pieces of salmon on top of each muffin half, followed by a poached egg. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon hollandaise sauce over the eggs. Garnish with chopped parsley. Yield: 4 servings

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

Okay, okay…. when I first started making Thanksgiving – I stole this recipe from Martha Stewart. Then I switched the Oranges to Tangerines and added Brandy. These days I love bourbon, so I used that this year.

2 bags (12 ounces each) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 wide strips orange zest, plus 1 cup fresh orange/tangerine juice
1 1/2 oz. of Bourbon.
Coarse salt and ground pepper (optional)

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, and 1/2 cup water, add bourbon and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange juice.