Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 36 and 37: Lasagna with breadsticks

More than any other origin of the world, our food revolves around Italian-style food.
Is is true Italian? I wish. But here is how we celebrated the beautiful county this week.

Week 36: Lasagna Rolls
Adapted from 'Cook This! Not That!'

10- 12 lasagna noodles
6 oz Italian-style chicken or turkey sausage, or any other ground meat
1 bag frozen spinach, thawed
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 bottle of marinara sauce
3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Boil lasagna noodles and cook al dente. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, brown the sausage/meat. Add spinach, pepper flakes and nutmeg and cook until the spinach is warm. Season with S & P. Remove from heat and cook. Combine with ricotta in a large bowl.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread a thin layer of marinara at the bottom of a 13 X 9 inch baking dish.
4. Lay out noodles on a cutting board and cut in half crosswise. (So you have 20-24 shorter pieces.)
5. Place a large spoonful on spinach mixture in each noodle and roll up tightly. (Not too tight that it oozes out the side.) Place rolls in marinara dish.
6. Cover the rolls with the rest of the marinara sauce, then with the cheese.
7. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Rating: 4.8 with some adjustments.

Notes: Noodles were too al dente for us. Also, if you are using just plain ground meat, add some Italian seasoning. It was a little bland without it. Be generous with the marinara sauce. Ours lacked a bit.

Also, this recipe makes for 6 servings. We ate it for the rest of the week.

The Miamaids came over to my house for a little lesson on how to make breadsticks.Try to guess which ones are the girls and which ones are the leaders. (I'm often mistaken for a tall young woman.)

Not only did we eat ourselves silly with plenty of carbs and watch my skydiving video, they got to play around in my aprons. (You can't see Tami's but it is a floor-length apron from my great-grandma.)

Week 37: Italian Breadsticks
Yield: 36 small breadsticks
Time: 45 minutes start to finish
Recipe from Jamie Cooks it Up

1 1/2 C warm water
2 T sugar
1 T yeast
1/2 t salt
3 1/2- 4 C flour
1/4 C butter
3/4 C grated Parmesan or mozzarella cheese
Johnny's Garlic Seasoning (purchased at costco) or garlic salt

1. Mix the water, sugar and yeast together in a measuring cup or in the bottom of your mixer. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt and the flour, one cup at a time, until it is well incorporated. Mix on high for 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
3. Melt the butter and pour half of it into a jelly roll pan (large cookie sheet).
4. Place the dough in the center of the pan. Let it sit for 2 or 3 minutes. Letting the dough rest makes it MUCH easier to shape.
5. Spread the dough out flat onto the pan until it reaches all of the edges. Doing all of the spreading and cutting of these bread sticks, in the pan makes cleaning up your counter so much easier!
6. Pour the other half of the butter onto the dough. Spread it around with your hands. Sprinkle the Johnny's Garlic Seasoning all over the dough, and then the Parmesan cheese.
7. With a pizza cutter cut the dough into three rows lengthwise, and then into about 12 little height wise rows.
8. Put the pan into a 170 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes. The breadsticks should rise about 1 inch.
9. Turn you oven up to 350 and bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
10. When they come out of the oven let them sit and rest again for about 5 minutes. Then redefine your cutting lines with the pizza cutter.
11. I use a pair of cooking scissors to cut the edges where the pizza cutter can't reach.

Rating: 3.5. These are fine, but not fabulous. Maybe a little more salt in the seasoning? Cook a little longer?

Note: If you make this with a Bosch mixer, you need to double the recipe. With an extra batch I made Cinnastix. Trade the garlic seasoning for a mixture of 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon. I also put a dash of nutmeg because I am just that wild.

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