Monday, August 27, 2012

Beef and Zucchini 'Lasagna'

Technically this can't be a lasagna, since it doesn't have any noodles.

The zucchini however, makes an excellent substitute!
Beef and Zucchini Lasagna
Menu Managed Original

2 medium zucchini
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste
1 can seasoned petite diced tomatoes
2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
2 jalapeno's, seeded and minced

Brown beef with onion until meat is no longer pink; drain excess fat.
Add garlic, herbs de provence, and salt and pepper.
Stir in tomatoes and let simmer lightly to incorporate flavors.

Combine cheeses with minced jalapeno's and stir to combine.
Wash zucchini and cut lengthwise into 1/4" strips.
Layer strips to cover the bottom of a greased 9x13" baking dish (just as you would lasagna noodles).
Spread half of the meat mixture over the zucchini.
Sprinkle half of the cheese/jalapeno mixture over the meat sauce.
Layer remaining zucchini strips, meat and cheese mixture.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and turns golden brown.

If Freezing:
Prepare dish as described above without baking.  Freeze for up to 6 months.  Bake frozen at 375 for 45 minutes, or until center is heated through and cheese is melted.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Marshmallow Fondant

Marshmallow fondant is a great alternative for cake decorating.
It is fun to use and easy to make.  Not to mention that it is extremely yummy!
This is not so much of a recipe as it is a method.  No measuring required.

Marshmallow Fondant
Photo from Clockwork Lemon

marshmallows (large or small)
powdered sugar
food coloring

Place a few handfuls of marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl (3-4 handfuls of small marshmallows frosted a double layer 9" cake).
Microwave in 10-30 second intervals until they are easy to stir.
Separate marshmallows into different bowls if you are going to be making different colors.
To each bowl, add food coloring - You want to make it darker than the color you want it to turn out like, since you will be adding powdered sugar.
Pour marshmallow mix into a mixer bowl and attach the kneading blade.
Add powdered sugar to the bowl and knead until fondant is no longer sticking to blade and bowl.
Transfer to counter onto wax paper.
Add more powdered sugar and knead until fondant is no longer sticking to your fingers and hands, and is stiff enough to roll out.
Can be stored in an airtight container for months until ready to use (do not refrigerate).

To frost cake:
Put a thin layer of icing on cake to help fondant adhere to it.
Roll out fondant and layer over icing.
Smooth out with fingers.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Italian Seasoned Bottled Tomatoes

These are fabulous tasting tomatoes that add great flavor to practically any dish!  I particularly like this recipe because it has limited juice/liquid, which results in a more concentrated and enriched tomato flavor.  Petite dicing the tomatoes does result in using more tomatoes per jar, but the outcome is well worth it!

Italian Seasoned Bottled Tomatoes
Menu Managed Original

kosher or canning salt
minced garlic
seasoned tomato spice blend (below)

Spice Blend
6 Tbsp. dried basil
3 Tbsp. dried thyme
3 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. dried rosemary
2 Tbsp. dried sage

Blanch tomatoes and remove stems and skins.
Petite dice tomatoes and place in a large colander over a bowl to catch all of the juice.

In sterilized jars, using a slotted spoon, add tomatoes half way up the jar.
To each quart sized jar add:
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. spice belnd
1 tsp. kosher or canning salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Spoon in additional tomatoes.
Gently shake the jar to compact tomatoes, and spoon in more to within 1" headspace.
Ladle in tomato juice (from the bowl under the colander), to within 1" headspace.

Remove air bubbles.
Wipe bottle rim clean.
Screw on lids and bands to fingertip tight.
Continue filling other jars.

Due to the size of the tomato chunks, and to the limited amount of juice (and the fact that you are using tomato juice instead of water), processing time must be increased to ensure that heat fully penetrates to the center.   

Process in a pressure canner at 13 lbs. (Utah elevation) for 25 minutes.

Tomatoes and liquid will seperate during processing - this is normal.
Once cooled, simply shake the jar to stir contents together.

Because this is a cold pack method (no cooking before putting tomatoes in jars), the tomatoes will shrink slightly, resulting in the larger headspace.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quinoa and Cheese {with Brocolli}

Just like the average Mac and Cheese, this recipe swaps out the noodles in replace of quinoa.  Chopped brocolli makes it the perfect side dish, and a thin layer of panko bread crumbs adds a slight crunch.
We all loved it, including my 3 and 6 year old boys.

Quinoa and Cheese {with Broccoli}
Recipe modified and photo from Around The Table

1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. water
1 chicken bouillon
1 1/2 c. chopped broccoli
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
2/3 c. milk
1 egg
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 c. grated pepperjack cheese
Pando bread crumbs

Bring water and bouillon to a boil.
Add quinoa and cover.
Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
Add broccoli to the top of quinoa, cover again and continue to simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, whisk egg and milk together and grate the cheeses.
Remove pan from heat.
Stir broccoli into quinoa and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add egg/milk mixture and cheese to pan and stir until cheese is just melted.
Transfer to a greased 8 or 9" square baking pan.
Top with a thin layer of panko bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, until crumbs are just golden.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bottled Mango Peach Salsa

This delicious summer salsa can now be enjoyed all year!

Mango Peach Salsa - Bottled
Recipe adapted from Ball Book of Home Preserving

6 c. chopped tomatoes
3 c. chopped peaches
3 c. chopped mango's
1 bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 c. chopped red onion
4 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
2 c. loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
1/2 c. honey
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

Blanch tomatoes to easily remove skins.
Chop tomatoes and place into a colander to drain.

Meanwhile, chop the bell pepper, onion, jalapenos and place in a large pot.
Chop cilantro and set aside.
Combine honey, lime juice and vinegars and set aside.

Chop the mango's and peaches and add to the pot.
Immediately measure out the strained tomatoes and add to pot.
Over medium-high heat, bring salsa mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add cilantro and liquid ingredients.
Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.
Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim of jars clean.
Screw band down on lid to fingertip-tight.

Process in steamer or waterbath canner for 10 minutes (half-pints), or 15 minutes (pints).
Remember to adjust for altitude.
Makes ~7 pints.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Steak and Cheese Sandwiches

These sandwiches are quick and easy and taste fabulous.  We served ours on mini homemade french bread loaves.

Steak and Cheese Sandwiches
Recipe modified from SkinnyTaste

1/2 lb. thin cut beef round steak
1/2 tsp. olive oil
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 large bell pepper, sliced
1 large onion, carmelized
Provolone cheese
French Bread or Baguettes

In a large skillet heat olive oil
Season steak with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Cook in skillet until just done and transfer to cutting board.
Let steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain into strips.
Meanwhile, add carmelized onions and peppers to skillet and heat through.
Return steak strips to skillet and stir to combine.
Top each bread half with steak mixture and sliced cheese.
Place under broiler until cheese melts.