Lasagna

Always welcome around my table.  And, if I’m going to make one, I might as well make two and tuck one into the freezer for later or to share with a friend.  Two meals for one round of dishes!

1 lb. ground beef or pork sausage
½ c. chopped onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning mix
½ tsp. pepper
1 jar spaghetti sauce ( or 2 ½ c. sauce)
½  c. water
1 (16-oz.) container ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese
1 egg
¾ c. grated parmesan cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
1 c. sour cream
1 box lasagna noodles

Brown meat with onion, garlic powder, basil and pepper.  Add spaghetti sauce once meat is cooked.

In medium bowl, combine all cheeses, sour cream and eggs.

Layer into 9×13″ pan in the following order:

1 c. meat sauce, 1 layer lasagna noodles, 1/3 cheese mixture.  Repeat twice, putting remaining meat sauce on top.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 for 60 mins., or until sauce is bubbly.

Amber’s Sausage Stromboli

I know this beautiful young woman named Amber.  Although she would argue, she is remarkably strong, creative and capable.  She is fiercely committed to her family, and she has shown genuine love for mine.  My daughters adore her, and I am thankful for the role model she is for them.  I am blessed to know her and call her friend.

My oldest daughter, Rachel, had this stromboli at Amber’s house one time, and came home raving about it.  Rachel requested it for her birthday supper this year, and I was happy to make it for her.  There were no leftovers.  

I’m told that these hearty sandwiches freeze well, so feel free to make two and stick one in the freezer for a busy night.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 T. honey
1 t. sea salt
1 package yeast
3/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
1 T. melted butter
1 pound sausage
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
2 eggs
1 t. basil
grated Parmesan cheese

Combine flour, salt and yeast.  Add water, milk, honey and butter.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in a bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour. 

Meanwhile, in a skillet cook sausage.  Stir shredded cheese, one egg and basil into the sausage.  Set aside. 

Punch dough down and roll into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle. 

Spoon sausage mixture down one side of the rectangle to within one inch of the edges.  Fold dough over filling and pinch to seal.  Place on a cookie sheet.  Cut four diagonal slits on top of the stromboli. 

Beat remaining egg and brush it over the stromboli. 

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Slice and serve warm.

Christmas Morning Strata

For the past five years, we have had this casserole ready for breakfast on Christmas morning.  It’s easy to make and it always tastes great.

1 lb. ground pork sausage, browned
2 tsp. prepared mustard

Stir mustard into cooked sausage.

6 slices sandwich bread
2 c. Swiss cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c. milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
a couple of drops of hot sauce, if desired, stirred into eggs before cooking

Layer bread in greased 9×13 dish; top with sausage mixture and shredded cheese.

Combine milk and next 5 ingredients, blending well.  Pour over bread mixure.  Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 50 minutes or until set.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Chicken Gumbo

My friend, Monica, gave me this recipe several years ago, and it is GOOD! I have actually adapted it to fit our tastes and budget, but its essence is the same. The list of ingredients may look a little daunting, but it really isn’t that overwhelming to make. And, some of the ingredients are pretty versatile.

4-5 c. okra, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. basil
½ tsp. thyme
2 (15-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes (or 1 quart)
5 c. chicken broth
1 lb. chicken (cooked & diced)
1 lb. Polish sausage (diced)
½ c. oil
4 c. cooked rice

Heat oil in skillet; add okra and cook until gummy.

Add half of the seasonings along with the onions, celery and bell pepper. Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add half of the broth, all of the tomatoes and the remainder of the seasonings and simmer for half an hour.

Add the meat and remaining broth. Simmer additional half an hour.

Serve over rice and top with green onions, if desired.

Cheesy Sausage-Potato Casserole

This is a good example of how I re-work a recipe to make it more cost-effective.  At the risk of confusing you, I am going to put the original recipe in parentheses after the changes we have made. Notice that I’m increasing the low-cost ingredients (potatoes) and cutting the high-cost ingredients (sausage) into smaller pieces to give the illusion of “lots” of sausage on my family’s plates. (Otherwise, the kids are inclined to fight over the sausage chunks.) I am also keeping the amount of cheese the same, because there is plenty to go around even with the addition of four more potatoes.

8 potatoes, sliced (4 potatoes)
16oz. smoked sausage, diced (sliced into 2” chunks)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 stick butter, sliced (1 stick butter)
1 c. shredded yellow cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Layer potatoes, sausage and onion in a 13”x9” baking pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable cooking spray. Dot with butter; sprinkle with
cheese.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 min. (or until potatoes are tender).

Serves about six.