Last night I had a couple of friends over for dinner and to have some fun in the kitchen. One of them was Jenny Carden, a Pampered Chef consultant and contributor to Dixie Chik Cooks.
There’s nothing like relaxing in the kitchen with good conversation and good wine.
Here’s what we made:
Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates
Grape Tomato and Onion Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Cuban Bread with Italian Dipping Oil
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies – a recipe by Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
And, by the way, Jenny made the Whoopie Pies and these turned out perfect. The kiddies couldn’t keep their hands off them.
Below is my recipe for lasagna, which has been my go-to recipe for years. I played around with certain ingredients years ago and finally discovered a couple of things that have become my staples – that really make the difference – in this dish. And sometimes I tweak it here and there, but for the most part the recipe is a good, solid foundation for a great lasagna.
Later I will be posting the other recipes that we made, but for now-
Here’s me (right) and Jenny (left)…..she’s such a cutie – and she LOVES to cook so you know we had fun.
And here’s my friend Tresia enjoying a Whoopie Pie – I just love this girl.
I want to do dinner parties every week! And have somebody come clean up after us!
Here’s the recipe for the lasagna:
1 lb ground round
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
1 12 oz package lasagna pasta
1/2 cup beef broth
1 12 oz container ricotta cheese
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, diced
2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
4 cups mozzarella cheese
1 package of sliced provolone cheese (you can find it where the shredded cheese is -sliced for sandwiches)
1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 tbsp Sea salt
1 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat, and add garlic. When fragrant add onions and saute for about a minute or two. Add sausage and ground beef, mashing and stirring until all crumbled and browned. Add 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, both cans of tomatoes, beef broth, balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a slow boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Taste periodically and adjust salt/seasonings to your preference.
Next, mix ricotta, eggs, and parm in a medium mixing bowl. Salt and pepper to your taste. I add about 1 tbsp of sea salt and 2 tbsp coarse pepper. But that’s me.
In a 9×10 baking pan (we used the Pampered Chef stoneware), pour 1/2 cup of the sauce and spread on the bottom. Layer lasagna noodles, followed by ricotta mixture, then sauce. Next, lay on top of the sauce 3 1/2 Provolone slices, followed by more pasta, ricotta, sauce and next mozzarella. Continue repeating until the dish is almost full. Cover very tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let it rest for about 15 minutes, then you can cut and serve.
Finally, I just had to mention the stoneware we cooked the lasagna in. This is not an advertisement, I promise. This is me telling you that Dixie Chik found something she profoundly needs in her kitchen. Dramatic? Yes. Necessary? I think so.
I have one stone – which is the pizza stone I got 6 years ago. And although I use it all the time, and I love it, I found a new PC stone friend last night. And she wants me to buy her.
She’s the Deep Covered Baker in Cranberry. I had no idea what a difference baking in stone would make. But oh my….it did. It honestly, and I’m not kidding, made a big difference in how evenly the lasagna cooked overall- no burnt edges.
I actually have a Pampered Chef “show” online open until Monday, 2/7. So, for the first three Dixie Chik fans that order online, Jenny will give away a free 2010 Fall/Winter Season’s Best Cookbook, which will not be available after the end of February. To browse the online catalog and/or order all you have to do is go here and enter “Shea Goldstein” (moi) as the hostess.