Sunday, January 29, 2023

Birthday Lasagna

I am not sure why this recipe is called birthday lasagna but by any name it was quite delicious. I found this recipe on I had the Bolognese Sauce in the freezer. All I had to get for the recipe were the Lasagna Noodles. 

I made an edit to the Bechamel Sauce. I added grated Parmesan Cheese when it was ready to come off the heat. A wise addition. 


For the Bechamel

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk


Pinch freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese

For the Lasagna

1/2 package no-boil (or the equivalent in fresh) lasagna sheets

3/4 cup shredded fresh mozzarella

Bolognese Sauce


Make the bechamel. 

In a medium heavy saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, and once the mixture starts to bubble cook for another 2 minutes, whisking frequently. Don't let the mixture brown.

Whisk in the milk slowly and raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. 

Lower the heat and keep whisking until the sauce turns thick and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Remove the bBechamel from the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese and cover and set aside.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. 

To assemble the lasagna, spread a couple of tablespoons of the bolognese in the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch square baking dish. 

Add a layer of lasagna noodles, overlapping them slightly if necessary. 

Spread 1/3 of the bechamel evenly over the noodles, and then spread 1/4 of the remaining bolognese over that. 

Add another layer of noodles.

Repeat until you have used all of the bechamel. 

Add a final layer of noodles and spread the remaining bolognese over the top. 

Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top of the lasagna. 

Cover the lasagna with a sheet of parchment paper and then wrap the dish tightly in aluminum foil. 

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the noodles are just tender (test them by piercing the lasagna with a sharp knife).

Turn the oven up to 425 degrees and remove the foil and the parchment. 

Return the lasagna to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, until deeply browned and bubbling. 

Let the lasagna cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Saturday.

2 lb boneless beef chuck pot roast
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz tomato sauce
2 bell pepper, sliced
2 yellow onions, sliced
6 oz jar sliced pepperoncini (plus more for serving)
crusty sandwich rolls, split and toasted
Sliced Provolone cheese

Spray the insert of a 6 or 7 qt slow cooker with cooking spray or use a slow cooker liner!

Drain the pepperoncinis reserving 1 1/2 tbsp of the liquid.

Combine the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in small bowl.

Trim the fat from the roast and season each side with roughly one-third of the seasonings.

Place the roast in the slow cooker.

Pour the tomato sauce over the roast.

Top with the peppers, onions, and pepperoncinis.

Sprinkle the remaining third of the seasonings on top as well as the reserved pepperoncini liquid.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 250F.Use two forks to shred the meat. It should be so tender that it basically just falls apart.

Using a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon, place the shredded beef mixture along with onions and peppers on the bottom half of the rolls. 

Make sure you let most of the liquid drain away so your sandwiches don't get soggy.

Top the shredded beef mixture with additional pepperoncinis if desired, and two (or more) slices of Provolone cheese. 

Place in oven just until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Lentil Soup with Chicken Sausage

Lentil Soup is a usual meal for us in January. I have using this Mark Bittman recipe for quite a number of years. Always a delicious meal.

This recipe makes enough for 2 meals. I put the 2nd portion of soup in the freezer for a later date.

Lentil Soup


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
2 Chicken Sausage Links, diced
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
Fresh ground pepper


Put the oil in a large deep pot over medium heat. 

When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until soft, just a minute or two. 

Add the carrot, celery and sausage keep cooking and stirring until the vegetables are brightly colored and hot about 2 minutes. 

Add lentils, bay leaf and stock; sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. 

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cook stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Bolognese with Parmigiano Stock

Houston, we have a new favorite sauce.

While I was sick with the flu I read Stanley Tucci's book, Taste: My Life Through Food.

I came across a recipe for a Bolognese sauce made with Parmigiano Stock. Parmigiano Stock! I had plenty of Parmigiano rinds in the freezer. I had to try it.

The stock alone is worth making. What a fantastic flavor.

And the sauce. I altered the original recipe to suit our tastes, so the recipe below is not the original from the book. Read the book if you want the original recipe. It would be best if you read the book anyway. It is just a delightful read.

The sauce was delicious. Even better than my Mom's recipe. Sorry, Mom.

It was a light sauce, but the but the Parmigiano Stock pushed this over the top for flavor.

Pino Posteraro's Parmigiano Stock

1 quart water
1 1/2 lb Parmigiano rinds
1 tbsp salt
3 bay leaf

Fill a large pot with the water.

Wrap the rings in cheesecloth, tie tightly with string, and secure to the side of the pot (this helps avoid the Parmigiano's sinking to the bottom of the pot and burning).

Submerge the wrapped rinds.

Add the salt and bay leaves.

Gently boil for 2 hours, strain and use for Bolognese.

My version of Pino Posteraro's Ragout alla Bolognese

1 tbsp onion, chopped
1 tbsp carrot, chopped
1 tbsp celery, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 oz fresh herbs (rosemary, sage and or thyme), chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 lb lean ground beef or veal
1 oz tomato paste
3 1/2 tbsp dry white wine
3 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Pinch of salt and black pepper
14 oz crushed tomato
14 oz can diced tomato
2 cups Parmigiano stock
1 oz butter
1 1/2 oz Grana Padano or Parmigiano cheese

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sweat the vegetable in the olive oil with the herbs. 

Add the meat and cook until brown. 

Add the tomato paste, wine and orange juice and let the liquids evaporate. 

Add the salt and pepper and the stocks, the tomatoes and let simmer for 1 1/2 hour.

When the sauce is cooked boil the pasta and add butter to sauce. 

Toss the pasta with the sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Steak Au Poivre Soup

This is such a good winter dinner. I had a Delmonico steak in the freezer and it was perfect in this recipe.

  • Ingredients-
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. 

    whole black peppercorns

  • 1 (8-oz.) sirloin steaks

    Kosher salt  
  • 1/2 c. 

    plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 

  • 4 tbsp. 

    (1/2 stick) butter

  • 1 

    thyme sprig, plus 1 tbsp. chopped leaves

  • 1 

    large shallots, 1/2 finely chopped, 1/2 sliced into rings

  • 2 tbsp c. 

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 tbsp c. 

    cognac or brandy 

  • 2 1/2 c. 

    low-sodium beef broth

  • 3/4 lb. 

    waxy baby potatoes, quartered 

  • 1/2 c. 

    heavy cream

  • 1 tbsp. 

    Worcestershire sauce

Grind peppercorns on the coarsest setting of a pepper mill (you can also use a mortar and pestle, or wrap peppercorns in cheesecloth and smash with a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet). 

Season steaks on both sides with a generous pinch of salt and crushed peppercorns, pressing peppercorns into the meat. 

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tbsp. of oil until shimmering. 
  1. Cook steak, gently pressing to make sure you don’t lose any peppercorns until well browned on one side, about 3 minutes. 
  1. Flip steak and add butter and thyme sprigs. 
  1. Continue to cook, spooning butter over the steak, until tops are crusty and well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135°, 2 to 3 minutes more. 
  1. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest until ready to use. 
  1. Strain the remaining fat in the skillet and reserve. 
  1. Wipe out any large chunks of pepper from the skillet. 
  1. Return reserved fat to the pan, then cook chopped shallot over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. 
  1. Add chopped thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  1. Add flour and whisk until combined. 
  1. Cook, whisking constantly, until flour darkens slightly, about 2 minutes. 
  1. Whisk in cognac until smooth, then slowly whisk in broth. 
  1. Add potatoes and bring to a simmer. 
  1. Cook until potatoes are tender and the soup is thickened, about 15 minutes. 
  1. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream and Worcestershire. 
  1. Cook, stirring, until warmed through and combined, about 5 minutes more.  
  1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, cook sliced shallots and remaining 1/2 cup oil, stirring occasionally, until oil begins to bubble around shallots, 2 to 3 minutes.
  1. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until shallots are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  1. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel-lined plate; season with a pinch of salt. 
  1. Let cool slightly. 
  1. Divide soup among bowls. 
  1. Cut steak into cubes, then top bowls with steak and fried shallots. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Baked Chicken Cutlets

I was going to fry the chicken cutlets tonight but this recipe is easier. There is no frying so wouldn't they be healthier?

Here is the original video for the recipe - watch the video.

I do not do the add lemon peel or do the lemon bath at the end. Why? Well lemon is not good for cats! There is a little gray cat who loves the chicken cutlet, but no breading!!! That is another cat no no.

Frank Pinello's Nonna's Chicken Cutlet Recipe -

1.   Mix eggs with Parmesan Cheese
2.   Mix bread crumbs, flour, pepper, Parmesan Cheese and parsley
3.   Coat baking pan with oil
4.   Toss chicken in a bowl with the egg/cheese
5.   Coat chicken with bread crumb mixture
6.   Place chicken in pan
7 .  Drizzle oil on top
8.   Heat oven to 350 and then raise temp to 450.
9.   Place tray in middle of oven
10. Mix lemon juice, parsley, pepper and oregano
11. Flip cutlets when they look like they do in the video (!!!)
12. Dip baked cutlets in lemon bath.

Tuesday Lunch Time Musings

Over the Christmas Holiday, I found myself in a position that forced me to sit in one place and read.

That was the only upside to the flu. 

I read Stanley Tucci's book Taste.

As soon as I am back on my feet I will be making Pino Posteraro's recipe for Bolognese Sauce. He uses Parmigiano Stock! Brilliant!! 

Monday, January 2, 2023

Aunt Carm’s Braciole

We are keeping in easy while we are on the mend.

I had a container with Braciole and sauce in the freezer. I have been using the recipe for Aunt Carm's Braciole for a while now and it never disappoints.

The Fettuccini noodles were the perfect light and fluffy bed for the Braciole. 

We have enough of the noodles leftover to have with our Chicken Cutlets tomorrow night.

Aunt Carm’s Braciole

For 4 braciole

Four top rounds – cut quarter inch
1/4 pound of Italian lunch meats: capicola, provolone, sliced thin
Meatball mixture – raw (breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, spices, ground beef, ground pork, and egg)
One hard-boiled egg – sliced
Olive oil
Cooking twine


Pound out top round pieces nice and flat.

Layer the lunch meat and cheese. I used Capicola and Provolone.

Spread the raw meatball mixture. 

I used the house meatball mix. 

Ground Beef and Pork with egg and Parmesan Cheese, this time I used bread crumbs instead of bread soaked in milk. 

Seasonings were salt, pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning.

Layer the hard-boiled eggs on top of the meatball mixture.

Make sure to fold up the ends and then roll them into a little package. 

Tie with string. 

Heat a pan over medium-high and add olive oil.

Brown the braciole on all sides and ends.

Drop package into the simmering tomato sauce and cook for three hours.

Slice and serve.

Happy New Year and We Have the Flu

Both Chris and I have been sick since Dec 23 and 24th. 

It is the Flu, type A. 

What does that mean? 

Christmas Dinner did not happen.

But let's not dwell on the past year. 

Onward and upward.


What have we been eating this week?

We have been eating soup. A lot of soup. 

Homemade Chicken Broth with Egg Noodles. 
Homemade Chicken Broth with Pastina. 
Did you hear Ronzoni is discontinuing its Pastina production?

My sister brought over a large pan of Cupalets. Delicious and very healthy. She uses the Thanksgiving Turkey for her broth. Always amazing!!

When I ran out to pick up a prescription the other night I also picked up a large container of Hot and Sour Soup at Jei Mei. That is my go to soup when I am sick.

Other than that just toast and tea.

I took out some Braciole that I had in the freezer for dinner tonight. 
We will see how that goes.

Honestly what I am really looking forward to is a Grey Goose Martini. 
3 Olives please!