DISCLAIMER: These recipes I am going to share with you are not quick, easy, or calorie free.....but boy are they ever delicious!
The first recipe I got from Alicia Paulson's blog . She and her husband Andy shared this for Valentine's Day. It would have to be a special occasion because it takes forever to make. First of all, make the sauces the day before and REALLY prep for this recipe ahead of time otherwise it will be midnight before you serve it! That aside....it is SO worth it and heats up wonderfully in the microwave for leftovers.
Alicia's picture was better and they had cute individual oblong casserole dishes they cooked it in. Moi just had regular 9" square casserole dish...vintage Corning Ware! LOL! Regardless, it was marvelous and the juices are so good you could put them over ice cream and you would love it. I can't say enough about this very special dish.
Our version of these, from Martha Stewart
For the sauce:
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
2 t. olive oil
2 t. butter
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 oz. lean ground beef
3 oz. ground pork
3 oz. Italian sausage
Salt and pepper
1/2 c. red wine
12 oz. chopped tomatoes (boxed or canned)
2 c. chicken stock
1/4 t. nutmeg
For the bechamel sauce:
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. plus 3 tablespoons milk
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
6 lasagna noodles
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
To make the sauce:
1. In large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and have let off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, 3 to 4 more minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in separate skillet, break up and brown all meats over high heat, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper. Drain off fat and add meats to skillet containing vegetables; mix everything together. Add wine and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, stock, and nutmeg. Lower heat to medium low and slowly simmer, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Much of the liquid will evaporate but sauce will remain very moist. It can be made 2 days in advance and stored in refrigerator. You will have extra sauce after lasagnas are assembled to use over pasta, etc., for lunch the next day, too.
To make the bechamel:
1. In a saucepan, melt 2 T. butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring milk and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk the milk into the flour mixture until completely incorporated and smooth. Add the nutmeg and reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
To assemble the lasagna:
1. Boil lasagna noodles in large pot of salted water until about a minute before you normally like them to come out. Drain and rinse with cold water, then cut (shorten) to fit two 12-ounce individual ovenproof casserole dishes.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until wilted and tender. Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Set aside.
3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 5 T. meat sauce into each of the casserole dishes. Cover with 1 lasagna noodle and spread 5 T. meat sauce evenly over. Spread 2 T. bechamel over the meat sauce and evenly distribute 2 T. chopped spinach over the bechamel. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cover with 1 lasagna noodle. Repeat layering process. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of Parmesan and dot with butter.
4. Bake until tops of lasagnas are golden and juices are bubbling, about 20 to 25 minutes. If the tops are not yet brown, increase heat to broil and place lasagnas under broiler until tops are speckled brown. Let stand 10 minutes; serve with red wine, simple salad, crusty bread, fancy deserts, and lots of love. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxo
For dessert, I had picked up some Spring Strawberries and decided to make strawberry shortcake. Many times I use angel food cake and that's good but I decided to try to make shortcake from scratch using Nigella Lawson's recipe and it did not disappoint! I like these better than scones and they are good enough to have naked with a cup of tea. No! I'm not naked, the shortcake! As in nothing on the shortcake!
Again, this is not a quick, easy or low cal dessert but you will get immense pleasure from eating it!
Don't worry, I don't expect you to try and read this. I will give you the recipe below.
For the shortcakes:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
5 tablespoons sugar but save 2 of the 5 for later
1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup light cream (I used whole milk as I didn't have any cream)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 baking sheet, greased or lined with parchment or wax paper
2 1/2 inch round cutter (I used a glass)
For the filling:
approximately 11 ounces strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
few drops of Balsamic vinegar (I used strawberry champagne vinegar...I have no idea where that came from? I usually have Balsamic but someone put the empty bottle back in the cupboard! Now who on earth would do such a thing????)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped or creme fraiche ( I live alone so I use the canned Ready Whip, it's fresh whipped cream that doesn't get watery after a day like when I whip a carton of whipping cream)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingertips to finish crumbling the butter into the flour. Whisk the egg into the light cream, and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix. You may not need all of the eggy cream to make the dough come together, so go cautiously.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll gently to a thickness of about a 1/4 inch. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out as many rounds as you can. Work the scraps back into a dough, re-roll and finish cutting out. You should get 8 in all. Place the shortcakes about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg white, and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. If it helps with the rest of your cooking, or life in general, you can cover and refrigerate them now for up to 2 hours.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown, and let them cool for a short while on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, crush half the strawberries with the spoonful of sugar and the few drops of Balsamic vinegar if using, and halve or quarter the remaining berries, depending on their size. Whip the heavy cream if you're using.
The shortcakes should be eaten while still warm, so split each one across the middle and cover with a spoonful of the crushed strawberry mixture, a few halved or quartered strawberries, then dollop some whipped cream or creme fraiche on top and set the top back on. Makes 8