The Perfect Sweet Dessert Topping!

As much as I wish I was the one who  ROCs our kitchen, I would be lying. I cook everyday but my man is a creative cook and can throw down! When he decides to cook I get excited because I know my tummy will be in for a treat. He likes good ol’ southern home cooking with grilling, fried chicken, cheesy homemade dishes,  fresh vegetables, desserts, and the list goes on.. Lucky me! I know.. This passion of his was passed to him by his mom, the true southern home cookin’ chef! Her baked goods are TDF!!! No lie..

Yes, my multi-talented boyfriend not only cooks, plays basketball but will beat me every time on the pool table!

Yes, my multi-talented boyfriend not only cooks and plays basketball but he will also beat me every time on the pool table!

The other day he made a homemade cheesecake with a Keebler graham cracker crust (this ingredient was a big deal since we are in Italy and you cant find that here). It was left by an American friend, thanks!!

The fresh all-natural fruit topping was tangy, sweet, and no doubt the best part. We killed the cheesecake after 3 nights of servings. Now I am still craving more.

A mixture of fresh raspberries, lime juice, and sugar makes for a heavenly topping. Muddle this concoction and top any favorite dessert for a POP of fragrant flavor.

Jason's homemade cheesecake with the most delicious fresh topping- Raspberry Tang  (I made up the name of the topping, he might not approve. lol)

Jason’s homemade cheesecake with the most delicious fresh topping- Raspberry Tang (I made up the name of the topping, he might not approve. lol)

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Four Layer Lasagna

As they say, when in Rome…  Tonight I am excited to get in the kitchen and prepare homemade lasagna. This is a dish that requires, patience, steps, flavor, and fresh ingredients. This Italian staple can be made with a variety of ingredients, similar to pizza in that fashion. I am making the original lasagna with bolognese red sauce and a cheesey top that is browned just right (of course!). bolognese meat sauce originates form Bolonga, Italy which is down the road from where I currently living, so I felt this is an appropriate choice.  This can also be made with white sauce, spinach, chicken, and cheese… All depends what your in the mood for.

My boyfriend doesn’t get home from practice till 8 pm so I have two full hours to get cooking. Once I sliced into my bell pepper  I knew it would be good night…

Is my pepper smiling at me? lol

Is my pepper smiling at me? lol

I start by prepping the vegetables for my meat. I dice 1 small onion, 1 green pepper, and 2 garlic cloves minced.

Set aside. I season my ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dash of paprika then add the meat into a hot frying pan. I like to let the meat cook for a couple of minutes then add the diced onion, green pepper, and garlic. The flavors will saute into the meat while cooking till the meat is browned.

Brown meat with onion, pepper, and minced garlic.

Brown meat with onion, pepper, and minced garlic.

By now your house is smelling good! While your meat is cooking prepare a pot for your sauce. Add two bottles of your favorite traditional tomato sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes, and the seasonings. I season the sauce with garlic powder, black pepper, salt, paprika, sugar, and Italian seasoning. I like to taste test as I season because you can always add more but you cant reverse an over seasoned sauce. If you like spicy add a couple shakes of crushed red pepper to your sauce (the sugar will blend great for a sweet heat flavor). Add the cooked meat and let simmer for a while.. The longer you let cook on low the more the flavors will blend together.

Lasagna sauce

Boil the noodles as directed. Cook to be firm since we will be baking the dish once everything is set.

lasagna noodle

Putting the pieces together..  First, line the bottom of the pan with a layer of sauce. On top of the sauce add a layer of noodles covering the sauce.  Next add another layer of sauce on top of the noodles.

lasanga dish 1

Using a spoon dollop sour cream and cottage cheese randomly on the sauce (about 2 table spoons of each on each layer). Add the next noodle layer and follow the above steps again until your pan is full of layers, I usually end of up with 4 layers.

Lasagna dish 3

The last layer will be sauce, cottage cheese, and the sour cream layer. This is when you want to add the cheese! I cover the entire top of mine with cheese.. I am an extra cheese kind of girl. This part is up to you.

Lasagna dish 4

Pop your creation into the oven at 350 degrees until the top is slightly browned. Enjoy!

Lasagna dish 5 Lasagna dish 6

 The sauce oozes out the side of the layers while the melted cheese is browned just right.


The sauce oozes out the side of the layers while the melted cheese is browned just right.

Bon appetit!

Ingredients-

Sauce:

  • 2 jars of traditional marinara sauce
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 table spoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon of paprika

Other ingredients-

  • 1 box of lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound of ground beef (or choice of ground meat)
  • 2 cups of mozzarella or cheddar cheese for topping.(I’ve been using a mild cheddar yellow cheese)
  • 1 small container of sour cream
  • 1 small container of cottage cheese
  1. Dice the bell pepper, onion, and garlic.
  2. Season the ground beef (or meat of choice) with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Begin browning the meat, add the bell pepper, onion, and minced garlic to the meat while cooking. Cook till done. Set aside.
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients into a large pot, simmer for a few minutes (stirring occasionally). Then add the cooked meat to the sauce. Let simmer and stir occasionally on low for 45 minutes or longer The longer you allow to simmer, the more the flavors marinate.
  5. Meanwhile cook the lasagna noodles as directed. Cook the noodles firm since you will be baking them as well.
  6. Layer the bottom of a baking dish with a layer of the sauce, then add a layer of the noodles, again cover with sauce then dollop the sour cream and cottage cheese randomly on the sauce (about a quarter of each container).
  7. Add a noodle layer over this mixture and start the process over again. Create about 3-4 layers. I like to do 4 layers without shorting on the sauce.  once you are on the final layer of sauce, cottage cheese, and sour cream add a full layer of the shredded cheese instead of noodle layer. Cook on 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or till top layer is lightly browned.
  8. Let cool. Serve with a fresh garden salad. .
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