Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Microwave Lasagna

Yes, you read that right.

And this recipe is SO GOOD, too! My mom made it all the time (though truthfully I never have) ... I just had to post it so I can find it later :D

My aunt Elaine gave this recipe to my mom and I and she called it "One-Step Lasagna". My mom and I call it "microwave lasagna". Either way, you get the idea. The lasagna noodles used are the REGULAR ones -- not the "pre-cooked" ones, or whatever - you know the "no boil". This recipe uses just NORMAL lasagna noodles.


1 lb lean ground beef
2 jars (~ 30 oz) spaghetti sauce
3/4 - 1 cup hot water
1 package (7 oz) uncooked lasagna noodles, trimmed to fit 12x9 baking dish
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese (cottage cheese works just as well)
3 cups (12 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
parsley (fresh is best if you have it)

1. Crumble beef in 2 qt casserole, cover and cook on high 5 minutes, stirring halfway throughtime. Pour off fat. Add sauce and water, mix well.

2. Sspread 1/3 meat sauce in a 12x9 dish. Arrange 1/2 the uncooked noodles over sauce. Spread 1/2 the ricotta (or cottage) cheese. Top with 1/3 of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat layers, with remaining noodles, ricotta and meat sauce. Top w/ parmesan cheese.

3. Double wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Cook on high 15 minutes. Turn 1/2, cook on 50%, 12-15 minutes. Unwrap, and sprinkle w/ remaining mozzarella. Cook on high 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Brownie Bites with Mocha Frosting

Yesterday, I was heading over to a friend's house for his annual Bocce Ball tournament and BBQ. I never like to show up at a BBQ empty-handed, but I hadn't had time to run to the store to make the mango salsa I usually take. I was looking through the pantry, trying to think of something quick (so the baby would put up with me spending time in the kitchen, and not with him on the couch!) I remembered that my in-laws had left almost a full box of these brownie bites with us the last time they were in town, so I pulled them out of the freezer to thaw. Well, I couldn't just take brownie bites in a Ziploc bag with me to a party, so I decided to top them with mocha frosting. They were a hit! And I'm so glad I was only able to stay at the BBQ for only an hour, because I would have finished a whole plate myself. I'm sure of it.

If you can't find brownie bites, anything chocolate and cakey would do, I'm sure! If you want to get fancy, grate some chocolate over the top of the frosted brownie bites, or sprinkle them with some toasted, chopped hazelnuts or almonds for crunch.

Mocha Frosting
Makes enough to top 30 brownie bites

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp good vanilla extract
1 T instant espresso powder
1 T water or milk (for dissolving the espresso powder)
1 T Kahlua or coffee liquor (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar, cocoa, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer. (Start slow, or you will end up with sugar and cocoa all over the place!)
2. Dissolove espresso powder in water or milk, and add to creamed mixture along with the Kahlua (if using). Continue to mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.
3. Scoop into a plastic bag, clip the corner, and pipe onto tops of brownie bites, or spread on with a knife.