Archive for November 10th, 2011

My mother had a few meals she made when we were growing up that were outstanding…others, well trail and error. When I entered my late teens/early 20’s my mother channelled her inner Julia Childs/Elizabeth Baird and started experimenting with recipes more and became really good at cooking. Unfortunately I had left home and only got to sample new recipes when I flew home for visits.

Even though she’s not in our lives, her recipes live on in our hearts.

Mom’s Barley and Corn Casserole
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, minced
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 red or green pepper, chopped
1 cup pot or pearl barley
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F

In an oven proof skillet heat oil over medium heat. Saute your onion, carrots, celery, peppers and garlic until onion is softened. Stir in barley and stock. Mix well. Cover skillet and bake for 1 hour. After one hour stir in corn, parsley and season with salt & pepper. Baker for another 5 minutes (uncovered) or until heated through. This dish freezes well.

Tip if using frozen corn, let it defrost at room temp and drain well before using.

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Vegetarian Lasagna

I used to make this regularly when I was single. Leftovers could be frozen and I had an instant defrostable meal when I didn’t feel like cooking. Enter husband, carnivore, meat eater. Doesn’t do so well without meat in his diet. And so vegetarian cooking only happens these days when a Vegetarian comes for dinner.

However…we are embarking on a long weekend here in our fair city and I’m craving a meatless dinner.

Vegetarian Lasagna

1 1/2 cups sundried tomatoes (dry pack)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 large zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
4-6 cups fresh spinach, lightly steamed
8 oz box lasagna noodles, oven ready
2 cups ricotta cheese (or 1% cottage cheese)
2-3 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Here we go….
Boil sundried tomatoes in water until softened (3-4 minutes). Drain. Mix 1 tbsp oil with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Add your softened tomatoes and stir. Marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain and blend in mixer until consistency is spreadable.

Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add your zucchini and mushrooms. Saute until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine fresh & frozen spinich in a bowl.

Mix 3/4 cup mozzarella into the ricotta.

Assemble your lasagna…
Spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with pam. Put a layer of noodles on bottom. Spread on some of the sundried tomatoes and 1/4 of the ricotta cheese mixture ensuring you cover the noodles. Add another layer of noodles and spread with 1/3 of your spinich mixture, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 zucchini/mushrooms. Add more noodles. Repeat the layers starting at the beginning with the sundried tomatoes until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of noodles. It doesn’t have to be perfect! On the top sprinkle any leftover mozzarella cheese and the cheddar cheese. Feel free to use more cheese if you have it.

Bake in preheated 350F oven for 45-50 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly. Always let your lasagna stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Tasty, relatively healthy and ohhh so delicious!

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