Evelyn Chartres Author

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Lasagna and the multitude of variants seems to be a staple for many families. While this variant does not have feature a meat layer, it makes up for it with flavour. The sautéed mushrooms, spinach and Ricotta cheese come together to create a delicious ready-to-serve meal!

This recipe feeds 4 to 6 people.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 12 of Lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup (235 ml) of shredded mozzarella cheese

Sauce Layer

  • 10 fluid ounces (285 ml) of canned mushrooms (drained)
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of cumin
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of finely chopped onions
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of chopped roasted red pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic (5-10 g) pressed
  • 22 fluid ounces (640 ml) of diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 8 fluid ounces (250 ml) of tomato sauce (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of Italian seasoning

Cheese Layer

  • 16 ounces (450 g) of Ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 5 ounces (140 mg) of chopped spinach.

Instructions

  1. Prepare noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse before setting aside.

Sauce Layer

  1. Using a well-oiled skillet add mushrooms and cumin. Sauté under medium-heat until mushrooms begin to brown.
  2. Add onions, red pepper and garlic to the skillet. Sauté until onions are transparent.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to the skillet. Save 2 teaspoons (30 ml) for later.
  4. Add Italian Seasoning and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cheese Layer

  1. Carefully drain spinach and add to a large bowl.
  2. Add ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg whites, bread crumbs to the bowl.
  3. Mix until you have a consistent finish at set aside.
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Use remaining two tablespoons (30 ml) of tomato sauce to coat the bottom of stoneware casserole dish or pan.
  3. Layer three noodles at the bottom making sure they overlap slightly. Cover with half of the cheese layer.
  4. Layers three noodles to they run perpendicular to the earlier layer, ensuring they overlap. Cover with half of the sauce layer.
  5. Repeat previous two steps to make up remaining layers.
  6. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese then place in the oven.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
  8. Cut into appropriately sized slices. Ready-to-serve.

Italian Porketta

A tasty combination of pork and seasonings. While the roast itself has great flavour, it can also be served with a rich hunter sauce, roast potatoes and some tasty greens.  This recipe is easy to prepare, is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (900 mg) of pork tenderloin
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. Combine seasonings and used to coat the roast.
  3. Roast in a shallow pan for 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).
  4. Let roast rest for 5 minutes before carving. Ready to serve.

Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata is said to be nothing more than chicken breast cutlets, dredged in flour, browned then served with a sauce of butter, lemon juice, capers and stock.

While this recipe fits the definition, the sauce and chicken preparation have been separated. I found that making the sauce after you cook the chicken has varied results.

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup (80 g) of all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of lemon pepper
  • 1 pound (450 g) of chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of butter
  • 2 cloves (5-10 mg) of garlic
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon (5 ml) of capers

Preparation

  1. In a bag or container, mix flour less 1 tablespoon (15 ml), salt, pepper and lemon pepper.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half, place one piece at a time into bag, shake to cover.
  3. In an oiled medium pan on medium heat.  Cook chicken on all sides until meat is no longer pink in the center.  Set aside, keep warm using tin foil.
  4. Scrape up some brown bits from the pan and set aside.
  5. In a small saucepan, add oil and butter. Melt butter on medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and sauté for a minute.
  7. Add flour and stir until you have a consistent mix.
  8. Add chicken broth, brown bits, lemon juice and Italian seasoning. Continue heating and stir until sauce thickens.
  9. Add in capers and wait until they are heated through.
  10. Serve chicken covered with sauce.  Makes four portions.

Tuscan Sausage

I am not too sure if this recipe has anything to do with dishes served in Tuscany. However, this dish combines Italian sausage, potatoes, mushrooms, peas and pasta sauce to create a ready-to-serve meal in less than an hour.

This recipe can be heavily varied based on the type of pasta sauce used.  I typically opt for a four-cheese or spinach pasta sauce, both variants are crowd pleasers!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 g) of Italian Sausage
  • 1 pound (450 g) of potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of garlic butter
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of cumin
  • 10 fluid ounces (285 g) of sliced mushrooms
  • 3 ounces (85 g) of diced onions
  • 3 ounces (85 g) of diced red peppers
  • 22 fluid ounces (650 g) of pasta sauce
  • 6 ounces (170 g) of thawed snow peas

Preparation

  1. Cook and slice up the sausage.  I typically use an outdoor grill to enhance the flavour.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into ¼ inch cubes (0.6 cm). Rinse then heat in the microwave until the potatoes have begun to soften for approximately 3 minutes (halved).
  3. In a 8.75 inch skillet (22 cm) melt butter on medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and cumin. Sauté until mushrooms are a golden brown. When done set aside.
  4. In a well-oiled 3.5 quart (3.3 l) sauté pan, cook onions and red peppers until onions become transparent.
  5. Add potatoes and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add sausage, mushrooms and pasta sausage. Reduce heat to low/medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Add snow peas then allow to heat.  Ready to serve.
  8. Optionally place individual portions into a pot of stoneware then cover in mozzarella cheese.  Heat in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 350°F (180°C).