Short Rib Lasagne

A really delicious lasagna is one of the most comforting meals in my book. It’s tough to beat tender pasta, rich tomato sauce, and multiple kinds of Italian cheese all packed into a single casserole dish. But when two of my friends, both Josie and Katie were raving about this version that’s made with short ribs – I had to give it a try!

It doesn’t use any ricotta, which I was worried about. But, you really don’t miss it. The short ribs are braised in the tomato sauce all day long – creating more of a “Sunday Gravy” than a marinara. Then the dish is also layered with a creamy bechamel sauce, another Italian trick to a great pasta dish that many of us haven’t had the opportunity to try. So, that in itself adds a layer of creaminess and richness that replaces the layer of ricotta.

I did go ahead and add more mozzarella cheese than the recipe called for, just because I happened to have a surplus in the fridge. The recipe also called for the addition of porcini mushrooms – which, I didn’t have as many as I’d like. They’re one thing that I always try to have on hand, just because they add such a ton of flavor and keep well in the pantry. My stock has dwindled down, and I have a hard time finding them out here in the Boonies. So, I used what I had which was only about 1/2 cup – but it still turned out delicious. But you could double the quantity of mushrooms if you like.  I’ve got to order some more from the internet this week!

The short ribs are shredded down and layered with the pasta, tomato sauce, bechamel sauce, and cheese…then baked to a browned and bubbly perfection. I served with classic accompaniments to any Italian meal – a nice green salad and crusty garlic bread. It’s also a great place for a glass of nice red wine, where you have to open some for the sauce anyways!

Source: adapted from Fine Cooking via Pink Parsley and So Tasty, So Yummy

Caramelized Onion & Bacon Pizza

We’ve got a big day coming up this Sunday. Not that I care as much where neither of my teams made the cut – but quite a few of my friends are Broncos fans, so we’ll be rooting for them in our house. And, of course I never need an excuse to fill up our table with football-munchie related items.

So when the folks at Musselman’s asked me to share a game day recipe with you guys that featured their delicious apple butter, I couldn’t say no. We’re big fans of apple butter in this house – just by putting it on a simple peanut butter sandwich or toast, or incorporating into a recipe, it’s always a winner. I first got hooked on the stuff after receiving a jar from the husband of one of my best friends who is from Michigan. Their family cooks a huge batch every year and then shares it amongst themselves. It’s rich, fruity, and delicious – without being overly sweet. So, to be able to find a jar of a quality apple butter on the shelf at my local grocery store is wonderful, and like I said – we use it regularly.

So, this pizza. It’s definitely not your typical pizza…but, that’s a welcome change in my book. A crispy crust with a layer of apple butter as the sauce, that’s then topped with plenty of smoky gouda and sharp white cheddar, caramelized onions, and crispy bacon. Then right before serving you top it with a bit of baby arugula for a fresh, spicy kick. It was really delicious, and different. The slightly sweet sauce and onions mingled with the smokiness of the gouda and bacon was an absolutely perfect pairing.

Jon and I both really enjoyed it, and I was kind of shocked that the boys loved it too! I figured where it wasn’t your standard pizza, they wouldn’t be interested – but their little palettes continue to surprise me everyday! If you’re looking for something new to add to your Super Bowl munchie lineup, give this pizza a try!

Musselman’s has also generously offered to host a great giveaway for our readers! A gift package featuring a jar of apple butter with a few recipe cards for some ideas to get you kick-started on what to make with your jar, and also this fabulous Wilton Armetale Grillware Pizza Tray. Which, I can vouch for – has been wonderful. My pizza stone cracked last week (my second Pampered Chef stone to crack in 1 year!) so this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It can go up to 1,000 degrees F, so is oven as well as grill safe! I’m looking forward to trying some grilled pizza recipes on this bad boy come spring.

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To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite game day snack is! Contest will run from today through Februrary 2nd at 11:59 PM. Winner will be selected by that nifty Random Number Generator and contacted that Monday morning. Big thanks to Musselman’s for hosting such a great giveaway!

Source: adapted from Fork vs. Spoon via Musselman’s

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Congratulations to Morgan who said that she loves Bbq beef short ribs, buffalo chicken dip and bacon wrapped shrimp on game day. Those are some of my favorites too!

Mushroom Risotto

Last week I’d made a delicious roasted chicken for dinner, and being the frugal girl that I am – couldn’t let that chicken carcass go in the trash can without making a batch of chicken stock with it first. When menu planning for that week I took stock of what I had in the pantry before heading to the store to do my weekly grocery stock-up. I had a full package of arborio rice, and a bunch of samples of different varieties of dried mushrooms that the good folks at Marx Gourmet Foods had sent me – so I put mushroom risotto on the lineup.

I ended up making it on a cold, rainy evening…and this filling meal couldn’t have been more perfect. I’ve gone on before about how wonderful dried mushrooms are to keep around. They add so much flavor to whatever dish you use them for, and they never go bad in the pantry. While I’d say porcini is my hands down favorite, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the matsutake. They were lighter in flavor, almost floral. I’d imagine they would be absolutely perfect in a big batch of homemade ramen noodles! But, if you can’t find them – don’t sweat it. The dried porcinis alone, combined with the earthy flavors of the sauteed fresh mushrooms will give more than enough flavor to this dish!

The stirring necessary is a little bit time consuming, but take if you take the time to enjoy a glass of wine (that you’ve been forced to open for the dish!)…it makes it a little more fun, and the time pass quicker. And the result you’ll get in the end is so worth it! A thick, rich, and creamy dish – that is just bursting with flavor. Great for my gluten-free friends, and could easily be made into a vegetarian dish by using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. I’ve only made one other risotto in the past, but I’m looking forward to trying some different recipes in the future!

Shrimp Saltimbocca

A couple of weeks ago we took Jon’s brother, who was in town visiting, to the airport up in Baltimore. I never miss an opportunity to visit a fancy grocery store, so we all went along for the ride. Had a nice dinner, hit up the sale racks at Antrho, and dragged Uncle Trevor through every aisle at Whole Foods before dropping him off at the airport. Then we stopped by the new Wegmans location in Crofton on the way home. I always love visiting their delicatessen, and I couldn’t resist having a few slices of the most gorgeous proscuitto I’ve ever seen sliced off to take home with me. And come home with me they did…along with some awesome peppered salami and sliced chorizo. I had to fend off Jon from eating all the “gabagool” in the fridge.

What he didn’t eat, I decided to use to do a fresh spin on one of my very favorite classic Italian dishes. Traditionally, this is made with a chicken breast. Which is awesome. But our local seafood joint happened to have some gorgeous, large shrimp in this weekend and the wheels in my head started turning.

It was a little bit more time consuming than chicken breasts, just because of wrapping shrimp individually in the prosciutto. But, your efforts are well rewarded. The salty richness of the proscuitto permeates the shrimp, rendering some of it’s fat and getting nice and crispy. Then a pan sauce is made from the browned bits, garlic, white wine, lemon juice, and butter. I served it over pasta, but I think it would be a wonderful appetizer or first course on it’s own. I’m so glad I remixed this one, because I think I like it better than the original!