Sunday, March 4, 2012

Yay for Chef Jean!

Do you have a friend you can always count on? I do, and her name is Chef Jean Denham. When I run out of ideas for the blog, I contact Jean and do a little whining. Then, lo and behold, I receive an email, complete with wonderful recipes from the cookbook author herself. Am I lucky or what?

Slow Cooker Lasagna

This is Pillsbury recipe that makes for one of the easiest Lasagna dishes ever. 8 servings.

  1              pound  bulk Italian sausage
  1             medium  onion -- chopped (1/2 cup)
  3             cans  Italian-style tomato sauce -- (15 ounces each)
  2             teaspoons  dried basil leaves
  1/2         teaspoon  salt
  2             cups  shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
  1             container  part-skim ricotta cheese -- (15 ounces)
  1             cup  grated Parmesan cheese
  15           uncooked lasagna noodles

 Cook sausage and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, basil and salt. 2 Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. (Refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks.) 3 Spoon one-fourth of the sausage mixture into 6-quart slow cooker; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture.

Top with 5 noodles, remaining cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with remaining 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture. 4 Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender. 5 Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into pieces..

Something as simple as chopped fresh parsley will dress up this lasagna. Sprinkle on the parsley just before serving.

For lasagna with a kick, look for hot or spicy Italian sausage. Links can be used if bulk sausage isn't available. Just squeeze the meat out of the casings and cook as directed.

Tiramisu Cheesecake
To finish off dinner in grand style, this Tiramisu Cheesecake is both easy and delicious.

11 oz. pkg. Nilla Wafers, about 88
5 teaspoons Instant coffee, divided
3 tablespoons hot water, divided
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 cup thawed Cool Whip topping, or 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

HEAT oven to 325°F.

LINE 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spread half the wafers onto bottom of prepared pan. Add 2 tsp. coffee granules to 2 Tbsp. hot water; stir until dissolved. Brush half onto wafers in pan; reserve remaining dissolved coffee for later use.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Remove 3-1/2 cups batter; place in medium bowl. Dissolve remaining coffee granules in remaining hot water. Stir into removed batter; spread over wafers in pan. Top with remaining wafers; brush with remaining dissolved coffee. Cover with remaining plain batter.

BAKE 45 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours. Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan. Spread with COOL WHIP just before serving; sprinkle with cocoa powder.

How to Bake in Springform Pan
Heat oven to 325°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 300°F if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan). Assemble cheesecake as directed. Bake 1 hour or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours. Continue as directed.

Taco Pie                                    
From Share a Recipe cookbook, by Chef Jean DenhamThe list of ingredients looks long, but you’ll probably have everything in your pantry and/or spice rack and it makes a wonderful winter’s night dinner – since this will make two pies, serve one and freeze the other for a fast dinner later.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
3 T. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (or a small amount of fresh minced)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 T. oil
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
14 oz. can refried beans
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup grated cheese (your choice)
Taco chips, coarsely broken up, optional
shredded lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream, guacamole, & salsa for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Grease two 8" pie tins. Spread ground beef mixture evenly into the two pie tins. Drop spoonfuls of refried beans on top of beef mixture. Pour egg/milk mixture evenly between the two pies.

Top with sliced tomatoes, grated cheese and sprinkle with taco chips, if using. Bake for 20-25 min., until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting. Cut each pie into 6 pieces.

Have lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole & salsa at the read to top each slice as desired. Estimate 2 to 3 pieces per person as a meal.

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