Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mushroom Lasagna

I loved this Mushroom Lasagna dish!  It is so delicious and also different from your usual lasagna with red tomato sauce.  I came across a Wild Mushroom Lasagna recipe in my Food & Wine magazine (December 2013 issue) and revised it to what I had on hand.  The original recipe calls for wild mushrooms, such as chanterelle, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, fresh lasagna sheets and Taleggio cheese.  Feel free to add those if you want but I just went the simpler route this time with no boil lasagna sheets.  Definitely use lots of mushrooms and cheese for this dish, no skimping allowed!  Enjoy!


Mushroom Lasagna
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium shallots, minced
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini and white mushrooms)
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 box (9 ounces) Barilla lasagna sheets (no boiling required) or use fresh lasagna
4 cups of shredded cheese (I used an Italian cheese mixture and gruyere)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly butter a 9x13 inch baking sheet.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt butter in olive oil.

Add shallots and cook for 1 minute.  

Add in mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until mushrooms are browned.

Add wine and boil until evaporated, about 1 minute.

Add 2 cups of cream and bring to a boil.  Simmer over medium heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Arrange 4 lasagna sheets in the prepared baking dish.

Top with 1/3 of the mushroom mixture and ¼ of the cheese.

Repeat layering 2 more times and ending with a layer of pasta.

Brush top with remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and add remaining cheese on top.

Cover lasagna with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and bake addition 15 minutes or longer until top is golden.

Cover loosely and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

(Note:  If using fresh lasagna sheets, prepare according to package directions.)

Serves 8.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I made this delicious Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for a dinner party not too long ago.  This  soup is great if you make it ahead too, which is exactly what I did the day before the dinner party.   The butternut squash, apples and onions get roasted in the oven and the honey glaze gives a wonderful caramelization.  I love how warm and comforting this soup is and it is perfect for winter.  Sorry I've been a slacker posting recipes these days - I have been hooked on Netflix watching Gossip Girl...LOL I know!  It is so addicting and I can't stop now.  Also I've been attending and hosting holiday parties so life is busy these days.  Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, halved and seeds removed (I used 2 squashes.)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and quartered
2 onions, quartered
32 ounces chicken stock
1 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.

Place squash cut side up on baking sheet.  Place apples and onions on baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk oil and honey until combined. Brush squash, apples, and onions with the oil and honey mixture.

Roast in oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. 

When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a large pan (I used my dutch oven) with the apples and onions. 

Stir in chicken stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.  

Reduce heat to low and slowly stir in cream or half and half.

Use a blender or food processor to puree the soup until smooth.   You may also use an immersion blender.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serves 8.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rolo Pretzels

Need an easy holiday treat?  These Rolo Pretzels hardly need a recipe since they are so easy to make.  I think the hardest part is unwrapping all the rolo candies!  I bet you can't just eat one too, they are so addicting.  Last year, I made thse Rolo Pretzel Candies with M&Ms, click the following link for the recipe -  Enjoy!

Rolo Pretzels

1 bag of mini pretzels
1 bag of rolo candy


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil).

Place pretzels in a single layer on baking sheet.

Unwrap rolo candies and place a single rolo on top of each pretzel.

Bake for 2 minutes until rolos are shiny but still maintain their shape.

Place another pretzel on top of each rolo and press down lightly.

Allow rolo pretzels to cool completely before storing.  Wait about half an hour before picking up each rolo pretzel or the chocolate will smear.   You may also place baking sheet in freezer for about 10 minutes for chocolate to set.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

These Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are such a simple, but warming dish.  It is a perfect winter time meal!  I believe stuffed cabbage rolls are generally an eastern European dish.   There are so many various recipes for stuffed cabbage rolls so I went for a really basic recipe.  I preferred to use fire roasted tomatoes instead of the typical tomato sauce.  Overall, they were a hit when I brought them over to my friend's house for dinner.  Enjoy!  

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1 cabbage, cored and leaves removed
1 pound ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 small onion, diced
1 egg
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, granulated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes or tomato sauce
½ cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to boiling.  Boil cabbage leaves for 3 minutes and drain.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, onion, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Place about ¼ cup of meat mixture into center of each cabbage leaf.  Roll up and tuck ends in.

Place rolls in a baking pan.

Pour tomatoes over cabbage rolls.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Perfect Apple Pie

This Perfect Apple Pie was beautiful and absolutely perfect!  I made a lattice crust instead of the usual double crust since it was for Thanksgiving.  A lattice crust is easier than you think - click here for a link on how to make a lattice crust.  I had a hard time not eating any of this pie and had to wait a whole day to share it with my family at Thanksgiving.  I ate so much this past week!  It was great spending time with my family and my uncle even made donuts for Chanukah.  I made latkes too, recipe to be posted soon!  Sorry I'm so behind on posting recipes these days and hopefully I'll find time to try to keep up.  Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and Chag Chanukah!  Enjoy!

Perfect Apple Pie

Ingredients for Crust
2 ½ cups flour, all purpose
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
½ cup vegetable shortening, cut into large cubes
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

Directions for Crust

In a food processor, pulse to combine flour, salt and sugar.  Add in butter and pulse 4 to 5 times.  Add shortening and pulse 4 to 5 times.   

Add in 6 tablespoons of ice cold water and pulse a few more times.  Add water 1 tablespoon a time if needed.  The dough should be crumbly and stick together.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten into  4-5 inch sized disks.  (Do not over knead dough.)  

Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.  When ready to roll, make sure it is not too stiff or allow to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes beforehand.

Lightly flour surface and place dough on top to roll out.   Use a rolling pin from center of dough outwards.  Roll until large enough for pie plate.  Repeat for a double crust.

Ingredients for Filling
4 tart apples, cored and thinly sliced (I used granny smith apples.)
3 sweet apples, cored and thinly sliced (I used pink lady apples.)
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup flour, all purpose
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 egg, beaten for egg wash (optional)

Directions for Filling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt.  Stir in apples until well mixed.  Add in lemon juice and zest.

Spoon apple filling into pie shell.  

Place second rolled pie crust on top of filling.  Trim any extra pie crust overhanging edge of pie plate.  Press to seal crust.  Cut slits to allow excess steam out.

Optional:  Paint top of crust with egg wash with a brush for a golden color.

Bake  for 25 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for additional 30 to 40 minutes.

Allow to cool before cutting.  

Store at room temperature, covered, for up to 2 days. Refrigerate for additional 2 to 3 days.