Lasagna with Italian Sausage

October 21, 2007

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Ah lasagna! Now that’s amore! HARRY

1 3/4 cups marinara sauce [see recipe below]
4 1/2 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles
2 large hot Italian sausages
4 ounces log goat’s cheese, crumbled
4 ounces fresh buffalo mozzarella or regular mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Prepare the marinara sauce below or use a commercial brand. Split the sausage casings, crumble the meat into a hot skillet, and sauté until browned. Layer the sauce, noodles, sausage, goat’s cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil, ending with noodles topped with a thin layer of sauce and Parmesan. In a length of tin foil 8 inches longer than the baking dish, make a 1-inch crease side-to-side across the center. Cover the lasagna tightly with the foil, pulling the crease apart to create a tent. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until browned.
Makes 4 servings.

Marinara Sauce

1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes in purée
1 large onion, peeled and halved
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 (4-inch) sprigs fresh oregano
3 (3-inch) sprigs fresh thyme

In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, onion, bay leaf, oil, oregano, and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes until slightly thickened. Discard the bay leaf, oregano, and thyme. Remove the onion, slice thinly, sauté in a medium skillet until very tender, and return to the sauce.
Makes 1 3/4 cups.

NOTE: If you can’t find tomatoes in puree, use tomatoes in juice, drained with the juice reserved to add as needed.

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Cheese Crisps

October 20, 2007

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Tired of cheese on a toothpick? Nuke that hunk into a crunchy, spicy little crisp! HARRY

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 (1/2-inch) cubes Cheddar cheese
2 (1/2-inch) cubes Swiss cheese
2 (1/2-inch) cubes Fontina cheese
Non-stick cooking spray

In a large plastic bag, combine the flour, onion powder, cumin seeds, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Shake to mix. Add the cheese and shake to coat. Lightly spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Place the cheese on the plate equidistances apart. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes or bake in the oven at 375 degrees until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the crisps with a spatula and drain on paper towels to cool.
Makes 6 crisps.


Yogurt-Cucumber Dressing

October 19, 2007

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Sometimes great recipes happen by chance. You have a little leftover vinaigrette, a little cucumber raita. You mix ‘em together, and—presto!—a great new salad dressing. This makes enough for 2 1/2 cups of cooked couscous or about 5 ounces of greens. It’s really good! HARRY

2 tablespoon Mustard Vinaigrette
4 tablespoons Raita

In a small bowl, whisk together the Mustard Vinaigrette and Raita. Toss with couscous, cold pasta, rice, or salad greens.
Makes 3/4 cup.


Couscous Salad with Pine Nuts

October 18, 2007

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A couscous salad so rich and nutty you can make a meal on it. HARRY

1 cup water or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 cup couscous
2 ounces toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup plumped golden raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
4 tablespoons Mustard Vinaigrette or Yogurt-Cucumber Dressing
2 ounces fresh salad greens

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the water or stock, bay leaf, oil, and salt and bring to a boil. Place the couscous in a medium bowl, pour the boiling mixture on top, and cover with a plate or lid. Let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Discard the bay leaf. Add the pine nuts, raisins, and parsley and toss with the dressing. Serve at room temperature on salad greens.
Makes 4 servings.


Eggplant-Sausage Casserole

October 17, 2007

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Make this one-dish meal as hot and spicy as you like. I’ve always heard that eggplant is better the second day, but there might not be any left for the second day. HARRY

1 medium Italian eggplant, cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound pork sausage
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
1 pinch red pepper flakes or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup plus 1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs, divided
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the eggplant in a small amount of boiling, salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, place a weighted plate on top, and set aside. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, onion, cumin, and red pepper flakes until the sausage is browned. Remove from the heat, drain if necessary, and add the eggplant, black pepper, 1 cup bread crumbs, and eggs. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart casserole. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs and the butter. Spread on top of the eggplant mixture and bake for 30 minutes or until browned.
Makes 4 servings.


Pork Chops with Sauerkraut

October 16, 2007

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Quick … classic … so-o-o-o good … plus it makes your house smell great! HARRY

2 center-cut pork chops, 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tart apple, peeled and thickly sliced
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (10-ounce) can sauerkraut, drained

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hazy and brown the pork chops quickly on both sides. Place them in a 1-quart casserole. Spread the apples on top, then the caraway seeds, pepper, and sauerkraut. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
Makes 2 servings.


Refrigerator Biscuits

October 15, 2007

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Stir these together today and all week you’ll be 20 minutes away from fresh, homemade biscuits any hour of the day or night! HARRY

1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup shortening
2 cups buttermilk

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in water and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir the buttermilk into the yeast mixture and add to the flour mixture. Stir just until the dough forms a ball. Seal the dough in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator to use as needed.

To bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll to 1/2-inch thickness as much dough as you want for one meal. Cut out the biscuits with a small glass or biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet or drop the dough by tablespoons onto the sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes a total of 6 dozen 2-inch biscuits.