Tag Archives: dinner

Minestrone

Minestrone Top view

I really love soup. It’s generally healthy, hearty, filling, and delicious. Dinners at my mom and stepdad’s growing up often revolved around soup and they have a fairly large soup repertoire from which to draw from. My dad makes a kale and sausage soup that tastes like home to my sister and me, and he has been successfully experimenting with lots of other stews lately.

My boyfriend Sam, meanwhile, does not generally like soup. He loves pho, matzo ball soup, and a few other select soups. Unfortunately, most of the soups I love to make don’t fall on his “love to eat” list. It’s one of our larger food conflicts (the primary conflict revolves around me asking for bites of his food while we’re out at restaurants).

Sam does enjoy eating the minestrone I started making 6 months ago. Here’s the link to Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini over at Food52.

I pretty much follow the main soup recipe exactly, which is why I’m only linking. I’ll omit the bacon if I’m feeding a vegetarian and I’ll add sausage if I’m feeding Sam. I also add spices that aren’t in the recipe. Usually a few shakes to 1 tsp of cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes and whatever else I feel like adding at the time. I don’t know why they don’t have spices added to the original recipe as it’s a bit bland without anything but salt and pepper.

This is an excellent soup to make for leftovers, although I don’t recommend freezing it with the tortellini as pasta in soup doesn’t freeze particularly well and tends to break down and taste pretty “meh”. I’ve frozen it sans tortellini and added some later on.

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Lasagna with Red Sauce

Lasagna finished

I actually made this lasagna a few weeks ago with Sam on a Sunday afternoon on a weekend where we didn’t have an ultimate game. Since then I’ve worked some loooong weeks for a big project at work AND I placed an offer to buy a house and went through the inspection phase.

We looked at a few recipes before making this, but mostly just figured out what we wanted in the lasagna based on our past experimentation in the kitchen. I’ve made something similar earlier before Sam had his second shoulder surgery. We knew from the past that individual slices freeze really well, so we did the same thing here. All you have to do is slice it into one serving, wrap it up individually in foil, and stick in the freezer.

Lasagna

Lasagna with Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce with Pioneer Woman Cookbook used as a reference
Sauce ingredients

  • 1 –  28-oz can whole tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • fresh basil or 1 – 2 tsp basil
  • 1-2 tsps oregano
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 -2 lbs ground beef, pork, turkey, or sausage (or some combo of all three. we used italian sausage)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar or Red Wine

In a medium sauce pan, saute on medium whatever ground meat you’ve decided to put into your sauce until down. Drain most of the fat and set the meat aside.
Add chopped onion and diced garlic and a dash salt to pan and saute until done.
Add meat back to pan. Add shredded carrots and tomato paste and let cook for ~1 minute.
Squish or smash whole tomatoes with your hands and add to pan. Reserve liquid to thin the sauce if you want it runnier.
Add salt, pepper, basil and oregano to taste. Add red wine vinegar or red wine if you want.
Let cook for 10-15 minutes on medium low.

Ricotta with Chard – from Serious Eats
Ricotta mix

  • 1 bunch chard, sauteed 
  • 3 cups ricotta
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs

Rip out chop up chard and saute in a little bit of olive oil.
Mix ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Add chard, stir, and set aside.

Sauteed Mushrooms and Shallots

  • 1/2 – 3/4 lbs Oyster Mushrooms (you can also use another kind)
  • 2 shallots chopped fine

Chop up mushrooms and shallots and saute on medium-low heat until mushrooms are just cooked. Set aside.

Assembling the Lasagna
Lasagna ingredients

  • 1 9-oz box of No Bake Lasagna Noodles (you can also use regular lasagna noodles, just cook them before assembling)
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Shredded Paremesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Layer a tiny bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Add a layer of lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan, then sauce, cheese, noodles, ricotta mix, noodles, mushrooms, noodles, sauce/noodles and a hefty amount of cheese on top.
Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. The time isn’t so important, but getting the noodles cooked and the cheese nice and bubbly is what you’re looking for.

Cheese
Adding the cheese on top of the first layer of sauce.

Ricotta layer 2
Spreading the ricotta layer

Lasagna finished
Mushrooms and Shallots with Cheese

Minestrone Top view
The finished product pre-oven!

You can eat right away, or wait for it to cool and slice into individual squares. Wrap each square in foil and place in the freezer. When you want to eat it in the future it’s probably best to take it out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge, but you can also just take it straight out and microwave it (after removing the foil!).