Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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My Favorite Lasagna

I love Lasagna.

Nothing screams comfort food to me more than lasagna.  Something about it — I think it’s the carbs – call out my name and say “Eat ME!”  My oldest daughter turns 13 this week and this was her requested Birthday meal – well, we started off with her favorite breakfast: blueberry pancakes, then had subway for lunch and lasagna for dinner.  This is about the lasagna!

One of my friends gave me the recipe for Spinach Lasagna.  It has been a recipe in our family for about 15 years now.  I like having meat in my lasagna, so now I make the same recipe but add a package of cooked mild Italian sausage to the mix.  I use the Barilla brand noodles because they are flat, but you could use any pasta you want.  The best part of this is: you DON’T have to COOK the pasta ahead.  Just lay them down in the lasagna dry!  Terrific and easy to make!  Even easier to eat.  It is a great way to sneak in those vegetables that the kids won’t go near, but when mixed with cheese and pasta they don’t seem to notice.

Nan’s Spinach Lasagna – Nan P.

Ingredients

  • 15    ounces    Cheese, Ricotta
  • 2    cups    Cheese, Mozzarella — shredded
  • 1    large    Egg
  • 10    ounces    Spinach, Frozen, chopped — thawed and drained
  • 1    tsp    Salt
  • 3/4    tsp    Oregano
  • 1/8    tsp    Pepper
  • 1    clove    Garlic — minced
  • 2    cans    Sauce, Spaghetti — 28 ounce each
  • 8    ounces    Lasagna noodles — uncooked
  • 8    ounces    Sausage, Italian, Sweet — optional

Instructions
Mix 1 cup Mozzarella, ricotta, egg, spinach, garlic, spices together. In a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish, layer 1/2 cup sauce, 1/3 of noodles, cheese (optional cooked sausage), Repeat with sauce, noodles, cheese, noodles, sauce.  Top off with remaining cup of mozzarella cheese. Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 350° F for 1 hour 15 minutes.  Let stand, covered, for 15 minutes before serving.

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Basil Cream Chicken

Basil Cream Chicken is one of our families favorite recipes. I enjoy making it and everyone, especially my husband enjoys it. It is fairly easy to make too which is nice.

The recipe for this delightful dish is:

Basil Cream Chicken

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs ( I like Progresso Italian)
  • 4 chicken breast halves, cut into smaller pieces to ensure it is cooked through)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (not whipped)
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peppers (from jar is great)
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra to serve)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Beat eggs and milk together in a bowl. Put seasoned bread crumbs in another bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg mixture and then coat in bread crumbs.

Breaded chicken

Melt butter in a large stainless steel saucepan

Melted Butter

Fry the chicken pieces until golden brown turning once over medium high heat, until juices run clear.

Transfer the chicken to a glass dish and keep them warm (I usually have the oven temperature at 275F until the rest of the meal is finished.

Add chicken broth and loosen browned bits from the pan with a whisk.

Add your heavy cream and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute.

Add parmesan cheese

and chopped basil and roasted peppers

Heat just until heated through and season with black pepper.

Transfer the warm chicken breast halves to a platter

Ladle sauce over the chicken.

I serve this with cooked pasta and serve extra basil cream sauce for the pasta and top with additional parmesan cheese. Add a green salad and you have a meal. Add garlic bread and you have a feast!

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Chicken Fried Steak

There is something special and comforting about this dish.  I have tried them in various restaurants, but never made them myself.  A few months ago, I ate a rather poor version of Chicken Fried Steak in a restaurant… and it was a POOR version, combined with the fact that it was really poor service that day and they didn’t bring the gravy out with the steak and I had to wait 5 to 10 minutes for them to bring it and by then my steak was less than perfect.. so I went to look for a version I can do myself.  This certainly isn’t diet food!  I am on a semi diet though — so I had a small piece.
I made the mistake of buying two family packs of cube steak there were two huge steaks in each pack, but I could have just purchased one..as I cut them into smaller pieces to make them manageable.  I followed the recipe from allrecipes.com exactly, but seasoned up the gravy with a few dashes of Tabasco sauce to get the taste where I like it.
I also drizzled lemon juice over the steaks for extra flavor, but did not find it to give it much flavor, I think next time I will squeeze some over the steaks after they come out of the cast iron skillet (if you have one, this recipe is perfect for it!)  I served this with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, sorry about the lighting in the picture.  This makes plenty of Gravy!  My husband and I loved it.  The kids preferred it without gravy (I have sick children I know!)
Here is the link: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/The-Best-Chicken-Fried-Steak/Detail.aspx
The-Best-Chicken-Fried-Steak

  • 4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable shortening for deep
  • frying
  • Gravy:
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste (1 Tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper)
  • 5 dashes of Tabasco (Becky’s change)

Pound the steaks to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl. Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a separate shallow bowl; stir in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco Sauce, and garlic. Dredge each steak first in the flour, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour.

Heat the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a plate with paper towels to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible.

Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks to serve.

Recipe Notes
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in 40 minutes
Serves 4

Becky’s NOTES:
After dredging the cube steak in flour and buttermilk and then in flour again it is a pretty gloppy mess!  I stacked my steaks on a plate, but as I got toward the end of frying I didn’t know where the steak began to pick it up, next time I will put wax paper between each steak so they don’t stick to each other and pull the breading off other steaks.  Will make again!

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Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono Chicken Soup

Strange name I know, it’s Greek and is a wonderful Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup.  I went to a ladies night out and a friend brought this soup to the event.  I went back for thirds and then took some home with me to share with my husband.  Delicious!  My kids all love it too and it is a frequent request now.  I make it about every other week now.  The recipe is from Cat Cora on the Food Network.  I made a few changes to suit my family’s tastes.

Just today my daughter announced that every Restaurant should have this recipe and serve it because she would order it every time!  It really is that good.  Do try it!

Source:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cat-cora/avgolemono-chicken-soup-with-egg-lemon-sauce-recipe/index.html

Avgolemono: Chicken Soup with Egg-Lemon Sauce – Cat Cora

  • 1 (3 pound) free range chicken
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 leek, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and quartered
  • 2/3 cup Aborio rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions

Place the chicken in a large pot with 2 quarts cold water, enough to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, skimming when necessary.

In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions. Sweat the onions until clear. Set aside.

When chicken is cooked through, remove from the broth. Let the chicken cool and pull the meat from the bones. Dice into large cubes. Set aside.

Add the onion, bay leaves, leek, and carrot to the broth and simmer for 1 hour. When finished, remove the carrot and leek from the broth and add the rice. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to medium high to simmer until the rice is cooked to al dente, about 30 minutes. Add the chicken back into the broth. Add more water if needed.

In a small bowl beat the eggs and lemon juice together. Pour 2 cups of broth slowly into the bowl of egg and lemon, whisking continuously. Once all the broth is incorporated, add the mixture into the pot of chicken soup and stir to blend well throughout. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Prep     10 min

Cook    3 hr 10 min

Total:     3 hr 20 min

Serves 8-10

Becky’s NOTES:

After I remove the carrots and leeks I chop the carrots into small pieces (last time I even squeezed them through my potato ricer) I add the carrots back into the soup with the chicken.  I do not add onions, my kids don’t care for the texture, but I do let them simmer in the broth with the leeks and carrots, but do not add them to the final product.  Very very yummy and fairly easy to make!  Do go out and buy some Aborio rice, it is perfect for this soup.

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