Friday, November 19, 2010

Italian Night

Happy Friday!
Is anyone going to see Harry Potter tonight? I am going tomorrow and I can't wait!

Last Friday I hosted an Italian night at my house to get through some of the recipes that are hard on my stomach. Jeff and I cooked through most of the recipes Thursday, so Friday was a breeze. There were two crock pots going and two dishes ready to go that just had to be thrown in the oven. We ended up with about 12 people, all chatting, drinking vino and scotch, eating some good Italian eats and generally having a good time. The best part of the evening is when my guy friends decided that they were going to ban me from the kitchen and put the food in tupperware, do the dishes, clean the stove top, and take out the trash. Amazing guys!

The first dish was a lasagna from Rose. I know you are suppose to let lasagna set a little before cutting but I couldn't resit. The blend of spices used in the sauce really makes for a great dish!
Not Your Average Green Salad - from Kathleen. I have a feeling that this is one of those recipes when someone had a fridge full of random items they needed to use up. It is kind of a kitchen sink recipe but all of the ingredients go so well together.
Stuffed Flank Steak - from Rose. This recipe was so good and so easy to make. You just buy a flank steak, make a simple filling, put it in a crock pot and let it cook. The meat was so tender and full of flavor from the Italian bread-crumbs. This was the only dish that was completely gone by the end of the party (and we even had 3 vegetarians!)
Eggplant Parmigiana - from Rose. I have actually never had Eggplant Parmigiana and I was really happy I got to try some. The Eggplant is fried in breadcrumbs and then baked in a homemade sauce with cheese and homemade meatballs, sounds great right? I was also really pleased to learn how to make a meatball. They are SO simple and I am wondering why I haven't been making meatballs all along.
Baked Mostaccioli - From Aunt Jean. So once again, I made some mistakes. I had never heard of mostaccioli, so I assumed (you know what happens when you assume) that perhaps it was just a spelling error and it was actually manicotti. So I go to the store, buy manicotti noodles and get started on the recipe. I read through it and realized that nowhere does it say stuff I got to thinking, maybe this isn't manicotti. I googled mostaccioli and it turned out that it is a fancy name for penne pasta. Jeff was already out and about picking up dinner, so I called him and asked if he could grab some penne...crisis averted!
Not in the recipe book (because it is just beer) but I thought the foam on the top was just amazing looking.

Thank you to Jeff for putting up with an extra trip to the store, being there to do half of the cooking and prep, picking up dinner on Thursday, suggesting to put the meatballs on the cookie sheet instead of in "a thousand" tupperware like I wanted, and keeping me sane.

Thank you to Ryan for bringing me such a nice scotch to drink, cleaning up and just being a really nice guy.

Thank you Kevin, Mike and Pat for cleaning up. You guys are the best! For real :)

• 1 large can crushed tomatoes
• 1 can tomato sauce (approx. 15 oz)
• 1 can tomato paste (approx. 12 oz)
• Season to taste with onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.
• 1 large pkg. whole milk ricotta (24 oz)
• 1 small pkg. skim milk ricotta (15 oz)
• 4 eggs
• ½ lb mozzarella cheese (½ lb more for layers)
• Salt, pepper, garlic and onion to taste
Mix 1 large package of whole milk ricotta (24 oz) and one small package of skim milk ricotta (15 oz)with four eggs, ½ lb mozzarella cheese, and salt, pepper, garlic and onion to taste. Spray 9 x 13 pan with olive oil. Spoon sauce into the bottom of the pan. Place cooked lasagna noodles in pan, cover with sauce and sprinkle with parmesan (or Romano or mixture of both). Add ricotta filling. Sprinkle mozzarella over the filling. Add a second layer of lasagna noodle; cover with sauce and sprinkle with cheese as above. Add third and final layer of lasagna noodles; cover with sauce and sprinkle with cheese as above. Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees (325 if baking in glass). Cover with non-stick aluminum foil as necessary. Note: Use a total of 1 lb of mozzarella--½ lb in filling and ¼ lb sprinkled on top of each of the two layers of filling.

Not your average Green Salad
• Spring Mix Package (salad only)
• Cabbage (sliced thin) You can also use the packaged cabbage for coleslaw
• Angel Hair Pasta
• Basil
• Cilantro
• Grape tomatoes
• Pine Nuts
• Red Onion
• Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Mix all the ingredients together in the amounts that appeal to you. Enjoy!

Stuffed Flank Steak

• Italian Breadcrumbs
• Milk
• Flank Steak
• Beefy Mushroom or onion soup mix
• Toothpicks
Wet Italian breadcrumbs with milk. Place in the center of flank steak. Roll the flank steak and secure with toothpicks. Place in crock-pot with beefy mushroom or onion soup mix. Add water to almost cover the meat. Cook until tender (6 to 8 hrs on low depending upon size).

Eggplant Parmigiana
• 1 large can crushed tomatoes
• 1 can tomato sauce (approx. 15 oz)
• 1 can tomato paste (approx. 12 oz)
• Season to taste with onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.
• 1 lb ground beef or turkey
• 1 egg
• breadcrumbs
Mix in 1 egg. Shape into meatballs. Roll in Italian bread crumbs. Cook sauce and meatballs in crock pot on low for approximately 6 hours.
• Eggplant
• Egg
• Italian Bread Crumbs
• Olive oil
• Mozzarella
Peel and slice eggplant. Soak in salt water for ½ hour. Put a bowl on top to keep down. Remove from water and pat dry. Dip slices into egg and Italian bread crumbs. Fry in olive oil. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Arrange in layers. Cover each layer with sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees (325 if baking in glass). Cover with non-stick aluminum foil as necessary.

Baked Mostaccioli
• 3 jars spaghetti sauce
• 1 lb Mostaccioli
• 2 eggs
• 1 lb mozzarella cheese
• 1 lb ricotta cheese
• 1 cup parmesan cheese
• 2 Tbsp. oregano
Boil Mostaccioli for 5-6 minutes, drain, place in 9x12in baking pan (spray with pam). Mix ricotta cheese with egg – ½ cup parmesan and oregano – then mix in with the pasta, mix thoroughly – then pour in spaghetti sauce – mix ‘til no longer orange looking – it will be soupy. Grate the mozzarella cheese over you pasta, sprinkle remaining parmesan over the pasta. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for one hour. (if you want to freeze, do it before baking and thaw completely prior to cooking).

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