Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fried Lasagna

On a recent trip to Olive Garden, I tried the Lasagna Fritta.   Fried pasta and cheeses, with two fantastic sauces.    Few chain restaurant dishes stick with me, but I had a hard time getting this one out of my mind.   I decided I wanted to recreate it at home, but instead of an appetizer portion, I wanted dinner size.   

It's a little fidgety, but once you get an assembly line process going, it's pretty smooth.   I used pre-shredded/grated cheeses, you are more than welcome to shred your own.   I also used store bought marinara and alfredo, but it would be over-the-top fantastic with from-scratch sauces. 

This was a huge hit here.   While it's not something that I'd make weekly, it was a fun way to present lasagna to my picky eater, who doesn't like a lot of red sauce.  Since there are only 3 of us, I froze the remaining fried bundles in single serve portions.   They can be heated from frozen, or defrosted in the fridge overnight.    Enjoy!

Fried Lasagna

32oz whole milk ricotta
2c shredded mozzarella
2 5oz containers shredded 3 cheese blend  (I used Frigo Parmesan, Romano and Asiago- pulsed in food processor)
2 eggs, room temp
1T Italian seasoning (I like Penzey's Italian Herb Mix)
1 box lasagna noodles
2 eggs
8oz panko crumbs
1t Italian seasoning
Vegetable oil for frying
15 oz jar alfredo sauce, (I used Newman's Own)
15oz jar marinara (again, Newman's Own)

Combine ricotta, mozzarella, 5oz Parm/Romano/Asiago blend, eggs and  Italian seasoning. Set aside.

Boil noodles according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cool water.  Cut off ribboned edges with a knife or pizza cutter.   

Spread each noodle with the cheese mixture.   Fold one end in about 2", then again.  On the last fold, there should be a little extra, push that piece around the back.    Place on baking sheet with the little tab facing down.   Repeat with remaining noodles.   (I got 16)    Place baking sheet into freezer for 1 hour.   Remove them 15 minutes before you will fry them.

In one shallow pan, beat eggs.  In another, combine panko crumbs, half the second container of 3 cheese blend and Italian seasoning.    Heat oil to 375.     Dip lasagna bundles into the beaten egg and then coat with crumb mixture.   Return to baking sheet and repeat with remaining bundles.

Fry 2 to 3 bundles at a time, until both sides are golden brown.    Place on paper towels or a baking rack on a half sheet pan to drain.      Keep warm in 200 degree oven if necessary.

To serve- heat alfredo and marinara sauces.    Place 2 bundles on plate, and ladle a ribbon of alfredo sauce over the top.   Repeat with the marinara.   Sprinkle with 3 cheese blend and Italian seasoning, if desired.

Yield- Approximately 16 bundles.   Serves 8.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Citrus Berry Shortcake- Jake's first from-scratch cake :)

My son can be a very picky eater and I've been looking for ways to get him more involved in the kitchen.    I asked him if he'd be interested in choosing a one meal a week to learn to cook.   He thought for a minute and said, well, it's not a meal, but I'd like to learn to make a cake from scratch.   How could I say no?   I had a huge container of strawberries to use up, so we searched and decided on this recipe.

First I taught him how to substitute regular milk for buttermilk using the vinegar trick.   Then I showed him how to cut parchment paper to fit his cake pan.  He melted butter, chopped, zested, juiced, stirred, folded.  We did increase the sugar that was tossed with the sliced strawberries to one tablespoon, because our berries were not very sweet.  

The cake baked in exactly 21 minutes, and turned out of the pan beautifully.   Since we weren't eating it right away, we kept our strawberries to the side and spooned them over each serving.   It made for a beautiful plate.   Our only note would be that I'd decrease the amount of lemon juice in with the strawberries to one teaspoon.   Thank you so much to Meryl H for sharing her great recipe.

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          Citrus Berry Shortcake

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 1/3           cups  all-purpose flour
     1/2           cup  sugar
  2          teaspoons  baking powder
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
     2/3           cup  buttermilk
     1/4           cup  butter -- melted
  1              large  egg
  1         tablespoon  orange juice
  1           teaspoon  grated orange peel
  1           teaspoon  vanilla extract
  1                cup  sliced fresh strawberries
  1 1/2           cups  sliced fresh strawberries
  1         tablespoon  lemon juice
  1           teaspoon  sugar
  2               cups  whipped topping (We used Redi-whip)
  2          teaspoons  orange liqueur or orange juice (omitted)

Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom of a greased 9-in. round baking pan with parchment paper; grease paper.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, melted butter, egg, orange juice, orange peel and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in 1 cup sliced strawberries. Transfer to prepared pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack; remove paper. Cool completely.

For topping, in a small bowl, toss strawberries with lemon juice and sugar. Refrigerate until serving. In another bowl, mix whipped topping and liqueur; spread over cake. Drain strawberries; arrange over top. Yield: 8 servings.