Sunday, January 24, 2016

LA - SA -GNA



Hi friends!
 I had been wanting to try my hand at lasagna for the past couple of months and never got around to it. I really wanted to make it on Christmas, but I was clearly not thinking ahead and waiting until Christmas Day to get up and go to the grocery store. Low and behold everything is closed on Christmas Day, so I was SOL. I never made lasagna and ya'll I struggled! There are literally 1000 different versions of lasagna online, and anyone that I knew that knows how to make it, their recipes were all 100% different. So.....I decided to wing it.

Ingredients:

1 box Lasagna Noodles (Uncooked)
1lb. Ground Beef
1 Onion
3 Garlic Cloves
1 large bottle of Tomato Sauce (Ragu will do, or canned)
Oregano
Basil 
Sugar
Hot Sauce
Salt n' Pepper
1 container of Ricotta Cheese (Whole Milk)
1 bag of Mozzarella Cheese 
Parmesean Cheese

Let's get crackin.

To start I turned my skillet on medium heat and waited for it to get hot. I added my ground beef, chopped up 1/4 of an onion, and 3 garlic cloves in one large skillet. Cook until the pink is gone, and drain. This recipe can be modified and ground turkey can be used, which means little to no grease...but I wasn't shooting for healthy so I went with the ground beef. Careful when draining, I just put the top of the skillet on, poured the access grease into a bowl and set aside. Put the skillet back on your heat, as now you'll be adding your sauce.



Add the entire jar of tomato sauce and mix throughout. Turn your heat down to an almost simmer, as we'll want to simmer the sauce for about 45 minutes. After adding your sauce, mix in generous amounts of oregano, basil, pepper, and a little salt. I also add a generous amount of sugar, about 2 tbsp. and a couple of squirts of hot sauce. I like my tomato sauce to be on the sweeter side, with a little kick. I tend not to measure too much at this point, as I make the sauce based on how it taste. If you like your tomato sauce a little more on the tangy side don't add as much sugar/hot sauce. However if you do, taste your sauce and carefully continue to add your sugar and hot sauce to your liking.



Once your sauce is perfect, start boiling your lasagna noodles. I knew I was only doing 3 layers, so  would only need 9 noodles, however I made ten just in case I messed one up. Boil your noddles to your liking, I like mines to be to the point where if I were to poke a fork through one, the fork would go straight through with no type of force. I boiled my noodles about 10 - 12 minutes, and drained under cold water.


In a separate bowl add the entire container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and stir. I also added 1 egg, as this gave my mixture a little more consistency, and more movement when it came time for me to layer in my baking dish. Mix until you no longer can see the egg, and set aside.

Now for the fun part :)

First, pat yourself on the back because you're almost there! This being my first lasagna I was getting flustered at this point so keep up the great work! Or, you can always pour yourself a drink.

Now, grab your baking dish. Obviously your ingredients will either increase or decrease based on how big your dish is. I used a medium sized dish, that was deep enough for me to layer each mixture 3 times ( sauce, noodle, ricotta). First, the bottom layer of your dish should be the meat sauce. Spread until the entire bottom of the dish is covered. Next layer with your noodles, I added 3 noodles for each layer. On top of your noodles, spread your cheese mixture. I spread so that all of my noodles and meat mixture was covered. It'll get a little messy, but keep going. Repeat your layers 2 more times, meat, noodles, ricotta mix, meat, noodles, ricotta mix. On top of the final layer of ricotta I added a little more of the meat mixture, so that majority of my ricotta was covered. Then, cover the entire top of your lasagna with 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese. I also spread a bit more Parmesan over the top as well. 

Cover your dish with aluminum foil. ( Fun trick, I sprayed PAM on the inside of my foil, so that when the cheese melts, when I remove the aluminum foil the cheese will not be stuck to the top of it! )
Bake at 375 for 50 minutes. The last 15 minutes, take your foil off, and bake for the remainder 15 minutes, or until your cheese is golden brown.



Wam. Bam. Thank you ma'am. 

Now I see why people only make this dish around the holidays. Kudos to you ladies that cook this dish for your families on a regular Tuesday night. You're the bomb. :)

Hope you enjoy!

Peace & Love
 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Twenty - Six

Hi friends! Celebrated my 26th birthday this weekend!! Wooo hoo! Always so excited for my birthday every year, it really is a holiday for me. My friends and family really know how much I love my birthday and I can't thank them enough because they truly made me feel special. From friends from work who are more like family, to my actual family members, and girlfriends I truly felt like a Queen on my day. I had a pretty lowkey birthday. At first I wanted to go "out-out", you know put on a dress and heels, and get drunk and go party somewhere where my feet would probably hurt. However I opted for a simple day with my girls, and good ol' fashioned cake and ice cream with my family afterwards. I won't say much more because I can go on for hours about how awesome the day was, so I'll do you a favor and just post some pics. Here are a few pics from my birthday weekend with my friends and family via the camera roll!

FYI - pic quality may suck, as I stole a lot of these pictures off everyone's phones and snapchats, so bare with me :)




Queen Bee love!


Best beyday card hands down lol



 I woke up on my birthday and my mom and dad surprised me with flowers, balloons, and cake!


Pottery Painting @ Glazed Expressions

 Dinner was bomb! I've known these two practically my whole life. So blessed that we are still celebrating birthdays together. :)







So I have a Instax Mini camera, that produces instant film. Very reminiscent of the Polaroid days. This was so much fun to use, and added a great vibe to my old school birthday bash.


Buy our mixtape lmao

My best friend, I want her around all the time :)




Thank you, thank you, thank you again for the love. My heart is truly full. 

P.S. Yes I wore that crown all day. :)


Birthday Wishes and Kisses

Friday, January 1, 2016

Rosemary & Garlic NY Strip Steak



Happy New Year!!!

Can you believe it's already 2016?! I can't, my 26th birthday is coming up, and I can still remember every sober detail of my 21st. New Year's resolutions anyone? I tend not to make resolutions, I have several goals that I'd like to accomplish sooner than later, but I don't have a deadline to them. Just from 2015 I learned that I am evolving, and changing constantly, and some of the goals that I started out with at the beginning of the year, changed because of my circumstances, and the way my life was going. One of my goals in 2015 was to master every recipe that I knew, or semi knew. Basic stuff my father taught me ( over the phone ) like how to cook a full turkey on Thanksgiving, making dressing from scratch, how to make meals that will stretch like pastas, and also the art of the Cajun crab boil. There's so much that I know now ( yes, dusting off my shoulder ) but I stopped feeling the challenge. My love for cooking came not too long ago. My mother doesn't know how to cook, but that's because she never had to. My grandmother always did the cooking when she grew up, and she married right away, and my father is a huge cook, so all she had to do was eat and clean. I however did not want that trait passed down to me, and love getting my friends and family together at the table to sit and truly enjoy a down home meal.

So, one thing I'd really like to accomplish is teaching myself new recipes that I'm not familiar with, and mastering those to share with you. To kick off this life changing, awesome, incredible new year I'm starting with a Rosemary & Garlic NY Strip Steak dinner! My recipe is below, and trust me it really is as good as it looks.


Ingredients:
Olive Oil
Rosemary Leaves
3 Garlic Cloves
Corse Sea Salt
Pepper

 
- To start I prepped my steak by cleaning, and seasoning with just salt and pepper. I'd usually use some form of seasoning salt, but since I'm adding the rosemary leaves and garlic cloves later, I didn't want it to over season. I also added a handful of red potatoes as a quick side.  

- Turn your oven on to the highest setting In my case it was BROIL, but ovens may vary. This will be the last step of the recipe, but will want to have your oven hot and ready when it's time. 

- Add olive oil to your skillet, nothing specific just make sure the bottom is coated. Add your rosemary, and garlic cloves. Turn your skillet on to it's middle setting, and let the oil heat until you hear the garlic start to cook.

- You MUST wait for the sizzle, because if not your skillet isn't hot enough, and you'll want it to be really hot before you add your steak.  

- Add your steak to the skillet once its hot. Now, do not flip it to the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. You'll want it to get a nice brown and start to crisp before you flip it over. Once flipped, do the same thing for the other side. One thing I've learned just from watching cooking shows, and other chefs in the kitchen, I don't cut my steak while its in the skillet because I want to keep as many juices as possible on the inside. When you cut, you start to loose the juice, and it starts to dry because it's still cooking while it's open.  

- Once you're three minutes are up on the other side, keep it on that same side, and put it directly in the oven close to the heat but not directly on it. For example, the top heater in  my over ( or whatever you call it, coil maybe?) is funny acting, but the bottom gets really hot. So I placed my skillet 2 racks above the bottom coil, and let cook for 6 minutes.

- Once your 6 minutes are up, take out of the oven, and place your steak on a cutting board and let it sit for a couple of minutes. This allows for all that rosemary, and garlic seasonings to set in.  Once it's set, plate and enjoy!

- So obviously your cooking times will vary, based on how you like your steak cooked. I like mines with just a tad bit of pink ( and I do mean just a tad), so I made mines to the point where it was almost well done. If you like your steaks rare, or medium-well, you'll want to lessen the time it spends in the skillet on each side, and also the time it spends in the oven. 

And Walah!

I hope you find some time to enjoy your New Year's and a good meal finds you! Until next time, peace and love. :)



 

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