RAVIOLI LASAGNA

December 27, 2016

Lasagna is classic good, family, comfort-food-at-home, midwestern (although Italian?) weeknight dinner cooking. I am always one to 1) want more lasagna and 2) want less work, so ravioli lasagna is my get-to-skip-a-step pasta night delight.

In my experience, “no-boil” lasagna noodles CANNOT BE TRUSTED and I always boil those deceivers. So, to skip that pasta boiling step, just grab some frozen cheese raviolis and you are on your way to assembling a lasagna extra easily.

ravioli-lasagnaRAVIOLI LASAGNA
Serves 5 to 6

1 pound frozen ravioli
1 and 1/2 pounds italian sausage
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
24 ounces red pasta sauce
30 ounces ricotta
2 cups mozzarella, plus additional for topping
2 eggs
1/4 cup parmesan
Fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, begin browning italian sausage over medium heat. When sausage is about halfway browned, drain liquid from pan and add onion. Once meat is completely browned, add garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano to pan. Stir in red pasta sauce and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, and eggs. In a 9×13 baking dish, layer ravioli, meat sauce, and cheese mixture. Layer again and finish with an additional layer of ravioli and cheese. Top with parmesan and additional mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Top with fresh basil.

RAVIOLI LASAGNA
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound frozen ravioli
  • 1 and ½ pounds italian sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 24 ounces red pasta sauce
  • 30 ounces ricotta
  • 2 cups mozzarella, plus additional for topping
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup parmesan
  • Fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, begin browning italian sausage over medium heat. When sausage is about halfway browned, drain liquid from pan and add onion. Once meat is completely browned, add garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano to pan. Stir in red pasta sauce and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, and eggs.
  4. In a 9x13 baking dish, layer ravioli, meat sauce, and cheese mixture. Layer again and finish with an additional layer of ravioli and cheese. Top with parmesan and additional mozzarella.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
  6. Top with fresh basil.

 

PLANNING FOR A BUILT-IN DESK

December 19, 2016

After checking the shiplap walls off the to-do list, I could get to the project I really wanted – installing our built-in, wall-to-wall desk. My goal is to complete this project for less than $1,000. The deeper I got into the planning, the harder that seemed, but I think we can still pull it off.

In the beginning, we planned to just have the built-in be standard desk height – 30 inches. I really wanted to use IKEA cabinets to help meet that under-a-grand budget goal, but they do not have desk height cabinets available, only kitchen ones. Kitchen cabinets are 30 inches on their own and you have add on toe kick and counter height, which would rule out using kitchen cabinets for our desk. They would be quite too tall.

I abandoned dear IKEA to search online and at Home Depot for desk height cabinets. Online I was not able to find any with lots of drawer customization options. My brief little consult at Home Depot gave me complete sticker shock and I realized I had to figure out a way to make IKEA stuff work to stay in budget.

After a little more digging on IKEA, I found they have a wall mounted overhead cabinet (with drawers!) that is 20″ in height. With a few inches for the counter’s thickness and building up a tall platform base, we could get those to be our desired 30″ desk height! Yay, IKEA will work!

(This simulation shows what our configuration will look like, just imagine a counter going across all of them and some stools!)

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-12-34-44-pm

But then a last minute change happened! That I am actually not inconvenienced by, but really excited about and thankful we thought of before we committed on this old design. David has had workplaces with standing desks and really loved them. And I started asking myself, why don’t we make one for our house?

The more I thought about it the more I loved the idea and was really excited about the posture and health benefits. We are not really health nuts, but we always joke-remind each other that “sitting is the new smoking,” as they say.

planning-for-the-built-in-desk-copy

The best part is that making these standing desks will use the same concept of how I was going to do the desk height cabinets by building a big base for a smaller cabinet. Now, we will just using the 30″ kitchen cabinets and build a big base to bring it up to about 41-42″, an average ideal standing desk height for heights (5’7″ and 6’2″).

I made my big trip to our state’s IKEA and bought all the cabinets, and now we have begun assembling. (David loves putting together IKEA furniture!) I am beginning to think we can really do this. Not as sure about doing it and staying under budget!

BETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

December 15, 2016

We know lettuce wraps are a stellar way to go grain free. BUT that leaves the problem that I am always thinking of and you are always thinking of. WHAT ABOUT GETTING FULL. This batch of chicken lettuce wraps addresses this very question, friends. A big huge skillet of the this chicken filling is so, well filling.

For more in the better-than-takeout series, you are going to want this better-than-takeout pad thai and better-than-takeout chicken fried rice.

better-than-takeout-chicken-lettuce-wrapsBETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS
Serves 3 to 4

2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 pounds ground chicken breast
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sriracha
8 ounces water chestnuts, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
4 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Bibb or butter lettuce leaves

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground chicken in sesame oil for 7 minutes. Strain liquid from skillet and add an additional drizzle of sesame oil. Add onion to pan and cook for 5 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and sriracha. Pour sauce over chicken and add garlic, water chestnuts, and bell pepper to pan. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve in lettuce leaves and top with green onion and sesame seeds.

BETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 pounds ground chicken breast
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 8 ounces water chestnuts, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Bibb or butter lettuce leaves
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground chicken in sesame oil for 7 minutes. Strain liquid from skillet and add an additional drizzle of sesame oil.
  2. Add onion to pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and sriracha.
  4. Pour sauce over chicken and add garlic, water chestnuts, and bell pepper to pan. Cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  5. Serve in lettuce leaves and top with green onion and sesame seeds.

Adapted from Eat, Drink, Love.

Copyright © Rachel Schultz 2017