Lately, I’ve focused on some simple, quick and easy recipes, as well as the occasional more complex one. In this post, I’ll address both of these categories.
We’ll start with quick and easy. One night, after a hard workout, I was very hungry and didn’t have a lot of time to make dinner. So, I checked the fridge and thought: quesadillas. I sautéed some peppers and onions with a little salt and pepper. I used whole wheat tortillas, but any tortilla of your choice will do. Put the tortilla in a pan that has been sprayed with a little cooking spray. On top, add the peppers, onions, and other vegetables of your choice, along with cheese (I used a Mexican cheese blend), pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Place another tortilla on top. Heat on medium low until tortilla browns slightly, then flip and heat again. Slice into wedges and serve with salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, guacamole, cheese, or any of these you have in your refrigerator.
I’ll give this recipe 3 stars. It’s quick and easy and can be tailored to your likes and dislikes. The cumin gives it a nice Mexican flavor. Meat, such as chicken or steak, or beans can also be added to made a heartier quesadilla. Enjoy!
Carla Hall, from Top Chef, recently appeared at the White House Easter Egg roll and made quesadillas. She mentions that quesadillas should be the new peanut butter and jelly and I agree. They are nice and easy, have less carbs and sugar and are packed with veggies. Here is a link to her blog where she makes quesadillas in the first video: http://www.carlahall.com/2011/04/25/white-house-easter-egg-roll/
Now, on to something a little more complex. The other day, I had some friends over for dinner. I made a couple of types of lasagna and I’m going to talk about the one containing bacon.
The past couple of times I’ve made lasagna, I’ve made lasagna rolls instead of a pan of lasagna. They are slightly more time intensive because instead of putting layers in the pan, you have to roll each one individually; however, in my opinion, they are easier to serve. They are a little messy to make, but you simply add the ingredients spread out on a cooked piece of lasagna and roll them up. Then, add them to a lightly sauced and greased pan or casserole dish, add sauce and cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered.
For this recipe, I used whole wheat lasagna noodles and balanced out the healthiness with a velvety cream sauce. For the base of the sauce, I used Mario Batali’s bechamel sauce recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/bechamel-sauce-recipe/index.html. Bechamel is basically a fancy way of saying cream sauce. Start by using a frying pan to sauté finely chopped shallots and mushrooms (about 1/2 cup and 1 cup respectively) until almost cooked, then add 1 small bag of spinach and cook until the spinach is cooked. While that is cooking, chop about 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomato and 1/3 cup of roasted red peppers. Cooked about 10 pieces of bacon until crispy and chopped them into small pieces (reserve some of the bacon grease and add it to the cream sauce for an extra bacon kick). Then I add all the vegetables to the sauce. I used about 1/3 cup of sauce per piece of lasagna and added a small slice of goat cheese before rolling it up. I also added some extra goat cheese and sauce to the pan on top of the rolls and cooked them as directed above.
Here is a picture of the sauce just as I added the bacon:
I don’t have a picture of the finished product, but I can tell you that it was very popular and went very quickly. I’ll give it 4 stars. I’m not sure that the goat cheese was able to shine through amongst all of the other flavors, but it might have been more prominent if I had used more of it or if it was used with a tomato sauce instead of a cream sauce.