Eating Italian on Cinco de Mayo

5 05 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo Friends! We probably should be here sharing a special Taco recipe or delicious Margarita recipe to celebrate, but we aren’t that good at planning ๐Ÿ™‚ So, on 321delish today, Italian it is! If you do want a great Mango Guac recipe though, head over to How Sweet Eats! Jessica’s recipes are AMAZING.ย  I (Chloe) was not feeling well last night so asked Steph to fill in for me today. She had a great recipe post ready to go!

Steph’s Hearty Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna!

Lasagna’s not something I typically make for myself, mostly because you end up with leftovers for a week… And, if I was left on my own to eat it, lasagna would start oozing from my ears. It’s a much better meal to make when someone’s there to help you eat it ๐Ÿ™‚ So, I had a special visitor a few weeks ago, and his request was for a really good vegetable lasagna that we could make/eat together.

I spent some time looking at a few recipes: I checked out Tastespotting and my Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, and a few of my favorite blogs. I finally decided that we’d make our own version, drawing from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe and the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. Of course it would be “really good” when we’re making it up as we go along!

Here’s the step by step:

First, start boiling water for your lasagna noodles. I had a BIG pot of water on the stove and it took FOREVER to boil! Mental note: use this pot next time:

While the water’s boiling, prep your veggies:

Mushrooms

Broccoli

I forgot to get a picture of the onions, but that’s probably because I wanted to chop as quickly as possible, since I wasn’t wearing eye protection.

In a pan, sautรฉ the onions in a little olive oil. When they’ve softened and started to brown a little, add the mushrooms.

When the mushrooms are cooked through, add two cans of diced tomatoes. I always buy Muir Glen’s fire roasted diced tomatoes.

Stir until heated through, and then add the broccoli. Turn up the heat on the stove a little, so that the sauce begins to bubble. This will cook off some of the water, and cook the broccoli. Season with salt, pepper, and if you’d like, some Italian seasoning. We used basil, parsley, and oregano.

Now, at this point, hopefully your water is boiling, and you can cook the noodles as directed on the box. When ours were done, we dipped the noodles in an ice bath, just so they’d hold their shape and not get sticky when we layered them.

While the noodles are cooking, prep your cheeses. Make sure you have mozzarella (you can buy pre-shredded, or not. We decided to buy a log of it and slice it), shredded or finely grated parmesan, and a ricotta mixture. In the ricotta mixture, we combined the following:

1 15 ounce carton of ricotta cheese

1 cup of cottage cheese

2 beaten eggs

a handful of parmesan cheese (real technical, I know)

Italian seasoning (to taste)

salt + pepper

Now, begin the layering. Start with a layer of sauce:

Then a layer of noodles and the layer of the ricotta mixture:

Then layer on some baby spinach, and then some mozzarella slices:

Repeat.

We were able to get three layers of pasta on there. After the last layer of pasta, top with sauce, spinach, mozzarella, and some shredded parmesan. Bake in a 350ยบ oven for 35 minutes.

Let it stand for 10 minutes when it comes out of the oven, before cutting into this deliciousness:

Now you can dig in!

Question of the day: Are you a veggie lasagna kind of person, or a meat lasagna kind of person?

Question 2 of the day: How are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo!?





Woman Night

15 04 2011

Haaaapppyyy Friiidaaayyy! I woke up in a great mood this morning ๐Ÿ™‚ At 7 am the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and since its Friday, it’s my OFF day from training. It really does finally feel like spring! Another reason I woke up in a great mood this morning was last night’s Woman Night. Yes…you heard me right, Woman Night. Ever since Chris and I started dating, we have both found that it is extremely important to make time for ourselves. We clearly love spending time together, but time alone with the guys/ time alone with the girls is A MUST! So…Thursdays have become his night to go drink beer, eat pizza and talk about man things and Thursday nights are my nights to go try out fun new restaurants, drink martinis and talk about all of the cooking, baking, gossipy GIRL TALK that I want to talk about! I used to call my Thursdays Girl Night, but if Chris is having Man Night….I decided that I am having Woman Night. Last night I met up with one of my favorite training AND eating buddies, Jenny.

We had both just come from training sessions on the bike, so please excuse the jeans and North Face attire ๐Ÿ™‚ We decided to meet at Sette Osteria. I was actually there a few weeks ago on another Woman Night but it was so good that I suggested we go again! And it didn’t let us down. Sette is located in Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. One of my favorite things about this restaurant is the fact that it has an open patio in the spring, summer and fall.

We sat down at our table and were gabbing so much (about lots of girl things of course) that we had to actually make a point of stopping our conversation so that our waitress could finally take our order. We also knew that we wouldn’t be getting any of the amazing focaccia bread until we ordered. This bread was warm and crusty on the outside but really soft on the inside. It was also sprinkled with a little sea salt, which made it even more delicious. We asked for a few “refills” on the bread.

We were both pretty hungry from our rides, so we decided to split an appetizer. We decided on the Tavolozza Di Formaggi–Italian cheeses served with fig jam and truffle honey. YUMMO!

We licked those two little bowls clean. The service was a bit slow, but we honestly didn’t mind waiting for our entrees because we had so much catching up to do! Jenny has her first triathlon of the season on Saturday, the Rumpus in the Bumpass Olympic Triathlon(great name huh?!), so of course we spent time talking about race day and our upcoming seasons. For her entree, Jenny ordered Capellini with peppers mushrooms, basil and fresh tomato sauce. She asked for chicken on top to add a little more protein to the meal. They gave her quite a bit of chicken!

I went with the Insalata di Mare–mixed grill of shrimp, salmon and calamari served with arugula salad.

We were both happy campers once the food came out!

My meal was great!…except for the calamari. I had been expecting fried calamari and the taste and texture of grilled calamari just really didn’t really do if for me…

Both Jenny and I agreed that the food was great and we would definitely come back to Sette. Woman Night was yet another success ๐Ÿ™‚ Before you sign offline for the weekend, though, head over to Running Foodie. Megan asked me to write a guest post for her while she was on vacation and I decided to put together a little Triathlon 101! Check it out ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the Day: Do you have a woman/man night/me night?