Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh The Wonderfulness Of Comfort Food

There is nothing better than sitting down to a hot hearty meal after a long day... especially if it's chilly out. While the weather here has been unseasonably warm for November (when growing up we always had snow by now and I have yet to break out my winter coat) there have been a few days that needed a big bowl of yummy warmth after the hustle and bustle.

First, I tried out the Chipotle Chocolate Chili recipe over on (a new favorite resource for recipes!). Of course, I'm incapable of just following a recipe as it's written. Here are the changes I made:
  • I only used half a large onion... we're just not huge fans but I understand the flavor is important.
  • I omitted the red bell pepper... again, not a huge fan.
  • Substituted 1t of Cayenne Pepper for the Chipotle Sauce... I couldn't find it but still wanted a bit of heat.
  • Skipped the Unsweetened Chocolate... it scared me.
  • I added three spoonfuls of my own Apple Honey at the end of the cooking process to sweeten it up.
The result?  A wonderfully thick chili that starts off sweet and has a little kick of heat as it goes down...  YUM!  Next time I think I'll use lean ground beef instead of turkey.  The texture of the turkey is just a little odd for me and mine. 

And I also made a pan of my mom's Lasagna (with my own tweaks of course) at the end of the week.  The secret is to make it in the morning or the night before, stick it in the fridge and then reheat it for dinner.  Recipe?  Sure...

1 Box of Lasagna Noodles (not the oven ready ones... ICK!) cooked aldente and oiled to prevent sticking.
1 Large Jar (26.5 oz) of your favorite Pasta Sauce
1-2 lbs of Lean Ground Beef, cooked and drained
1 large package of Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
3-4 C of Shredded Italian Blend Cheese (Mozzarella, Parmesan, etc...)
15oz of Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg
2t Cinnamon
1T Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

First, combine the Ricotta, Egg, Cinnamon, Italian Seasoning, Salt and Pepper.  Set aside.  Get your baking dish and grease the dickens out of it!  I have a refillable pump olive oil spray that I love!  Works great!  Pour a little sauce into the bottom of the dish, just enough to coat the bottom  and prevent the noodles from sticking and becoming crispy.  Now... we layer!  Noodles, 1/2 the Ricotta Mixture, 1/2 the Beef, 1/2 the Mushrooms, 1/2 the Cheese.  Pour on half the sauce, letting it sink into the layers below.  Repeat the layers once more.  Get a large piece of tin foil and spray the matte side (the non shiny side) with no stick cooking spray and cover the lasagna.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Allow it to cool and then chill in the fridge.  Reheat at your convenience and ENJOY!

I'm thinking next time I make this I'll use some Sausage (Sweet Italian or Garlic and Cheese) instead of the beef.


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