Monday, January 5, 2015

nstructed Lasagna Soup {Electric Pressure Cooker Recipe}

I made mine in my pressure cooker, and this recipe will be for a pressure cooker.  It would be very easy to make this on a stovetop.  Just remember to cook accordingly.

  • 2 Lbs. Spicy Italian Sausage (You can also use lean ground beef or even ground turkey)
  • 2 16oz. Cans of Chopped Tomatoes (Omit one can if you want less calories)
  • 1 8oz. Can of Tomato Paste (Omit completely if you want less sodium and calories)
  • 1 Whole Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 4 Cups of Chicken Broth ( Omit completely and just use water, or use vegetable stock if you want less sodium)
  • Package of Mafalda Pasta, which look like cute little pieces of lasagna (You can use broken pieces of lasagna as well, which is what I did. Or fusili pasta)

  • Cheese Balls:
    • Shredded Mozzarella
    • Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
    In your handy dandy pressure cooker’s inner cooking pan/pot, put a bit of olive oil and heat up the browning feature if your model has it.  Otherwise you can do it on the stove in a saucepan.
    Crumble the sausage or whatever meat you are using and brown the meat in the pot.  Add the Italian Seasoning and lightly saute everything together.  Turn off the browning feature.

    Add in the minced garlic and chopped onions.  Also the cans of chopped tomato and tomato paste.

    Give everything a good stir.

    Now pour in the Chicken Broth or water.  I did a mix of broth and water until my pot was at the MAX line full capacity.  Make sure not to over fill pass this line or you’re going to have a mess.

    DO NOT ADD THE PASTA YET!  We’ll do that later.

    Close the lid and lock it.  Set the pressure valve to Airtight.  Program your pressure cooker to cook for 10-minutes.  Or if it has a pre-set SOUP function, go ahead and press that.
    That’s it.  It’s all ready to go.

    Now, I want to make sure everyone knows that when you’re making a large pot of soup that has a high liquid content, the pressure cooker will take longer to come to pressure because it has to take time to heat up the liquid inside it.  Once it is all heated and the pressure has been reached, the cook time will then begin and count down.

    While the pressure cooker is doing its thing, you can make the cheese balls!  Lasagna is known for all its cheesy goodness.  And I know cheese is really not the way to go if you’re trying to watch your calorie count.  But it’s okay, you’re just using a little bit of cheese.  It’s nothing compared to the baked lasagna that’s loaded with gallons and gallons of thick fattening cheese in layers and layers.
    To avoid making a mess, use a clean plate and put some shredded mozzarella cheese onto the plate.  Then scoop out about 2-3 tablespoons of ricotta cheese and mash it onto the plate and mix it with the mozzarella.  Mash and roll until both cheeses are incorporated and roll it into a nice tight ball.  You can choose to add some dry parsley and dry basil to the cheese balls too.  Make however many balls you want and cover with saran wrap.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve the soup.
    Whenever the pressure cooker has finished pressure cooking, adjust the pressure valve to Exhaust to release all the pressure.  For a big pot of soup, it may take almost 2-minutes for it all too release completely.  Once all the pressure is released, open the lid.  The unit should also have gone to the Keep Warm setting automatically.

    Give everything a good stir.

    Add about 1-2 cups of pasta to the soup.  Don’t add too much because the pasta have the tendency to soak up a lot of the liquid and get really bloated looking.  Add just enough for the amount of servings you want.  Season with salt but don’t go overboard.  I always leave salting my food towards the end or when I’m actually serving it.  Shut the lid to the pressure cooker again and program it to cook for just ONE more minute.

    Once that has completed, go through the usual cycle to release the pressure and unlock the lid.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Snickers Apple Pudding Salad

    The crunchy apples and chewy candy bar pieces are the perfect compliment to the pudding base. I don't recommend making this the night before because the apples tend to get a little mushy (I think that it tastes better when they are really crunchy).
    Snickers Apple Pudding Salad
    1 large tub (16 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
    1 large package (6 oz) vanilla instant pudding
    1 cup milk
    6 regular-sized Snickers candy bars, cut in bite size pieces (or 12 fun-sized bars)
    3 medium size Granny Smith apples or other tart apple, cut up into small chunks
    In a large bowl, combine milk and pudding, then mix in the cool whip. Add the Snickers and then the apples (cut the apples after you have mixed the other ingredients so that they aren't brown when you add them).

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    Roasted Brussel Sprouts


    • 1 1/2 lb brussel sprouts, ends trimmed (halved if you wish)
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 fresh ground pepper
    • fresh grated asiago cheese

    Preheat over to 350ºF. Toss together sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. Spread across baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for about 20-30 minutes or whenever the outside gets some yummy crusty roasted bits. Serve with grated cheese if you wish. Super healthy if you leave the cheese out.

    Shrimp Scampi

    • 1 lb linguini
    • 4 TB butter
    • 4 TB extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 shallots, finely diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • pinch of red pepper flakes
    • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 C chicken broth
    • parsley, chopped, to taste

    Cook pasta al dente.  In large skillet, melt 2 TB butter in 2 TB olive oil over med- high heat.  Saute' shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes 3-4 minutes.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper; add to pan and cook until pink, 2-3 minutes.  Remove shrimp from pan, set aside, and keep warm.  Add broth and lemon juice to skillet and bring to boil.  Add 2 TB butter and 2 TB olive oil.  After butter melts, return shrimp to the pan; add parsley and stir in pasta.  Season with salt and pepper.

    Authentic Italian Creamy Tomato Sauce

     Tomato Sauce
    • 2 TB olive oil
    • 1 TB butter
    • 1 tsp basil
    • dash crushed red chili pepper
    • 3 medium onions, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • dash salt
    • 3 29 oz tomato sauce
    • 7 oz Gouda cheese
    • 1 pint heavy cream
    • pasta for 10 servings, cooked
    • Parmesan cheese, grated

    In olive oil and butter, saute' basil, chili pepper, onion, garlic, and salt until onion is tender.  Add tomato sauce and cook until flavors combine (at least 20 minutes, the longer the better).  Add Gouda cheese and stir until melted.  Add heavy cream and remove from heat (cream should not be cooked).  Serve over pasta and top with Parmesan cheese. Makes 10 servings.

    We made this the other night and both my husband and I agreed this dish would be better with some chicken.  The chicken that we think would go best with this dish is as follows:


    • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    1. Wash and drain chicken breasts.
    2. Pound until very thin (the thinner the chicken breasts the better).
    3. Mix breadcrumbs, flour, and Parmesan cheese together.
    4. Place milk in dish for dipping.
    5. Dip chicken in breadcrumb mixture and then in milk and then back in breadcrumbs.
    6. Place in fry pan that the oil has been heated and fry at medium high temperature until golden crisp and cooked through.
    7. Add more oil as needed.
    8. Remove and drain chicken; keep warm.


    Tuesday, September 3, 2013

    S'mores bars

    I made these last time we went camping, and they were gone in no time!  So much better than a real S'more, AND you don't have to smell like a campfire :)

    • 1/2 cup butter melted
    • 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs 
    • 2 cups brown sugar
    • 2/3 cup salted butter (softened)
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 1/2 cup flour
    • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup mini marshmallows 
     Place on top of dough before baking:
    • 2 Milk Chocolate Candy Bars (broken into pieces)
    • 1 Graham Cracker (broken into pieces)
    • 1/2 cup marshmallows
    1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
    2. Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs into a small bowl with a fork. Then line a 13x9 with foil and press down crust. Set aside.
    3. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add in eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. In another bowl, mix the baking powder and salt with 1 cup of flour. Pour into the butter mixture and stir in the rest of the flour. Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows.
    4. Press dough into pan with a spatula flour on your hands. The dough goes right on top of the crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned. Oven temps will vary. Test with a tooth pick. The dough should be soft in the center.
    5. Allow bars to cool then cut and enjoy!

     The crust

     The cake part

     Before it went in the oven

    When it came out the oven

    Saturday, June 29, 2013

    Favorite Green Salad

    This recipe came from my sister in law.  You can visit her cooking blog HERE.

    This is a salad that the family requests every time we get together.  Needless to say, I thought it should be posted on my blog, because, it's that good!

    3/4 lb sliced mushrooms
    2-3 bunches of spinach
    3/4 lb grated Swiss cheese
    1 c. drained and rinsed cottage cheese
    1 small head iceberg lettuce
    1/2 lb crisped and crumbled bacon

    Combine and toss with the following dressing just before serving:

    1 1/2 t. poppy seeds
    3/4 c sugar
    1 1/2 t. salt
    1 purple onion, thinly sliced
    3/4 c. vinegar
    1 1/2 c oil
    3/4 t. dry mustard

    Make ahead of time. Stir before putting on salad. This makes a lot of dressing, more than you need for a single batch of salad. Enjoy!

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    Apple Crisp


    5 pounds apples, I used a half and half mix of McIntosh and Honeycrisp and it was the perfect balance
    Grated zest of 1 orange
    Grated zest of 1 lemon
    2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
    2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground nutmeg
    For the topping:
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1 cup oatmeal
    1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking dish (or 2 8×8 pans like I did!)
    Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. I peeled the apples and then used a handy apple slicer tool to make quick work of this. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.
    To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
    Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for one hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce if you’re really feeling sassy.

    Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (used 2 cups by accident, oops.)
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 vanilla bean, sliced and seeded
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    1. Slice a vanilla bean in half. Using the back of the knife, scrape the seeds from the pod.
    2. Pour the cream into a measuring cup and add the vanilla bean scrapings, and sea salt. Set aside.
    3. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sugar to a boil. Let the sugar cook (do not stir using a spoon, at most, you may swirl the pan to avoid hot spots) until it reaches a deep amber color.
    4. Whisk in the cream mixture. It will bubble and go nuts, but keep whisking. It will come together.
    5. Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge. The sauce will thicken, but it is more of a loose sauce.
    6. This will keep for about a week in the fridge.

    Chicken and Wild Rice


    1 box wild rice with seasoning packet (4.3 oz)
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1 can cream of chicken soup
    1 can water
    1 small can mushrooms, drained
    6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, uncooked
    1 cup slivered almonds 


    1. Mix together rice with seasoning packet, both cans of soup, and water.  Stir in mushrooms.
    2. Pour in to 8X8 freezer dish, I use the foil pans.  Top with 6 chicken pieces and sprinkle with slivered almonds.
    3. Double wrap in heavy duty foil, label and freeze.
    Cooking Instruction: Thaw and bake uncovered at 350 for 1 hour until chicken juices run clear and rice is tender. 

    I like to serve this dish with a side of broccoli and fruit.

    Greek Turkey Sliders


    • 1 lbs. 93% lean ground turkey
    • 1/2 cup zucchini, grated and drained well
    • 1 slice bread
    • 1/8 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp garlic, minced
    • 3/8 cup red onion, grated
    • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
    • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 Tbsp fresh spearmint, chopped
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp pepper
    • 8 pita halves


    Wet bread with water, squeezing excess out. Tear into small pieces and place in large bowl. Combine with turkey, egg, zucchini, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, spearmint, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Using a 1/4 cup measure, form each slider. Preheat grill, clean grill grate well, and spray with olive oil spray. Grill sliders on low until cooked through.  Serve with pita bread halves.

    Freezing Directions:

    Place a piece of wax paper between each burger, place in freezer bags, seal, label and freeze. Place pita bread in separate gallon freezer bag and freeze alongside burgers. To Serve: Thaw both a burger and a pita bread for each serving.  Grill as directed above.