Friday, December 31, 2010

Spinach Prosciutto Quiché

Spinach Prosciutto Quiche

Here is yet another Quiché creation I made this week. A great addition to any holiday brunch for helping ring in the New Year. Don’t forget to serve with some Mimosas. Can’t celebrate 2011 without a little bit o' bubbly :) XOXO….little j Y

Spinach Prosciutto Quiché
Serves 8

2 tsp olive oil
4  oz prosciutto, chopped
1-2 shallots, chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium-sized pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil. Add prosciutto and sauté until brown. Add shallots, rosemary and thyme. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until shallots become tender. Reduce heat & add in spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool or place in freezer to speed up cooling process.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs & milk together. Set aside.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheese onto the bottom of the crust. Add the prosciutto & spinach mixture after it has cooled. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup of cheese on top. Pour in the egg & milk mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool before serving.

Want to make a homemade crust? Check out this basic Quiché Dough  recipe or this easy Whole-Wheat version. My favorite has to be the one I use in the French Apple Tart. I like it because it doesn't require shortening. Omit the sugar if you're using it for quiché.

Bacon & Cheddar Quiché

Bacon & Cheddar Quiche

In case you haven’t figured it out yet…I am obsessed with making the same foods over & over!!  Quiché would have to top that list too! I have made so many in the past few months that I have already lost count. I guess I just like how easy they can be & how many different varieties you can make of them. Plus I am still working at perfecting my quiché-making skills. And I’m kind of a perfectionist…so who knows how many more of these babies I’ll be making & blogging about!

To get you started on creating your own quiché recipes…I’ll share with you the basic ingredients necessary & then you can add in your own from there.

First, every quiché needs a crust. My Spinach Quiché has a very easy “healthy tasting” whole- wheat crust. If you are limited on time, feel free to use a pre-made crust from the grocery store. I’ve also included an additional recipe below on making your own buttery & flaky crust. You can also go “crust-less.”

Second, every quiché is composed of an egg & milk mixture. The standard ratio to use is 4 eggs for every 1 cup of milk. Limit fat & cholesterol by using 3 egg whites & 1 egg with 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk. But if you having guests over for brunch, just go all out & just use the whole darn egg! It is okay to splurge every once in a while :)

And the last part would include all the goodies you choose to put in it! You will want to use veggies, meats, or a combination of them both. And don’t forget about the cheese! The possibilities are endless. XOXO....little j Y

Bacon & Cheddar Quiché
Serves 8

6 oz bacon, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup cheddar cheese {+ more if desired}
pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium pan, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until nicely browned. Remove any bacon fat. Reduce the heat to low & add in the spinach. Season with pepper, if desired. Stir until spinach is wilted & remove from heat. Set aside to cool or put in the freezer to speed up the cooling process.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs & milk together. Set aside.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheddar cheese onto the bottom of the crust. Add the bacon & spinach after it has cooled. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup of cheese on top of the bacon & spinach. Pour in the egg & milk mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool before serving.

Quiché Dough for Crust
Recipe from: Williams-Sonoma
Makes 1 pie crust for a 9-inch pan

1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, unsalted & chilled, cut into cubes
¼ cup shortening {or lard if you have it}, chilled & cut into cubes
3-4 Tbsp cold water

In a large bowl, stir together the flour & salt. Add in the butter & shortening. Use a pastry blender to cut butter/shortening into the mixture until becomes crumb-like. Sprinkle in water {1 Tbsp at a time} and use a fork to mix it in. Form the dough into a ball. Use immediately or wrap in plastic wrap & store in the fridge for up to two days.

When ready to roll out the dough, flour your hands & rolling pin. Roll out bigger than your 9-inch pie pan so there is extra dough hanging over the sides. Press dough into pan and cut off excess, but leave a little extra hanging over the edge. The dough tends to shrink after baking. You can see in my pictures how mine shrunk...that’s because I didn’t leave enough dough hanging over the edge of my pie pan. Use a fork to prick holes over the bottom of the dough. Cover & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking. This will help set the dough.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove prepared crust from fridge. Cover with a sheet of foil & fill with dried beans or rice. This is to prevent the crust from puffing up while baking. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove foil with beans or rice. Place back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes until lightly browned.

*Note: If you do not have any shortening or lard on hand, just use all butter & it should come out just fine. I actually prefer a crust without shortening. Use this one from my French Apple Tart but omit the sugar.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Coffee Cake Cupcakes

Coffee Cake Cupcake
A New Year’s Day Brunch wouldn’t be complete without some coffee cake. I made these into cupcakes because I love when everyone can get their own individualized portion to nibble on. I was hoping they would turn out like a cute little cupcake, but the reality is that some of them got sunken in from the topping weighing them down. I didn’t take any pictures of those! I guess I ... forgot :) In the end, I realized coffee cake was easier to make when baked in a bigger pan {like it usually is}. So I’ve included instructions for baking in a 9 x 13 dish below if you choose to go the easier {& suggested} route.
XOXO....little j Y

Coffee Cake Cupcakes
Inspired by: The Pioneer Woman
Makes 2 dozen

Cake Batter:
1 ½ sticks of softened butter, unsalted
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups flour, sifted
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups milk
3 egg whiltes, beaten until stiff peaks form

6 Tbsp butter, unsalted & cut into smaller cubes
1/3 cup flour
¾ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
¾ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

*Optional: You may also bake the coffee cake in a 9 x 13 pan @ 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. If you choose to do so, double the ingredients for the topping. Sprinkle topping over cake batter & swirl with a knife before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder & salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all topping ingredients & use a pastry cutter (or your hands) and work it until crumbs are formed. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, use a hand mixer to whip up the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Also set aside.

Using a mixer, cream together the softened butter & sugar. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Mix only until combined. Use a spatula to fold in the prepared egg whites. Fill batter into cupcake liners & top with a couple spoonfuls of the topping. (Alternative Option: Fold half the topping into the cake batter. Fill cupcake liners & then top with remaining topping mixture.) Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool before serving. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mini Cheddar & Chive Cupcakes

Mini Cheddar & Chive Cupcakes
Last week I opened my mailbox to find a very special delivery of something that I’ve been waiting to share with all of you. It was my first issue of Sweet Paul Magazine :) You may be asking yourself, who is Sweet Paul?? The magazine stems from creator Paul Lowe’s popular blog called Sweet Paul. It is filled with a ton of great looking recipes, as well as some very unique and original craft ideas that I just love.

All issues of the magazine are available for digital viewing & for purchase too. Get ready for spring early by checking out the Delicious Spring 2010 issue. Or take a peek at all the yummy dessert recipes from Fabulous Fall 2010. And of course you’ll want to see all the creative craft ideas from their Holiday 2010 issue!

Sweet Paul Magazine - Holiday 2010 
You can find the Cheddar & Chive Cupcake recipe on page 57 in the Holiday 2010 magazine. The recipe will make 12 cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes. Bake mini cupcakes for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. I also recommend cutting down the salt to ½ teaspoon unless you are a salt-addict & want them extra salty! These cupcakes {aka biscuits} turned out quite tasty & I loved the aroma that filled the kitchen while they were baking. Eating them warm & toasty—straight from the oven—is highly recommended.

This adorable sterling silver whisk pendant by Frances & Co was also featured in Sweet Paul's Holiday issue. It’s a perfect gift for any one who loves to whisk it good while cooking up something fun in the kitchen. And of course….I have one too :)

Sterling Silver Whisk Pendant by Frances & Co
Liking Sweet Paul already?? Then don't forget to follow his blog for updates & fun giveaways. Did I mention I WON my copy of SPM {Sweet Paul Magazine} in one of the giveaways?!

XOXO....little j Y

Friday, December 24, 2010

Texas Cowboy Cookies

Texas Cowboy Cookies
So it feels like I’ve been on a food blogging hiatus this week, but in actuality I’ve been busy in the kitchen every day! I have plenty of great recipes to share, but just haven’t had too much time with the holidays fast approaching.

I wanted to at least post this cookie recipe. You may have heard of Laura Bush’s Texas Cowboy Cookies….well these are them! I helped my friend June Bug bake up a ton of goodies earlier this week for some fine members of the SD Police Department, including these yummy cookies. I took a stash of them home with me & have been munching on them ever since! The original version includes coconut & nuts, but these ingredients are of course optional. We excluded them in our batches in case anyone out there had a nut allergy or was picky about coconut. They turned out delicious, as usual. Next time you’re thinking about baking up some goodies of your own….try these & you won’t be disappointed :)

Merry Whiskmas & Happy Baking!! XOXO....little j Y

Texas Cowboy Cookies
Makes 30-36 cookies

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 sticks butter, unsalted
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate chips
3 cups oats
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
2 cups coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat butter & sugars until smooth and creamy. Add in eggs (one at a time) and then the vanilla. Mix until just combined. Add in flour mixture (a little bit at a time) and continue mixing until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls (or use an ice cream scoop for bigger cookies) onto a pre-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

{{15}} Things You May Not Know About Me...But Now You Do :)

Lately, I’ve been following a blog by Little Miss Momma. It is one of few where I actually find myself reading an entire post by a blogger. Even non-Mommas {like myself} can relate. She started a link party & I decided to join in. You can join in too! Leave a comment {seriously, leave a comment} & tell me a little more about YOU :) 
XOXO....little j Y

My Daily Essential: Yes TO Carrots Chapstick {preferably in Berry or Melon}.

I volunteer as a NURSE several days a month at a local clinic.

I laugh-out-loud {a true LOL} every time I watch How I Met Your Mother.

<3 the smell of fresh linen.

What I'm Reading: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch {definitely recommend!}

One of my favorite pieces of art is Cupid & Psyche by Canova. I own a mini replica.
Biggest Pet Peeves: Inconsiderate people & Stinky hair

Sometimes I wish my dog Ryder could talk…like how animals do in the movies.

I am a TROJAN and proud of IT

The best cookie ever invented is the snickerdoodle.

don’t really like ice cream, but sometimes I will eat it anyway.

I am a fan of buffer zones. It gets on my nerves when there are a ton of open seats in a movie theater, yet someone chooses to sit in the one right next to me. Sit somewhere else, would ya?!

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History AND Nursing.

always keep leftovers, but I rarely ever eat them.

I LOVE country music!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Homemade Holiday Gifts

Cinnamon-Ginger Spiced Granola
*New Tip: Melt brown sugar with butter
before adding to other ingredients.

3 cups oats
¼ cup ground flaxseed
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick), melted
1 ½ cups walnut pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Start by melting the butter & brown sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. In a large bowl combine all other ingredients. When the butter & brown sugar has melted, remove from heat & add into the large bowl. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are combined. Bake for 30-45 minutes, mixing the granola every so often as it is baking. Let cool.

More granola recipes......Cherry-Chocolate Nutty Granola!!!!

Crafty Candles

I love how a simple jar can be so versatile. Not to mention…very affordable. One jar only cost me $1.19! I can use it for storing granola, my favorite candies, jams, and even as a decorative item. Try bringing a little extra ambiance into your home with this crafty candle idea…or give it as a homemade holiday gift :)


Mason Jars (from Michael’s)
Burlap Garland (also from Michael’s)
Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
Tea Lights
Pretzels, finely ground

If you want to wrap your jar in the burlap garland, measure & cut out a piece to fit around the size of your jar. After your glue gun is hot & ready to use, make a straight line of glue down the side of the jar. Immediately attach one side of your burlap garland along the glue. Apply another layer of glue over the same area as before, but this time on top of the burlap garland. Tightly wrap your garland around the jar and press the other end onto the glue. Cut off any excess garland.

Fill in the excess space of the jar with something simple, like finely ground pretzels. Sure, you could go buy some “fake sand,” but I think this is just easier & more convenient. Get creative by adding other fillers, such as coffee beans, rock salt, shells…whatever kind of look you’re going for. Add in the tea light & pair it with a box of matches if you’re giving it away as a gift.

Tip: Make homemade gift tags using brown paper grocery bags. Use a hole puncher to make a hole & then use string, raffia, or twine for a bow.

Cake Balls

Cake balls are great for gift giving or a holiday party. I made these as I was testing out a recipe for a more sweet & savory flavor with a secret center. Except the cake balls turned out all sweet & not even close to savory (but still GOOD). So I don’t have any new recipes to post! Follow my recipe for Red Velvet Cake Pops and just exclude the lollipop stick. Wrap up the balls in a cute clear bag & tie with a string or some raffia. 

P.S. Here are some extra photos with a familiar little creature that kept sneaking into the background….ohhhh Rye, you silly pup :) XOXO....little j Y

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ravioli with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Ravioli with Mushroom Cream Sauce

You are probably thinking to yourself….another mushroom recipe?? Really?? But I can’t help it. I eat the same kinds of food over & over again until I get bored and move on. Did I mention I’ve already made my Turkey Chili three times in the past month? I ate it today for breakfast too :)

Anyhow, after I made the Roasted Portobello & Prosciutto Lasagna, we stocked up on mushrooms for some reason (maybe for the extra dose of Vitamin D?) and my Dad whipped up this yummy dish for dinner last night. We paired the sauce with some mushroom ravioli, but feel free to use any type of ravioli you like. And don’t forget to warm up some sourdough bread in the oven! You’re going to want something to soak up all that sauce…every last bit of it :) XOXO....little j Y

Ravioli with Mushroom Cream Sauce
Recipe from: My Dad

¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
3 large portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/3 inch thick
salt & pepper, to taste
½ cup sherry
1 (14 oz) can beef stock
1 (14 oz) can chicken stock
2 cups whipping cream

In a large saucepan, sauté garlic, mushrooms, & thyme in olive oil. Add salt & pepper, to taste. After about 10 minutes, add in the sherry. Continue sautéing over medium heat until the sherry is cooked down. Add the beef stock, chicken stock, and the whipping cream & continue cooking over medium-low heat until the sauce is reduced in half. (Optional & Recommended: Take out about ½ of the mushroom cream sauce & blend with a hand mixer, then add back into the pan.)

Prepare ravioli by instructions listed on package. After cooked & drained, add ravioli into the mushroom cream sauce. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Red Velvet Cake Pops

Red Velvet Cake Pops
I found the recipe for these cake pops the other week & decided that they would be a great item to bring to an upcoming holiday potluck. Apparently, the concept of "cake pops" has been around for a few years, after blogger Bakerella thought of the idea. Her cake pops were a hit & she has already published her first book that'll show you all the "how-to's" on getting creative with your cake pops (like realllyyy creative--with faces & different shapes--that kind of stuff). Gosh, why can't I think of cool ideas like that?! 

Anyhow, I love the concept of the the cake pops because you can get creative yourself by mixing up what cake & frosting flavors you choose. You can also purchase the candy melts in a variety of colors, such as white, brown, turquoise, & red. And of course you can get creative with your toppings. You can drizzle chocolate, use sprinkles, or even some crushed cookies (like Oreos!). Whatever you choose to do...these little cake pops (or you can make them into "cake balls" without the lollipop stick) will turn out great!! My mind went crazy thinking of all the different ways I could make the cake pops, but I decided to go with what a lot of other bloggers said was the best one....the Red Velvet Cake Pop. And I'm glad I did :) XOXO....little j Y

Red Velvet Cake Pops
Recipe from: Bakerella
Makes 50 Cake Pops

1 box red velvet cake mix (+ ingredients on box needed to make it)
¾ tub cream cheese frosting
1 bag white chocolate candy melts (find them @ Michael’s)
1 bag dark cocoa candy melts
1 package 4-inch lollipop sticks (you’ll need @ least 50 for this recipe)
sweetened flaked coconut
white nonpareils (sprinkles)
chocolate jimmies (sprinkles)
Styrofoam slab (cover with saran wrap)

Step 1: Begin by making the red velvet cake mix, according to the directions listed on the box. Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil, spray it with butter, then fill with the cake batter. Follow baking directions on the box. Let cake cool completely before moving to the next step.

Step 2: After the cake has cooled, put chunks into a food processor & process until crumbs form. If you do not have a food processor, you may also do this by breaking the cake into crumbs by using your hands. But…beware! If you choose to make a red velvet cake, the red dye will discolor your hands a bit. Place all cake crumbs into a large bowl.

Step 3: Add ¾ tub of cream cheese frosting into the cake crumb bowl & mix gently. The crumbs will form together with the frosting, creating a moist dough. After thoroughly incorporated, start forming the cake balls. I used a 1 ½ inch ice cream scoop to measure out the dough and then I rolled it into a ball with my hands. After rolling out all the cake balls, place them in the fridge to set. If you do not have much time, place them in the freezer to speed up the process. (*Note: You may do Steps 1-3 a day ahead. It’s important that the balls are cold before moving onto the next step, otherwise the lollipop sticks will fall out easily.)
Rolled out & ready for the fridge!
Step 4: Melt 1 bag of the chocolate candy melts, according to the instructions on the bag. Or, you can microwave them at 30-second intervals, stirring every time in between, until the chocolate is completely melted. Once melted, take your cake balls out from the fridge. Dip the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and then stick it about halfway into a ball. Let the chocolate set and harden before dipping the ball completely into the chocolate.

Step 5: After you have your lollipop sticks in your cake balls, you are ready DIP & DECORATE them. Have your Styrofoam slab (covered in saran wrap so it can be reused again) and your sprinkles set out in a bowl. Dip the cake pop into the chocolate & tap the lollipop stick on the side of the bowl to get any excess chocolate off. Decorate with sprinkles, coconut, or cookie crumbs (what ever you want!) before the chocolate hardens. Place finished cake pop into Styrofoam to set.

Step 6: Repeat Steps 4-5 using the other bag of chocolate candy melts.

Line on the styrofoam to set.

Look at ALLLL those cake pops!!! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Treat Your Pup to PB & Bacon Bites

Give Your Dog a Bone...
with PB & Bacon Bites!!!

Three years ago my friends & I made the trek to the boonies of Banning, CA to find a new furry addition for my family. We drove for hours on a chilly & rainy December day, but it was all worth it after we saw his sweet puppy-dog face. He was a tiny little guy, who loved to be held. And he slept the whole way home. MEET RYDER.......

Since then, he has grown up into a nice little lad of a pup. He loves his car rides, walkie-poohs, playing ball, showing off his tricks, running like a racehorse, cuddling with his fam and of course, TREATS.

So, this week I wanted to make my pup Rye something special in celebration of this memorable day. I have these Peanut Butter & Bacon dog treats that I use for training that he loves, so I decided to make him a homemade PB & Bacon Bits treat!

Of course, I made this on a whim, and I have no clue really how to make a dog treat. But I figured if I mixed some flour + liquids + flavors together that it would turn out okay! I used both milk & water in this recipe, but feel free to use either one or the other if you want. Also, add as many bacon bits as you want. I only had 2 tbsp left, so that’s all I could use!

I am still trying to figure out how to get the dog treat to be more crunchy, rather than chewy (that’s how these turned out)…so I’m going to need to test out some recipes. I’ve already got some ideas in mind. Stay tuned :) XOXO....little j Y

PB & Bacon Bites
*Makes about 20 dog bones

1 ¼ cup flour
¼ cup milk
¼ cup water
½ tbsp honey
2 tbsp bacon bits
½ cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Remove dough and form into a ball. Use parchment paper as a workspace and roll dough out until it is about ¼ inch thick. Create shapes—like a dog bone—with a cookie cutter, or use the rim of a shot glass to make small bite size treats. Line onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Give to your pup to praise good behavior :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Roasted Portobello & Prosciutto Lasagna

Roasted Portobello & Prosciutto Lasagna
In the mood for something meaty, but without all the meat? The Portobello mushrooms in this dish function as the “meaty” component & are a nice change from your typical lasagna. Plus, you'll be getting a good source of Vitamin D for the day, as one medium-sized mushroom = 100% Vitamin D. We all could use a little extra Vitamin D in our diets, don't you think?? Give it a try!

I found this recipe lying in between a big stack of cooking magazines. It was saved as a recipe to try, but I didn’t know it would take me six years to actually make it. Yes folks, I have six-year-old magazines piling up in my garage. And the sad part is that I actually found one dated back to 1989!! You may be thinking to yourself, “hoarder, much?” but I am not that crazy. I only save the good-looking recipes in magazines & recycle the rest. And I’m glad I do, because otherwise I would have never stumbled upon this yummy lasagna recipe.

The lasagna’s rich & cheesy flavor also reminded me of mac ‘n cheese. I would love to try this recipe again…but as a mac ‘n cheese. To do so, substitute Cellentani noodles (my fav!) and dice the mushrooms into smaller pieces. You can also omit the mushrooms altogether and add a few cans of drained, diced tomatoes in its place. Doesn’t that sound good? :) XOXO....little j Y

Roasted Portobello & Prosciutto Lasagna
Adapted from: Bon Appétit Magazine, Oct. 2004

Makes 10-12 servings

3 tbsp olive oil + 2 tsp
2 lbs Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 cup prosciutto, chopped
2/3 cup shallots, chopped (you’ll need 2-3 shallots)
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or dry rosemary)
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (or dry thyme)
4 cups milk (I used 1% milk)
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup flour
½ Swiss cheese, shredded
½ cup Aged Asiago cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese + ½ cup to top lasagna before baking
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
salt & white pepper, to taste
1 lb lasagna noodles
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces

*Note: The original recipe used Gruyère (also a great cheese!) in place of the Swiss & Aged Asiago I used. Also, this dish is kind of time consuming. Make the mushrooms & prosciutto-shallot fillings ahead of time (that’s what I did). If you have enough time, make the entire lasagna & refrigerate it overnight. When dinner time rolls around, stick it in the oven to bake!

For the Mushroom Filling:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange mushrooms on a greased (use 1 tbsp olive oil) baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil & use a basting brush to coat both sides of the mushroom. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast in oven for 45 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool, then slice mushrooms about 1/3-inch-thick. Set aside until ready to assemble lasagna.
I used a variety of sizes!

For the Prosciutto-Shallot Filling:

In a medium-sized pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil. Add prosciutto and sauté until brown. Add shallots, rosemary and thyme. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until shallots become tender. Set aside until ready to assemble lasagna.
For the Béchamel Sauce:

In a large saucepan, bring the milk, chicken broth & bay leaf to a simmer over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, remove saucepan from the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes. Then remove & dispose the bay leaf.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over low-medium heat. Whisk in the flour and keep stirring for 2 minutes. Then add the hot milk mixture and bring to a boil. Whisk frequently. Don’t leave the stove because it can boil over if you aren’t watching! Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low & let simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Again, whisk frequently. Remove from heat & stir in the cheeses and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

For Lasagna Noodles:

In this recipe, I used flat noodles that don’t require boiling. However, I prefer the regular lasagna noodles. If using the regular noodles, boil them as directed on the box. Drain, then rinse with cold water & pat dry. Use 1/3 of the total noodles for each layer, as this lasagna will have three layers.

Another suggestion is to buy the regular lasagna noodles & not boil them either. My “Uncle Eddie” makes his lasagna without boiling the noodles first and it always comes out great, so you might want to give it a try if you don’t want to hassle with all that boiling.

Putting it All Together:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 13x9x2 pan (or that neat-o Baker’s Edge Lasagna Pan I mentioned in my Top 10 Gift List). Spread 1 cup Béchamel sauce over bottom of pan. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the sauce. Spread 1 2/3 cups Béchamel sauce over noodles. Scatter ½ of the mushrooms & ½ of the prosciutto-shallot filling over the sauce.

Use ½ of the remaining lasagna noodles for the next layer. Then spread another 1 2/3 cups Béchamel sauce over noodles. Scatter remaining mushrooms and prosciutto-shallot filling over sauce. Top with remainder of lasagna noodles. Spread the rest of the Béchamel sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese & top with butter pieces.

Bake for 45 minutes (or 1 hour if refrigerated). Let stand for 20-25 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mini Low-Cal Pumpkin Pies

Forget the dinner, I just want dessert!! I am one of those people that never skips out on dessert. In fact, I want it so bad I'll usually eat it before dinner. I mean if I waited until after dinner, chances are I would be too full to have any. It's not like I'm eating bowls of ice-cream and cookies everyday or anything...just a nibble of something sweet is satisfying enough. With that said, I am pleased to share this lovely low-cal pumpkin pie treat that will fulfill any sweet craving :)
XOXO....little j Y

Low-Cal Pumpkin Pies
Adapted from: The Fit Revolution
Makes 6 Ramekin Pumpkin Treats @ 70 cals/each

1 (15 oz) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 ½ tbsp stevia
¼ salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 egg
2 egg whites
¾ milk (I used 1% milk, but you can lower the cals by using unsweetened soy or almond milk)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, stevia, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Then add the egg, egg whites, and milk and whisk it good until everything gets incorporated.

Using a 2/3 measuring cup, scoop batter into six pre-greased ramekins. Place ramekins onto a baking sheet & pop into oven for 30-35 minutes. Let cool. Serve with a dollop of light whip cream & a dash of cinnamon.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Tis the Season...

Today marks the beginning to one of the most festive months of the year! Could it be because Christmas is just around the corner?? YESSSS!!! So I decided to settle down on the sofa with a warm cup of Jasmine tea to compile a little Christmas wish list of my own.

Check out my TOP 10 list of gifts that would make any food lover smile & that every kitchen shouldn’t be without :) XOXO....little j Y

#1 Subscription to Cooking Light Magazine ($18-$24)

Ok Santa, I’ve been asking for this magazine for the past 2 years & yet I still don’t get to see it’s pretty cover in the mail every month. What is the deal? Don’t disappoint me this year. Subscriptions start at $18/year or $24/for 2 years. That’s $$ well spent!

#2 Chop & Scoop Board from Sur La Table ($10)
I am weird when it comes to chopping up veggies & herbs for cooking. I like everything to be separate and clean. These cutting boards are perfect because I can purchase a few and be able to chop up my items individually on each board! And they are small enough for an easy transport of food over to the stove too. No more dropping random pieces of onion on the ground! Also, if you buy several of these you can utilize each one for chopping up different types of food. For example, one can be used for garlic/onions, another for veggies, and another for fruits.

#3 Onion Goggles from Sur La Table ($22)
Ok seriously, when I found these “onion goggles” I totally cracked up because I have been complaining lately about how cutting onions really burns my eyes & makes me run out of the kitchen crying like a baby. It was really starting to get on my nerves!! My mother even said to hold my breath while I cut the onion so I don’t cry. I’m not sure where she heard that but it is a total myth because it did not work at all! All I can say is that I’d rather look like a complete idiot sportin’ these goggles than with mascara running down my face.

#4 Misto Stainless Steel Olive Oil Sprayer from Amazon ($19.99)
Forget buying all those aerosol oil spray cans because now you can use this reusable stainless steel sprayer. You can fill it with your favorite olive oil & use it for cooking or on salads…& save $ in the long run. Check out Cost-Co for a 2-pack!

#5 LunchSkins ($7.85-$10.95)
If you’re the kind of person who brings a brown bag lunch to work everyday, you know you go through wayyy too many sandwich baggies to separate all your little snack bags. I am definitely guilty of it! That’s why I love these LunchSkins that come in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. They are even dishwasher safe! Check out your local farmer’s market (I used to see them at the Solana Beach Farmer's Market all the time) or order on their website & start cutting back on wasted lunch baggies today!

#6 Baking Mats from Sur La Table ($14.95-$19.95)
I may be a little behind on times, but I still am without these handy-dandy baking mats. If I had these I’d never have to bother scraping my baking sheets clean again. These non-stick mats are perfect for baking and look a whole lot easier to clean. I’m SOLD already!!

#7 Baker's Edge Lasagna Pan from Chef's Catalog ($49.95)
I really like the concept of this Lasagna pan because 1) the lasagna is separated into four compartments, making for a cleaner square-cut slice & 2) because ever bite of lasagna is an edge piece. Who doesn’t like the crispy cheesy edges while enjoying their lasagna?! This pan is also versatile in that it can be used for other casseroles and even for your favorite mac n' cheese. You could probably use it for brownies too. I’m just bummed Christmas isn’t for another 24 days and I’m planning to make some lasagna this week!

#8 Austin's Flora Measuring Cups from Anthropologie ($28) 
So I chose these unique & eclectic measuring cups from Anthropologie as an awesome holiday gift for cooks like myself, but in all actuality if I received ANY kind of gift from Anthropologie I would be super happy. I lovveee everything by Anthropologie!! They have the cutest aprons, glassware, dinnerware, dishtowels, & kitchen accessories. If I could buy all their stuff I would!

If your spice rack is looking bare these days, these French Herbs would make a great new addition. Any time my mother goes to the Big Apple, she makes sure to bring us home herbs & spices from Dean & Deluca. I have to say that the Herbes de Provence (sold individually for $6.50) and Fine Herbes (sold individually for $8.25) run out quickly around my house. They are great for seasoning veggies and meats. You won’t be disappointed!

#10 Culinary Adventures in NYC from Sur La Table ($1.380 + Airfare)
This gift is probably the least likely wish that’ll come true this year, but it sounded really cool so I wanted to share it. Sur La Table offers these adventures in Sicily and NYC. Two places which are ideal for enjoying the ultimate culinary experience. You’re too late on jetting off to Italy, but you’ve got a couple more weeks before the adventure starts in New York City. Check it out!!