Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

Who doesn’t like lasagna? This recipe can be made Vegan or Vegetarian.

Preparation: You can use a 9×13″ Baking dish or a square 8×8 one. I use an 8×8 because I want a BIG chunky piece to serve my guests. *NOTE If using 8×8 use slightly less filling.

Ingredients:

  • 9 Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 lb Crimini or Baby Belle Mushrooms Or what ever mushroom you like. Thinly sliced
  • 1-15oz Ricotta Cheese or Vegan Alternative. You can make your own using this recipe by Simple Veganista, minus the lemon juice.
  • 3 cups shredded motzarella or vegan alternative. Divided
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative. Divided
  • 2 Tbls tomato paste

  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes. Divided
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach or 1 box frozen
  • 2 Tbls olive oil divided
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried Basil
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt divided
  • pepper to taste Chopped fresh parsley (optional for garnish)

Start with the freshest, organic ingredients possible. You can use lasagna noodles from the store, just follow the directions on packaging to cook. OR, heavy on the OR, make your own with this pasta recipe. You will want 9- 3″ wide by 13″ noodles for 9×13″ or 9- 2.5×8″ noodles for 8×8 baking dish. The payoff is truly worth the effort.

Next wash your mushrooms and spinach (If using frozen spinach, squeeze excess water out.) I only use one bunch/box of spinach because although I love spinach, I don’t want the whole Lasagna to taste like it. You can use more if you like. Thinly slice your mushrooms. Chop the onion and mince the garlic, grade the cheese and set aside. Preheat oven to °350. Next boil the noodle and set aside. (make sure to oil them a bit so they don’t stick together.)

Heat a large skillet over med to med high heat. Add 1 tbls Olive Oil. When shimmering add mushrooms and simmer 2 minutes. Add another tbls of olive oil and onions. Simmer stirring occasionally for about 4-5 minutes or until onions have become translucent. Add garlic and simmer another minute. Add tomato sauce (reserving 2 tbls for bottom) and paste. Stir to combine. Simmer another 2 minutes.

In the baking dish spread 2 tbls of tomato sauce. Lay down 3 noodles. Cover with 1/2 Ricotta cheese, 1/3 mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, 1/2 sauce mix and evenly space 1/2 the spinach. Repeat with next layer. With last layer, top with remainder of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses ans sprinkle with a little dried parsley or basil.

Bake at °350 for 35 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool a bit, cut and serve. It pairs well with red wine, a green salad with vinaigrette or a Cesar salad and crusty artisan bread, recipe found here.

Let me know how you like it in the comments below. Enjoy the journey and Let’s Get Cooking!

Kristy

©Copyright2020 All Rights Reserved

No Knead Crusty Artisan Bread

No Knead bread recipes abound on the internet. This recipe I am sharing with you is tried and true and has never failed. I have taught many people to make this easy delicious bread.

You can make it as is, or add herbs, cheese, garlic or olives. I have even added sun dried tomatoes and basil, soooo good. The sky is the limit, experiment with what you like, that’s what cooking is all about.

Main Ingredients:

  • 3 cups organic flour (Bread or All Purpose)
  • 1 1/2 cups luke-warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp active yeast
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional) gives the yeast extra food.
  • And a dutch oven 😉
Mixed dough

You will start the night before. in a bowl, whisk together flour, salt and any herbs you are using. Set aside. In a large bowl place luke warm water, (Not HOT) yeast and sugar. Wait till the yeast starts to bubble and get frothy. Once yeast is ready, add oil and stir. Add flour mixture to yeast liquid and mix until well combined. (no need to Kneed ;)) *NOTE If you are adding wet ingredients, dust them with flour first and add them on top of flour before mixing. After mixed scrape down the sides into a lump like pictured above. Cover with plastic wrap and leave out on counter overnight. It can stay in bowl covered up to 18 hours.

In the morning it should be raised substantially. You can bake it now or wait. When you are ready to bake your bread, preheat oven to °450. Remove plastic wrap and using your fingers, scrape the dough down from edges and make into a lump. It should be sticky.

Using floured fingers helps.

You can use a a ceramic or cast Iron dutch oven to bake your bread in. (It must have a lid though.) Place bottom of pan in oven and allow it to preheat for 30 minutes. While pan is preheating, dump dough onto well floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover and let rest until the 30 minutes is up.

When pan is preheated, be very careful and sprinkle flour, corn meal or oats in the bottom of pan so the bread doesn’t stick. Now being extra careful not to burn yourself, place the dough ball inside hot pan and cover with lid. Bake at °450 for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes or until top is golden brown. Walla, you have a beautiful loaf of rustic bread to showcase with any meal.

I know you are going to enjoy this bread. Leave your comments below and as always, Let’s Get Cooking!

Cheers, Kristy

©Copyright2020 All Rights Reserved

Mushroom Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach Ragout over Creamy Polenta

You’re here because more than likely, you read the title of this recipe and either adore mushrooms or terrified at the thought of eating mushrooms as a main dish. If it’s the latter, take a deep breathe and read on my skeptical friend, read on. 🙂

I previously had an organic farm and orchard until the fall of 2019. We not only had produce, but chickens and goats as well. We bought grass fed beef from another farm just across the road. But at the same time we sold the farm, my husband and I became mostly whole foods, plant based eaters. The biggest challenge for me transitioning from eating meat to plant whole foods, was a way to get the depth of flavor from plants that you get from meat. Luckily, I cook really well and…..I LOVE to eat great FOOD!

We are going to coax and condense flavors from the ingredients we will be using. The end result is savory, hearty, flavorful dish that is sure to please even the biggest skeptic.

Ragout Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of mushrooms (I use a combination of Criminis and Baby Belles) chopped or torn small
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper roasted and chopped
  • 1 box frozen spinach thawed and drained or 1 bunch fresh
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 to 3 tbls olive oil or (butter if not vegan) Divided
  • 2-15 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tbls tomato paste
  • 1/4-1/3 cup red wine of choice
  • 1/2-1 cup water or broth
  • 4 Tbls grated Parmesan cheese.
  • 1 tsp salt divided
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp dried) I like to use fresh here.
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (Added at end)

Polenta Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water or broth, or a combination of the two
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbls organic corn meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 grated Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative

Roasted Red pepper and veggies

Prep work: First you need to clean your mushrooms. This task is made easier with a mushroom brush. If you don’t have one a paper towel will do. Once your mushrooms are cleaned, cut the end of the stem off and chop or tear them into small pieces. I like to tear them because the little jagged edges hold onto the sauce, and it seems to go quicker. *NOTE If you are going to tear them, remove the steams first and chop the stems after.

Diced veggies

Roast the red pepper. You can do this in your oven. Bake at °425 for 15 minutes or until the top is dark and blistered. (I use my air fryer) Next the spinach. If using frozen spinach squeeze as much water from it as possible. If using fresh, rinse really well to remove dirt and debris. Then remove stems and place on clean kitchen towel to dry. Chop the onion, red pepper and carrot, minced the garlic and measure out all other ingredients. In a very large skillet add 2 tbls of the olive oil and heat over med heat. Once oil is hot, add mushrooms and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook mushrooms for about 4 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Most of the mushrooms moisture should have released and they have turned a dark brown. Add the remainder olive oil, onions, red pepper, carrot, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 4-5 more minutes stirring occasionally. Add the wine stirring to remove any bits that have stuck to the bottom of pan. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and garlic. Stir until well combined. Next add the herbs and spices and stir to combine. Add the water and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. While the Ragout is simmering, make the polenta. (recipe below) If the ragout becomes too thick at the end, add a couple tbls of water and stir. Add the spinach and Balsamic vinegar just before serving. Simmer for another 3-5 minutes. Serve over polenta

mushrooms in pan
Ragout before spinach
Ragout without spinach

Ragout progression. Torn or chopped mushrooms, cooked down mushrooms and veggies, cooked down mushrooms and veggies with tomatoes, cooked Ragout with spinach added at end. Final Ragout.

Ragout with spinach
Cooked ragout

Directions for Polenta: Place 6 cups broth or water and salt in large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and slowly pour and briskly whisk in the corm meal. *Note Pour slow and whisk quick or you will have lumps that are hard to get out later. Simmer for about 30 minutes stirring often, making sure to scrape sides clean. When Polenta is done it should be creamy and thick. Not overly thick and not thin. (Kind of like thinner mashed potatoes) It needs to hold up under the Ragout. If t’s to thick whisk in a little hot water. If to thin, just keep simmering. When Polenta is thick enough, stir in grated Parmesan cheese.

serve in a large plate bowl or pasta plate, scoop in about a cup of Polenta, top with the same amount of Ragout. Sprinkle a little grated Parmesan on top and serve. Serves 6

Best served with crusty artisan bread, recipe here. And a green salad with vinaigrette or a Cesar salad. Your guests will not only be impressed by the presentation, but marvel at the flavor of this dish.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. And if so leave your comments below.

Thanks for stopping by and Let’s Get Cooking!

Kristy

*Inspired by The Kitchen

©Copyright2020 All Rights Reserved

Roasted Squash & Potato with Sausage & Cranberries

Nothing says fall like pumpkins and winter squash. But honestly as good as they are, you can really only prepare and eat them a few ways, why?…….well, because their not potatoes 🙂 LOL

*NOTE (Can be made vegan my plant based friends, read on)

I can only eat so much Butternut squash Ravioli and soup or stuffed Acorn. This recipe is different. It gives an abundance of warm aromatic fall flavors and colors to incite all the senses. Serve this at a family dinner or at an evening with friends and they will be singing your praises!

Winter squash and a pumpkin

You can start with a Sugar Pie pumpkin, Butternut or Acorn squash. But I will be using a Kombucha Squash, (Japanese Pumpkin or Sweet Mama) This IS my all time favorite and go to for just about every application where pumpkin or a sweeter squash is called for. What, you have never tried it? You don’t know what it is? Well, if that’s the case here is an article by Cooking Light that gives you the skinny on the Kombucha squash. (The green one pictured here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (or 1 vegan equivalent OR this seitan Italian sausage recipe) larger crumbles, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch.
  • 1 Sweetie Pie pumpkin or winter squash (If using Acorn use 2)
  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds potatoes (you can use any potato or a combination)
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes roughly chopped (Optional, but highly recommended)
  • * 1 tsp fennel & 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (If you are using my recipe for seitan Italian sausage you will not need this)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbls Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp ground sage or 2 tsp rubbed sage.
  • 2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 heaping tbls fresh rosemary roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cheyenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (1/2 if you like it a little spicier)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Prep: *NOTE If you are making this plant based, make this seitan sausage recipe ahead of time.

Wash the pumpkin or squash. Now you need to peal and de-seed it. *Note Peeling and slicing are a little challenging on these guys, please take care. You can use a knife or peeler to peel them, but you will definitely need a big chefs knife to cut and slice them. Scoop out the seeds. (You can save them to roast if you like) Once you have your squash or pumpkin cleaned, chop it into roughly 1 inch cubes. Set aside.

Prepare your sausage. *If using pork Italian sausage, mix 1 tsp fennel seed and 1/4 tsp red pepper flake into it before frying. While cooking break sausage. It should be 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size when you are done cooking. Place on paper towel to absorb all excess fat *If plant based, follow directions on package or directions on recipe given. Either way, your ending product should be 1/2 to 3/4 inch when finished.

Peel and chop potatoes into roughly 1 inch cubes. (if you are using baby potatoes, you can leave the peeling on.) Do this last in your prep, because potatoes start to turn grey if left out to long.

Roughly chop the rosemary. Mix all the spices together in a small dish.

Directions: Preheat oven to 425° Combine squash and potatoes only in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over squash and potatoes. Toss with spoon, taking care to coat each piece evenly with the oil. Sprinkle 1/2 the seasoning over them. Toss again to coat. Repeat with the rest of the seasoning. Once the squash and potatoes are coated evenly, dump onto lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take out of the oven and sprinkle with the cranberries, sun dried tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and sausage. Toss and turn the mixture and roast again for an additional 15 minutes. If they are not caramely, toss and turn them and put them back in for another 10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite salad and crusty bread. Pictured here with warm honey mustard spinach salad and french bread croutons.

Roasted winter squash and potatoes

I hope you enjoy this fall fav, and as always….Let’s get cooking!

Kristy

©Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Sources: Cooking with Kristy, Cooking Light

Spiced Rum Sauce

This tantalizing sauce can go on poached fruit, roasts, in BBQ sauce or….my favorite. On my Pumpkin Bread Pudding, recipe found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 2 egg yolks beaten
  • 3 tbls spiced rum

Directions:

In a small pan over medium low heat, melt butter. Add sugar to butter and stir. Turn down heat and stir till melted. Once sugar has melted, ever so slowly add the beaten egg yolks stirring briskly and constantly until thickened. Slowly whisk in the spiced rum, and remove from heat continuing to whisk. Cool slightly (If you want the flavor, but not the alcohol, simply leave pan over heat and cook off the alcohol. About 2 to 3 minutes.) Serve over your favorite food or dessert.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spiced Rum Sauce

I remember the first time I ever ate Bread Pudding. I had gone to dinner with a friend at a fancy restaurant called Micheals. Bread pudding was on the fresh sheet so I ordered it. Since then I’ve been hooked and make it often. I do use store bought bread at times, but why when you can make it so much better. And honestly, you go from good, to GREAT! Find the recipe here.

  • 1 loaf day old french or rustic bread (about 20oz)
  • 1 can or 15 oz fresh pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins and or cranberries
  • 1 recipe Spiced Rum Sauce (Optional)
  • Heavy whipping cream or Ice cream

Start by cutting your day old bread into 1 inch cubes. Place in large bowl and set aside. Whisk milk, vanilla pumpkin, sugars, spices and salt together. In separate bowl whisk eggs. Add whisked eggs to pumpkin mixture and combine. Add dried fruit to bread and stir slightly to distribute. Place bread cubes and fruit into a greased 9×13″ baking dish.

Next, pour custard (Pumpkin and milk) over the bread making sure to thoroughly soak each piece of bread. *NOTE You may need to stop and let it sit before adding all the custard. Let stand for 15 minutes. While this is sitting, Preheat your oven to 350°.

Baked pumpkin bread pudding

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and top is golden brown.

While the Bread Pudding is baking, make the spiced Rum sauce. Recipe here.

When done let cool a bit.

May be served while still warm or later. Stays for up to a week refrigerated.

Serve topped with spiced Rum sauce and thick whipped cream, no sugar.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do around here. Let me know if you try this, and as always…. Let’s get cooking!

Kristy

©Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

Mushroom Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

This is a fantastic bright and flavorful sauce I use on Ravioli, Linguine or a large flat oddly shaped Sagnarelli or Farfalle. Honestly you can use/make any pasta you want. You are the boss of your kitchen 🙂 This recipe is a popular option. Or you can make this dough recipe into what ever pasta you choose. And don’t forget the bread!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package or one recipe of pasta of choice
  • 10 to 12 ounces of mushrooms of choice (I like to use a combination) Sliced or chopped depending on variety
  • 1 bunch fresh Organic Spinach
  • 1/4 sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 Tbls minced Garlic (about 3 to 4 cloves)
  • 3 Tbls Olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp Cheyenne Pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 tbls Parmesan Cheese (Optional) Vegan options available.

Prep: Start by cleaning and slicing your mushrooms. Rinse your spinach water, twice, then lay on towel and toss to dry, or put in salad spinner. Take care not to crush or bruise the spinach. Set aside. Mince your garlic and set aside. In a large, maybe very large 😉 skillet, saute mushrooms in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper flakes, Cheyenne, and sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Saute for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add your spinach now to wilt it. You can add your pasta to the skillet now and warm through or if your skillet is full transfer to larger pan before adding pasta.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

I hope you try this pasta sauce and let me know your thoughts.

Enjoy, and Let’s Get Cooking!

Mushroom Ravioli

Pasta is one of my favorite dishes, but because it is loaded with carbs, I don’t eat it often. So when I do, I want it to be AMAZING! So I make it myself, no store bought commercially manufactured pasta here. 🙂

The first thing you wanna do is prep your ingredients for the filling. Start by washing and finely chopping the mushrooms. Then mince the garlic.

In a large skillet saute the mushrooms, garlic, thyme salt and pepper. Saute until the mushrooms have released most of their moisture. About 5 to 6 minutes. add the broth and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are tender and the liquid is absorbed. If the mushrooms don’t seem as tender as you would like, add more liquid, but do this one tbls at a time. Remove from heat and cool.

  • 1 lb Mushrooms (Any kind you choose. I like a combo, but mainly use Crimini and baby Bellas)
  • 4 to 6 cloves minced garlic depending on size.
  • 3 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese (See *Note if plant based)
  • 3 tsp dried Thyme (You can use fresh, but add 3 tsp more)
  • 1 Tbls fresh chopped chive
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbls finely grated Parmesan Cheese (Plant based options available, see *Note)

In a medium bowl mix together the Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses * Note If you are plane based, you can buy a Vegan Parmesan (I like Violife) and Ricotta cheese or make this Ricotta without the lemon juice.) If not continue adding chives and the cooled mushroom mix. Refrigerate until ready to use in the Ravioli.

Next make the pasta dough recipe found here. Once the dough has rested roll out the dough. You don’t have to have a pasta roller/machine, it just makes it easier.

I cut my dough in half and roll it into a rectangle. I then feed it through the pasta roller on the thickest setting. I gradually decrease the thickness a couple of times, until the dough becomes about 24 inches long I cut it in half. I then feed it again through the pasta machine, decreasing thickness until the thinnest dough is achieved. You can roll your dough with a rolling pin, just make sure your finished dough is thin, like 1/16, but no thicker than 1/8.

Lay the dough across a floured work surface. Using a tea spoon, scoop a little of the filling onto the dough half way up the length of the dough leaving half empty. Space them just enough apart to be able to seal and cut them. About an inch. *NOTE If you are using a ravioli punch/cutter you may need more space. Fold the empty half over the scoops of filling. Starting on one long side, use your fingers and press all around the filling to seal the ravioli. *TIP It helps to leave one side open to let air that has gotten caught to escape.

Once the ravioli are filled and sealed, cut them out. You can use a ravioli punch/cutter, but I prefer to use a pasta wheel cutter. (This usually has a straight and a curvy blade) I like the rustic irregular shapes I get. But if you want identical shapes, use a cutter/punch. Place cut ravioli on a floured surface until ready to boil. Or if you are freezing, place on floured cookie sheet single layer and freeze. When frozen, place in ziplock.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, turn down just slightly so it’s a medium rolling boil. (You don’t want to knock the stuffing out) Add 6 ravioli at a time to the boiling water. They will let you know when they are done by floating to the top. Using a slotted spoon remove them from the boiling water and place them on a towel lined baking sheet. When sheet is full remove them one at a time and coat with a little Olive oil to keep them from sticking and place them in a bowl until ready to use.

You can top the Ravioli with this mushroom, spinach and sun dried tomato sauce (pictured here) or with your favorite sauce or oil! To complete the dinner, you can also make ahead of time this fabulous french bread recipe or a rustic bread recipe here.

This is one of my all time favorite recipes, and enjoyed by all my guests. I hope you enjoy it, and if you make it, let me know!

Cheers, Kristy

Sources: *The Simple Veganista, *I Heart Naptime

Basic Pasta dough recipe (with egg)

I have made many pasta recipes and they all are very similar, but I usually use this recipe that came with my pasta machine. It always turns out and it’s easy to work with.

I try and use ORGANIC “00” flour. The imported kind from Italy. However, you can use all purpose flour, but please buy Organic or at least Non-GMO. Spruce eats put out a nice article explaining the difference in pasta flours here.

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • pinch of kosher salt

Directions: Use a whisk, a sifter or a screened colander to sift flour onto your work surface. Sprinkle salt on flour. Make a well in the center of flour and add eggs and the oil. Using your fingers mix the egg into the flour until the dough is created. If it seems to dry add just a touch of water. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. It’s now ready for your favorite pasta recipe. Enjoy, and Let’s Get Cooking!

Sources: *The Spruce Eats *A Couple Cooks

French Bread

This French Bread recipe It’s quite authentic, but it’s quick and easy. It’s done in about 90 minutes, which is sweet. Plus it’s way better than anything you can buy in the store!

I use this recipe anywhere french bread is needed.

Bread dough cut in half

Source: * i Heart naptime