CHRISTMAS LASAGNA

CHRISTMAS LASAGNA

Christmas is getting closer and closer, I love it! Dana and I are here to help you with new recipe ideas for the holiday season. Now on Christmas Day we have the usual turkey, ham and all the trimmings but for Christmas Eve we decided to change it up a bit and have lasagna. It feeds a lot of people and really who doesn’t love lasagna? So it is a real crowd pleaser. Since you can assemble it even the night before it makes the hectic Christmas Eve go a lot more smoothly.

This is my go to lasagna recipe, very simple, very classic, we jazz it up a little bit by adding in some Italian sausage. To make it more festive I put a Christmas Tree pattern on it made from bell peppers. I made the tree limbs out of green bell pepper slices, and decorated with chopped red and yellow pepper, the tree trunk is bit of red pepper and a (poorly shaped lol) star out of the yellow bell pepper.

I use no boil noodles and get this put together in no time. I pop it in the fridge and it is ready to go the next day for Christmas Eve dinner. A basket of garlic bread and a huge salad and Christmas Eve dinner is done!

So take it straightforward this holiday and create this amazing Christmas Lasagna! Don’t forget to go away some for Santa!! 😉

 

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Chocolate of the Month Club Club

Try this Christmas Lasagna recipe.

Ingredients

1 pound sausage
1 pound hamburger
2 jars spaghetti sauce
4-5 cups mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
32 oz ricottanoodles
1 package no boil noodles

Instructions

1. Brown and drain the sausage and hamburger together.
2. Add sausage and hamburger to large bowl and pour in the two jars of sauce.
3. In separate bowl mix the ricotta, 2 eggs and 1 cup of cheese.
4. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 dish.
5. Place noodles on top of sauce.
6. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on the noodles.
7. Sprinkle with a little more shredded mozzarella.
8. Top with more sauce.
9. Do another layer of noodles.
10.Cheese mixture
11. Shredded cheese
12 Sauce.
13. Noodles.
14. Cheese mixture.
15. Sauce.
16. Shredded Cheese.
17. Arrange peppers into Christmas Tree shape.
18.Cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes at 350 till bubbly

CHRISTMAS LASAGNA
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The Best Homemade Applesauce

The Best Homemade Applesauce

ApplesauceThanksgiving is next week.  I started my annual holiday cooking routine last this week.  From now until the New Year yummy aromas will be coming from my kitchen!  The annual game of cat and mouse will begin; family members sneaking tastes of pies, cookies, and candies while I try to keep them hidden.  Last year my son and husband went thru a couple of pecan pies a couple of days before Thanksgiving, luckily I made 6 pies!

The first thing I make every year is my homemade applesauce which we use instead of cranberry sauce.  It goes great with roast turkey and the Prime Rib roast we make for Christmas.  Sealed in mason jars or even just stored in the fridge and the sauce will last thru the holidays.

Over the years I’ve tried different types of apples to make my sauce.  You never quite realize just how many types of apples there are until you start shopping for them.  I’ve used Fuji, Mackintosh, Delicious, Gala, and Granny Smith apples just to name a few I’ve tried.  I’ve discovered that the best applesauce is made by using different types of apples.  Yes each apple variety has its own unique flavor and texture so mixing them up makes for a  tastier and more robust sauce.

My family will only eat my homemade applesauce, no store bought sauce for them.  Even my grandson, Dion, who absolutely will not touch store bought sauce, even as an infant, loves my sauce.  It’s sweet and laced with lots of cinnamon.  Dion says he likes it because it has a nice texture, not the strained baby food like texture the ones from the store have.  It’s a bit chunky, but not too chunky, even the twins, Harper and Sadi, love it!  By the way the cinnamon can be optional!  My grandson Devon has recently declared that he dislikes cinnamon (this declaration boggles my mind as he still loves cinnamon rolls) so before I add the cinnamon I set aside a small portion just for him.

The applesauce is easy to make, just a bit time consuming.  That’s why I make it well ahead of time.
This allows it to chill, we feel applesauce should be served cold.  Here’s my recipe, it will make 2 pint size jars or 1 quart size jar.

Ingredients:

2 Red Delicious Apples

2 Golden Delicious Apples

2 Gala or Mackintosh Apples

2 Granny Smith Apples

2 cups sugar (add more if you want it sweeter or less if you don’t want it so sweet)

6+ Cups Water

1 tbls. ground cinnamon (you can adjust this to suit your taste)

Directions:

1.  Fill a large pot about half way with water.

2.  Wash and peel apples, then cut into bite size chunks about 1/2″ big

3.  Place apple pieces in pot of water.  Add more water if needed to cover the apples.  The top layer will float a bit.

4.  Add sugar and stir.

5.  Cook on stove over medium heat until water has been absorbed.  Stir occasionally to keep bottom from burning.  As it cooks and softens you can mash the chunks a bit with the spoon used to stir.  The sauce will start turning brownish.  If it starts to bubble reduce heat.  This process takes about 2-3 hours.

6.  When the apples have all liquified and water evaporated remove pot from heat.

7.  Stir in cinnamon.

8.  Seal in mason jars according to canning instructions or allow to cool then transfer to sealed containers and store in refrigerator.  Even If you seal it in jars you should store it in the fridge so it will be cool when served.

You can serve this as a snack, or with roast turkey or beef, and pork chops.  It’s really yummy!

The Best Homemade Applesauce
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Homemade applesauce goes great with roast turkey and the Prime Rib roast we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sealed in mason jars or even just stored in the fridge and the sauce will last thru the holidays.
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 30 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 - 3 Hours 2 - 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 30 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 - 3 Hours 2 - 3 Hours
The Best Homemade Applesauce
Print Recipe
Homemade applesauce goes great with roast turkey and the Prime Rib roast we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sealed in mason jars or even just stored in the fridge and the sauce will last thru the holidays.
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 30 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 - 3 Hours 2 - 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 30 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 - 3 Hours 2 - 3 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Pints
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot about half way with water. This is why I put 6+ cups of water in the ingredients. You can adjust it to fill your pot.
  2. Wash and peel apples, then cut into bite size chunks about 1/2" big
  3. Place apple pieces in pot of water. Add more water if needed to cover the apples. The top layer will float a bit.
  4. Add sugar and stir.
  5. Cook on stove over medium heat until water has been absorbed. Stir occasionally to keep bottom from burning. As it cooks and softens you can mash the chunks a bit with the spoon used to stir. The sauce will start turning brownish. If it starts to bubble reduce heat. This process takes about 2-3 hours.
  6. When the apples have all liquified and water evaporated remove pot from heat.
  7. Stir in cinnamon.
  8. Seal in mason jars according to canning instructions or allow to cool then transfer to sealed containers and store in refrigerator. Even If you seal it in jars you should store it in the fridge so it will be cool when served.
Recipe Notes

You can also make this applesauce in a crockpot.  Just dump all the ingredients, except the cinnamon, into the pot.  Cook for about 6 hours, add cinnamon, and place in storage containers.

If you do make it in the crockpot don't leave it much longer than 6 hours, overcooking will turn it into apple butter.  That's good too!

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The Best Sloppy Joes

The Best Sloppy Joes are easy to make, so delicious, and ready in 30 minutes or less! Triple or quadruple the recipe for parties, backyard barbecues, and giant family vacations.

I can’t think of another meal that’s more evocative than the Sloppy Joe, an American staple.

For me, eating one takes me back to cool summers at my family’s cabin in northern Wisconsin. My mom would make a huge batch, freeze it for the car ride up, and the whole family, kids and all would sit down and eat together once we arrived that first night.

Here’s a recipe from the best sloppy joes I’m sure you’ll love.



Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 Sandwich buns, split

Instructions

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine beef and onion. Cook until the meat is mostly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Pour sauce ingredients over drained beef and stir until evenly coated. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in buns.

The Best Sloppy Joes
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Puto Filipino Merienda

Puto Filipino Merienda

 

 

 

Puto– I love to eat puto when my friends come home and spend time with me. In the past, we used to play cards and board games. But this year, we are spending time talking or watching movies. Meals are usually long and a fun time. We enjoy eating puto for snack with cold drinks.

Click here for puto recipe.

Ingredients
1 ¾ cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups water
2 egg whites
¼ cup fresh milk

Instructions
1.Fill a 12-inch pan halfway with water and set over high heat.
2.In a bowl, sift together cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3.In another bowl, combine water, egg whites and fresh milk. Using a hand mixer, beat the mixture at low speed for 5 minutes.
4.Add the sifted dry ingredients and blend until smooth.
5.Strain the batter into another bowl to ensure that there are no lumps.
6.Lightly brush a mini muffin tin with vegetable oil.
7.Fill muffin tin ¾ full with the batter.
8.Once the water in the pan is boiling, place the muffin tin in the pan and cover the pan with a lid.
9.Steam the puto for 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the puto comes out clean.
10.Once the puto is cooked, remove from the pan and allow to cool at least 30 seconds before removing from the muffin tins.
11.Repeat steps 6 to 10 three more times, making sure there is enough water in the pan each time.

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Puto
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Steamed Chicken Adobo Buns – Adobong Siopao

Steamed Chicken Adobo Buns – Adobong Siopao

siopaoThe steamed or baked asian bun.  What exactly is it.  Well Filipinos call it “Siopao”, in China it’s called a “Bao”, and in Hawaii we call it “Manapua”.  These names all refer to the same thing.  That soft spongy ball of dough filled with a variety of fillings like sweet char siu pork, chicken curry, Chinese sausage, or sweet black bean paste; then steamed or baked to perfection.

Siopao, Bao, Manapua, or whatever you want to call it is a family favorite.  It can be an appetizer, a snack, lunch, dinner, or dessert.  It all depends on what it’s filled with.  It’s the perfect picnic food.  Easy to pack and very easy to eat.  Don’t forget it’s delicious too!

In Hawaii and all over Asia these steamed or baked buns are sold out of food trucks, in restaurants, and even at neighborhood convenience stores like 7Eleven.  Everyone has their own favorite place where they’ll swear make the best buns.  In Hawaii my all time favorite is the Aiea Manapua & Snack Shop, this little hole in the wall joint  that has been serving the most amazing char sui and shoyu chicken manapuas for years.

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But in some places siopao or baos are not so easily found and there fore you may have to make it at home whenever you’ve got a yen for some.  Or sometimes you just want a unique filling that they don’t sell in the stores.  That’s why we have this tried and true Siopao recipe that we use to make homemade steamed buns.  In this recipe I will fill it with another Filipino favorite, chicken adobo.

You can use the my Chicken Adobo recipe just substitute boneless chicken thighs instead of bone in chicken parts.   Or you can fill it with Pork Adobo, it’s the same recipe as the chicken but uses pork butt instead of chicken.  Or you can fill it with your favorite meat or veggies.  Really the recipe for the bun is the same regardless of the filling you choose to use.  Click here for chicken adobo recipe.

So today I’m sharing the recipe for the steamed bun dough.  You can fill it with anything you want.

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup warm water

1 packet active dry yeast

2 tbs. sugar

1 1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

4 1/2 – 5 cups flour

3 tbs. oil

1 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Place the 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl or measuring cup

Add dry yeast packet and 2 tbs. sugar

Do not stir just swish it around so the yeast is wet and the sugar disolves

Set aside for about 10 minutes or until it is frothy

Place the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, but do not add all the flour.  Start with about 4 cups, you can add the remaining flour as you knead to get the correct dough consistency.  You may not need all the flour.

Add the activated yeast mix and mix well to form a medium soft dough.  Add remaining flour in small increments until you achieve the correct consistency.

Knead the dough by hand or with an electric mixer using the dough hook attachment.  Knead until the dough is very smooth and elastic.

Turn into and oiled mixing bowl.  Roll the dough in the bowl to cover with oil.

Cover with plastic film and leave to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.

Punch out excess air and divide into about 24 balls.

Flatten each ball into a flat circle on a lightly floured surface.  Flatten dough to about 1/4″ thick.

siopaoPlace a heaping tablespoonful of filling in the center of the flat dough then draw edges towards the center and crimp or twist closed.

Place each ball on a small square of parchment paper, crimped side down and let rest until it doubles in size.

Be patient because properly risen dough will turn into light and fluffy buns!

When dough is properly risen steam each bun on high heat for 15 – 20 minutes.

Serve warm or cold.  Store left over buns in the fridge in zip lock bags.  To reheat either re-steam or cover with a damp paper towel and heat in the


siopao
Chicken Adobo Siopao
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siopao
Chicken Adobo Siopao
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Ingredients
Yeast Starter
Dough
Servings:
Instructions
Yeast Starter
  1. Place the 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl or measuring cup Add dry yeast packet and 2 tbs. sugar Do not stir just swish it around so the yeast is wet and the sugar disolves Set aside for about 10 minutes or until it is frothy
Dough
  1. Place the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, but do not add all the flour.  Start with about 4 cups, you can add the remaining flour as you knead to get the correct dough consistency.  You may not need all the flour. 
  2. Add the activated yeast mix and mix well to form a medium soft dough.  Add remaining flour in small increments until you achieve the correct consistency.
  3. Knead the dough by hand or with an electric mixer using the dough hook attachment.  Knead until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
  4. Turn into and oiled mixing bowl.  Roll the dough in the bowl to cover with oil.
  5. Cover with plastic film and leave to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.
  6. Punch out excess air and divide into about 24 balls.
  7. Flatten each ball into a flat circle on a lightly floured surface.  Flatten dough to about 1/4" thick.
  8. Place a heaping tablespoonful of filling in the center of the flat dough then draw edges towards the center and crimp or twist closed.
  9. Place each ball on a small square of parchment paper, crimped side down and let rest until it doubles in size.
  10. Be patient because properly risen dough will turn into light and fluffy buns!
  11. When dough is properly risen steam each bun on high heat for 15 - 20 minutes.
  12. Serve warm or cold.  Store left over buns in the fridge in zip lock bags.  To reheat either re-steam or cover with a damp paper towel and heat in the 
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