Tonight I’m posting something unlike anything I’ve posted in the last 10 months. You see, as most of you know I have been a vegetarian for almost a year, meaning the recipes containing meat on Espresso and Cream have all but disappeared. What hasn’t changed during this time is Joey’s love for beef, chicken, pork and the like.
Most of the time when we’re together, we find some sort of compromise. When we eat out, the places we frequent are those with options that are both friendly to my diet and appealing to him. Ethnic restaurants are great for that very reason. And when I cook for us, meat is usually a side-dish to whatever meal we are having. A few grilled chicken breasts here, some meat sauce there, a veggie burger for me – a real burger for him.
Fact: During our marriage counseling, when asked what type of food we would be eating as a married couple Joey responded (on his own prompting) “flexitarian.” I was so proud.
So even though I may not be eating meat, it is most certainly being consumed by the man I love. That said, I thought that for my upcoming trip I’d fix him something special to keep in the freezer on the nights I’m not around. So, my friends, I give you Freezer Lasagna for Two (aka: Lasagna for Bachelors, Fiancées, and Helpless Husbands).
Freezer Lasagna for Two
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*2 shallots, chopped
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1 lb. ground pork or beef
*1 tsp. Italian seasoning
*Salt and ground black pepper
*6 no-boil lasagna noodles
*1 (15-oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese
*1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
*1 1/2 to 2 cups marinara sauce
*2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
*Chopped fresh tomatoes (optional)
*In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add in the shallots and garlic. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in ground pork or beef and cook until browned, stirring frequently and breaking into small pieces. Remove from heat and stir in the Italian seasoning. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
*Lightly grease three miniature disposable loaf pans. Place 1 no-boil lasagna noodle in the bottom of each pan.
*In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese and egg until well combined. Spread some of the ricotta mixture atop each of the noodles in a thin even layer, followed by some of the zucchini, marinara sauce, pork mixture and cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients one more time.
*At this point, you can either cover the lasagnas with aluminum foil and freeze until ready to use. Or, preheat the oven to 375°F and bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and lasagna noodles are soft. Top with fresh tomatoes, if desired.
*If you do decide to freeze the lasagnas, thaw them in the refrigerator before use and cook as instructed above.
This weekend my grand plans for a weekend up in Minneapolis were sidelined by the cold I’ve been attempting to ward off for over two weeks. You see, I’m not all that good at accepting that I’m sick. Even when my throat is burning and my chest is heavy, I’ve been known to head for the gym. Seems as if exercise and good food aren’t the solution to everything.
So instead of heading up north for a couple days of fun, I surrendered to my cold and took it easy for the last 48 hours – sleeping over 20 hours in two days. Turns out sleep is completely underrated. Joey arrived on Saturday, fresh from sales training, to oversee my recovery…
Aside from laying on the couch and watching entirely too much football, I snacked on a lot of pretty food. Maybe it sounds silly, but the way some people see God’s glory in nature, I see it in food. Seriously. Look at those pears, dusted with cinnamon and dripping in nut butter. Now that’s my idea of beauty, and an unbelievable snack.
I have the most delicious bread for you. Serious goodness coming your way. It had such a profound impact on me that I made it last weekend, and then I baked another loaf this week and am already down to a single piece. In my own defense, I brought four slices to work yesterday.
While writing about this apple bread, I began to realize that I have a slight obsession with quick breads of every kind. So if, for some unknown reason, apple bread isn’t your thing, maybe one of these is:
Since the snow keeps falling and the wind keeps blowing here, I don’t think I’ll be getting sick of hearty quick breads any time soon. Anyone else out there have a favorite quick bread recipe? Share them in the comments below!
Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Bread
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
The first time I made this bread, I skipped the refrigeration stage. While the bread was still delicious, it didn’t hold together like I wanted it to. The second time, with refrigeration, yielded a much more pleasing result. Don’t skip this step and save yourself some grief.
*3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour
*2 tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*2 large eggs
*1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
*3/4 cup granulated sugar
*2 tablespoons apricot or peach preserves
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
*Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, flax seed, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
*In a second bowl with an electric mixer or by hand, beat together eggs, butter and sugar until creamy and well combined. Stir in preserves and ground cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in chopped apples.
*Transfer batter to loaf pan and smooth top with a spatula. Refrigerate in the loaf pan for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and just slightly soft in the center. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the loaf and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to eat.