Simple Skillet Lasagna

Okay, Lasagna. I have mixed feeling about you. I grew up with lasagna that contained cottage cheese and shredded cheddar cheese. It was good but as an adult, I never made it or ordered it at a restaurant. Then I discovered ricotta cheese and everything changed!

I love making “roll up” lasagna because it is fun to make and it’s different. That is the same with this Chrissy Teigen’s Simple Skillet Broken Lasagna recipe from her book Cravings: Hungry for More (why haven’t you bought it yet??)

I love this cookbook because it is more Mom user-friendly. Honestly, who wants to spend hours in the kitchen cooking a fancy meal for kids who would rather eat Mac and Cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches all day every day? This book offers more time efficient recipes, so now I only have to be in the kitchen for hours washing baby bottles or when I want to go all out for guests.

The fun part about this Broken Lasagna recipe was breaking the noodles up. I let the girls do it and I am still finding pieces in the kitchen, but their laughter was worth it.

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First, you make the sauce. It does need to simmer for about an hour so I recommend making it ahead of time or just use it when it heats up because you are starving like I did.

It calls for both ground beef and sausage which I just love! It makes the flavoring not as bland when you just use one or the other. I discovered this with meatloaf. Meatloaf with just ground beef is blah, but add spicy Italian sausage and viola! it’s delicious.

The cheese mixture is parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella. I have to admit that I used a cup less of mozzarella that was called for and it still came out cheezy.

Overall this recipe is easy, even the simmering for an hour, and tasty. The girls loved it and it saved well. I served it the next day at a family function and everyone loved it. So next time you are craving lasagna try this recipe, no more cottage cheese!

Make it and enjoy!

Sauce Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 pound ground beef

3/4 pound ground pork 

1 finely diced onion

9 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded basil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

kosher salt and pepper to taste

Lasagna Ingredients:

2 cups ricotta cheese

3 cups shredded mozzarella

3/4 cup finely grated pamigiano-reggiano cheese

1/2 cup basil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 oz no-boil lasagna noodles, broken into pieces. 

Make the Sauce! Heat oil over high heat in a dutch oven or a large heavy bottom skillet. Add beef and pork. Cook unit no longer pink breaking up the meat into tiny pieces. Transfer to a bowl. Keep some fat in skillet and cook onion until tender, about 7 mins. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add tomato paste and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Return meat to skillet along with the tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 mins.

Mix the cheese! In a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, parm, basil, salt, and pepper.

Build the lasagna! Spoon 1 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a large (12 in and 2 in deep) ovenproof skillet. Add a layer of noodles, then sauce, then dollops of cheese mixture. repeat layers until skillet is full. Add a final layer of sauce and then dollops of cheese at the very top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Put a baking sheet under the skillet to prevent bubbly drips on the bottom of your oven.

Baby weight chronicles!

Eight weeks ago I was blessed with a precious gift. A sweet baby girl. She was a ‘surprise’ pregnancy and definitely a wrench thrown in my life plan. She was born at a difficult time in my life; my dad (the reason I moved to California a year ago to help take care of) passed away exactly two weeks before she made her debut. Being nine months pregnant while putting your dad on hospice then watching him slowly die is something I would not wish on ANYONE! It was awful. Like, completely indescribable, god AWFUL. I share this not for sympathy or excuses but because it is a huge motivating factor for me and my weight loss plan/next adventure.

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I don’t want to lose the 12 pounds of baby weight because I hate my body or feel post-baby body shamed. In fact, this is the first time after I’ve given birth that I wasn’t 20 plus pounds over my starting weight!

My motivation comes from the fact that I want to get healthy; with my mind and my body. I’m trying not to focus too much on what the scale says and instead focus on how my body feels. I want to feel strong, tough, and pretty much like a badass. Emotionally and physically.

Grief weighs me down daily. It’s scary. Days before my dad died I asked him, “what on earth am I going to do without you?!” His response was, “Live.” I have carried that in my heart every single day since he has been gone. It’s hard. I try. Countless people say that exercise has saved them during difficult times. So as I sat in my Post-Partum haze I thought to myself, get up, get moving, get healthy, and get fit. Yoga and meditation have always helped with my anxiety so this fitness goal just seemed like a perfect idea.

 

This is where my next adventure comes into play with my already in progress learning-how-to-cooking feat. I have learned in the short time of being in my 30’s (insert Hubby’s laugh) that what you put into your body and soul is so important! It can’t be all tequila and McDonald’s! (I know, I was shocked too). So I will be making and eating healthy meals (any suggestions are greatly appreciated) for the majority of my meals. I’m sorry but I can’t completely cut out Del Taco and Chrissy Teigen’s recipes. It’s a lot of cheese and carbs but life’s too short to NOT enjoy that deliciousness occasionally. Have you tried her new cookbook yet??? OMG GET IT NOW!!! Cravings: Hungry for More is out now so do yourself and everyone you cook for a favor and go order this book. Chrissy can never steer you wrong, I swear!

 

Cooking healthy meals have gotten a lot easier for me. The family H.A.T.E.S when I use sweet potatoes over regular potatoes and the Hubs doesn’t understand why recipes can’t just have a regular fried egg on it! I have been using Clean Eating Made Simple cookbook as a staple for meals this past month. Easy recipes, whole foods, and can use for every meal- even snacks. img_0858img_0878-1

I have also restarted my yoga journey. I am so behind on my practice and out of shape. But that is nothing on how hard the  6 week Bikini Body program I started has been! Oh my god, my core is so freakin’ weak! Well, was weak because I am getting stronger every day. I am currently on my second week of the program. I haven’t seen any physical improvements yet, but my head is clearer, I am happier, I have more energy, and I don’t collapse after every set anymore! And to me, that is a BIG DEAL!

I don’t know where this will take me, but like everything that I hope for, I hope it takes me somewhere exciting. I am scared to post things like this because the fear of failure is real and scary. To do it publically is even worse!  However, in the end, this is for me. My grieving process. My recovering. My journey.

So here we go!

7 weeks post-partum and starting of 6 week Bikini Body program.

 

 

ALSO!! Here is a yoga sequence that I have been using since I figured out how incredibly weak my core is! ENJOY.

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Welcome Baby Lydia!!

So I have been MIA for a while now. I have barely cooked or baked anything decent in over 9 months! BUT my family did welcome a new addition to the family in July. Our sweet Miss Lydia has joined the family.

It has been a crazy summer break but I am looking forward to getting back to a schedule, getting back in shape, and cooking! This time around I will be focusing on cooking healthy and clean eating. Well, I will try to do that anyway. I hear Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook is coming out next month and if it is anything like Cravings, it will make this resolution very difficult. But here’s hoping!

 

 

Irish Beef Stew

Kiss me I’m Irish! Well, about a quarter Irish or so.8T65Egz7c A month ago my dad decided he wanted everyone to come over and bring a homemade soup. Either a favorite recipe or to try a new recipe. I decided to try a new one. I found this Irish Beef Stew recipe and it seemed perfect.

Normally, I’m not a stew fan (in fact, I wasn’t even a soup fan until I moved to Colorado and froze my butt off)  but I know my dad is so I gave it a go. I found this recipe and it seemed easy and flavorful. The highlight was that it was advertised as a great recipe to make ahead and freeze for later use. Perfect!

All the ingredients were pretty basic for a stew. I got lucky with the beef because my local Stater Bros was having an awesome sale.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5 lb beef chuck ,brisket or any other slow cooking beef (no bone)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 onions , chopped (brown, white or yellow)
  • 6 oz  bacon , speck or pancetta, diced
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 14.9oz can Guinness Beer
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken stock/broth 
  • 3 carrots , peeled and cut 
  • 2 large celery stalks, cut
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme

I love when recipes give you different options! I decided to use bacon which turned out to be everyone’s favorite part of the dish. It was what made it stand out. I bought beef chuck and replaced the Guinness with a water/Worcestershire sauce mixture (my dad wasn’t too keen on the beer since he doesn’t drink).

Let me tell you, the house smelled amazing all day! Since I was going to freeze it for a later date it was incredibly hard not to sneak a bowl.

  1. Cut the beef into 2″ chunks. Pat dry then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy based pot over high heat. Add beef in batches and brown well all over. Remove onto plate. Repeat with remaining beef.
  3. Remove pot from heat to cool slightly and lower heat to medium. If the pot is looking dry, add oil.
  4. Return pot to heat, add garlic and onion. Cook for 3 minutes until softening, then add bacon.
  5. Cook until bacon is browned then add flour. Stir flour into the mixture.
  6. Add Guinness. Mix well (to ensure flour dissolves well) then add remaining ingredients and return beef to the pot (including any juices).
  7. Add enough water so the beef & veggies are almost fully covered.
  8. Cover, bring to simmer then lower heat so it is bubbling gently. Cook for 2 hours – the beef should be pretty tender by now. Remove lid then simmer for a further 30 – 45 minutes or until the beef falls apart at a touch and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
  9. Skim fat off the surface.
  10. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes!!

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The only thing I wish we had done differently was serving it with mashed potatoes, I just ran out of time that day. Even reheated it was delicious and a big hit. My dad loved it and had it for dinner again the next day. The only people who weren’t fans were the kids but I’m sure the mashed potatoes would have changed that. I can’t blame them too much since I didn’t like any soup either until a few years ago!

Okay, now go try it! It’s perfect for a chilly fall day.