Spaghetti Squash Taco Casserole

SS taco casserole

So before you lovely readers see the word squash and run away let me say that not all squash were created equal!  I mean so you like tacos? Do you like casserole?  Do you like noodles? Then this is the meal for you!

The squash is naturally slightly sweet which works really well with the spicy meat.  Also, spaghetti squash does NOT have the mushy squishy texture that make some squash hard to eat.  It literally is the same consistency as noodles!

OK now I have a confession to make.  My husband recently started a new diet… and I am totally supportive… and love hime to bits… but he decided to go grain and potato free.


Grain and potato FREE.


To be clear that means no bread, no rice, no noodles, no chips, no tortillas, almost no starch or carbs at all! None of the things in these pictures are allowed when I cook.



So I have been playing with veggies!!  Cauliflower, squash, jicama, and other starchy veggies that can be turned into mashes, noodles, crusts and breading.  So far it has been a lot of fun!

So for this meal we played with spaghetti squash.  I love tacos. Well lets be honest I love most Mexican inspired cooking.  The spices and flavors of that culture are so much fun to play with and easy to find in anyone’s local grocery store. And all this is basically a giant taco! Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

The trick\ is to make all the separate things that you love on your taco.  If they differ from what I love, no problem!  Change and twist this however you choose.


I used corn salsa, taco seasoned beef, fajita veggies, re-fried beans, cheese, sour cream, and of course spaghetti squash.  Each of these is cooked separately same as you would if you were making a taco bar and at the very end you assemble everything the way you would assemble a lasagna.

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I did meat, veggies, beans, corn, squash, cheese, repeat!


Also I assembled the entire casserole inside of the shell as an added pizzazz and because lets face it, that is one less dish to wash!


So with no further ado lets get cooking!

Spaghetti Squash Taco Casserole

1 large spaghetti squash

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp salt

1 lb ground beef

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp paprika

2 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup water

1 can re-fried beans (you can use black beans if you prefer)

1 can whole curnal sweet corn

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 Tbsp dried cilantro)

1 fresh lemon

1 1/2 tsp ground chili pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 yellow onion

1 bell pepper (pick your favorite color!)

1 clove fresh garlic

Sour cream and fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse off the outside of the squash.  Chop off the top of the squash and then in half the long way.  Scoop out the seeds and innards.  Rub the inside of each half the cleaned squash with a Tbs of vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place them flesh side down on a baking sheet with sides and bake for 50 minutes.  To test if it is done try to scrape the insides with a fork.  If the squash easily falls apart andl ooks like noodles then it is perfect.
  2. While the squash is cooking start the beef.  Brown the ground beef in a skillet.  When the beef has no more pink, drain the excess fat out of the pan.  Add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and water.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes or until most of the water has simmered off.
  3. Open up the beans and heat on low just till hot.
  4. Place the corn in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over top and add the tsp salt and chili powder.  Toss and set aside.
  5. Chop the pepper and onion into long thin strips and fine dice the garlic.  Heat vegetable oil in a skillet till it is hot.  Add the veggies and quickly saute for about 2 or 3 minutes.  Just cook till the peppers seem brighter in color and the onions are starting to look slightly more translucent.  Set aside
  6. Once the squash is finished cooking let it cool for a few minutes.  scrape the squash out until there is only about a 1/4 inch left in the shell.
  7. Now it is time to layer.  I did meat, veggies, beans, corn, squash, cheese, repeat till both shells were full.  If you are using other ingredients like salsa, guacamole, or even a different kind of meat, feel free to mix up the order, as long as you end with cheese on the top.
  8. Turn the oven on to broil.  Place the two casseroles back on the baking sheet and place in the oven just until the cheese melts
  9. Top with sour cream and cilantro, serve hot!  Makes 6-8 serving

Ragu Bolognese with Tagliatelle

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This is a special recipe.

You know what I mean.  The kind of recipe that only gets made for special occasions.  It takes the whole day and makes your house smell like a five star restaurant.  A meal that you plan ahead for and anticipate for days, telling your family over and over to be ready, because they won’t want to miss out on this one fabulous meal.

That is what kind of recipe this is.

I had the opportunity once to spend some time in Italy, and of course what I remember most is the incredible food.  The beauty of Italian cuisine is that it is not about ridiculous, complicated recipes.  The focus is on gorgeous ingredients, treated with love.  To me, treating ingredients with care and respect is one of the most important parts of being an excellent chef.  That goes for all ingredients; from the lowly celery to a gorgeous piece of steak or seafood.  When you love your food it loves you back.  I promise, you can taste the difference.

Showing your product love and respect starts with picking quality ingredients.  There are lots of ways to save money in the kitchen.  Choosing bad produce or low quality cheese or wine is not the way to go.  Next, it means careful knife work, making sure your cuts are even so each piece is exactly the same size.  This makes sure every bit is cooked just right, nothing under or over done.  It also means not cutting corners. Do not buy pre-cut onions or steak at the store.  You have no control over the quality or freshness.  Take your time and give the food the love it so desperately wants.

Of course, this also means making your own fresh, beautiful pasta.  Fresh pasta cannot be replicated or replaced by dry store bought pasta.  It is one of the most heavenly things a kitchen can create, and it is absolutely worth the extra time.  Once you get used to making it, you won’t even notice the extra minutes.  This pasta is hand cut to make thick, luscious tagliatelle noodles.  If you have never made your own pasta, buy a roller, and learn.  Your life will never be the same.

Finally, be willing to take your time when cooking. Some recipes take a while and benefit from sitting on your stove all day.  Those recipes are often the best of them all, and the extra time is definitely worth it.

I know, we’re all busy.  But sometimes you just gotta drop everything else and make Ragu Bolognese and pretend you are back in the Italian countryside.


  • olive oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 1 yellow/brown onion, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1.5 lbs skirt steak, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)(I am also generous with my cup.)
  • 3 T double concentrated tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 2 small parmesan rinds
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • 1 batch fresh pasta, cut into wide tagliatelle noodles
  • fresh grated parmesan, to serve


Start by preparing your mise en place, which translates to “things in place”.  Literally, get your ingredients ready so that when you need them you aren’t scrambling.  So the first thing we do is cut up our ingredients and make sure everything is ready to go!

Chopping onion.

Chopping onion.

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Perfectly diced celery. (If I do say so myself…)

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And perfectly cut steak.

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Mise en place.

Again, take your time to cut everything to be the same size, especially the steak.  The more consistent your cuts are on the meat, the better this dish will be.  Trust me.  Love your food, and it will love you back.

Now it is time to cook!

First, rehydrate the mushrooms.  cover the mushrooms with about 1 cup of boiling water.  Let sit for at least fifteen minutes, then remove the mushrooms from the water and dice.  Reserve the water.

Now we start cooking!  He 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Once hot, add the diced pancetta.  Let cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the pancetta releases its fat and begins to brown.

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Add the celery, carrots, and onions.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, as the veggies begin to soften.

Cooking the veggies.

Cooking the veggies.

Add the mushrooms and about half the mushroom water. 2015-10-17 15.02.08

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is cooked out and the veggies are very soft.

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Remove the veggies from the pan and put in a separate bowl.  Put the same pan back on the heat, increase to medium high, and add about two tablespoons olive oil.  (Do NOT wash the pan in between!)  When the oil is hot, add the chopped steak, along with a bit of salt and pepper.  Cook until browned on all sides and then remove from heat onto a plate using a slotted spoon.

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Into the same pan, add your ground pork and cook until the pork is browned.

Turn heat back to medium.  Put your sage, thyme, and bay leaf into cheesecloth and tie off with kitchen twine to make a bouquet garni.  Add the veggies, steak, and the bouquet garni back to the pan and let cook for about 8 minutes, or until the liquid is cooked down.  Add the wine, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.

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Let this cook down for about 15 minutes, until the wine is cooked off.  The pot should turn a gorgeous, shiny color at this point.

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Add the tomato paste.  Let cook for about five more minutes.

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It should be starting to look very, very pretty.

Add 1.5 cups of stock and 1/2 cup milk.  Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

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Finally, add the rest of the milk and stock, the parmesan rinds, nutmeg, and a touch of salt.  Let simmer for about 1.5 hours, skimming the fat from the surface occasionally. You may want to lower the heat.  Sauce should thicken and become velvety and rich.

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This sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time, and only becomes better with age.

When ready to serve, reheat if necessary, and toss with hand cut fresh tagliatelle noodles.  (Please don’t waste this sauce on dry pasta, I beg you!)

Top with fresh grated parmesan.

2015-10-18 18.38.22I’m gonna go eat now.  K bye.

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Easy Crockpot Tikki Masala

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially crockpot season!  The leaves here in Minnesota have finally decided to change coloring, and are now changing and falling at breakneck speed. I traded my flip flops in for a cute pair of boots and found my sweaters.  Obi is shedding like crazy.  As the Starks would say…WINTER IS COMING! (Yes…that was a GoT reference.  Get over it.)

For now, the weather is gorgeously cool and cozy.  Perfect for crockpots and warm comforting meals.  There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work to the smell of delicious food that is already cooked and all you have to do is sit down and eat it.

I made this meal for parent-teacher conference night, because I knew I would have no energy to cook after 12 straight hours of students and parents.  The only thing that wasn’t already done was the rice, which I asked my fiance to make while I was driving home.  Turns out, my fiance can’t make rice.  Not even close.  Even when I give very specific directions.  (He also set a pot of boiling water on fire once, so I’m not really surprised.)

As far as the recipe, it is sort of a lightened up non-traditional take on a Tikki Masala.  I used coconut milk instead of cream.  It was delicious.  If I was cooking this just for myself I would have used more cayenne instead of paprika to bump up the heat, but the fiance isn’t a huge spice fan so I was kind and didn’t do that.

I also made the sauce and starting marinating the chicken the night before, so all I had to do was throw everything into the pot the next morning and turn the crockpot on.

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  • 2 lbs uncooked chicken, diced into ~ 1.5 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 30 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1 large lemon
  •  chopped cilantro, basmati rice, and/or naan bread to serve


Put the chopped chicken in a large bowl with the yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Let marinate while you make the sauce, or overnight.  For the sauce, pour tomato sauce, spices, ginger, garlic, and onion all into the bowl of your crockpot.  Mix well.  Taste, and add spice as desired.  Or leave it like this if you are happy.  🙂

You can now refrigerate the sauce and chicken overnight, or get it started.  Add the chicken to the sauce in the crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

When ready to eat, pour the whole thing into a large skillet.  Add the coconut milk and cornstarch and let cook down and thicken for about 10 minutes while you are getting the rice or other accompaniments ready.  Finish with juice of one lemon before serving.

Serve with rice or naan bread or both (like I did, because I am bad at making decisions).  Garnish with cilantro.

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Garlic Montamore Pasta

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As hard as the US has worked to destroy the taco, they have worked equally hard to mess up pasta.  Pasta is an art.  It is magic.  It is a canvas on which you can create a masterpiece.  You know what pasta does not need?  It does not need to be drowned in so much sauce that you can’t even taste the noodles.  And that, my friends, is what this country wants to do to pasta.

Pasta doesn’t need all that.  Pasta wants to be mixed with flavorful, high quality ingredients and allowed to shine for itself.  This pasta combines spicy garlic, sweet Montamore, and nutty parmesan, along with earthy mushrooms and fresh asparagus for an intoxicating blend of flavors that hits every part of your pallet.

If you are not familiar with Montamore cheese, it is a fruity, creamy, buttery cheese that was inspired by the flavors of parmesan.  It melts nicely in with the pasta.  I mixed parmigiano reggiano 50-50 with the Montamore to keep the nuttiness that true parmesan has while still picking up the flavors of the Montamore to complement them.  If you have never tried this cheese, put it on your bucket list.  It is worth every bite.

I also used quite a bit of garlic in this dish, because my Italian fiance adores it.  If you are not a garlic lover feel free to lower the garlic level, but I promise, it isn’t as strong as you might think.  The secret is to put it in olive oil, bring it to a simmer, then turn the heat off and let sit for at least 15 minutes.  The hot oil cooks the garlic without frying it, and the garlic in turn infuses the olive oil with all its beautiful flavor, allowing ever bit of pasta to be evenly touched with garlicky goodness.

This is pasta the way it was meant to be.



For Pasta (makes ~1.25 pounds)

  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • ~2 T flour
  • ~1/2 tsp salt

For toppings

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends removed and chopped into thirds
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 7 oz Montamore cheese, shredded
  • 7 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)


Start by prepping the pasta dough.  In a stand mixer, mix together all the pasta ingredients with the flat mixer for thirty seconds.  Then, attach the dough hook and continue to mix for about 2 minutes, or until forms a dough.  You want a dough that is leathery, not crumbly or sticky, and holds together firmly.  You may need to add slightly more flour or water as necessary to reach the right consistency.  Punch together by hand for about 2 more minutes, then let rest at room temperature for twenty minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Melt butter in a large cast iron pan over medium heat, then add the chopped asparagus.  Let cook about 10 minutes before adding the mushrooms.  Sprinkle generously with fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt and let cook, stirring occasionally.

In a small nonstick pan pour the olive oil and garlic.  Cook on medium heat until the oil starts to simmer.  Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the burner.  Let rest while you finish preparing the rest of the meal.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a generous pour of olive oil and salt.

Roll out the pasta fairly thin, according to the directions for your pasta roller, then cut into fettucine (or linguine).  Cook in the salted water.  (Fresh pasta cooks VERY quickly, so this should go fast.)

When the pasta is cooked, add it to the cast iron pan.  Take the pan off the heat and toss all the ingredients together, along with the garlic infused olive oil and about 1/2-1 cup of the pasta water.

To serve, put a generous helping in a bowl and top with desired amount of shredded cheese.  Can finish with a generous hit of black pepper, or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, if desired.


I recommend a big glass of good red wine to drink with this luxurious dish!

Red Wine Mushroom Pork Chops with Apple Goat Cheese Stuffing

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The school year is now in full swing, and I haven’t quite regained my time management skills from last spring.  It’ll get there, but right now I barely have time to cook food, much less write about it afterwards.  I can’t figure out how I got everything done last year.  And this year I am also taking a class to finish my master’s degree, AND planning a wedding.  So you know, just a little busy.

Even with all that, I just couldn’t keep this recipe away from you all.  There is too much to love.

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The pork chop is drenched in velvety sauce with delicious mushrooms.  I often talk about my love for pairing pork with apples, and the stuffing is the perfect vessel for that.  Especially combined with loads of creamy goat cheese.  The flavors are perfect for fall.   Or whenever you just want comfort food.

There are two recipes here.  One for the pork chops, and one for the stuffing.  They are like the perfect couple.  I suggest starting by making the stuffing, then cooking the pork while the stuffing bakes.

Apple Goat Cheese Stuffing

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  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • 2 apples
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped sage
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 oz goat cheese


Dice the onion and apples and set them in a large skillet over medium heat, with a dollop of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  While that cooks, dice the bread.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread gets a nice toast on it.  After getting the bread in the oven, when the onion starts to get soft, add the carrots, garlic, and sage to the onion and apple mix.  Let them cook until the apples get soft all the way through, about 10 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and let simmer down until most of the liquid is cooked off.  When just a little liquid is left, take a large baking bowl and combine the apple mix with the bread.  Crumble in the goat cheese and combine well with a wooden spoon.  Make sure it is spread evenly in the baking dish.  Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and cook for about half an hour, or until the top starts to look crispy.

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While the stuffing cooks, make the pork chops.

Red Wine Mushroom Pork Chops

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  • 3 T butter
  • 1 package (8 oz) baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 center loin cut pork chops (or whatever you happen to have)
  • flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 2 T fresh thyme


Put 1 1/2 T butter in your cast iron pan.  Melt, then add the mushrooms, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Cook the mushrooms until they have released all their moisture, then soaked it back up.

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When the mushrooms are done, remove them from the pan and into a bowl.  In the same pan, melt the rest of the butter.  Sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with black pepper and the flaky sea salt.  Cook for about 5-8 minutes on each side, or until the pork has a good sear.  My pork chops were pretty thick, so after searing I put them in a baking sheet and put them in the oven to finish cooking for a few minutes.  After you take the pork chops out of the pan, deglaze with the red wine.  Bring to a simmer and add the beef broth and thyme.  Let the wine simmer down until it starts to thicken.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the pork chops back in to thoroughly coat them with the sauce.
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Now you get to eat!

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Eggplant Thai Curry

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My favorite times of the year are fall and spring.  When the weather ranges between 50 and 80 degrees fahrenheit I feel like I’m in paradise.  The cooler weather, of course, also brings back cravings for food that is warm and comforting.  Curry fits this perfectly.

I adore curries of all shapes and sizes, but possibly my favorite is Thai curry.  Spicy curry paste and creamy coconut milk are a dream combo.  For this version I used luscious eggplant, or aubergine, along with sweet potato, peppers, and onions to make the curry rich and flavorful.  The eggplant replaces any meat for me in this dish.  It has a fabulous earthiness that is to die for.  You won’t even miss the meat.

While I do love to make my own curry paste, with school back in session and time at a premium, that just didn’t happen this time.  If you do have the time, I definitely recommend homemade as it just can’t be matched in flavor.  You can also control your heat level a little easier that way.  At the end of the day, grocery store red curry paste is still delicious and much, much faster.  So that is what I used.


I love to serve Thai curry with rice stick, which is just a thin rice noodle.  It does a fabulous job soaking up all the lovely sauce and carrying the vegetables.  It is also much quicker and easier than cooking perfect rice.

Finally, I topped the dish with half a sliced avocado.  I adore avocado and it is cool and creamy which goes beautifully with the spicy sauce.  It may not be the most traditional garnish, but it was a tasty one.

On top of all the other delicious reasons to make this dish, it is actually vegan friendly and absolutely healthy!  It is literally a giant bowl of veggies.  What more could you want?  Even my picky, meat-loving fiance scarfed it down.

Wedding diet?  Heck yeah if it tastes like this!


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 red onion, rough chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, rough chopped (I used 1 green and 1 orange)
  • 2 serrano peppers, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large or two small eggplants, cut into about 1 inch strips
  • 4 oz red curry paste
  • 1 can (400 mL) coconut milk
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • rice stick, about 1 oz per desired serving
  • sliced avocado, optional


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot add the diced sweet potato, salt, and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for about another 10 minutes, or until they are soft and the onions are starting to turn translucent.  Add the garlic and serrano pepper.  Give it a good stir and and cook for about a minute.  Add the eggplant.  Cook for about five minutes, until the eggplant starts to cook down a bit, and add the curry paste.  Stir in thoroughly.  Continue cooking, and stirring, for about 10 more minutes or until the eggplant is completely cooked down and soft.

While the eggplant cooks, bring water to a boil in a sauce pan.  Add the rice stick.  Cook for about 7 minutes, or until soft, then drain.

Once the curry vegetables are fully done, add the coconut milk and cherry tomatoes.  Stir in throughly and let heat through.  You don’t need the coconut milk to simmer as it can curdle if left unattended.


The sauce should be rich and velvety, with all the veggies soft.

To serve, but desired amount of rice noodles in a bowl and top with the curry.


If desired, you can also top with sliced avocado for more color and cool creaminess.

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Feel really good about today’s life choices. 🙂

Classic Lasagna

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Summer is over, friends.  Tomorrow I go back to work, to my classroom, open house, parents, lesson plans, grading, meetings, and my students.  Tomorrow.  Oh my goodness.

So I had to make one of my favorite meals that happens to take a ridiculous amount of time to cook, making it almost impossible on a school-year-weekday.  That meal, of course, is lasagna.  Beautiful, decadent, all from scratch lasagna.  This meal seems to get a bit mistreated in the USA, because people drench the noodles in unnecessary quantities of sauce and cheese and don’t let the noodles do their job of carrying the dish.  Pasta is delicious.  It does not need to be drowned.

I made this dish with a creamy ricotta and sour cream sauce, my marinara sauce recipe (that seems to be going into everything these days).  homemade pasta, and a mixture of ground beef and mushrooms for some heart and earthiness.  Of course, there was also lots of mozzarella cheese.  This is my meal plan for dinners this week, because I just will not have much time to cook.  Open house goes late both Tuesday and Wednesday.

It may seem strange to celebrate summer with a heavy baked pasta.  Don’t judge.  It has been cool here.  Summer is over anyway.


  • 1 batch marinara sauce
  • 22 oz ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz sour cream ( I used a light version)
  • 4-6 cups shredded mozzarella, as desired
  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 T water
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 T black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • salt
  • olive oil


Start by preparing the marinara sauce using the recipe in the link.


Let it simmer for up to half an hour, then turn heat off. (Everything is easier to work with if it is cool when you build the lasagna.

While the sauce simmers, prepare the meat and mushrooms.  Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat.  When it starts to brown, add the chopped mushrooms, cumin, smoked paprika, chili flakes, salt, and 1 T black pepper.  Continue cooking until the meat is done and the mushrooms have released and then soaked their juices back up.


The meat gets a slight kick to it from the spices.  It is fab.  When it is done, let cool until you are ready to build the lasagna.

While the meat cooking, make the pasta dough.  Put flour, eggs, water, and 1 tsp salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix with a spoon until ingredients start to combine, then attach your dough hook and let it knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.  Then use your hands to form the dough into a ball.  The dough should be leathery but pliable, not sticky at all.  Add water or flour as necessary to make it the right consistency.  Let the dough rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.


While the dough rests, make the cheese sauce.  Combine ricotta, sour cream, and 1 T black pepper in a large bowl.  Let rest until you are ready to build the lasagna.

Set a large pot of water to boil, with a bit of salt and oil in it.  When it is close to boiling, Send your pasta through your pasta roller.  Set it through on the thickest setting to knead 4-5 times, folding in half between trips.  When it is smoother and the same thickness as your roller, send it through the thinner levels until you can start to see your hand through it.  I just went to level 4 on my Kitchenaid pasta roller.

Use a pasta cutter to cut each sheet to desired size.  I cut each pasta sheet into fourths.


Put the sheets into  boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and let rest on a pan until you build the lasagna.  Feel free to drizzle the pasta with a little extra olive oil to prevent it from sticking.  I cooked the pasta in two batches.

To build the lasagna, start with about a cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9″by13″ baking dish.  Then lay down one layer of noodles.


Top with the ricotta cheese mix.


Finally add the meat mix and a half cup of sauce.

Top with another layer of pasta.  Repeat these layers until you are out of toppings.  I had four layers.  Make sure to reserve enough sauce to put on top of the dish.  I did this by not adding the sauce mix to every layer.  Also, add shredded mozzarella to at least one or two of the layers, on top of the ricotta.  Again, reserve enough to put on top of the dish at the end.


When you are out of toppings, finish with a final layer of pasta noodles, then sauce, and finally shredded mozzarella.


You should have a full pan of deliciousness.  Now!  The full lasagna can be refrigerated until you are ready to cook it if you are planning to make it within the next day or two.  You can also freeze it for another day.  When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the lasagna for 30-40 minutes.  When it is finished, let cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.


Goodbye summer, I will miss you!