Monday, January 14, 2008

Artichoke Spinach Lasagna

When I first found this recipe, I was looking for a dish to prepare for some friends of ours that were vegetarians. I got all the ingredients because it sounded so good to me. Matt saw the artichokes on the counter and said, "WHAT are THESE!?!?" The conversation that followed went something like this...

Matt: "WHAT are these?!?!"

Sugarbear: "They are marinated artichokes. When Nate and Julie come, I am making spinach and artichoke lasagna."

Matt: "Well, I am not going to eat it!"

Sugarbear: "WHY not?!?!"

Matt: "Because I don't EAT artichokes. I don't like them."

Sugarbear: "Have you ever HAD them before?"

Matt: "no..."

Well. I made it anyway. And know what? After the first bite-he proclaimed this to be his FAVORITE lasagna...even beating out (brace yourselves...) MEAT lasagna! So-even if you can't bear the thought of eating artichokes, this recipe might just surprise you. It did Matt!

Here it is, courtesy of

  • cooking spray
  • 9 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (4 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes, or until onion is tender-crisp. Stir in broth and rosemary; bring to a boil. Stir in artichoke hearts and spinach; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce.
  4. Spread 1/4 of the artichoke mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish; top with 3 cooked noodles. Sprinkle 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese over noodles. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with artichoke mixture and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle crumbled feta on top.
  5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

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Sausage Quiche

My husband does not like Quiche. I, on the other hand, not only LIKE it-but it holds a special little crevice in the food section of my enlarged, clogged heart.

Only on rare occasions do I make it, usually when I can blame it on hospitality-not my own cravings. This is how this particular quiche came about.

You will need:

1 pie crust
1 lb. sausage (I used sage sausage)
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 c. shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 of an onion, chopped
9-11 eggs

Brown the sausage. Chop the veggies. Break the eggs and add to a large bowl. Beat the eggs a bit. Add all the ingredients (except of course, the pie crust.) to the bowl and season with salt and pepper. Start with 9 eggs and see how 'wet' the bowl looks with all the other ingredients added. If it is too dry and there isn't an eggy glaze over everything-add two more eggs.

Place the pie crust in a piepan and poke some holes in the bottom with a fork. Add the 'filling'.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the quiche is 'set' (the middle does not jiggle when bumped) and the the top is nicely colored.


Quiche is wonderfully versatile-you can add whatever you like and omit everything you don't. It doesn't have to have meat. It doesn't have to have vegetables. It may or may NOT have crust, it make or may NOT be round. For example: This weekend we had four houseguests. Two were carnivores and two were herbivore. To accomodate both sets of homo sapiens, I decided to make two quiches's's's (whatever that word might be...)

So-I used the exact same ingredients except substituted 1/2 cup spinach (leftover from the lasagna) for the sausage.

But then~I realized I didn't have another pie crust made. So-I cut off the crusts of normal sliced bread and pressed that into a single layer upon the pie plate. The vegetarian version was JUST as delicious!

May you be confident in your quiche-making and find excitement in is worth it, and you CAN'T mess up!

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Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

You'll try these and immediately shuffle through your cupboards with avengence-grabbing and promptly BURNING all those boxes of hideous dehydrated pieces of cardboard the stores CLAIM to be scalloped potatoes. Trust me. I used to like those boxes of scalloped potatoes. And then I made these.

This was one of those recipes that my husband talked about when we were first married. He loved it, especially how his mother made it. I sort of got sick of hearing how wonderfully his mother made scalloped potatoes, so I decided I needed to get her recipe so he could put ME and MY scalloped potatoes on a pedestal too. Thankfully, my mother-in-law Linda was happy to share HER way, which has now become my own. So, you can thank my Mother in Law Linda for this one!

10 potatoes, sliced

1 large onion

4 T. butter

4 heaping T. flour

4 c. milk

Melt butter in pan, stir in flour to make paste and slowly add milk and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Peel and slice onion and potato. Grease casserole dish and make a layer of potatoes and onions. When thick, pour over potatoes in a casserole dish. It's best to layer: potatoes, sauce, potatoes, sauce. I like to season each layer too...with pepper.

Put in oven at 350 for about an hour until bubbly, covered. Uncover it and let it brown on top for about 1o minutes.

Eating these potatoes has changed my whole outlook on life. Let them do the same for you....

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Dressed Up Rice

In a saucepan, combine 4 cups water, 2 cups dry rice, and 1 T. butter. Bring to a boil. Turn to low heat. Cover and Simmer 2o minutes or until all water is absorbed.

Shred about 1/2 c. SHARP or extra sharp cheddar cheese~ add to rice.

Add 1/8- 1/4c. black olives~ sliced.

Add 1/2 c. canned or frozen spinach.

Season with a bit of salt and pepper, and serve as a side dish.

Matt suggested this would be very good with seafood bits: oysters, clams, mussels, etc. I wouldn't know because the mere THOUGHT of those things turn my stomach! But-if they do not affect yours that way-try it out! ;-)
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Spiedie Marinade

Spiedies are a New York thing. A New York thing that made New York a wonderful place to live. A New York thing that I miss now that I live in Pennsylvania. A New York thing that caused many a cross-eyed stare at my request for them when I first moved this spiedie-forsaken land.

Spiedies are, basically, small pieces of marinated meat. Very versatile. They can be made from chicken, beef, lamb, etc. They can be used to make spiedie subs, make pizza amazingly delicious, fill up shish kabobs, or fancy up some salad.

When I lived in New York, I would buy the marinade from the store. Since moving here, I had to create my own version, a version only SLIGHTLY lesser than the store-bought one.

Here it is, in all its spiedie glory....

1 c. oil
3 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. basil
1/4 t. parsley
1/4 c. vinegar
1 t. oregano
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t. rosemary

Simply pop all the ingredients in a plastic ziploc bag and add small chucks of chicken breast (or other meat).

Marinate for 24 hours.

Here's some more versatility for you...

You can freeze them too! Freeze them uncooked, freeze them cooked...grill them, bake them, cook them on a skillet. Use them on pizza, salad, or just from the fork.

Go forth and spread the good news of the Spiedie and fill the land with them! :-)

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Chai Tea

This is not so much a recipe as it is an idea. One that didn't come to me until I was given a cup of this at the house of one of my dear friends.

I am sort of addicted.

What you do is make a chai tea concentrate and store it in a large pickle jar in the fridge. Then, whenever you get the hunkering, simply fill up a mug 1/3 the way with tea concentrate, fill it the rest of the way up with milk and then heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes.

If you want to be especially sinful, pour just a splash of heavy cream in it-that makes a heavenly, creamy froth on the top. Sprinkle with nutmeg-and with the first sip will come an audible sigh of contentment.


10 chai teabags ( LOVE the vanilla ones. And the chocolate enchantment...let's just say-enchanting...)
1 cup sugar or 1 1/2 depending on taste
1 quart water.

Boil water. When water is at a rolling bowl, remove from heat. Add teabags and steep for 8 minutes or so. Mix in sugar while still very hot and stir until dissolved. Store the concentrate in the fridge.

It is really wonderful. I know, I have been happily sipping away at my steaming mug while blogging ALL the of these recipes!

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