Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Caramel topped Brownie Hearts for your Valentine

Last Valentine's Day, I made this very simple, but wonderful dessert for my husband. When I shared the photo on facebook, I had to laugh as the comments of others were praising me for my culinary efforts, when this was an EXTREMELY easy dish to prepare.

It begins with a BOXED brownie mix. (Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines are my choice).
*Prepare according to directions.

As soon as you take it out of the oven, poke holes over top with a fork. Drizzle choclate sauce and caramel sauce over top (Smucker's is a good brand....ROBERT ROTHSCHILD'S is even better, but pretty pricey).

Let stand at room temp.
Cut heart-shaped pieces with a cookie cutter.

Plate it, add vanilla ice cream then drizzle again with sauces for a nice presentation.

In the photo, you will see a chocolate-covered strawberry that I dipped, then added red sugar sprinkles and whipped cream.

Really- ANYONE can make this. EVERYONE will love it! Give it a try!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Easy Individual Trifles--perfect for your Valentine

This is so easy I hate to call it a recipe. It's more of an assembly of a few ingredients, but the end result is so nice, it looks impressive enough to serve to someone special.

You will need only four ingredients.

*Pie Filling or fruit
*Whipped Cream

You can choose any cake recipe you love as the base. I chose store- bought angel food cake, cut into cubes. A pound cake would also work well.

You may also choose your favorite pudding flavor. I chose vanilla and chocolate. I recommend the "cook and serve" packages.(Be certain to cool as directed in fridge) They have the best flavor. But instant pudding (just add cold milk and mix and refrigerate) is fine, and if you have no time, pre-packaged, ready-made will do (but would be my least recommended for this recipe).

Use your choice of canned pie filling. I chose cherry.Sliced strawberries would also go very well with chocolate or vanilla.

Top with whipped cream. (Or use Cool Whip.) For those of you who do not use whipped cream, once you do, that will be your favorite way to top any dessert. Cool Whip is fine, but whipped cream is AMAZING!

Serve in nice stemware for best presentation. (You can get stemware at THE DOLLAR TREE, DOLLAR GENERAL STORE or at thrift stores in your area.)


Monday, January 16, 2012

THE best lasagna recipe

Take it from an Italian girl....you must try this recipe!

I love Italian food, but I would be the first to say that although I love pasta dishes (I serve them often at my house), lasagna has never been at the top of my list...until now!

I actually had two servings--two LARGE servings, and so did everyone else when I had a dinner party in my home. (So much for moderation....)

I served it again at an Italian buffet for nearly 30 people at my house on Christmas Eve and again...a big hit!

Another pic when I made it recently. I added more mozzarella on top because well...CHEESE!

Although the recipe calls for a very long time to cook the sauce on low, you don't have to cook it that long (30-45 minutes would do), however, the longer it cooks, the more time for that delicious blend of spices to "get to know each other better"....

This makes a filling meal served with garlic bread and a salad.


1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 448 | Total Fat: 21.3g | Cholesterol: 84mg