Easy Make Ahead Meal

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m pretty tired of cooking, and I am ready for a bit of a break. I’ve been thinking about what I can make ahead to last me a few days and give me some much-needed downtime, and it dawned on me that there is nothing better than make-ahead lasagna. And lucky for me, I have Annette’s archives right at my fingertips.

She has shared the below recipe for meatless lasagna before. Let us know if you give it a try.

Meatless Lasagna
Serves 12-14

You will need:
– 1 package lasagna noodles (you will need 12 noodles)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
– 2 cups mushrooms cut into thin slices
– 6 cups Spinach
– 1 16.oz ricotta ( low fat is fine)
– 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (reserve 1 cup for the topping)
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (reserve ½ cup for the topping)
– 1 16 oz jar prepared marinara sauce (or your own sauce recipe)

To prepare noodles:

Preheat Oven 400 degrees F

Prepare noodles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: once the noodles are cooked, I like to rinse them in cool water and then leave them in the water until I am ready to layer the pan, this makes them not stick together.

To prepare filling:

Combine the ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, and the 1 cup Parmesan cheese, oregano and egg in a bowl and combine until smooth. Set aside.

In a saute pan, add oil, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until browned, then toss in the spinach and saute the spinach and mushrooms until all the moisture in the pan has evaporated. You want the mixture as dry as possible.

To layer:

Separate the noodles in the water some of them may have stuck together, then drain in a colander. I like to line up my fillings and the noodles.

In a lasagna pan (9”x13)” lay in the layer of noodles, 3 to 4 is perfect. Then add the sauce about (1/2 cup), the spinach mushroom filling, and then dollops of the ricotta filling (about 3 tablespoon dollops), finishing off the layer with a sprinkle of shredded Mozzarella ( about 1/2 cup). Repeat this process 3 times, each time starting with the noodle layer. The top layer should be the noodles, sauce and the 1 cup of Mozzarella and ½ cup of Parmesan make sure to cover the entire top layer.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Let it set up for 15-20 minutes before serving.

xx Annette

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Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, this recipe is the ONLY one you need.

Saying a recipe is the best is a bold statement, I know. But this stuffing really is a game-changer. Give it a try and let me know what you think. And I’m curious: do you call it stuffing or dressing in your house? Let me know in the comments!

Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing
Serves 8-10

You will need:
– 5 slices of bacon
– 1 yellow onion chopped
– 2 stalks of celery chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic minced
– 1 cup toasted walnut halves
– 3 pears cored and cubed
– 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
– 4 tablespoons chopped rosemary
– 3 links of Italian sausage, out of the casing and crumbled
– 1 loaf of country bread cubed
– 3 cups of turkey stock

To Prepare:

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy, drain, and set aside. Reserving about a ¼ cup of the bacon drippings in the pan (discard the rest) sauté the onion, garlic and celery in the bacon drippings, when translucent, add the sausage and sage and rosemary walnuts, pears remove from heat. In a large bowl place the bread cubes and the turkey stock, add the mixture from the sauté pan, and crumble the bacon into the bread bowl combine thoroughly.

Grease a casserole dish pour the stuffing into the dish. Set aside until ready to bake

*Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, serve warm

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Make this for your Thanksgiving feast

As you start planning your holiday menus, I wanted to share one of my absolute favorite Thanksgiving dishes: kumquat cranberry sauce. It’s become a must-have in our house: kumquat cranberry sauce.

Cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey, and no table is complete without it. Cranberry sauce can be whipped up in a matter of minutes (yes, even without using a can!), and this one is equally as easy. Plus, the unexpected citrus flavor is perfection.

This cranberry sauce is especially good once the flavors come together which makes it an ideal complement for leftovers (next-day turkey sandwiches anyone?!) I like to serve mine from a jar; it gives it a wonderful homemade quality and is a pretty look for the table. Let me know if you give it a try and what everyone thinks!

Kumquat Cranberry Sauce

You will need:

– 2  cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 12 kumquats cut into circle slices (cut the kumquat across to create pinwheel like slices)
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon cloves
– 2 12-ounce bags fresh or frozen cranberries

To prepare:

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, kumquat slices and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat. Simmer 4 minutes to blend flavors.

Add cinnamon, salt and clove and simmer 2 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated)

Photo by Stefania Crudeli on Unsplash

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My Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is almost here! If you’re preparing the main event this year, give my Picture Perfect Turkey and Gravy a try. The recipe is from my first book, Picture Perfect Parties, and it’s truly a show stopper. You’ll end up with a beautiful, flawless bird that will make your friends and family ooh and ahh. Be sure to let me know how it turns out!

Picture Perfect Turkey and Gravy
Serves 8-10

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

You will need:
– 20 lb. Organic Turkey
– 2 teaspoons flake salt
– ¼ cup olive oil
– ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
– 4 cloves garlic minced
– 1 lemon

Ingredients for the *mirepoix mixture for the bottom of the roaster:
– 1 carrot diced
– 2 celery stalks dices
– 1 yellow onion diced
– 2 cups turkey stock (I use store bought)

To prepare:
In the bottom of a roasting pan place carrots, celery, onion and stock. Put a rack into the roasting pan. Place turkey on the rack.

Combine salt, oil, rosemary, and garlic, rub the entire turkey with the mixture, place whole lemon into the cavity of the turkey. Place in the oven with an aluminum foil tent on the top of the turkey for 4 hours, basting every half hour. Remove the tent for the last hour of baking, and bake until meat thermometer reads 150 degrees F

Pull from the oven and let rest.

*Reserve the mirepoix for the gravy.

Gravy

You will need:
– Mirepoix, defatted
– 2 cups turkey stock
– 2 tablespoons corn starch

To prepare:
Place the mirepoix into a saucepan, heat, and add turkey stock, and warm.

In a small bowl place cornstarch.  Add 3 tablespoons of the warm mixture to the cornstarch, mix with a small spoon until a paste forms. Add the paste to the gravy mixture to thicken. Stir until reduced. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Serve on the side with turkey and stuffing.

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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WARM CAULIFLOWER SALAD

This warm cauliflower salad is the perfect fall night supper. It is smoky, sweet, and filling, and therefore, it’s very satisfying. It is a vegetarian recipe as well, and if you leave off the cheese or substitute it with vegan cheese, it is a great vegan recipe too.

As we sneak closer to Thanksgiving, recipes like these are ones you might want to consider adding to your repertoire. It would be such an unexpected, yet delicious surprise for your menu. Enjoy.

Warm Cauliflower Salad

You will need:
– 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
– 1 can (14 ounce) chickpeas, drained
– 1 cup halved brussels sprouts
– 1 cup raw cashews
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons chili powder
– 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
– 3 cloves grated garlic
– 1 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper
– 6 cups fresh spinach
– 2 seedless cucumbers, sliced
– ½  cup thinly sliced red onion
– 4 ounces grated high quality parmesan
– 1 avocado, sliced

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

You will need:
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– juice of 1 lemon
– 3 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
– 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

To prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine the cauliflower, chickpeas, olive oil, chili powder, paprika, garlic, brussels sprouts, and cashews, and salt and pepper. Toss well to evenly coat. Place on a parchment-lined 18” x 13” rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30- 40 minutes, or until fork-tender and lightly charred.
  • Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, cucumbers, cheese and sliced onion.
  • To make the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar or bowl and shake (or whisk) until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
  • Toss the slightly cooled roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, nuts and brussels sprouts in with the spinach salad. Add a little of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Top the salad with avocado and Parmesan cheese, serve with the remainder of the vinaigrette. The salad keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge.

xx Annette

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