Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Who knew healthy could taste so good. I will definetely be making this dish more often, they were yummy in tummy. Everyone thought the tofu was ricotta cheese. The rolls did seem like they were lacking some sauce so I served some more on the side. I also could have cooked the noodles a little longer. I cooked them just a little short of al dente because I thought they would continue to cook when I baked them, but I was mistaken. Nonetheless, they were still good. I'll just have to make a note to myself for next time. I was actually able to get three extra rolls when I made this. Since I had some leftover I was able to freeze some and eat it later in the week. YAY...two-fer. I need to find more recipes that are freezable. Try it...I promise no one will be able to tell it's good for them, even if they're a tofu hater.
I've had this recipe for so long I don't know where I found it on the internet. Sorry to whomever the original owner is...but thanks!!

Lasagna rolls – 6 servings
2 rolls each = 354 cal
12 whole-wheat lasagna noodles, Ronzoni Healthy Harvest whole wheat
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained, rinsed and crumbled
3 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped Kalamata olives (I left these out)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 25-ounce jar marinara sauce, preferably lower-sodium, divided
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse, return to the pot and cover with cold water until ready to use.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add tofu and spinach and cook, stirring often, until the spinach wilts and the mixture is heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in Parmesan, olives, crushed red pepper, salt and 2/3 cup marinara sauce.
Wipe out the pan and spread 1 cup of the remaining marinara sauce in the bottom. To make lasagna rolls, place a noodle on a work surface and spread 1/4 cup of the tofu filling along it. Roll up and place the roll, seam-side down, in the pan. Repeat with the remaining noodles and filling. (The tofu rolls will be tightly packed in the pan.) Spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the rolls.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Place the pan over high heat, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium; let simmer for 3 minutes. Sprinkle the rolls with mozzarella and cook, covered, until the cheese is melted and the rolls are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Persimmon Bread

Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.
Adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard.

3½ cups sifted flour

1½ teaspoons salt

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 to 2½ cups sugar

1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature

4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey (substituted peach juice)

2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)

2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)

1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.
5. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. The Persimmon Breads take well to being frozen, too

Dried Fruit and Nut Stuffing

Dried Fruit and Nut Stuffing - makes about 6 cups - 10-12 servings
Published November 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

1 ½ pounds wheat bread, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , plus extra for baking dish
4 medium onion, chopped fine (about 4 cups)
2 celery ribs , chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ teaspoon minced fresh marjoram leaves
1 ½ teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried apples , chopped fine
¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 large egg + 1 egg white

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Spread bread cubes in single layer on baking sheet; bake until edges have dried but center is slightly moist (cubes should yield to pressure), about 15 minutes, stirring several times during baking. Transfer dried bread to large bowl and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
2. While bread dries, heat 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add onion, celery, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften and brown slightly, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in thyme, marjoram, and sage; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vegetable mixture, raisins, dried apples, walnuts to bowl. (If making one day ahead: put the stuffing in one large glass bowl and wrap tightly with plastic. Put bread crumbs in a separate container – can be made 24 hours before baking)
3. DAY OF: Let the stuffing stand at room temperature for 30 minutes . While turkey rests, set oven temperature to 400 degrees. Add 1/2 cup broth and toss gently until evenly moistened. Whisk eggs and remaining 1/4 cup broth together in small bowl. Pour egg mixture over stuffing and toss to combine, breaking up any large chunks; spread in buttered 2 qt. baking dish. Bake until stuffing registers 165 degrees and top is golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes. Make sure the stuffing register 165 degrees. My stuffing was golden brown on top but it did not register 165 after 15 minutes.

Lemon Raspberry Cake

Lemon Raspberry Cake - 12 servings

I'm so excited, my first blog since being married. The past month has been pure madness trying to get settled in our new place and living without a TV or fridge. We've been eating out every single night and as much as I love eating at restaurants, I can only take so much before I began craving home cooked meals. Since being married, I've come to the realization that your first year of marriage is much like your first year of college. You know how they say your first year of college you gain your freshman 15. Well, I think your first year of marriage you gain your newlywed 15...oh dear God...say it isn't sooooo :( Now that I no longer have to fit into a tiny little white dress I'm consuming everything in sight...sorry lobster. MUST LEARN TO STOP EATING WHEN FULL!!!!

Over the weekend we had our first dinner party. We celebrated my mom's 60th birthday. My goodness was it chaotic in the kitchen. We were both in there at the same time and we started running out of space. I ended up sitting on the floor whipping the frosting with my mixer, while he was asking me every two seconds where everything was since he didn't know where I placed things in the kitchen. But in the end, we were able to pull it off and it was a huge success. Lobster prepared a feast and busted out his new "baby," a fancy shmancy dalmation infrared grill. He made some baby back ribs, steaks, grilled asparagus, tomatoes, and some yummy beans. It was yum-oh!!! I on the other hand got to use my new toy too... a kitchenaid mixer...best appliance EVERRRRR and baked my mom a cake with it!!!!

I made a raspberry lemon cake and it was GOOD :) I was a little scared to try it b/c I thought I left the cake in the oven too long and it was going to be dry. Then, my frosting decides to melt by the time I had to spread it on the cake...hence the not so lovely presentation, but nonetheless it was numnum. The original recipe is three layers and feeds about 24 people so I cut the recipe in half and made it two layers. It's light and not too sweet. I'm really glad I decided to make a cake since people always feel so special when you go out of your way to make something just for them. All the hard work paid off in the end b/c when I gave it to my mom her eyes started to well up...so sweet. Happy Birthday mommy!

Perfect White Cake (makes two 9-inch cakes) adapted from here

3/4 cups whole milk
4.5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon of vodka
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups + 3 tablespoons cake flour, sifted, plus 1.5 tablespoons for the pans
1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-sized chunks and at room temperature, (I just cut these into the mixer as it was blending)

Set one rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 F. Spray the bottoms of two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray or lightly butter them. Line the pans with parchment paper rounds and butter or spray the parchment paper. Dust each pan with 1 tablespoon of flour. Invert the pans over the sink and bang out any excess flour. Using a whisk, mix the milk, egg whites, vodka, and vanilla extract together in a bowl and set it aside. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer or a large bowl. Using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients together on the lowest speed for 5 seconds. (If using a handheld mixer, stir the dry ingredients with a large spoon.) Add the butter and increase the speed to 2 or mix on low speed of a handheld mixer. Mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add all but ¾ cup of the milk mixture and mix at medium speed (6 on a stand mixer) for 2 minutes. Add the remainder and mix for another 45 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans; spread the batter out to the walls and smooth out the tops. Bang the pans against the counter a few times to even out the batter.Put two pans on the upper rack and one on the lower rack. Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the pans to ensure even baking. Bake for another 7-8 minutes; a toothpick should come out clean. Cool the cakes for 5 minutes on a wire rack, then invert them onto a plate and back onto the rack. Let the cakes cool completely before assembling.[Once the cakes are cool, they can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days before assembling or frozen for 1-2 weeks – wrap each layer well in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil before refrigerating or freezing. Before assembling, let the cakes come to room temperature.]

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

3 1/2 egg whites
¾ cups+ 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and whisk the mixture until it reaches 140 F. If you don’t have a thermometer, don’t worry – the mixture will turn thick and white and all the sugar should be dissolved – this should take about 5 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the mixer and, with the whip attachment, mix on high speed (8) until the whites are fluffy and cool, 10-12 minutes. Once the mixture is cool, add the butter a few pieces at a time, mixing well before adding more. The mixture will start to look curdled after you have added about 3 ½ sticks of butter. Don’t worry – just add the rest of the butter and keep mixing until it comes together and is smooth. Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed (2) for 5-7 minutes – this gets rid of air bubbles, thereby making the frosting smoother and more even when you apply it to the cake.[You can store the frosting in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 weeks. When you are ready to use the frosting, let it come to room temperature, then whip it on medium-high speed until it becomes light and fluffy and then beat with the paddle on low speed to remove air bubbles.] Once it is a smooth consistency you should work pretty quickly b/c if the frosting sits out too long it becomes runny and difficult to spread.

Lemon Curd

3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup + 2 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small chunks and slightly chilled

Add the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and zest to a small saucepan and whisk well. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, about 6-7 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. (I accidentally skipped this part and it turned out fine. While stirring continuously, add the butter a few pieces at a time, adding more butter when the previous addition has been fully incorporated. After all the butter has been added, cover the lemon curd with a large piece of plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd so as to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to thicken.

To assemble the cake, place the first layer bottom side down. Spread all of the lemon curd on top of the cake. I then smashed some raspberries and spread them on top of the lemon curd. Take the other cake layer and invert it bottom side up, so the flat side is on top. Spread frosting all over the top and sides of cake. Top with raspberries in the middle and serve. If you are not serving it immediately, put it in the fridge then let it sit out at room temperature for thirty minutes.