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23 Sep

1 Start the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute more.

Then add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Bring to a simmer; reduce the heat to maintain the simmer. Cook, uncovered while you prepare the chicken (about 10 to 12 minutes).

2 Preheat oven to 400°F.

3 Pound cutlets thin: Place the chicken cutlets one at a time between two layers of plastic wrap or wax paper. Use a meat hammer, mallet, rolling pin, or even a heavy empty wine bottle to pound or roll the chicken pieces to an even thickness of 1/4 to 1/2-inch. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the cutlets.

Easy Chicken Parmesan pound the cutlets with a malletEasy Chicken Parmesan pound the cutlets with a mallet

4 Prepare breadcrumbs and eggs for dredging: In a shallow bowl (large enough to dredge the cutlets), mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and pinch of salt. In separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.

5 Dredge cutlets and brown them: Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering (not smoking) and a piece of breading dropped into it sizzles.

Working one cutlet at a time, dip the chicken cutlet into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs. Working in batches as to not crowd the pan, place the dredged cutlets into the pan.

Lower the heat to medium and gently fry the chicken cutlets until they are golden brown on each side, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Chicken Parmesan recipe dip the chicken into the eggChicken Parmesan recipe dip the chicken into the egg Baked Chicken Parmesan dredge the chicken in breadcrumbsBaked Chicken Parmesan dredge the chicken in breadcrumbsBaked chicken parmesan recipe brown the cutletsBaked chicken parmesan recipe brown the cutlets

6 Prep the chicken for the oven: Spread enough tomato sauce to thickly coat the bottom of a 9×13 casserole pan or baking dish. Once the cutlets are browned on both sides, arrange them on top of the tomato sauce in the baking dish.

Spoon tomato sauce over each of the cutlets. Sprinkle the tops with sliced basil. Then lay slices of mozzarella over each cutlet and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Prep the chicken parmesan for the oven in the casserole dishPrep the chicken parmesan for the oven in the casserole dish

7 Bake: Bake in the oven at 400°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mozzarella begins to brown.

Baked Chicken Parmesan bake the chicken in the oven in a casserole dishBaked Chicken Parmesan bake the chicken in the oven in a casserole dish

8 Serve: Serve with pasta and the remaining sauce, or in a large roll.

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23 Sep

WHAT IS RISOTTO?

Risotto is magnificent, and risotto is time-consuming. An Instant Pot saves time. You know where we’re going with this.

If you’ve never had risotto, now’s your moment. Prepared traditionally, this exquisite touchstone of Northern Italian cuisine is high-starch, short-grain rice that’s babied and fussed over and stirred and stirred and slowly fed multiple ladles of flavorful, simmering stock. When it looks right, you stop.

The grains of rice swell bit by bit, and instead of being fluffy and distinct, like a pilaf, they swim in a creamy pool of savory liquid that’s finished with butter and finely grated hard cheese. A perfectly made risotto is creamy, yet each kernel of rice still retains a tiny al dente bite.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH PRESSURE COOKER RISOTTO?

You should make risotto the traditional way at least once if you like grooving in a mindful zone when you cook.

But a pressure cooker takes the work—and guesswork—out of making risotto. The results are nearly identical to the classic, futzy stir-stir-stir method, but there’s about 95% less stirring. You also add the stock all at once, without having to bring it to a simmer.

Initially, I was a skeptic, but the proof is in the porridge. Now I don’t make risotto any other way.

I also make risotto a lot more often, because the Instant Pot makes it so dang easy. Get it going, program the cooker, and then you have about 16 minutes of unstructured time to throw a salad together and drink some of that wine you just opened. It makes weeknight cooking a special occasion, fun and spontaneous.

Risotto with Mushrooms - white bowls filed creamy mushroom risottoRisotto with Mushrooms - white bowls filed creamy mushroom risotto

WHY DO YOU NEED RISOTTO RICE?

You can’t make risotto with any old rice. For the consistency to be right, it needs to be short-grain, high-starch rice, either Arborio or Carnaroli. I prefer Italian Carnaroli rice because I think it gives you a better texture, but at my grocery store, I can only get Texas-grown Arborio rice. Do I let that keep me from making risotto? No, and you shouldn’t either.

THE MAGIC RISOTTO TRICK THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

As if the liberation of the freewheeling Instant Pot isn’t enough, here’s a mind-blowing risotto secret. Normally when you make risotto, you need to serve it right away because once it’s ready, it’s ready. Like a pear, it’s perfect for about five minutes.

But that makes it tricky to time your whole dinner, right? Relax. You can make 3/4 of this recipe up to two hours ahead. Follow the recipe below to the end of Step 3, then stop.

About 18 minutes before you plan to serve dinner, add the stock and fire that Instant Pot up. You’re the boss of that risotto, not vice versa. And you thought risotto was all fancy and hard.

Risotto with Mushrooms - white bowls filed creamy mushroom risottoRisotto with Mushrooms - white bowls filed creamy mushroom risotto

Risotto with Mushrooms - white bowls filed creamy mushroom risottoRisotto with Mushrooms - white bowls filed creamy mushroom risotto

WHAT ARE THE BEST MUSHROOMS TO USE IN THIS RECIPE?

I use cremini mushrooms here. Those are the ones that look like regular white button mushrooms, but they are brown instead. (Fun fact: Cremini mushrooms are simply tweenage portobello mushrooms harvested before a major growth spurt.)

You can use white button mushrooms, or shiitake mushrooms, or a gourmet blend. Whatever you do, use lots of mushrooms for a ton of flavor. I like to quarter the mushrooms for a meatier texture. Slice them if you like, or use pre-sliced mushrooms.

Some mushroom risotto recipes call for using just dried mushrooms (often porcinis), and some call for using both fresh and dried. I stick to fresh mushrooms because I like their texture and, quite frankly, they are more affordable than dried ones. Plus we’re bumping up that umami action with dabs of soy sauce and miso paste to really give this risotto a flavor boost!

RISOTTO IS EASY TO ADAPT!

Risotto is gluten-free, and it’s easy to make dairy-free (leave out the butter and cheese, and use olive oil instead) or vegetarian (sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock).

You’ll find shrimp risotto, tomato risotto, spinach risotto, butternut squash risotto—even plain risotto, god forbid. People all over the world now make it with unorthodox ingredients (like me in the summertime, when I add fresh corn kernels and basil and top it with bacon crumbles). All of these versions can be easily adapted to the Instant Pot or pressure cooking using the basic method from this recipe.

NEED MORE RECIPES FOR YOUR INSTANT POT?

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22 Sep

Here is our favorite apple pie recipe, with an easy, no-fail, buttery, flaky homemade pie crust, and a filling with a mix of different types of apples, spices, vanilla, and a splash of brandy.

This apple pie is my family’s most requested pie during the holidays. I usually make two of them so we can enjoy one for leftovers. Nothing better than pie for breakfast, right?

What are the best apples for apple pie?

It’s best to use a mix of different types of apples in your pie. Some apple varieties cook up faster than others. Some cook up firm, some more soft; some apples are more tart, some more sweet.

By combining them, you’ll get a more complex, deeper flavor. Look for a combination of tart and sweet apples, and a combination of apples that cook up firm and soft. That said, some apples are better for cooking into a pie than others. I like to use:

  • Granny Smith – Green and tart, Granny Smith apples have wonderful flavor, but they they often lose their shape and turn mushy when cooked. So use no more than 2 Grannies in your pie, and combine with other varieties.
  • Jonagold – A cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan, Jonagolds have a lovely aromatic flavor, they’re both sweet and sharp, and they hold their shape with baking.
  • Fuji – Crisp, firm, juicy, balance of sweet and tart, holds its shape in baking
  • Golden Delicious – Yellow and sweet, holds it shape after baking
  • Braeburn – Sweet and crisp, bakes up firm and juicy
  • Cortland – Juicy and tart, relatively soft, great all purpose apple for baking
  • Honey Crisp – Honey sweet and tart flavor, crisp and juicy, holds shape in baking
  • Avoid Red Delicious apples for pies, they don’t cook well.

Homemade Apple Pie ready to be servedHomemade Apple Pie ready to be served

Make the Crust Ahead

To make apple pie, start with the crust. If you are making a homemade crust, you can make the dough a day or two ahead, and keep the dough disks chilled in the refrigerator. The dough recipe I’m recommending for this apple pie uses sour cream along with butter, and is especially delicious, flaky, and easy to make. If you would like to make an all-butter crust instead, see our All Butter Crust.

If using a store bought frozen crust, follow the directions on the crust package for working with the crust. (See our Review of the Best and Worst Store-Bought Pie Crusts.)

How to Make the Apple Pie

Peel, core and cut the apples, and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to keep from browning. Toss them with a little flour, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and vanilla, and let the filling sit while you roll out the pie crusts.

Remove the dough disks from the refrigerator and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling one of the disks out to 12-inch circles, about 1/8″-inch thick.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate and line with the rolled out dough. Trim the edges to a half-inch from the sides of the pie pan. Scoop the apples into the pie plate and create a mound in the center. Don’t worry if the apples are high in the pan, they’ll shrink as they cook.

Roll out the second pie dough disk. If you want to make a lattice pie, see our directions for making a lattice pie here. (It’s easy!) Otherwise, place the second round of rolled out pie dough over the apples, and tuck the edges of the top pie crust over and under the bottom pie crust edges. Crimp with your fingers to seal.

Score the top in several places to create vents for steam to escape (no need if using a lattice top).

How Long to Bake apple pie

To bake, place the pie on a baking sheet (to catch the drippings) in a 375°F oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top starts to lightly brown, then lower the temp to 350°F and bake anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour or more longer.

The way you know that the apple pie is done is that the juices are noticeably bubbling. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can insert it into the center of the pie. A reading of 200°F is done.

At any point during the baking the top of the pie begins to brown too much, just tent it with aluminum foil. I usually tent the pie about halfway through the baking with foil.

Let the pie cool for an hour before cutting into it, and serve it plain or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Slice of homemade apple pie on a white plate and a marble backgroundSlice of homemade apple pie on a white plate and a marble backgroundSlice of homemade apple pie on a white plate and a marble backgroundSlice of homemade apple pie on a white plate and a marble background

Best Toppings For Apple Pie

There’s nothing better than a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! For something a little different, try cinnamon ice cream instead. You could also top it with homemade whipped cream or caramel sauce.

How to Store and Freeze Apple Pie

Apple pie will easily last a couple of days, lightly covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, on your counter at room temperature. (Keep the any wrapping loose, so the crust can breathe. Otherwise it will loose its crispness.)

After a couple days, you can keep the pie chilled for a few more days in the fridge. If you want, warm the pie in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

  • To freeze the unbaked pie, wrap the assembled pie in plastic wrap, with as much air pressed out as possible. Then wrap the pie in a layer of foil; this will help keep the plastic wrap in place. Freeze for up to a month. When ready to bake, remove it from the freezer, unwrap, and place it into the oven. Bake as directed, adding on about 15 minutes to the baking time, or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling.
  • To freeze a baked pie, wrap and freeze the pie as above. When ready to serve, unwrap and let the pie thaw at room temperature. Warm it up in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes to crisp up the top and warm the filling.

More Great Apple Pie Recipes

Watch our Apple Pie Video!

Updated September 22, 2019 : We spiffed up this post with some new information to help you make the best-ever apple pie! No changes to the original recipe. Enjoy!

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22 Sep

Everybody loves meatballs! Take a ho-hum dinner, add meatballs, and presto! It’s a meal fit for king, or at least a king’s family.

These pork and beef meatballs have a surprise morsel of mozzarella cheese in the center.

HOW TO MAKE STUFFED MEATBALLS

You can whip these meatballs up in as little as 20 minutes. Form the balls, poke a hole in each one with your finger, stuff with a piece of cheese, and re-form the meatball around it.

Then into a pan they go to bake in the oven. While the meatballs bake, make a quick tomato sauce on the stovetop. Combine the sauce and meatballs, sprinkle the entire dish with cheese, and bake together until everything is bubbly, cheesy, and slightly melted.

Spoon the meatballs into a bowl with sauce, serve over pasta, or layer them onto a sub for a delectable meatball sandwich. Yum!

Pork and beef meatball recipe - blue and white bowl with meatballs and saucePork and beef meatball recipe - blue and white bowl with meatballs and sauce

WHAT KIND OF MOZZARELLA SHOULD I USE?

Either fresh mozzarella or low-moisture mozzarella (cut from a block of cheese or sticks) will work fine in this recipe, depending on what you can find in your market. The low-moisture cheese tends to be a bit oozier when it melts, but I’ve made these with both kinds of cheese.

10-MINUTE TOMATO SAUCE? YES, PLEASE!

This is my go-to sauce. With just tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, and basil, it is ridiculously easy to make.

Every time I see someone reach for bottled tomato sauce in the market, I want to tap her on the shoulder, “Honey, stop! Don’t do it! Buy that can of tomatoes, and make your sauce in 10 minutes! Here, I’ll give you the recipe.” Naturally, I refrain from that kind of behavior.

That can is filled with the San Marzano variety of tomatoes, packed in thick tomato sauce. That can of tomatoes is the secret to the freshest, easiest tomato sauce known to woman or man. It’s a few pennies more than the store’s own brand, but it’s lot of pennies less than a prepared sauce.

Canned tomatoes should be soft and pliant, swimming in thick sauce and easily squished with your hand. If you are buying tomatoes in watery juice that are hard where the stem was removed, make a note and try another brand next time. (Rant over.)

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs - meatballs covered with sauce and cheese in skilletCheese Stuffed Meatballs - meatballs covered with sauce and cheese in skillet

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs - meatballs covered with sauce and cheese in skilletCheese Stuffed Meatballs - meatballs covered with sauce and cheese in skillet

MAKE-AHEAD MEATBALLS

To freeze raw meatballs: Spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Let them defrost in the refrigerator and bake as directed in the recipe. They will keep in the freezer for two to three months.

To freeze cooked meatballs: Spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Reheat them from frozen slowly on the stovetop or in the oven, in the sauce.

You can also defrost them in the fridge overnight, and then heat them on top of the stove. They will keep in the freezer for two to three months.

To freeze cooked meatballs in sauce: Place them in a freezer container and freeze. Reheat them slowly on top of the stove, or defrost them in the fridge, and then heat them on the stovetop or in the oven, in the sauce. They will keep in the freezer for two to three months.

WHO DOESN’T LOVE MEATBALLS?! THE MORE THE MERRIER!

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21 Sep

This week, please welcome Rachel Knecht and her meal plans! Rachel is a recipe tester here on Simply Recipes and the blogger behind Baking with Rachel.

Before diving in, we wanted to highlight the ultimate way to save time in your week: having your groceries delivered right to your door. Click on the red “Add to Shopping List” button at the bottom of any recipe (or meal plan) and check it out! We call this feature “Relish” and we’re into it because, really, dinner can be simpler.

We all know that making dinner every night takes more thought than, “What do I want to eat?” Oh, how I wish it were that simple!

In reality, many aspects must be taken into consideration. This is where a solid meal plan comes in handy. I like to plan meals on Sundays so I can get ideas from the rest of the family. (Though I know they will always say “pizza!”)

It also gives me a chance to take a good, hard look at the upcoming week’s schedule and see what meals I realistically have time to cook. Lastly, I like to take an inventory of what I already have and use it first. This is where freezer meals make me so happy!

Now, of course, no plan is perfect. I still run to the store for milk and somehow we never have quite enough fruit to last a whole week. Yet, it feels good knowing that at least we’ll have dinner.

The meals this week are perfect for busy evenings. Quick, make-ahead, or freezer-friendly meals—now that’s a solid plan!

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21 Sep

When thick slabs of cauliflower, called steaks, are roasted until golden, they become the stars of this vegetarian sandwich.

How to Turn Cauliflower into a 5-Star Sandwich

When cauliflower steaks are baked at high heat, they take on a sweet, irresistible succulence in the center, with crispy golden edges. You hardly need anything else, but of course, there’s more.

A red pepper aioli (read: garlicky mayonnaise) guilds the lily, and layered with tomatoes between two slices of tangy sourdough toast, these steaks give you a sandwich to cheer about.

Easy Cauliflower Steak Sandwich - open faced sandwich with sliced tomatos, crusty sourdough bread and red pepper aioliEasy Cauliflower Steak Sandwich - open faced sandwich with sliced tomatos, crusty sourdough bread and red pepper aioli

HOW DO YOU CUT CAULIFLOWER TO MAKE STEAKS?

To cut cauliflower steaks, use a large chef’s knife to carve off the bottom leaves and base of the head so it stands upright.

Stand it on a cutting board, and starting at one side of the head, cut it into slices that are about 1/2-inch thick. Some of the cauliflower florets will not be attached to the base—I call them scraps—they are still good to roast or to make cauliflower rice.

Flat, smaller pieces, can also be roasted with the large steaks—they can be used to build your sandwich. If the head is very large, cut it in half, lay it with the flat side down, and slice across it to make large half-steaks.

WHAT IS AIOLI?

In the old French tradition, aioli simply meant a hefty amount of garlic mashed within an inch of its life in a mortar, with droplets of olive oil added painstakingly to form a fluffy paste.

Egg yolks and lemon juice came along more recently. Now you have an emulsion akin to mayonnaise. Aioli is commonly thought of as simply garlicky mayo, sometimes with different flavorings, though you’ll get lots of arguments about its origins and local variations (regions of Spain and Italy being fierce contenders).

Easy Cauliflower Steak Sandwich arugulaEasy Cauliflower Steak Sandwich arugulaEasy Cauliflower Steak Sandwich arugulaEasy Cauliflower Steak Sandwich arugula

HOW TO MAKE SHORTCUT AIOLI

This aioli is made with roasted sweet red pepper and a hint of hot red pepper flake to give it a little spice.

Rather than starting with garlic and egg yolks to make a mayonnaise-like aioli, I’ve taken a few shortcuts to make your life (and mine) easier, specifically by using store-bought mayonnaise. This means you can substitute dairy-free mayonnaise if you are vegan or lactose intolerant.

I’ve provided instructions on how to roast a pepper for this aioli, but you can skip that step and substitute peppers from a jar if you like. All the ingredients for the aioli are whirled in a food processor to make a creamy sauce, slightly thinner than mayonnaise.

I advocate using only one clove of garlic, because the flavor intensifies as it sits, but if you are a true garlic lover, you could add more. You will most likely have some sauce left over, so save it to drizzle over fish, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables.

HOW TO STORE AIOLI

If you have extra aioli, you can store it for up to a week in the refrigerator. Like store-bought mayonnaise, it should keep well, but not as long as a jar of mayonnaise, because you have added red pepper and garlic. Like mayonnaise, aioli doesn’t do well in the freezer, because it tends to separate.

NEED MORE CAULIFLOWER IN YOUR LIFE?

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20 Sep

Homemade Simple Syrup can be used in cocktails, iced coffee, lemonade, and iced tea. You can also add flavorings to it, and it’ll keep in the fridge for a month!

Photography Credit:
Sally Vargas

It’s five o’clock somewhere! Simple syrup is made from just two ingredients—sugar and water—and it’s the thing to have around when it’s cocktail time. You can buy simple syrup, of course, but it’s so much easier and cheaper to make it yourself.

What Cocktails Can You Make With Simple Syrup?

There are so many! You can use simple syrup in whiskey sours, mojitos, daiquiris, and even margaritas (made from scratch, without the mix).

how to make simple syrup for iced coffeehow to make simple syrup for iced coffee

how to make simple syrup for iced coffeehow to make simple syrup for iced coffee

What Non-Alcoholic Drinks Can You Make with Simple Syrup?

Once you have a bottle of simple syrup in the fridge, you’ll find so many uses for it. Iced coffee is my special pick-me-up on a sleepy afternoon. (I never put sugar in my coffee, but iced coffee with a little sugar is almost like ice cream!) A few drops of this syrup in my glass give me the boost I am craving.

Simple syrup is also great in homemade iced tea and lemonade!

Other Ways to Use Simple Syrup 

How about that bowl of strawberries or a citrus salad? Simple syrup is the key to making a quick dessert, since there’s no waiting for the sugar to dissolve. Add some whipped cream and boom – you’re in business.

Flavored simple syrupsFlavored simple syrups

Flavored simple syrupsFlavored simple syrups

Can You Make Flavored Simple Syrup?

Yes, you can! Flavored syrups are fun as well. Here are a few flavoring options:

  • Cinnamon: Add a few sticks of cinnamon to the syrup when it’s hot, and let steep for a few hours or overnight. Strain and store.
  • Herbal syrup: Springs of rosemary, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, sage, mint, and/or lemon balm leaves all make wonderful additions to simple syrup. Add a small handful of the fresh herbs to the hot syrup, steep for about 30 minutes, then strain and store.
  • Vanilla syrup: Add a split vanilla bean to the simmering syrup. Let the vanilla bean cool in the syrup. Strain and store.
  • Ginger syrup: Cut slices from a 3-inch piece of ginger root and add to the simmering syrup. Let the ginger slices cool in the syrup. Strain and store.
  • Honey or Demerara (raw) sugar: Use the same 1 to 1 one formula of honey or sugar to water. Honey offers a light floral quality while demerara sugar (partially refined light brown cane sugar) brings a deeper, richer note than a syrup made with granulated sugar.

Use Simple Syrup in These Recipes:


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20 Sep

A French 75 looks fancy, but it’s actually quite easy to make. Take a gin sour (gin, lemon, and simple syrup), add Champagne, and voila! You have a French 75.

It’s great for parties since you can make it ahead of time, and a good excuse to drink gin at brunch. What’s not to like?

Why Is It Called a French 75?

The French 75 first appeared in print in 1927 and was named for a field gun popular during World War I, supposedly because it packed a similar punch.

The French 75 is not a particularly strong drink, but it’s so light and refreshing – with the herbal flavors of the gin and the grape flavors of the Champagne complementing one another so beautifully – that you might be tempted to finish yours very fast. (Also, try this Blood Orange French 75!)

Champagne sparkling wine cocktail with gin simple syrup lemon juiceChampagne sparkling wine cocktail with gin simple syrup lemon juice

Which Champagne Should I Use?

The Champagne takes this gin drink to the next level and accounts for its brunch-friendliness. Although many recipes call specifically for Champagne, any kind of sparkling wine, Prosecco, or Cava will do.

Mixing it with the gin and lemon knocks out a lot of the nuances of a more expensive wine, so a reasonably priced sparkling wine is a good choice here.

Which Gin Should I Use?

You don’t need to spring for a very expensive gin for this drink; any mid-range gin (like Broker’s or Boodles) will do nicely.

That said, I am a particular fan of a French 75 made with Nolet’s Silver, a really beautiful gin with notes of rose and peach. And while I don’t usually recommend Hendrick’s gin for cocktail mixing (its cucumber flavors can throw things off), that gin is actually quite refreshing in this drink.

Champagne flute with French 75 brunch cocktail ingredientsChampagne flute with French 75 brunch cocktail ingredients

Champagne flute with French 75 brunch cocktail ingredientsChampagne flute with French 75 brunch cocktail ingredients

What Kind of Glass Should I Use?

This drink is perfectly sized for a 7- to 8-ounce Champagne flute. Mine are the Nattie from Crate & Barrel, which are really elegant and cost just $4 each, so you never need to stress if someone breaks one.

If your glass falls into that volume range, you can just drop in the gin/lemon mixture and then top with the Champagne. Otherwise, measure out the Champagne to make sure you’re getting the right proportions.

Make-Ahead and Batch Instructions

This drink is a great candidate for making ahead. Mix the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in advance and save it in the fridge for up to a day. When you’re ready to drink, just add Champagne and go.

If you want to make a big batch of this ahead of time for a party, just turn the ounce measurements into cups. (A cup is eight ounces, so each cup means eight drinks.) Mix a cup of gin and half a cup each of simple syrup and lemon juice in a pitcher with a handful of ice. Stir well, and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to mix with the Champagne.

More Fun and Fancy Cocktails to Enjoy!

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20 Sep

Here’s our roundup of all good things, good advice, good feelings. It’s the literally the happy hour of blog posts! Up this week… Prom fails, ginger juice, “Good Omens”, and so much more.

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Welcome to The Friday Buzz, our roundup of all good things, good advice, good feelings. It’s the literally the happy hour of blog posts! Up this week… Prom fails, ginger juice, “Good Omens,” and so much more.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? I tend to be a night owl, but with the new school year upon us and school starting so darn early, I am having to quickly adjust my schedule to wake up earlier than I’d ever like to.

Once I’m awake, I do okay… it’s just those first 10 minutes are absolutely brutal! I really do admire those who are chipper and ready to go first thing in the morning! If you have any tips on how to become a morning person, SEND THEM MY WAY! I beg of you!

Let’s see what the Simply Recipes Team is sending your way this week, shall we?

OUR WEEKLY FAVES COMIN’ AT YA!

  • Need a snack? Emma is ALL ABOUT this Salt and Vinegar Popcorn from our very own contributor, Nick!
  • Need a laugh? These prom fails are the best way to end the week. You won’t be able to stop reading. Promise!
  • Need to feel inspired? Summer shared this article about a University of Tennessee t-shirt and it gave us all the feels.
  • Need some zing? Emma discovered the magic of ginger juice splashed into kombucha, homemade sodas, and cocktails, and she’s in love.
  • Need a new show? Carrie and her twin boys love watching the show Good Omens. Wildly imaginative, sly, and British. ‘Nuff said.
  • Need to give a gift? Claudia is putting this game on her Christmas wish list and is absolutely positive that it would make the perfect gift for anyone.

MEANWHILE ON INSTAGRAM

Lots of opinions and different ways on you all bake your potatoes! Take a look at the many ways readers are baking them or come see how we bake them!

READER COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Our reader, Deearr, had some great tips for serving our Fresh Basil Pesto:

We make this every year and stock our freezer with it. We don’t add cheese so we can serve it to our vegan friends. When we serve it, we add the cheese!

As always, cheers to the weekend!

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes.
Read more about our affiliate linking policy.


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19 Sep

1 Sauté the mushrooms: Place mushrooms in a large (6 to 8 quart) sauté pan on high or medium high heat. Stir them with a wooden spoon or shake the pan from time to time. You may hear them squeak.

Sprinkle salt over the mushrooms. The mushrooms will sizzle and then start to release water. (Note that you are not adding fat at this point to the pan; this method of cooking mushrooms in their own moisture is called “dry sautéing.)

Once the mushrooms start to release water into the pan, stir in the chopped onions. Cook until the mushrooms are no longer releasing moisture and the mushroom water has boiled away, about 5 minutes more.

2 Make the sauce: Add the olive oil to the mushrooms and stir to coat. Sauté the mushrooms and onions for about a minute. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Stir in the tomato paste, cook for a minute longer. Reserve 1 cup of the tomato sauce (it will go in the bottom of the casserole dish), and put the remaining cup of tomato sauce into the pot with the mushrooms.  Add the large can of crushed tomatoes and one cup of water.

Stir in the thyme, sugar, and red pepper flakes. (If you are using dried basil instead of fresh, add it now.) Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and simmer on a low simmer, for 20 minutes.

3 Boil and drain the lasagna noodles: Once the sauce is simmering, salt the boiling pasta water, and add the dry lasagna noodles to the boiling water.  (The water should be at a vigorous, rolling boil.) Stir gently, making sure that the noodles are not sticking to each other. Set the timer for 8 minutes, or however long is indicated on the package of the noodles. Cook uncovered on a high boil.

When the noodles are ready (al dente, cooked through but still firm to the bite), drain the noodles in a colander, and rinse them to cool them with cold water.  As you rinse them, gently separate them with your fingers so they don’t stick to each other.

Prepare a couple large cookie sheets or baking sheets by spreading a tablespoon of olive oil over the baking sheets.

Place the lasagna noodles on the sheets, gently coating them with a bit of that olive oil, and spreading them out. This will help keep them from sticking to each other while you finish the sauce and prepare the layered casserole.

4 Assemble the lasagna: Turn off the heat on the stovetop for the sauce. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Spread the one cup of reserved tomato sauce over the bottom of a large (preferably 10×15-inch) casserole dish. (If your casserole dish is smaller, you may need to add another layer as you go through this step.)

Place a layer of lasagna noodles down over the tomato sauce, slightly overlapping. (For our 10×15-inch dish, we ultimately fit 3 layers of 6 noodles each, with 2 extra noodles on which to nosh.)

Sprinkle half of the ricotta cheese over the noodles, and half of the defrosted, drained, and squeezed out spinach over the ricotta.

Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the spinach, and just a quarter of the pecorino cheese.

Then spoon 1/3 of your mushroom sauce over the mozzarella. Sprinkle half of the fresh basil over the sauce.

5 Repeat layers: Repeat the layering process. Place a second layer of noodles over the sauce. Spread the remaining ricotta, spinach, and mozzarella over the noodles. Sprinkle another quarter of the pecorino along with the mozzarella. Top with another third of the mushroom sauce and the remaining fresh basil.

Layer your final layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread the remaining sauce over the lasagna noodles, and sprinkle with the remaining pecorino or parmesan cheese.

6 Cover with foil and bake: Pull out a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to cover the casserole dish. Spread a little olive oil over the inside of the piece of foil (the side that will have contact with the lasagna). Place the foil over the casserole dish and crimp the edges.

Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 minutes.

Take the lasagna out of the oven when done and let it rest 10 minutes before cutting to serve. Once made, the lasagna will last a week in the fridge.

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