How to Make Your Own Vegetarian Lasagna

 

Lasagna close up

Lasagna is a common dish loved by many, and it doesn’t need meat in order to taste great. Enjoy this filling and healthy meal all by itself, or pair it with a nice salad for an extra green touch. Those who normally eat their lasagna with beef won’t miss the meat with this great recipe. It’s the perfect meal for vegetarians and meat lovers alike. Serve it at your next dinner party or potluck for an instant hit. Or can make it for yourself so you won’t have to share it with anyone.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 package of lasagna noodles
  • one 24-ounce jar of tomato pasta sauce, or other sauce of your choice
  • 3 eggs well beaten
  • one 8-ounce package of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced
  • fresh spinach, washed and cut
  • 12 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces of grated Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil spray, or any other spray of your choice

Mix the beaten eggs and cottage cheese in a bowl. In another bowl or on a plate, combine the mozzarella and cottage cheese. Lastly, in a separate bowl, mix together the pasta sauce, sliced zucchini, sliced mushrooms and spinach.

Spray oil onto a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Cook the lasagna until soft. Rinse the lasagna under cold water to rinse off the starch, and line it in the bottom of the pan.

Spoon the pasta sauce mixed with the zucchini, mushrooms and spinach over the noodles to form a thin cover. Add the cottage cheese and egg mixture over the pasta sauce with a large spoon.

Add another layer of noodles, and repeat all steps until all the ingredients have been added. Make sure the cheese mixture is on top.

Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The cheese should look bubbled and the top should be toasty but not burnt.

You can serve your vegetarian lasagna straight from the oven, as it doesn’t need time to cool. Lasagna also makes excellent leftovers, so you can cook this up just for yourself and enjoy the flavor all week.

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Quick and Easy Bread Recipes You Can Do Yourself

484163886Have you ever wanted to bake some hearty, homemade bread but then realized you didn’t have all day to prepare dough, let it rise, and then (finally) bake it? Well here’s a secret: not all delicious homemade breads require half a day to bake. There are a variety of recipes that use baking powder or baking soda, instead of traditional yeast, for leavening, cutting your preparation time by at least half. You can make sweet and savory loaves, muffins, scones, biscuits, pancakes and even popovers without taking hours out of your day.

We have compiled a list of some of the best-loved and best-rated quick bread recipes, all of which you can easily make with your own two hands. These tried-and-true recipes will enable you to have a sweet or savory bread on your table in a pinch.

Popovers and Pancakes

Classic Popovers

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Biscuits and Scones

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

Classic Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones

Muffins

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

Blueberry and Oatmeal Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Whole-Wheat, Oatmeal and Raisin Muffins

Savory Loaves

Basic Beer-Cheese Bread

Kalamata Olive Bread with Oregano

Brown Soda Bread

Maple-Stout Quick Bread

Sweet Loaves

Orange-Pecan Tea Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread

Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Garden Harvest Bread

Classic Banana Bread

Sweet Potato Bread

Almond Bread

Walnut Streusel Bread

Kumquat-Cranberry Cornmeal Loaf

Whether you’re making a savory loaf to accompany your dinner, a batch of muffins for your afternoon snack, or a round of pancakes for a Saturday morning family breakfast, we have a recipe that you can whip up—and have on your table—in no time.

When you need to make bread in a pinch, remember to look out for recipes that use baking soda or baking powder for leavening—these recipes will always save you time and effort.

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Squashes And Gourds You Should Cook With This Fall

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Seeing as how we are well into fall and the autumn season, today we are going to be talking about fall gourds and squash types — as they become quite prevalent in recipes and decorations this time of year — and the best varieties for cooking. First thing we need to talk about are the varieties of gourds, squash and pumpkins that are NOT EDIBLE.

Types of Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins You CAN NOT EAT

Unfortunately, this time of year, the grocery stores fill their produce sections with both inedible and edible gourds — quite often right next to each other. For a lay person, it could be quite difficult to tell if the gourd or squash type you are looking at is for cooking or simply for decoration. The following types of squash and gourds are only for decoration and should not be eaten:

  • Angel Wing
  • Apple Gourd
  • Baby Bear
  • Gooseneck
  • Jack Be Quick

While the Jack Be Quick’s are the tiny miniature pumpkins you most often see for decoration this time of year, most of us recognize them as being inedible; the other types are a bit tougher to recognize. Angel wing can come in green, yellow or orange colors and look much like a striped zucchini. You can recognize an angel wing by the way it clubs outward at the fat end, like a medieval spiked club.

Apple Gourds looks a lot like a miniature watermelon, with emerald looking surface, but quickly turns a sickly amber yellow color when dried. This type of gourd should only be used for decoration. Gooseneck’s look similar to the apple gourd in size and color, but have a long goosenecked top half.

Baby bear’s look much like your traditional Halloween pumpkin, though smaller and in an almost perfect ball shape. These cause much of the confusion in the grocery stores, as they are not edible, but look very similar to edible pumpkins. Today, many grocery stores do not carry baby bears, due to the confusion they can easily cause.

Traditional pumpkins, like the type that we carve every year, are considered ‘edible, but not often used for cooking.’ You may be shocked to hear that the pumpkins so popular in America today are not usually considered a food-grade piece of produce, but it is quite true. While roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious, and even pumpkin meat can be delicious in some recipes, they are often considered a “garbage” gourd fed to pigs, grown to ridiculous sizes for show, or carved to be used as decoration for a night or two.

Squash and Gourds You Can Cook With

Now we will get into the good stuff, gourds and squash that can be cooked and turned into delicious recipes. While you may not be able to find all of these types in your local market, they can be ordered and shipped online, and can be found in local specialty markets. These will often show up in grocery stores in the fall, but if you can;t find them locally, try ordering them online to taste and try these squashes and gourds.

  • Acorn Squash — One of the more popular squash types for cooking, these are aromatic and have a sweeter flesh than pumpkin. They are usually green all over, with a yellow spot where they touched the ground. Lock for a clean edged yellow spot; if there is too much yellow covering the squash, it is likely over-ripened.
  • Blue Hubbard — A white gourd about the same size as an acorn squash, this variety comes from Marblehead, Massachusetts — developed in 1840 — and is less sweet and more of a cucumber flavor.
  • Butternut Squash — Our personal favorites for soups and chili, the butternut squash is about the sweetest of the squash, though is meaty and rich in flavor. With less strings inside and a thin shell, it is also the easiest to work with, making it preferred for cooking.
  • Cushaw — Most often used in the more savory dishes, this type has a long and slightly curved neck, is usually a brownish tan, and has a thin skin like butternut squash. These come in a dark green variety also that can be confused with the inedible gooseneck squash, so be wary.
  • Turks Turban — Looking much like a pillowy turkish hat with orange and blue-green stripes, there is very little flesh on this variety, though it has one of the mildest flavors that makes it go well in a large amount of both sweet and savory recipes. The extra large seed size makes this a favorite for roasted seed recipes.

Our Favorite Recipes Using Gourds and Squash

There are so many great dishes you can add squash and gourds to in order to really round out the flavor of the dish and build extra layers of flavor within. Our favorite use of gourds is in chili, where the flesh of roasted gourds and squash can be used as a thickener and a base. The best way to start cooking with gourds and squash it to roast them and taste them to get a sense of their natural flavor. Once you know what each variety tastes like, incorporating them into your favorite recipes is a snap.

Check Out 55 Healthy Gourd and Squash Recipes HERE >>

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Easiest Soft Boiled Egg Recipe That Works Every Time

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We love soft boiled eggs; they are truly a quick and easy breakfast item that is healthy, affordable, and savory. Many cooks out there avoid soft boiled eggs, however, thinking that getting a perfect soft boiled egg is a hard task. In actuality, cooking the perfect soft boiled egg is not a hard task at all, you just have to follow the one and only recipe instructions 100% exactly. This method for soft boiled eggs was originally created by America’s Test Kitchen, which had to test over 1,000 eggs before they got the perfect method. This method is incredibly simple; just follow the instructions, and you will end up with perfectly set egg whites and a warm and creamy yolk.

Water For Soft Boiled Eggs

The secret to perfect soft boiled eggs has to do with the amount of water used, and time. we want to use very little water, and actually steam the eggs, rather than boil them. This means that the eggs will not be fully covered with water, rather the water at the bottom of the pot should be shallow and just enough to create a steam environment for the eggs to soft cook. You can use any size or shaped pot, as long as hit has a lid that will fit tightly, and 1/2 inch of water at the bottom.

Eggs Water Level

STEP 1

Bring your 1/2 inch of water to a full boil (with the lid on) until a steam chamber is created.

STEP 2

Take your eggs out of the refrigerator and add to the pot of boiled water/steam (Note: eggs should be well chilled in the refrigerator just prior to adding to the pot, for the soft boil to turn out perfectly).

Step 3

Cover with the lid and start your egg timer or stopwatch function on your smartphone and set to 6 and a half minutes exactly.

Step 4

After exactly six and a half minutes, remove the eggs from the pot and quickly rinse the eggs in cold water from the tap for about 15 seconds each.

Step 5

Crack the eggs with the back of a knife or with an egg topper to reveal perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs.

Enjoy!

It is just that simple. as long as your pot had steam and the eggs cooked for exactly 6.5 minutes, you will have perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs every time. This method will work with any number of eggs as long as the bottom of the pot can fit the eggs in a 1/2 inch of water. Once you try this method a few times, you will become confident that the eggs will turn out every time, and you will surely be serving more soft boiled eggs in your home.

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How To Make A Tapenade

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How to Make a Tapenade

Anyone who enjoys eating olives knows that it is fairly easy to incorporate them into your daily life. This includes foods such as anchovy-stuffed olives, Sicilian green olive salad, and a handful of the  Castelvetrano variety brought to work in a container. However, it can be tiresome only to have whole olives all of the time. If this is the case, you may want to try making a tapenade for a party or to have as a snack whenever you wish.

It’s possible to make a tapenade without going by a recipe. You can create a delicious tapenade at home within 30 minutes. Follow these instructions, and you’ll have a gorgeous tapenade in no time. You will love how easy it is to create this spread.

Gather Up Ingredients

The two ingredients that you need are olives and capers. This is the most basic version of tapenade, though you will want to add some other things such as salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and even anchovies for a stronger flavor.

What type of olives you end up choosing for this depend on your own preference. Choose them carefully, and make sure that you have 2 cups of pitted olives. You may go with Kalamata or green, or you can mix these together. Herbs are a great addition, including thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano among others.  They are best when you get them fresh.

Blend the Ingredients

Use a food processor to create a thick paste from all of the ingredients, besides the olive oil.

Add In Olive Oil

While the food processor is still going, put olive oil in slowly. The tapenade will become slightly more chunky. This should take about a minute or two. Consider if there is oil included in with the olives already to determine how much you will need, but it typically will be from 2 tablespoons to a half cup of oil. Season this mixture with pepper and salt.

Enjoy

Put the tapenade on some crackers, or if you’d prefer, on bread. It is the perfect addition to a sandwich, and it also makes an excellent gift for fellow olive lovers.

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Cook Perfectly Crispy Bacon In The Oven

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Everyone loves bacon that is cooked to perfection; but, there’s no doubt, it can be a bit messy to cook and it certainly requires patience as you stand over the stove diligently turning and monitoring the progress of your bacon. Fortunately, there is an easy alternative to stove top cooking. You can cook perfectly crispy bacon right in your oven.

Simply preheat your oven to 400° F and place a rack in the lower section of the oven. Next, place bacon on a baking sheet. The bacon can be placed close together, but be sure that it doesn’t overlap. For easier cleanup, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon. Start checking after about 12 minutes. When the bacon is crispy and a nice golden brown, carefully remove from oven. If you notice bacon grease building up in the pan during the baking process, carefully pour the grease off. The bacon should not be submerged.

This method will produce a nice crispy bacon with a somewhat tender or chewy middle; however, if you want your bacon crisp all the way through, you can place a cooling rack inside your baking sheet and lie the bacon directly on the rack to bake. This method will allow the bacon to cook on all sides and will result in a crispier finished product.

When the bacon is done, carefully remove it from the baking sheet with tongs and drain on paper towels. Baking is a great way to make a large amount of bacon without having to cook several batches on the stove top. You can use the bacon immediately or cool it and use it for dishes throughout the week. Cooked bacon also freezes well and will take only a moment to warm up in the microwave.

Baking bacon is convenient and cleanup is easy. Just let the grease sit in the foil lined baking sheet until it cools and solidifies, then, gather the foil with the grease and throw it in the trash.

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How You Can Make Fresh Berries Last Longer

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Berries are tasty garden fruits that have unique nutritional values. However, berries must be selected and stored with tender care to maximize their benefits. If you intend to supercharge your diet or enhance your overall health, eating berries is one of the best nutritional bargains around. Before buying them, you should carefully check for mold and broken berries since they usually spoil quickly if they are broken or kept in damp conditions. Good berries that are sold in a supermarket or farmer’s market should not be moist, soft, or pale colored. They should also be kept in clean and dry cartons which indicate that the fruits inside are not moldy. Below are various strategies to make fresh berries last longer:

Do not wash your berries unless you are ready to consume them because the moisture from the water will surely encourage mold. To store them, simply wash these fruits with a water and vinegar solution. By following this washing method, your berries will stay fresh for days and sometimes even weeks. Prepare a diluted vinegar bath in a large bowl with one cup of vinegar and three cups of water. Washing your berries in this solution destroys bacteria and pesky mold.

To get rid of the vinegar taste, remove the moisture from the berries by letting it flow out in a colander and wash them with running water afterwards. In order to make sure that there will be no traces of moisture left on your berries, you can use a salad spinner for thorough drying. Line the salad spinner with three layers of paper towels before placing your berries inside. Let them spin for 15 seconds or until you cannot see any moisture remaining.

Another option to make fresh berries last longer is by dunking them in hot water. Keep them for under water for approximately 30 seconds with a temperature between 120-140°F. Do not let your berries spoil by allowing them to get moldy overnight. Follow these simple steps to keep your berries fresh and enjoy these fruity pleasures.

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