Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Italian The Mountain Man's Meaty Lasagna

Some may call pasta a girly food, or not worthy of a hearty man's appetite. That may have been true until the mountain man created his 9 pound pan of lasagna. (Yep, I weighed it. It's also true I could probably use a hobby!)

From In The Kitchen


1 pound chop meat
1 small onion diced
Any leftover meat bones you may have (we - and by that I mean the Mountain Man, of course- used a chuck steak bone from the night before)
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp chopped garlic (or powdered)
2 26 oz jars Ragu Tomato sauce
1 cup of water
12 oz Contadina Tomato paste
1 tsp basil
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese grated
1 lb Ronzoni Lasagna noodles
3 lb Sorrento's Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 lb. Sorrento's Mozzarella Cheese sliced
1/2 cup Wesson Canola Oil
From Easter and cooking

You probably don't need this visual, but I already took the picture, and quite frankly it probably won't make a great Christmas card. Hmmmm. Well, maybe it would make a good card!
"Holiday Greetings from the Mountain Man! Happy Low Cholesterol Levels from my Hearth to Your Home!"
Again, I digress! Back to cooking!

Brown chop meat well over medium flame.
Drain chop meat and strain while rinsing with cold water. This washes away more than half of the grease, and is probably the only healthy portion of this post!
Place in large sauce pot.
Add diced onion.
Add any leftover meat bones to pot to enhance flavor.
Add oregano, garlic, and basil.
Add 2 jars of sauce.
Add 1 cup of water.
Add tomato paste.

Simmer over low flame.
Dust top with grated cheese.
Let simmer anywhere fr0m 20 minutes to 3 hours. After twenty minutes, sauce will be ready. However, the longer you let the sauce cook, the more flavorful it will be. (This explains why mysuestories' sauce from a jar straight to the microwave for one minute and then to the table generally is not a huge hit -to put it mildly!)

Prepare lasagna noodles per instructions.
Add canola oil to water to prevent sticking of noodles. Note: This will NOT keep sauce from adhering later-that is a myth!
Strain and rinse noodles with cold water--again, avoiding sticky, yucky noodles.

Remove meat bones from sauce pot.
Ladle meat sauce liberally onto shallow pan bottom.
Layer lasagna noodles lengthwise.
Spread ricotta and then mozzarella cheese.
Repeat three times, meat sauce, noodles, then ricotta, then mozzarella.

From Easter and cooking

From Easter and cooking

I am pretty sure that the pasta police will not invade your home and arrest you if you should place the mozzarella into place before the ricotta cheese, but why take that chance?

Cover with tented foil (Do not place foil flat on top of tray. This will cause the cheese to stick to the foil when removing, and you will be all..."Waa, the mountain man didn't tell me this would happen". ) So, please, tent your foil, since you can no longer blame the mountain man for cheesy foil and uncheesy lasagna!

Bake 60 minutes (or till sauce is visibly bubbling) at 325 degrees.
Remove foil (sans cheese) and let cook another 10 minutes to crust top.
Remove tray from heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

Note: This recipe left about 3 cups of sauce leftovers to freeze or use for a second mid week meal. After all, just how many times a week do these darned kids expect a fresh cooked meal, anyway? And this sauce? Delicious over Hot Pockets!

Serves 10 people. Or 6 people and three very hungry dogs (not including Hot Pockets!).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beef First Cut Rib Roast and Gravy

If you know anything about my mountain man, he is a man's man. (No, not that way!) He is ALL man, hunting, fishing, and eating a great steak.
My good fortune, he is also an excellent preparer of great steaks!

From In The Kitchen


Eight Pound First Cut Rib Roast on the bone
Medium sized Vidalia Onion
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
3 cups water
4 tbs flour
3/4 oz gravy master

Debone the Rib Roast (Sounds sexy, no?-Well, not so much!)
Using an extremely sharp fillet knife, cut the bone from the rib roast

From In The Kitchen

Then tie the bone back into place on the roast with string. This gives the roast the full flavor of the meat.

From In The Kitchen
(Ain't they some handsome hands?)

Pat the roast dry with paper towel to ensure salty crust and seasonings stay put, instead of sliding immediately into the pan like when mysuestories does it.
Coat the top of roast liberally with salt.
Follow with pepper and garlic powder.
Slice half the onion and place in bottom of baking pan where they will caramelize for flavor of drippings for gravy.
Slice the other half of onion and fasten to top of roast with toothpicks to ensure they too do not slide immediately into pan.

From In The Kitchen

Pour one cup of water into the bottom of pan to decrease drying of meat.
Place meat thermometer in CENTER of roast, to ensure proper cooking temperature, which should reach 160 degrees. Keep in mind, the meat will continue to cook after it is removed from oven. (That little fact, had mysuestories known it, would have saved countless overcooked steaks!)

From In The Kitchen

Cook at 325 degrees at 20 minutes per lb, which in this case was 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and let roast rest ten minutes. This keeps the juices from running right out of the meat when you slice it. This also keeps the counter clean. Mysuestories likes this tip a lot.
While meat is resting ( after all, it's had a brutal day), place baking pan with drippings over oven burners turned on low and add one cup water, stirring it to deglaze the pan (This, dear reader, if you are anything like mysuestories in the kitchen needs further explanation. ) Deglazing means that all that stuff that looks like it is burned onto the bottom of the pan now becomes the flavor of the gravy.(Pshew...even I was afraid to ask!)
When this comes to a low boil, stir drippings off bottom of pan.
Add 2 cups water with flour in a small mixing bowl, stirring until there are no lumps at all.
Add this mixture slowly into baking pan, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
Gravy will continue to thicken, so stir until desired consistency is reached. If gravy is too thick, simply add more water till you're happy!
Remove from heat and place in gravy bowl (or, as in mysuestories manor, some times in a large glass Pyrex measuring cup!)

Roast is now done resting. After all, this isn't meatloaf we're making here!
Untie roast from bone, and slice in 1/4 inch slabs.
Serve immediately.
Serves 10. ( Or three teenagers!)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Soups Baked Potato Soup

A Mountain Man classic! Great for after that deer hunt that went awry or any other chilly evening!
From A Dear by Any other Name

One half stick butter
One half cup flour
Three and a half cups chicken stock
Six medium sized baked potatoes with or without skins cubed
Salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley to taste
One pint heavy cream
One cup shredded Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Four thick slabs cooked bacon crumbled
Quarter cup of green onions/scallions to garnish

Melt butter in large stock pot, whisking in flour slowly to prevent lumps, over medium heat, till butter browns (approximately three minutes).
Stir in chicken stock using whisk. Slowly stir in heavy cream. Allow to thicken to desired consistency, stirring continuously. The longer it cooks, the thicker the rue.
Add potatoes and half of the bacon and half of the onions or scallions. Heat over medium flame, bringing to a low boil. Add salt, pepper, and parsley to taste.
Ladel into bowls, sprinkling with cheese and remaining bacon and onions/scallions.
Serve with thick slabs of Rustic bread and butter.
Serves 6-8.

This is a Mountain Man favorite, guaranteed to take the chill out of any winter evening. And men? Simple recipe to get on the table, and she WILL thank you for it! Trust me.