22 January 2010

NYE Dinner ... long over due

so, for new years, we wanted to do something nice and simple but not boring, so we had a few friends over for dinner and then went our separate ways (read: those kickin' parties we were all invited to...ha).

dinner was delightful and was full of laughs and great music. the after dinner bar adventure was, well, it was fun. however, i think as i get older i am learning that i do not like loud bars. i don't really even like drunk people. i know its hypocritical b.c. on numerous occasions i AM one of those drunk people...but when you're not plastered like the rest of the crowd, it, well, not fun. (am i boring?!?!)

anyway, food...matter at hand. we were going to have a lavish meal of risotto and many (veggie) sides but opted for veggie lasagna and salad and bread and wine, lots and lots of wine. my boss gave me this amazing cookbook by mark bittman, how to cook everything vegetarian
for christmas. its lovely, you should get it too. i used that book and a recipe i borrowed from the pioneer woman for my sauce. i added a red pepper at the top, while the pan is getting hot, i sprinkle in some red pepper flakes until they get fragrant, then i follow the rest of the instructions. I also added 3 or 4 shakes of cayenne pepper. also, i'm finding that as i get older i am developing more of a desire to put more hottness into EVERYthing i am eating. maybe my taste buds are failing, maybe i'm copying my father or maybe i have a terrible sinus problem just like he does that eliminates flavors for you so you have to spice everything so that you can taste it. this would be a tragedy if accurate (sorry dad).

(recipes for all to follow.)

for dessert. oh dessert,you guys. it was sweet and syrupy - gooey, flakey and AWESOME with vanilla ice cream. apple dumplings ya'll. apple dumplings. this was again from the pioneer woman, gotta say, i love that ree drumond. she's crazy good in the kitchen, she's funny, she's quirky, she's crazy, she's interesting...i think if i
actually knew her, we'd be friends. i mean, i hope we'd be friends. :) the only sort of loonie thing was the fact that dessert calls for a whole can of mountain dew. ew, right? wrong. amazing. i think the mountain dew gives it that gooey effect.

i'd suggest trying all of the food made for our new years...they are simple crowd pleasers.
Pastor Ryan’s Bolognese Sauce
(sans the Bolognese part)
this recipe is adapted from here


  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • 1-½ cup Grated Carrots
  • 1 whole Large Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil Flakes
  • 1 can (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup (to 2 Cups) Red Wine (i felt like 2 cups was too much, made it too wine-y)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 cans (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Milk
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • red pepper flakes (for the bold)
  • cayenne pepper (for the daring)
Preparation Instructions
1. Heat the red pepper flakes in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat until pepper is fragrant, add oil, let heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and then throw in oregano and basil. Use fresh if you have it; if you don’t, it’s fine. Cook for a few minutes, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.
2. Make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.

3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
makes 6 to 8 servings

  • Salt
  • 12 dried lasagna noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons softened butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • Tomato Sauce (recipe above)
  • 3 cups cooked spinach, squeezed dry and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the noodles, 6 at a time, until they are tender but still undercooked (they will finish cooking as the lasagna bakes). Drain and then lay the noodles flat on a towel so they don't stick.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a rectangular baking dish with the butter or olive oil, add a large dollop of tomato sauce, and spread it around. Put a layer of noodles (use 4) in the dish, trimming any overhanging edges; top with a layer of tomato sauce, one-third of the spinach, and one-fourth of the ricotta and Parmesan. Sprinkle some salt and pepper between the layers of tomato sauce and spinach if needed.
3. Repeat the layers twice and top with the remaining noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan; the top should be covered with cheese; add more ricotta and Parmesan as needed.
4. Bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on the top, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving; cool completely, cover well, and refrigerate for up to 3 days; or freeze.

(sadly I have no pictures of these puppies)
this recipie was STOLEN from here

  • 2 whole Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Cinnamon, To Taste
  • 1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda
Preparation Instructions
1. Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.
2. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

WARNING: Prepare this dish at your own risk. It is beyond imaginable.

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