MEAT LASAGNA & CHICAGO METALLIC’S 3-ROW LASGANA PAN

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano and basil
1 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles(I like the Barilla no cook)
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes (juice included) and tomato sauce.
  • Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley.
  • Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water OR use no bake noodles.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  •  To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce.
  • Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture.
  • Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices.
  • Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  • Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  • Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
  • Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

My mom got me this new lasgana pan from Chicago Metallic for Christmas and I have to say it is awesome.  Lasagna no longer is a mess to cut and each edge of cheese is crispy and just perfect!  Assembly is also a breeze with no overlapping. You can even make 3 different flavors at once.  I can’t wait to try it on some banana bread and meatloafs.

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DO NOT USE PROUD AMERICAN MOVING!!!!!!!!

Kimberly at Proud American Moving specifically told us that they did not use contractors. She also guaranteed us a specific time window for moving.

When they showed up LATE (by 2 days) the head guy was a fast talking salesman that left us with no alternatives. After our belongings were loaded he began the fast talking again specifically telling us our things could now NOT be unloaded without a cost. He then went on to call the head office liars because he was a contractor and asked for a “cash up front” tip so that he could lower our total cost. Our final cost was double the original quote even with his deal! We felt we had no choice – he had all our belongings and we were 2 days behind schedule, so we paid. 

When our belongings finally arrived (3 weeks later than promised) the brand new boxes we had purchased for the move were all beat up and many broken open, many things broken, 2 tables and a box missing. The delivery driver said we would be contacted about our missing belongings in a few days. NO ONE HAS EVER CONTACTED US! We have tried REPEATEDLY FOR 4 MONTHS to contact them about the insurance and NO ONE EVER CALLS US BACKI’m still waiting for an answer to one of the hundred messages I have left.

We filed a Better Business Bureau complaint that they didn’t respond to either. Since they are NOT BBB accredited, we are now at a complete loss as to what to do next to get our belongings back!  ANY SUGGESTIONS?
DO NOT USE PROUD AMERICAN MOVING!
THEY ARE A COMPLETE SCAM!!

We had contacted the Better Business Bureau in October 2011 (in person) and were told both then, and in a follow up phone call that there were no complaints on file.  Yet, I ran across this article today that says just the opposite!
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KEY LIME CHEESECAKE with BLUEBERRY CARAMEL SAUCE

When I was a little girl my great aunt, Looney Louise, (okay we didn’t call her looney to her face, but it is what made her such fun) made a blueberry pudding cake with a tart lemon sauce that was out of this world!  When Ron asked me to review NuNatural’s products Aunt Louise’s recipe was the furthest thing from my mind.  After reviewing all the wonderful products that NuNaturals was gracious enough to send me and perusing the hundreds of recipes they also sent me, I settled on the blueberry cheesecake recipe.  The more I thought of blueberries, the more I thought of Louise and so I made the requisite recipe changes to make it my own and bring me close to the reverse of Looney Louise’s recipe.

Recipe aside, I have to say that every NuNatural’s product I tried is excellent.  I am a total convert!  I was forced years ago to give up any chemically altered sugars so only had full bodied sugar to live on.  NuNatural’s products are not chemically altered, but based on Stevia, a natural plant! 
KEY LIME PIE with CARAMEL BLUEBERRY SAUCE

Crust: 
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs   
6 tablespoons butter   
15 drops NuNatural’s liquid stevia extract


Filling:  
16 ounces cream cheese 
1/3 cup key lime juice  
1 egg   
1 teaspoon NuNatural’s white stevia powder




  • Crush about 12 graham crackers to make 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs. 
  • Combine graham cracker crumbs, stevia extract and 6 tablespoons of melted butter in a medium mixing bowl. 
  • Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom and sides, pressing it to make it firm. 
  • Bake at 350° until golden brown (about 10 minutes). 
  • Allow to cool completely before using. 
  • Using a mixer, mix the ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Don’t overdo it. 
  • Pour the mixture into the sugar-free graham cracker crust, spreading evenly and bake at 350° until lightly browned (about 30 minutes).

Sauce:

2 cups fresh blueberries
5 tablespoons water, divided

Pinch of coarse kosher salt

4 teaspoons
NuNatural’s white stevia powder
7 drops
NuNatural’s liquid Vanilla stevia 
2 tablespoons Hershey’s caramel sauce

2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Combine berries, 1 tablespoon water, and coarse salt in medium saucepan. 
  • Stir and mash over medium-low heat until reduced to sauce consistency, about 4 minutes. Set aside. 
  • Combine sugar, 4 tablespoons water, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in large saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. 
  • Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is golden amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, 9 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  • Stir in blueberry sauce; let stand 5 minutes. 
  • Cool sauce to room temperature. 
  • Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

I was not paid for this review, but did receive free products to try. All opinions are my own.  Their products are all natural, easy to convert and taste great!

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PAN SEARED CHICKEN TENDERS & TRI-COLOR COUSCOUS with COCONUT LOBSTER SAUCE ~ MARX FOOD CHALLENGE

I ran across a MARX foods Recipe challenge – what fun!  I signed up and they sent me a box full of yumminess.  My box included tri-color couscous, coconut sugar, dehydrated lobster mushrooms, DeArbol chilies and Pasilla Negro Chilies.

The rules are that I had to use at least two ingredients from my box to create a new recipe.  I really wanted to try and use all five ingredients, but was only able to work in four of them.

Now for full disclosure. hubby hates mushrooms, especially cooked mushrooms.  He goes out of his way to avoid mushrooms.  He declared he would hate this recipe before its inception.  Seeing a pattern here?  I HAD to use the mushrooms just to prove him wrong, plus I LOVE mushrooms even more than he hates them.  This recipe is proof that you can mount your dislikes and change them with the right combination of ingredients.

PAN SEARED CHICKEN TENDERS & TRI-COLOR COUSCOUS with COCONUT LOBSTER SAUCE

2 pound chicken tenders
3/4 cup chardonnay
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons MARX coconut sugar
1 dried MARX Pasilla Negro Chilie, chopped
safflower oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
5-7 tablespoons heavy cream

  • Whisk together the chardonnay and chicken broth until well blended.
  • In a medium bowl combine mushroom pieces and chile pieces.  Pour the chardonnay mixture over the mushroom mixture.  Allow to set for 2-3 hours to rehydrate the mushrooms and chilies.  Stir them around every now and then so all surfaces are able to absorb the liquid.
  • When ready, drain mushrooms and chiles through a sieve, reserving the liquid.
  • Whisk coconut sugar into reserved liquid.  Set aside.
  • In a small food processor pulse mushroom and chile pieces into a fine grind.
  • In a medium sauce pan, melt butter.
  • Add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until roux is a golden brown.
  • Gradually add the reserved liquid until well blended.
  • Add in the mushroom and chile pieces, stirring until well distributed.
  • Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.
  • Simmer gently while preparing couscous and chicken.
  • Coat a large skillet with safflower oil.
  • While oil is heating, wash and pat dry chicken pieces.
  • Pan sear chicken pieces, salt and peppering as needed until golden outside and cooked through.
  • Pour 1 cup of couscous in a large bowl.  Pour 1 ¼ cups boiling water over top.  Cover the bowl and let it sit for five minutes, then fluff with a fork to separate the granules. 
  • Plate couscous in the in the center of serving platter.
  • Arrange chicken pieces around the couscous.
  • Spoon sauce over couscous and chicken.
  • Serve immediately.

By the way, hubby who was so dead sure this recipe would suck gave it 2 thumbs up and then proceeded to eat it 2 nights in a row.

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Fantastic Valentine’s Day Menu & CSN review!

My friend Marley over at CSN Stores recently asked me to do a review for them and I jumped at the chance. I had a fantastic melt-in-your-mouth chicken recipe at my cousin’s house and she attributed it to her meat tenderizer.   I’ve been dying to get my own multi prong meat tenderizer with grill season on its way and this was the perfect opportunity.  I chose the Deni MT149 Meat Tenderizer with 49 stainless steel blades.

This was a fantastic choice.  Every piece of meat I have used this on whether it is beef, chicken or pork turns out fork tender and juicy.  I HIGHLY recommend this meat tenderizer to anyone who cooks!  Here is the most recent recipe we used it on ~ YUMMY~

GARLIC STEAK
Steak of choice (hubby choose T-bones)
2 cloves of garlic per steak, minced fine
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar per steak
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
sea salt
white pepper
  • Pierce each steak with a marinater.
  • Whisk together the garlic, oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place steak side by side of a large plate.
  • Pour marinade over top.
  • Turn steak and make sure each is well coated.
  • Cover and marinate overnight.
  • Take steak out of refrigerator an hour before grilling, turn several times making sure still well coated in marinade.
  • Firmly press garlic pieces into the steak.
  • Grilled to desired doneness – mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, medium rare…. 
I do not receive monetary compensation for their reviews. I was sent a complimentary item in exchange for my honest opinions and receiving a free product does not influence my review posts. All opinions and thoughts are my own, and different people may have different opinions. I am not responsible for those who purchase these items and experience different results. Occasionally, the company provides a product to give away as well.
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ANY TIME IS CASSEROLE TIME ~ Watch for my upcoming review!!!!!!

I’ve been searching for a swing set for my nephews, but I keep getting sidetracked with everything else CSN Stores has to offer. I’m also looking for cookware, cutlery and small appliances, so there is sooooooooooooooooo much to see at CSN Stores.

My friend Marley over at CSN contacted me about doing a review for CSN Stores. How could I possibly say no with all of the wonderful opportunities they have given me to do reviews and offer you giveaways over the past year?  Well, I couldn’t.   This offer came at a perfect time for me.

So I’m going to review this Lecreuset Bakeware for CSN Stores and will introduce some great new recipes to go along with it.  Watch for my upcoming review.
I am doing some reorganizing to kick off the New Year. CSN has the largest and finest selections, and their prices can’t be beat! Help me shop for that swing set. Click the link above the photo and tell me which ones are your favorites. Also be sure to head over to my food blog, Our KrAzY kitchen for a CSN Giveaway!
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IT’S ALMOST GRILL TIME ~ Watch for my upcoming review!!!!!!!

I’ve been searching for a swing set for my nephews, but I keep getting sidetracked with everything else CSN Stores has to offer. I’m also looking for cookware, cutlery and small appliances, so there is sooooooooooooooooo much to see at CSN Stores.
My friend Marley over at CSN contacted me about doing a review for CSN Stores. How could I possibly say no with all of the wonderful opportunities they have given me to do reviews and offer you giveaways over the past year?  Well, I couldn’t.   This offer came at a perfect time for me.

It is almost grill time, and while we’re year round grillers despite the weather, many aren’t.  One of the best ways to add flavor to any meat is to use a tenderizer and seasoned rub prior to grilling. So I’m going to review this tenderizer for CSN Stores.  Watch for my upcoming review.
I am doing some reorganizing to kick off the New Year. CSN has the largest and finest selections, and their prices can’t be beat! Help me shop for that swing set. Click the link above the photo and tell me which ones are your favorites. Also be sure to head over to my food blog, Our KrAzY kitchen for a CSN Giveaway!
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BEDROOM MAKEOVER

There’s a Bedroom Makeover Contest going on over at THE Motivation Station.  The makeover doesn’t have to be drastic, just something to make you feel better.  For me, it couldn’t be drastic as I’m in a temporary room while helping relatives with an elder care situation.  But, my bedroom at room NEEDS a REAL makeover when I get back.
BEFORE

With the help of CSN stores I was able to create a temporary haven for after those stressful days!  But that doesn’t mean I’m not anxious to get back and do a REAL makeover on my room!

AFTER
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Good Cast Iron really makes the best non-stick pan… and SMOTHERED CHOPPED STEAKS taste best made in that pan.

Remember when I promised you this product review? Well, it’s time and I have the perfect recipe for you too!
I love shopping online with CSN and you can too.  It so easy and they have so many wonderful name brand products to choose from.  Whether you are looking for cheap bedroom furniture, lights, TV stands, dining room furniture or cookware  they have it all.  They sent me these awesome Emerilware cast iron pans to review.
After a good seasoning, these pans are awesome and produce super tasty recipes!  My opinion?  CSN carries the highest of quality items and these pans are the proof in the pudding so to speak.  They are even heating and consistent.  CSN really ROCKS! I can’t think of an easier way to shop with reliable shipping, awesome communication and plain nice, accommodating people to work with!

How to Season Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron lasts nearly forever if you take care of it. Seasoning cast iron cookware is necessary to ensure a non-stick surface and to prevent the pot or pan from rusting. If seasoned correctly your cookware can last a lifetime and more.
  1. For crusty cast ironware that you inherited or picked up at a garage sale: Your cookware may have some combination of rust and thick crackly black crud. It can be restored fairly easily to good as new condition! First place the cookware in a self-cleaning oven and run one cycle OR place in a campfire or directly on a hot charcoal fire for 1/2 hour, until dull red. The crust will be flaking, falling and turning to white ash. Then, after allowing to cool a bit to avoid cracking your cast iron,use the following steps. If you have more rust than crust, try using steel wool to sand it off.
  2. Wash your cast iron cookware with warm water and soap using a scouring pad. If you have purchased your cast iron cookware as new then it will be coated in oil or a similar coating to prevent rust. This will need to be removed before seasoning so this step is essential.
  3. Dry the cookware thoroughly, it helps to put the pan in the oven for a few minutes to make sure it’s really dry. Oil needs to be able to soak into the metal for a good seasoning and oil and water don’t mix.
  4. Coat the pot or pan inside and out with lard, Crisco, bacon fat, or corn oil. Ensure that the lid is also coated.
  5. Place both the lid and the pot or pan upside down in your oven at 300F for at least an hour to bake on a “seasoning” that protects the pan from rust and provides a stick-resistant surface.
  6. For best results repeat steps three, four and five.
  7. Ongoing care: Every time you wash your pan, you must season it. Place it on the stove and pour in about 3/4 tsp. corn oil or other cooking fat. Wad up a paper towel and spread the oil across the cooking surface, any bare iron surfaces, and the bottom of the pan. Turn on the burner and heat until smoke starts to appear. Cover pan and turn heat off.
Alternate Method
  1. First, if you find your cast iron needs to be stripped down and re-seasoned do not fear. All you have to do is place the utensil in your Self Cleaning Oven on the shortest cleaning cycle (usually 3 hrs. on most models), and it will come out looking like the day it came out of the mold. Allow it to cool overnight. Wash the residue off with WATER ONLY in the sink using a stiff abrasive pad. Make certain NO DISH SOAP comes in contact with the utensil during this procedure. If it does you will have to start over!!! Dry the cast iron utensil off with a paper towel, and IMMEDIATELY place BACK in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or so.
  2. Next, take the utensil out of the oven after the 10 minute drying time is complete, and lightly brush the utensil with a paper towel coated with Crisco or other solid cooking oil. Liquid vegetable oil will do in a pinch, but it’s better to save the liquids until AFTER your initial seasoning. It is important in this step only to lightly coat the cast iron with a light, thin coat of oil until it only glistens. Do not allow any puddles or pools of liquid as this will cause problems at a later time.
  3. Then, place the Cast Iron in the oven set to 500 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit with the COOKING SIDE FACING THE BOTTOM OF THE OVEN. This allows for any excess oil to drain off to the sides, and prevents pooling during the seasoning process. The higher heating temps allows for the oil to truly ‘cook’ as it should as opposed to just ‘gumming up’ at lower temps. Cook undisturbed for 1 hour.
Please note: During the previous step it will be best to turn off any smoke alarms in the immediate area as it may smoke quite a lot. Ceiling fans also aid in ventilation.
Finally, after your cast iron is finished seasoning for 1 hour or so, take it out of the oven and IMMEDIATELY wipe it down with another extra – light coat of Crisco. Allow it to completely cool.TIPS

  • If food burns, just heat a little water in the pan, and scrape with a flat metal spatula. It may mean that re-seasoning is necessary.
  • If you’re washing the cast iron too aggressively (for instance with a scouring pad), you will regularly scrub off the seasoning. Wash more gently or repeat oven-seasoning method regularly.
  • If your pan develops a thick crust, you’re not washing it aggressively enough. Follow “crusty pan” instructions.
  • If storing your Cast Iron Dutch oven for any length of time, it is always best to place one or two paper towels in between the lid and the oven to allow for air flow.
  • Also, after cleaning after each use it is always best to place it back in the oven on 350 degrees for 10 minutes or so to ensure all water has vaporized and left the surface of the cast iron.
WARNINGS
  •  Do not cook tomatoes and other acidic foods in your cast iron cookware unless it has been well seasoned.
  •  Washing pans with detergent after they have been seasoned will break down the seasoning. Either wash without detergent (if you’re cooking similar foods with the pan, this is fine) or repeatedly oven-season your cookware.

SMOTHERED CHOPPED STEAKS

2 pounds ground sirloin
1 sleeve Keebler club crackers, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 Jumbo eggs
1 tablespoon liquid Smoke – MYSTERY ingredient
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large heirloom tomato, chopped,
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thin
large shred cheddar cheese
  • Combine all the hamburger steak ingredients until well mixed. Form six steaks.
  • In a well seasoned cast iron grill, sear steaks on both sides.  About 4-5 minutes each side should leave you with medium steaks.
  • In a large skillet melt the butter. Saute the onions and garlic until fragrant and caramelized.
  • Top steaks with onions, tomatoes and cheese.
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