Thursday, August 14, 2008

Italian dinner

We had a couple of people over for dinner last night and I decided on an italian theme. I love homeade lasagna but it's a little time consuming and tedious to make with kids running around. I also haven't found a great recipe that sets well and doesn't run all over the plate when served...until now! I finally worked out a recipe that was near perfect (in a humbling way!) Yeah! Supplementing the lasagna was a green salad with tomatoes, green onions and avocados, and breadsticks. I used refrigerator rolls for the breadsticks as a short cut. Dessert was an italian cheesecake topped with peaches, chocolate and/or caramel, mmmm!


12 no-cook lasagna noodles
15 oz. ricotta cheese
2 c. + 1 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
2 eggs - beaten

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle pasta sauce (I used ragu traditional); separate 1 c. of pasta sauce

1. preheat oven to 350°

2. make filling - combine in bowl; ricotta, 2 c. mozzarella, and parmesan cheese and eggs

3. make sauce - brown beef, drain grease, combine with oregano, italian seasoning, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper and pasta sauce (excluding separated 1 c.)

4. in a 9x13 pan pour 1/2 c. reserved pasta sauce and spread evenly over bottom of pan. alternate layers of noodles, sauce and filling, ending with noodles. use remaining 1/2 c. of pasta sauce to cover the no-cook noodles or they will be crunchy. Cover in remaining shredded mozzarella and cover. Bake for 40 minutes covered, then uncovered for 10 more minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes covered before serving.


2 cans refrigerator rolls
melted butter
garlic salt
italian seasoning

1. preheat oven to 350°

2. take each roll and roll briskly between hands to make a long worm. lay on greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with garlic salt.

3. bake for 10 minutes or until tops of rolls are lightly tan

4. remove from oven, place in bowl, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with italian seasoning


2 containers (15 oz. each) ricotta cheese
1 c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
1 large egg

for the crust
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. melted butter

1. preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Prepare the crust; in a bowl, combine crumbs, cinnamon, sugar and melted butter; mix well.

3. Press crumb mixture into bottom of prepared springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes, place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

4. To prepare filling, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on low speed, beat ricotta cheese, sugar, lemon juice, flour, salt, egg whites, and egg until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

5. Bake until just set, about 50 minutes. Turn off oven and let stand in oven for 30 additional minutes. Refrigerate cheesecake, uncovered, for at least 3 hours. Garnish with fresh cut fruit, also good drizzled with chocolate or caramel.

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