Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baked Ravioli

I love a good "domestic" feel to a meal. Though this is mostly pre-made, it seems like you did it from scratch and it's wonderful comfort food. And what'dya know, the bread even came in handy again for a good side of garlic bread.

Baked Ravioli
(recipe derived from Martha Stewart)

1 package pre-made ravioli (any flavor)
1 can whole stewed tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp oregano or thyme (I used the "Italian Seasonings" I had in my spice cupboard)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion
1 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 grated parmesean

Saute the garlic and onion with the olive oil until soft. Add both cans of tomatoes. Stir in seasonings and break up the whole tomatoes, then let the sauce cook till it thickens and absorbs the flavor (20-25 min).

Preheat oven to 425.

Boil the ravioli, until just softened, they will cook more in the oven. Drain, return to pot. Once the sauce has thickened, add it to the pasta and gently toss.

Pour pasta into baking dish and spread cheese over the top. Bake for 20-25 min or until golden brown and bubbly.

(Side note: I'm not TOO big of an onion fan. So I used 1/2 of an onion I had left, and threw some dried minced onion in, and added a dash of garlic salt. It really is all about preference here, people.)

French, French Toast

It really should have been expected.. when you make bread there tends to be a lot of it. So this morning when Jack asked for toast, a little light bulb lit up and I grabbed one of the two loaves left over from last night. This french toast was really, really good. Like, better than restaurant french toast. (Than again, I haven't been too impressed whenever I order french toast while dining out..)

French Toast

2 eggs
2 T milk
1/8 tsp vanilla
Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and orange rind
1 T orange juice (preferably squeezed from actual orange)
French Bread

Toppings: powdered cinnamon sugar, butter, syrup

(for a REAL treat, and I didn't have any, otherwise I would have used it, you crush almonds and after dipping the bread in the batter, you dip it in the finely crushed almonds before grilling.)

Whisk eggs, milk and spices together, then add orange rind and juice to complete batter.
Dip the thick slices of french bread in the batter, then grill.

Serve with delicious oranges.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Croque Monsieur

OH my heavens. I certainly didn't intend the first recipe to be so intimidating. But in reality, it was very very easy and was absolutely delicious. I saw this on "It's Complicated", the movie with Meryl Streep, she cooked it for Steve Martin and when he bit into it I had it in my head to google this dish and have it on my table. There are so many ways to change it and make it your own. So feel free to tweak it if you feel so inclined.

For some reason I was ultra-motivated and I made my own french bread. It could be the new Kitchen Aid I received for Christmas, or just my desire for bread, I love it. But you don't need to bake your bread for heavens sake, just buy it. But if you are up for some self confidence, bake THIS bread.

I even made a baby Croque Monsieur for Jack, just his size. He ate it.

Croque Monsieur


2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 cups milk

A pinch each of salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, or more to taste

6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups grated)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (packed)

8 slices of French or Italian loaf bread12 ounces ham, sliced

Dijon mustard


1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Make the béchamel sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium/low heat until it just starts to bubble. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, cooking until thick. Remove from heat. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the Parmesan and 1/4 cup of the grated Gruyère. Set aside.

3 Lay out the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven, a few minutes each side, until lightly toasted. For extra flavor you can spread some butter on the bread slices before you toast them if you want.

(Alternatively, you can assemble the sandwiches as follows in step four and grill them on a skillet, finishing them in the broiler with the bechamel sauce.)

4 Lightly brush half of the toasted slices with mustard. Add the ham slices and about 1 cup of the remaining Gruyère cheese. Top with the other toasted bread slices.

5 Spoon on the béchamel sauce to the tops of the sandwiches. Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyère cheese. Place on a broiling pan. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

If you top this sandwich with a fried egg it becomes a Croque Madame.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

*Photo credit, me

*Recipe credit, "Simply Recipes"

*Bread recipe credit, "Confessions of a Bake A Holic"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Oh, hello.

This is a new blog I am starting for my very own selfish reasons. It has to do with laziness, new years resolutions, penny pinching and all sorts of other excuses, but truly, they are mostly selfish. However, once I grasped the idea I had laying in bed one night, I thought "maybe, just maybe...this will help others out the same way it will help me."

Here is the plan. Each time, (which I am hoping to be more than once a week..) I cook a meal for my family that is new, delicious and basically a SUCCESS, I will share the details of the meal including pictures and recipes so if perhaps one night you are stuck wondering what in the world you should have for dinner that evening, you can come here for some new ideas.

My husband told me himself, that we would save money if I would start "cooking new things" so he wasn't faced with the "same old stuff" each time he went looking for his nightly meal. That clued me in that not only is he bored with my cuisine, but it often leads us to going OUT for dinner, which usually costs more than cooking at home.

What I REALLY would like, is for you dear blogger friends of mine, you that are adamant posters to your wonderful blogs- to join me in this venture. I will (at your very request..) grant you administrator access so when YOU cook meals that you feel quite proud of yourself that your family ate and enjoyed, you can share it here and pass it on. That- is where the selfish part comes in. I want to know WHAT'S FOR DINNER at your houses, so I can have new, fresh ideas to bring into my kitchen. I do hope this catches on, and gets passed around and hopefully we'll have many, many administrator's posting their delicious talents all over this blog, creating an endless and easily accessible recipe book for all of us to share.

My first meal will be up sometime this week. I'm getting a jump start on the new year. Those of you who want to PLEASE join me in this epic endeavor- please email me at and I will give you all you need to become an administrator on "What's For Dinner?"

Bon Appetit!