Host The Toast http://hostthetoast.com a Kitchen Kapers blog Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:19:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies with Eggnog Frosting http://hostthetoast.com/soft-chewy-ginger-cookies-eggnog-frosting/ http://hostthetoast.com/soft-chewy-ginger-cookies-eggnog-frosting/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:12:55 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3740 This week has been all about the cookies for me.  With the holidays coming up, The Best Chewy Cafe-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies have been all over the web, which makes me a happy gal.  Especially because it’s given me an excuse to make a couple of extra batches this week.  “I just want to make... 

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This week has been all about the cookies for me.  With the holidays coming up, The Best Chewy Cafe-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies have been all over the web, which makes me a happy gal.  Especially because it’s given me an excuse to make a couple of extra batches this week.  “I just want to make sure they’re still the best chocolate chip cookies, I guess I should taste test at least a dozen of them… yup, we’re all good.”

While I feel like most everyone has a go-to Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe for the holiday season, I don’t know many people with a go-to Ginger Cookie recipe!  They’re underrated, I tell you.

Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies with Eggnog Frosting.  The perfect Christmas cookie to warm your heart this winter!  | hostthetoast.com

It might be because we usually associate Ginger Cookies with Gingerbread Cookies, which are too often tough and cardboard-y.  I can understand making houses out of them, or ornaments, or whatever it is that doesn’t require you to chip a tooth while trying to chow down, but eating Gingerbread Cookies has never been on my radar.  They sure do smell amazing, though.

With that in mind, I decided to make a Ginger Cookie that those of us who like our cookies soft & chewy can enjoy.  These Ginger Cookies would combine the typical spices from gingerbread and from chai tea, and they’d be topped with a dollop of eggnog frosting for a little extra Christmahanakwanzikah kick.

Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies with Eggnog Frosting.  The perfect Christmas cookie to warm your heart this winter!  | hostthetoast.com

I baked 7 batches of these cookies over the past few weeks, trying to get them just right before I set the recipe in stone.  I have eaten more Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies with Eggnog Frosting than most people should in a decade.  I now consider myself an expert on them, and that being said, this is the perfect ginger cookie recipe.  I’m not biased in the slightest.

Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies with Eggnog Frosting.  The perfect Christmas cookie to warm your heart this winter!  | hostthetoast.com

Add these to your cookie tray this holiday season and see just how delicious Ginger Cookies can be.  They might just find wind up at the top of your must-make yearly baking list!

Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies with Eggnog Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Adapted from AllRecipes.com
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
For the Ginger Cookies:
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup molasses
For the Eggnog Frosting:
  • ½ cup butter at room temp
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup eggnog
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cornstarch, cloves, allspice, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, and then mix in the vanilla extract and molasses. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, a bit at a time, until evenly combined. Be sure to not over-mix. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Make the Eggnog Frosting. Beat together the butter and 3 cups of powdered sugar until you get a thick frosting consistency. Beat in the eggnog, a bit at a time. If necessary beat in more powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Set aside.
  5. Roll the cookie dough into walnut-sized balls (about 1½ tablespoons of the dough). Place on the prepared baking sheets, evenly spaced. Gently press on the tops of the dough balls to flatten them down slightly. Bake each tray of cookies for 8-10 minutes, and then let cool completely on the baking sheet.
  6. Spoon the frosting on top of the cookies and use the back of the spoon to smooth it out. Let set and then sprinkle with extra ground cinnamon.

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Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken http://hostthetoast.com/crock-pot-kung-pao-chicken/ http://hostthetoast.com/crock-pot-kung-pao-chicken/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:54:47 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3728 This time of year, the Crock Pot and One Pot recipes look more and more appealing.  I want as much flavor with as little effort as humanly possible when the holidays approach and the temperature plummets.  This time of year, I don’t have the time or the energy to do much that doesn’t revolve around Christmas... 

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This time of year, the Crock Pot and One Pot recipes look more and more appealing.  I want as much flavor with as little effort as humanly possible when the holidays approach and the temperature plummets.  This time of year, I don’t have the time or the energy to do much that doesn’t revolve around Christmas shopping or working– in fact, I put mascara on this morning for the first time in a while and I’m awfully proud of myself for that five-second investment in looking marginally presentable.

Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken.   This is so delicious, and easy to throw together!  You can adjust the spice level to suit your own tastes, and add in more vegetables if you'd like.  All made in the slow cooker.  | hostthetoast.com

Anyway, because the cold and the calendar are kicking my butt this month, my new crock pot has become one of my dear pals.  The great thing about befriending a crock pot this December is that it will make delicious food for you and not expect a present in return.  That’s real friendship.

Speaking of friendship, my good friend Allison came down to visit me the other day and try this Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken, because I told her it would be spicy and we’re both fans of heat.  Don’t worry, though, if you don’t too much of a kick to your Kung Pao, you can use a few less peppers and you’ll be AOK.

Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken.   This is so delicious, and easy to throw together!  You can adjust the spice level to suit your own tastes, and add in more vegetables if you'd like.  All made in the slow cooker.  | hostthetoast.com

 

I keep thinking about the pepper spray burrito commercial now.  “I like it spicy, but not like uuuuulgh spicy!”  That commercial cracks me up.

Do you have a commercial that makes you laugh no matter how often you see it?  My mom has probably seen the Sprint screaming goat commercial 100 times now and she snort-laughs at it every single time.  She even laughs about the fact that she knows she will laugh at it.  She’s a gem.

Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken.   This is so delicious, and easy to throw together!  You can adjust the spice level to suit your own tastes, and add in more vegetables if you'd like.  All made in the slow cooker.  | hostthetoast.com

You may or may not have noticed that this Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken has cashews in it, when it’s supposed to have peanuts.  I ran out of peanuts.  It’s cold.  I was not going to the grocery store for a second time in 24 hours.  Let’s say I did it on purpose to show that this dish is super versatile.

It really is, though.  You can change up the nuts (or use none), and pretty much use any vegetable that you’ve got laying around in your refrigerator.  I bet zucchini or broccoli would be great!  I just used peppers and onions because I couldn’t remember what kind of vegetables Allie liked, and my motto is “when in doubt, leave it out.”

And while I’m not sure if Allie would have been on board with more veggies, I do know that she was a big fan of this Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken the way it was.  (She ate three bowls, but don’t tell her I told you because she may not be a fan of me sharing this information.)  Give it a try, and I know you’ll love it, too!

Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar or Chinese black vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 6-10 dried red chili peppers, split and seeds removed (adjust according to desired heat level)
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ medium white onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Peanuts or cashews, to top
  • Green onion, to garnish
  • Rice, to serve
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (or, if you have a multicooker you can just do it right in the crock pot, which is awesome). Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and saute until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken to the crock pot.
  2. Add in the chicken broth, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and hoisin sauce. Give the pot a light stir. Then, add in the chilis, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger, and stir once more. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours.
  3. About 30 minutes before you've finished cooking (at the 3 hour and 30 minute mark), combine equal parts water and cornstarch (about 2 tablespoons of each) in a small bowl, whisking together until smooth. Add the slurry to the crock pot and mix well. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
  4. While you wait for the sauce to thicken, slice your green onions in half, longways. Keep slicing until you have thin strips. Place the green onions in a bowl of ice water and let sit. This will make them curl up. Pictures of this process are also on the Spicy Fried Shrimp post.
  5. Serve the Crock Pot Kung Pao Chicken over rice with peanuts or cashews on top and the curled green onion to garnish.

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One Pot Greek Chicken Pasta with Creamy Feta Wine Sauce http://hostthetoast.com/one-pot-greek-chicken-pasta-creamy-feta-wine-sauce/ http://hostthetoast.com/one-pot-greek-chicken-pasta-creamy-feta-wine-sauce/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 16:12:12 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3720 Back when I was in college, my signature dish was Pasta Greco, an easy-to-make Greek-inspired pasta dish that I adapted from a local restaurant.  When James and I were in the wee-beginning of our relationship and I was just beginning to realize that I could, in fact, make my own food instead of spending all... 

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Back when I was in college, my signature dish was Pasta Greco, an easy-to-make Greek-inspired pasta dish that I adapted from a local restaurant.  When James and I were in the wee-beginning of our relationship and I was just beginning to realize that I could, in fact, make my own food instead of spending all of my money on takeout, I made Pasta Greco at least 3 times a week.  It was my lifeblood.

One Pot Greek Chicken Pasta with Creamy Feta Wine Sauce.  You don't even need to boil the noodles first-- just cook it all in one pot!  Easy and impressive dinner. | hostthetoast.com

Now that I have a little more experience, I’ve been wanting to upgrade the Pasta Greco into something slightly more impressive and flavorful, but still keep it easy.  The key?  Making it a One Pot Pasta dish.

One Pot Greek Chicken Pasta with Creamy Feta Wine Sauce.  You don't even need to boil the noodles first-- just cook it all in one pot!  Easy and impressive dinner. | hostthetoast.com

Two of the most popular recipes on the blog are One Pot dishes– One Pot Spicy Chicken Riggies and One Pot Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Alfredo.  The great thing about One Pot recipes is that you can cook your pasta right in with all of the other ingredients, and the starches from the pasta help thicken your liquids into a delicious sauce without using up a bunch of pots and pans that later have to be cleaned.

One Pot Greek Chicken Pasta with Creamy Feta Wine Sauce.  You don't even need to boil the noodles first-- just cook it all in one pot!  Easy and impressive dinner. | hostthetoast.com

If your least favorite part of cooking is the part where you have to wash dishes afterward, you understand.

So what’s awesome about this One Pot Greek Chicken Pasta with Creamy Feta Wine Sauce  is that you’ve got a ton of ingredients for an ultra-flavorful meal and you don’t have to cook any of them separately.

One Pot Greek Chicken Pasta with Creamy Feta Wine Sauce.  You don't even need to boil the noodles first-- just cook it all in one pot!  Easy and impressive dinner. | hostthetoast.com

And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.

This recipe is also very easily adaptable.  Don’t like olives?  Leave ‘em out.  Craving roasted red peppers?  Throw those babies in!   Wanna switch out the chicken for sausage?  Be my guest.  Make it your own or follow the recipe to a T– either way you’re gonna love it!

One Pot Greek Chicken Pasta with Creamy Feta Wine Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • ⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 8 oz frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed, and dried well
  • 1 lb dry pasta
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 - 2½ cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz feta cheese
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest, optional
  • Basil, shredded to garnish, optional
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breast cubes with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Add in the garlic, shallots, capers, olives, and spinach, and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  2. Mix in the dry pasta. Add in the white wine and chicken stock, making sure there is enough to just cover the pasta. (If not, add a bit more chicken stock.) Season with dried basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a low boil and cook until pasta is al dente, about 15-20 minutes, stirring often. The wider the pot or skillet, the quicker the recipe will cook.
  3. Reduce to low heat and add in the heavy cream, feta cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Mix well and allow the feta to melt into the sauce. Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes, checking the pasta to get to your desired consistency. Top with lemon zest and shredded basil, and serve.

 

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Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Cookies http://hostthetoast.com/red-velvet-cream-cheese-swirl-cookies/ http://hostthetoast.com/red-velvet-cream-cheese-swirl-cookies/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:19:37 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3711 Everywhere you look this time of year, there’s red and white– striped, dotted, or blocked together, running its way up candy canes and down pillars, and circling around knit scarves and Santa hats. So it’s no surprise that a deep red, chewy cookie with swirls of sweet cream cheese and dots of white chocolate chips fit... 

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Everywhere you look this time of year, there’s red and white– striped, dotted, or blocked together, running its way up candy canes and down pillars, and circling around knit scarves and Santa hats.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Cookies.  So soft and chewy and perfect for Christmas or Valentine's Day! | hostthetoast.com

So it’s no surprise that a deep red, chewy cookie with swirls of sweet cream cheese and dots of white chocolate chips fit right in this holiday season.

These Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Cookies will look gorgeous at your cookie exchange, or piled high on a platter at Christmas.  (Or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Diwali, or Festivus… cookies have no religious affiliation, you know.)

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Cookies.  So soft and chewy and perfect for Christmas or Valentine's Day! | hostthetoast.com

They’d also be perfect for Valentine’s Day, but I can barely handle one holiday at a time so let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.  Unless, of course, you happen to be reading this around V-day.  Then do it up.

This recipe does not use cake mix.  I can appreciate cake mix cookies, I really can, but I like to make my baked goods as much “from scratch” as I can.  If you’re looking for a way to use up that mix that’s been sitting in the pantry, then I’m sorry, this recipe is not for you (but don’t worry, there are plenty out there)!  However, this recipe is pretty easy without using the mix.  Only a few extra ingredients are necessary to give you the signature red velvet color and flavor!

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Cookies.  So soft and chewy and perfect for Christmas or Valentine's Day! | hostthetoast.com

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
For the Cream Cheese Swirl
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cookies
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips
Directions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well combined. Add in the vanilla extract and continue to mix until even and smooth. Spread the mixture thinly on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with lightly-sprayed plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for at least an hour.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
  3. In a separate large bowl, use a handmixer to beat together the butter and sugars until creamy and well-combined, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg, milk, vanilla extract, and food coloring. Mix until even.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients a bit at a time and mix until a smooth dough is formed. Add additional red food coloring if you'd like your cookies to be a brighter red.
  5. When the cream cheese mixture has finished freezing, remove it from the freezer and slice into small chunks. Fold the chunks and the white chocolate chips into the cookie dough. The cream cheese chunks will smear slightly in the dough as they're folded in.
  6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking liner).
  8. Scoop the cookie dough and roll into walnut-sized balls. Bake in batches, about 10 minutes or until cooked through but still soft. Remove from oven and flatten slightly (that's what gives them the crinkled texture!) Press a few extra white chocolate chips in the top for looks, if you'd like.
  9. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before moving them to a rack or plate to continue cooling. Repeat until all cookies have been baked, and enjoy!

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Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasanga http://hostthetoast.com/four-cheese-sausage-spinach-lasanga/ http://hostthetoast.com/four-cheese-sausage-spinach-lasanga/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 18:14:50 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3702 This is the last thing I made before burning the ever-loving you-know-what out of my fingers. About two weeks ago, I was making this Four Cheese Sausage and Spinach Lasagna and some Jack Daniels Burgers to bring to my friend’s surprise party. My lasagna was fresh out of the oven and I was trying to position it... 

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This is the last thing I made before burning the ever-loving you-know-what out of my fingers.

Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasagna.  Everyone says this is the BEST lasagna they've ever eaten! | hostthetoast.com

About two weeks ago, I was making this Four Cheese Sausage and Spinach Lasagna and some Jack Daniels Burgers to bring to my friend’s surprise party. My lasagna was fresh out of the oven and I was trying to position it to take pictures, when my glaze that I had been ignoring for quite a while called out for my attention by angrily boiling over. (Sigh.  That’s what I get for attempting to multi-task.)

I rushed to move the pot off of the burner, when a bunch of the glaze that had already begun to burn on the stove-top flung up and started caramelizing on my hands.  I couldn’t get it off.  If you don’t know what that feels like, make it a goal to never find out.

At that point, I was bawling my eyes out and James was practically having a heart attack because he had no clue how to help me, and all I kept thinking was, “I need to take pictures of the lasagna.”

Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasagna.  Everyone says this is the BEST lasagna they've ever eaten! | hostthetoast.com

So James ran out to get aloe, and after sending my mom a picture of my fingers, she called me at least 10 times in a row, begging me to go to the hospital… and I was still staring at the lasagna.

By the time James got back from the drugstore, I had my fingers dipped in a cup of cold water and was snapping photos with my free hand with a stream of tears still running down my face.  “You need to take a break,” he kept saying.

Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasagna.  Everyone says this is the BEST lasagna they've ever eaten! | hostthetoast.com

“No.  I know that this is going to be the best lasagna I’ve ever eaten, and I’m getting my pictures, even if my fingers fall off in the process.”  And it was, and I did, and they did not.

After taking the pictures and tending to my burns, I finally made it to the “surprise party”.  I missed the surprise of course, and dinner had already been served and enjoyed, but everyone eyed up the lasagna and decided they could make just a little room to try a slice.

Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasagna.  Everyone says this is the BEST lasagna they've ever eaten! | hostthetoast.com

The Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasagna was a hit at the party, and I got several recipe requests (which is why I’m so happy that I did wind up powering through and getting the photos)!  A friend of mine even made sure to save a slice to bring to his mom’s house the next day, because he said she loved lasagna and had to try it.

He sent me a screenshot of their conversation a few days later.  She had said, “That was the best lasagne I have ever eaten in my life!  Who made it?”

In her life.  Score!

Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasagna.  Everyone says this is the BEST lasagna they've ever eaten! | hostthetoast.com

I adore this lasagna and don’t think I’ll make it any other way ever again.  The sausage and sauce have amazing taste and texture, and the four cheeses give you plenty of oozing, melted goodness in every bite.  The spinach adds just enough greens to balance out the heaviness of the dish, but doesn’t overpower the other flavors.  The noodles are perfectly cooked without getting gummy or crunchy, which I feel is an issue with the majority of lasagna I’ve tasted.  I mean, I’m sure everyone has their go-to lasagna recipe, but this really is the best.

If you don’t believe me, try to prove me wrong.  Make it yourself and see what the consensus is.  I’m confident that it will become your favorite!

Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasanga
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 box dried lasagna noodles (about 18 noodles)
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed, drained well, and pat dry
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 8 oz provolone cheese, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese, to top
  • Fresh basil, to top
For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 10 oz diced prosciutto
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole Roma tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the Ricotta Layer:
  • 28 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped and packed
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Directions
  1. Start by making the sauce. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the Italian sausage, prosciutto, and onion. Saute, tossing and breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned and the onion is transparent, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and tomato paste and saute for about 1 minute or until all of the previous ingredients are coated in the tomato paste, stirring constantly. Pour in the canned Roma tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Using a wooden spoon, break apart the tomatoes and stir occasionally. Season with the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook on a low simmer while you prepare the rest of the lasagna, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a 9 x 13" baking dish (it can be the pan you plan to cook your lasagna in), layer the noodles. Place one lasagna noodle diagonally in between each layer of noodles in order to prevent them from sticking together. Pour in hot water (near boiling-point) and let sit to soften the noodles for 20 minutes. You do not want them to get super soft, as they will continue to absorb moisture from the tomato sauce when baking.
  3. While you let the noodles soften, prepare the ricotta layer. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the Ricotta, egg yolks, fresh basil, nutmeg, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Process until well-combined.
  4. Drain the noodles and pat off excess moisture.
  5. Spray your 9 x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread 1½ cups of sauce over the bottom of the pan.
  6. Place ⅓ of the lasagna noodles in the pan, overlapping them slightly in a layer to cover all of the sauce. Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture on top, and then layer a third of the mozzarella and a third of the provolone on top. Sprinkle ½ of the spinach over the cheeses and cover with a layer of the meat sauce. Repeat for a second layer. For the third and final layer, put the remaining lasagna noodles on top, cover them with the sauce, tear the cheese into large chunks and place over top of the sauce, and sprinkle with a bit of fresh Parmesan.
  7. Spray foil with baking spray to prevent any cheese from sticking and cover the lasagna. Place a rimmed baking sheet underneath the lasagna pan to catch any liquid that might bubble over as the lasagna bakes. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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