Meaty Broken Lasagna Skillet

Weekends have changed since getting a puppy. What was once a time to relax, catch up on the gym, cooking and seeing friends and family has become puppy training 101. Going to work every day and having to leave this adorable pup at home is super hard. It’s only made easier knowing we’ll have the weekends to spend with him.

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And with that, I bring you: Meaty. Broken. Lasagna. Skillet.

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Weekends are for lasagna. And while I typically enjoy the process of strategically layering sauce, cheese and pasta, with a puppy nipping at my toes, I was a bit too occupied to dedicate the time. In need of an easy way out without sacrificing flavor or texture, I went the one-pot route.

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But seriously. There are no sacrifices with this dish. My husband literally ate 3/4 of this dish, going back for seconds, thirds and EVEN fourths.  I had just enough leftovers for lunch today.

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This will quickly become a staple in our weekly dinner rotation. This recipe is so easy – to cook and clean, it could even graduate lasagna from weekend-only dinners to a week night dinner!

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Meaty Broken Lasagna Skillet

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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The easier, tastier lasagna.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 dried basil leaves
  • 3/4 pound of lasagna noodles, broken
  • 24 ounce can/bottle of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup curly parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the ground sausage and ground beef to a large cast iron skillet and cook over medium heat while stirring. Once the meat is mostly cooked add the diced onion to cook.
  3. When the onion is translucent and soft and meat is cooked through add the minced garlic. Cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Add seasonings and stir. Break the lasagna noodles over the skillet. Press the noodles down as much as possible into the meat mixture.
  5. Add the tomato sauce and water to the skillet. Stir to combine. Cover the pan and allow to simmer over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. While the noodles cook, mix together the ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
  7. Once the noodles are softened top with the ricotta/parmesan cheese mixture. Next, layer with mozzarella cheese.
  8. Place cast iron skillet in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes until top is bubbly and beginning to brown.
  9. Serve and top with fresh parsley.
  10. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Jambalaya

When my sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year, I instantly knew what to say – an Instant Pot! (See what I did there.)  I’ve been playing around with this genius of an appliance for a couple of months now and am SO excited to share my first recipe for an Instant Pot Jambalaya.

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Instant pot recipes are perfect for weeknight meals. When I get home from work, I have just enough time to prep all of the food, sauté and combine in the Instant Pot and it does all of the cooking while I’m at the gym. A great way to enjoy a meal that typically takes an hour plus in less time giving you back time to your day.

With Mardi Gras right around the corner, I’ve been fixing for some jambalaya. About 6 years ago my now husband and I took a trip down to New Orleans a.k.a. N’awlins and ate copious amounts of the stuff. We enjoyed it so much that we even took a cooking class at Crescent City Cooks and learned how to make it.

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Honestly, I’ve only made it a few times – mostly because it is a bit of a timely process. And so, one of the first recipes I decided to create was delicious, spicy, jambalaya. Just as with all of my other attempts at the Instant Pot, it did not disappoint.

The final product is a spicy and delicious rice-based dish, stuffed with shrimp, chicken and sausage and loaded with spicy creole seasoning. For the herbs, when possible I recommend the fresh thyme and basil to dried varieties. But either work well!

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Instant Pot Jambalaya

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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The quick and easy, yet full of flavor jambalaya your Mardi Gras celebration needs!


Adapted from: Instantpot.com

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb Andouille sausage, sliced

Directions

  1. Set Instant Pot to “Saute”. Coat chicken with 1 Tbsp creole seasoning, and brown the meat on all sides. Remove the chicken from heat and set aside.
  2. Sauté andouille sausage until browned on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Add onions, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add rice, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add tomato puree, creole seasoning, and chicken. Close the lid and press “Rice” cooking on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  4. When the rice is cooked, release steam, remove the lid, and add sausage and prawns. Stir to combine. Place lid back on the Instant Pot, press “Manual”, and cook an additional 5 minutes on high pressure.

Valentine’s Day Dinner Review – Dolma

For the past couple of year’s, my now husband and I have decided to forgo the overpriced menus and reduced portions on Valentine’s Day and cook a delicious home meal together. This year, with the holiday falling on a Tuesday and a special restaurant in mind, we decided to instead venture out for a fun evening and delicious eats at Dolma in Jersey City. 

If you’ve ever been in the Van Vorst Park section of Jersey City, you’ve definitely passed this gem of a restaurant on Grand Street. It’s in an adorable pink building with the best area for outdoor seating that is absolutely Pinterest-perfect in the summer. 

We’ve been to Dolma twice before, both times to enjoy their delicious brunch menu and couldn’t have imagined a better way to taste their dinner options than with the Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu which included a soup and salad, appetizer, entrée and dessert. To say we were full at the end of the meal would be an understatement. 

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Let’s get into the goodies. First, salad. A classic green house salad. Fresh, with a light oil-based dressing. Clean and healthy way to kick-off the meal. For soup we had two choices – lentil and ginger and carrot. I opted for the lentil soup. It smelled amazing of spices and veggies. That said, I was hoping for a more flavorful soup. The lentils however were cooked to perfection and I enjoyed that it quite light given the amount of food to come. 

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Next was the appetizer. Another confession – I LOVE octopus. I’ve literally been craving it as of late. Talk about an expensive craving. And so was thrilled to see this as an option on their menu. It was served with pickled vegetables – yum! The octopus was cooked wonderfully – tender not chewy. 

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The entrée I went for was the Filet Mignon. I know, more steak. But it was definitely worth it! There were three mini filets, each with a different topping – balsamic glaze, some sort of BBQ-flavored sauce and a butter and chives sauce. The steak was cooked to a warm pink medium-rare center, just as it should be! The balsamic glaze was my favorite topping and then the butter and chives followed by the BBQ. Based on my Edward’s Steakhouse review, you already know I love the beefy flavor of steak on it’s own and so I enjoyed the lighter sauces more 🙂

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And as if on cue, for dessert I opted for the crème brûlée. It was delicious! Nice crispy, sugary top with a warm custard below. Thank goodness for that dessert stomach! 🙂

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At the end, this was definitely an amazing Valentine’s Day dinner. The intimate setting of Dolma really made the evening all the more romantic – there were only 6 couples seated comfortably in the small restaurant! We’ll definitely be back soon!