I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love recipes that are adaptable, tasty and super easy to prepare. Emphasis on the easy part. I’m a big fan of Italian meals, and lasagna is a big favorite but frankly hate all the rigamarole putting it together. Enter this easy and delicious layered spinach ravioli that comes pretty darn close to the favorite dish with a minimum amount of work and cleanup.
This dish is so easy to make and, at least around the Ranch, I always have these ingredients on hand. It can be assembled in less than 10 minutes and that includes dragging out the baking dish from the cupboard. Let’s put this baby together, shall we?
I purchase my ingredients from the neighborhood Costco store but you can outsource yours wherever you shop. And the beauty of this recipe is you can substitute or add ingredients (like meat for all you flesh eaters).
1 uncooked package spinach ravioli
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese (I tend to go heavy with the Parm over the Mozz)
The best part of this meal is how quickly and easily it can be whipped up. Spread some of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Add a layer of the uncooked ravioli over the sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and/or parm. Continue to layer the ravioli, sauce and cheese. Stand back and admire that beautiful dish and savor the wafting scent of marinara and parmesan. It’s one of my most favorite scents in the kitchen.
At this point, it’s probably a good idea to open a nice bottle of red wine as you clean up (which is minimal I might add with only one spatula used for the marinara jar). Let your wine breathe then pore yourself a glass as you pop that baby into a 400ºF (204ºC) oven. I baked mine for about 40 minutes since the ravioli was frozen, less if it’s not. You’ll know the right amount of time by that heavenly smell.
Once finished baking and the cheese is nice and all melty, set your table and enjoy a lovely meal. Add fresh bread with a tossed salad and a glass of wine to complete. Buon appetito – enjoy your meal.
Happy August to all you cooks out there. This month’s edition of “In Purrsuit of Flavours” is all about a “light summer dinner.” Not sure if this is a ‘light summer dinner’ or not but we’re sharing it nonetheless with our hosts, the Weim boys over at Easy Rider and the great chef cats over at Canadian Cats.
Let me start out by saying I am not a fan of cooking in the best of times, let alone when it’s summer. Eating out in summer seems preferable, yet I do enjoy baking but since (wo)man cannot live off cake alone. It seems necessity cooking becomes the mother of invention when one needs to prepare a real meal. Since temperatures around the Ranch have resembled walking into a pizza oven around here, why not share an easy to make pizza today? When in Rome, right? Besides…who isn’t a fan of a tasty pizza?
This meal is quick, easy to prepare and uses whatever ingredients you have on hand, an absolute must in my books. Since I’m a vegetarian, I use whatever veggies I have on hand (usually artichokes, olives, onions, bell peppers) but you can add your favorites including pepperoni or whatever kind of meat you like to your list of ingredients. When I don’t want to make crust from scratch (which is pretty much 100% of the time these days), I have no problem using frozen cheese premade pizzas to which I then add fresh ingredients topped with a nice handful of Parmesan over the whole kitten-caboodle. These days you can often find cauliflower crusts for pizzas, and they can be quite tasty and more healthful than usual crust. Last night I opted to make Margarita pizza since there’s more than enough basil from the garden and I finally had a tomato I could harvest from the potted tomato bush planted this spring (“Bush Early Girl” for curious gardeners). My attempts with tomatoes have been hit and miss over the years, but this year I’ve been well rewarded. Oh. my. gosh. What a tasty treat! Coupled with a purchased Roma tomato, I sliced up these babies and laid them all over the top of the plain frozen cheese pizza. Then I snipped off leaves from a potted basil plant and laid them all over. Last but not least, fresh snack-sized Mozzarella balls were added. Bake according the package instructions and in less than 15 minutes, voila…supper is ready!
Add a frosty beverage, a tossed salad and you’ve got a nice, quick and tasty meal. A perfect way to end yet another dry, hot day. In my case, I topped the meal off with a Stanley Cup game and didn’t feel one bit guilty about not eating take out. This still being pandemic time and all and despite some folks continuing to bemoan the wearing of masks when out or not being able to nosh at their favorite jammed restaurant or bar like they did months ago, I’m quite happy to pull up a cushion on the floor, have a fur beast on either side of my lap and savor a tasty easy to make meal while savoring my favorite sport (finally!).
If you do like to cook meals, don’t forget to click on the links above to see what else is cooking around Blogville. There are some very clever cooks out there and no doubt they’ve whipped up some really terrific recipes. Now I just need to decide what kind of cake to make next. I’m thinking something chocolate will hit the spot. Sheer Bliss.
We’re back today for the July edition of Blogville’s recipe share, “In Purrsuit of Flavour” with today’s selection being ‘your favorite summer dish’ and joining our hosts, the Weim boys over at Easy Rider and those great chef cats over at Canadian Cats. Truth be told my favorite summer dish is anything someone else cooks. I pretty much loathe cooking in general and the last thing I want to do is fire up the kitchen in summer and then spend loads of time cleaning it up afterwards but one should probably not live on cake and wine alone. #Sigh
Recently my sister shared a recipe with our family that is simple and easy to fix. Because its main ingredient is pasta, it may be more suitable for cooler temps, but it’s easy to throw together [heavy emphasis on the throw part]. Like all my shared recipes, there are ‘optionals’ to suit everyone’s taste or whatever is in your pantry. Martha Stewart no doubt despises cooks like me with our devil-may-care attitude but I’m more of a this-and-that kind of gal and work with what’s on hand. Yo, Martha…it’s called adaptation and that makes sense these days. Anyway, this recipe is one of those “dump” recipes where all the ingredients get dumped into a dish, then baked and served in the same dish. It’s perfect for serving a large crowd and easy to clean up afterwards.
Ok, cooks…let’s get started making a batch of “Firehouse Spaghetti.”
1 pound ground meat (may be omitted for us pesky vegetarians)
½ cup diced yellow onion
Minced garlic (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 cans (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
2 cans (10 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
2 jars (5 oz. size) Old English Cheese (a processed cheese product found near the Chees Whiz and comes in small jars)
12 oz. spaghetti or linguine noodles
Optional: Parmesan or shredded cheddar if desired on top (Parmesan is never optional at the Ranch but feel free to do your thing)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 13×9 inch dish with cooking spray. Brown ground meat with garlic and onions in large skillet. Drain fat and return to skillet. Set aside while you prepare noodles according to package instructions. At this point, I recommend opening a nice bottle of wine to drink when assembling breathe. Drain noodles (reserve some liquid in case you need to thin when assembling all ingredients). Add Rotel, cheese, and soup to meat mixture, heat over medium-low heat just to melt the cheese and soup. Pour meat mixture over the cooked noodles and mix well (add reserved liquid to thin if necessary). Sprinkle Parmesan/cheddar on top and bake for 20-25 minutes in large baking dish. Pass the wine and serve with a garden salad and crusty bread. Molto bene!
While I neglected to photograph our dish, here’s a photo from the ‘Net. This dish has a bit of a kick from the Rotel for a nice change of pace. Did I mention it’s easy to throw together and works great for a crowd?
Now if I could just get Norman to do all the cooking, I’d be happy as a clam at high tide. Till then…I’ll just have to kiss the cook-look alike.
It’s time for another edition of “In Purrsuit of Flavours” where Blogville shares its favorite recipes. This month, the category is salad. Please join our hosts The Canadian Cats and Da Phenny and check out just what’s cooking around Blogville.
Like a lot of peeps, I prefer eating lighter when temperature rise and lately it’s been hot, hot, hot around the Ranch. Last thing I want to do is to cook over a hot stove. When something is tasty, quick and easy to fix, well count me happy. Here’s my take on Italian pasta salad.
1 package of tri-color rotini pasta (or whatever kind of pasta you have on hand)
1/2 to a whole cucumber, chopped
1cupcherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
Thinly sliced strips of red and green pepper (I didn’t have green and used yellow)
1/2cupcrumbled feta cheese
Sliced black olives, drained
1/4cupfinely diced red onion
Garbanzo beans (can be optional-I used about a third to a half a can)
1/2 – 1cupItalian salad dressing (or to taste-I tend to use less dressing, only coating the ingredients-there’s no need for salad to swim in dressing unless you like it that way)
If you’re a meat-eater, feel free to add Genoa salami or pepperoni
Cook pasta according to directions. When done, drain and rinse with cold water so the noodles can cool.
Combine veggies (and meat is that’s your jam), then add dressing over top and mix together.
Can be eaten right away or refrigerated for a few hours before serving.
This recipe is highly adaptable-so feel free to substitute your preferences (i.e. artichokes, etc.) or whatever you may have on hand. Served with bread topped with melted Parmesan with a nice red and it makes for the perfect summer meal. Salud the salad!
We’re back today for the second edition of Blogville’s recipe share, “In Purrsuit of Flavour” with today’s selection being “dough.” Once again we join our hosts, the Weim boys over at Easy Rider and those great chef cats over at Canadian Cats. Since I may have moaned and whined mentioned that many baking ingredients have been in short supply around our neighborhood, we stretched the rules for our recipe this month and went with…Scones since they contain no yeast or whole wheat flour which are as extinct as dinosaurs around here. I’ve gone to 7 different stores recently in search of these mythical ingredients and they all laughed me and my mask out of their stores. I did manage to find a small amount of whole wheat late yesterday so there’s no need to cry for me now but didn’t have enough time to make a no knead cranberry/walnut bread which was the original plan.
I’ve made this recipe for ages because it’s easy to make and always turns out yummy. Since I can barely operate a mixer and spatula with my paws, I did not include photos while preparing but did include the website’s video for a professional touch where disasters don’t show up on video like they would if I took photos while baking. Click here on this link to see the video as to how these are made.
Prep & baking time: 35 mins. total; servings: 8 (depending on size); yield: 8 scones (again, depending on size)
Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl (for the record, I never sift dry ingredients, instead whisking them together). Cut in butter using a pastry blender or rubbing between your fingers until it is in pea sized lumps. Stir in the currants. Mix together 1/2 cup milk and sour cream in a measuring cup. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and stir gently until well blended. Overworking the dough results in terrible scones!
With floured hands, pat scone dough into balls 2 to 3 inches across, depending on what size you want (I formed the dough into a large ball, flatten it, then cut into triangle shapes rather than balls). Place onto a greased baking sheet (I use parchment paper instead), and flatten lightly. Let scones barely touch each other. Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of milk, brush tops of scones with egg wash and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in preheated oven, until tops are golden brown. Serve with butter or clotted cream and a selection of jams and enjoy. Even plain, they’re still quite tasty.
Per Serving: 247 calories; 10 g total fat; 47 mg cholesterol; 238 mg sodium. 35.4 g carbohydrates; 4.8 g protein.
Have you heard…a new blog hop called “In Purrsuit of Flavours” debuts today. Norman wanted to do the honors so he donned the chef’s toque and apron. I’ll let him share our recipe with the international hosts, Chef Shoko from The Canadian Cats, and French Chef Phenny from Easy Weimaraner. Don’t forget to check out all the links for some pawsome recipes. Take it away Norman.
Hello mates, today I’m super chuffed to share this tasty and easy to prepare dish that would be pawfect for Easter brunch. Mum calls it the Kitchen Sink Quiche for reasons you’ll understand from the ingredient list.
1 sheet of puff pastry (half of one a 17.3-ounce package),
Cube bits of ham for meat eaters or chop vegetarian sausage for the vegetarians (or whatever kind of meat or substitute you have on hand)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese. We always add grated Parmesan to the jack, because, well it’s Parm and nothing tastes better
Small chopped zucchini, red and green peppers, broccoli, mushrooms or whatever veggies may have on hand
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary which will make this quiche gobsmackingly tasty
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Unfold pastry sheet on a pie dish or lay it flat on a baking sheet and create a rectangular quiche.
Place meat (or substitute) first on the pastry sheet.
Pour your egg, cheese and yogurt mixture over toppings over the puff pastry. Bake until pastry is golden brown and toppings are set, about 18-22 minutes.
Start licking your chops while you wait for this tasty concoction to be served
Meat and veggie ingredients are dependent on what you have on hand or what you prefer in your quiche ~ remember the name-use whatever you have-be creative.
If the edges start to brown but the quiche is still jiggly, cover the edges with foil until fully cooked and firm. Nobody likes jiggly-wiggly eggs.
Mum’s all about this dish looking ‘rustic’ (a fancy way to say it looks like you meant for it to look less than pretty) and rarely bothers with fancy crust edges.
Now how simple, quick and versatile is that? Feel free to substitute or add whatever meat/vegetable ingredients you have in your pantry. No dog hair was served on the side with this ‘kitchen sink’ meal.
Our temperatures are gonna be back in the 90’s this week so the thought of turning on the oven is not very appealing. Sadly the heat doesn’t diminish the sweet tooth so I decided to “not-bake” some tasty snacks to start out the week with a smile. Coconut and cocoa are a match made in cookie heaven.
Cocoa-Nut Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies
1/2 cup. coconut oil
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
6 TBS dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1-1/2 cup coconut flakes
1-1/2 cup whole rolled oats
Combine coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla and sea salt; beat until well combined and smooth. Add coconut and oats and beat until well incorporated and mixture becomes a loose dough. Using a tablespoon or small scoop, drop on wax paper or parchment. Chill for 30 minutes in freezer or 1 hour in frig. Serve cold. Makes 20-25 depending on size. Enjoy!
[Per cookie: 200 calories; 4 g protein; 15 g total fat (10 g sat. fat); 15 g carbs; 0 mg cholesterol; 90 mg soda; 2 g fiber; 8 g sugar]
And don’t forget to swing by the now open e-shop (Sam’s K9 Kreations). More items are being added all the time so check back often.
Yesterday was Earth Day and in my mind, one day a year shouldn’t be when we think when trying to save the environment. Rather we should be treating everyday as Earth Day to make a difference on our planet. Whether or not you believe in ‘climate change’ it seems hard to dispute ‘things are a-changing’ out there. Extreme droughts, increasingly more frequent severe storms, you can probably agree that weather patterns don’t seem normal these days. In order to protect our environment, I believe going organic is one way to help Mother Nature. Whenever possible, I try to eat organic and I certainly garden organically. With my two knuckleheads, I never can be sure what they’ll eat, so I want to make sure if they munch on anything in the garden, there aren’t chemicals that control weeds on it. In the past I have used common table vinegar to keep weeds at bay. While repeated applications are necessary a necessary shortcoming, I don’t have to worry about any canine munching on a weed with a side dish of chemicals on top.
Everyone likes a lush flower garden without weeds but I’m not going to put my dogs at risk. With a bee population in peril, it is even more important to treat Mother Nature kindly.
So when I was at my local health food store recently, I was thrilled to come across this recipe for weed control. I have used agricultural strength vinegar in the past and at around 20% acidity (compared with 3-5% for common table vinegar), know it’s extremely efficient when it comes to killing weeds though the lesser strength will also do the job. You may need to reapply a couple of times, especially if the weeds are well established. I also discovered recently that if you have ants, you can sprinkle some cinnamon and they’ll take off for cheaper housing. Those industrial size bottles from Costco will come in handy beyond the occasional batch of cookies, especially after I found a bunch of squatters in the garage.
“Lady bug love” isn’t exclusively for the environment, in the long run it’s also for your fur-kids, even when you’ve been away on vacation without them. Happy Monday. May your week be particularly environmentally friendly.
I’ve tried. I really have tried to catch Elsa with her tongue out but do you think she will accommodate me? Heck no! She clams up as if she belongs to the Illuminati. Sam is equally uncooperative. So alas, it’s not very likely there will be any ‘Tongue Out Tuesday’ posts featuring our gang. So instead, I’m offering a Tongue In Tuesday post (hey when given lemons, I say make some lemonade).
The stoic little Ranch Ninja doesn’t seem to mind me sharing this new recipe with you even if she won’t share her lovely pink tongue. After a dry winter (I realize some of you had endless Nor’easters and countless snow storms-of which we’re so jealous), your pups may have cracked paws or noses. If so, this. is. for. you. You may recall (past posts can be found here and here), where I shared recipes for tick and flea remedies and other treatment remedies for skin conditions using essential oils. Well here’s another one you can add to your healing arsenal ~ a balm for paws and noses
HOMEMADE PET BALM FOR NOSES AND PAWS
1/2 C Natural Beeswax 1/4 C Coconut Oil 1/4 C Olive Oil 2 Tbsp. Shea Butter 10-20 drops Vitamin E Oil (a natural preservative)
Melt beeswax in a small jar in a pot of hot water (double boiler effect) over medium-high heat, stirring often, until completely melted. This should take about 10 minutes.
Add the coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter. Heat until all ingredients are melted, stirring often.
Remove from heat and add the vitamin E drops. Stir well.
Pour mixture into storage containers or molds.
Let it sit for an hour until it solidifies.
To use, rub a small amount into your palm until it melts. Apply to affected areas. I love the idea of using the silicone dog paw and bone shaped molds I’ve used before when I made coconut oil dog treats. With the moisturizing properties of these oils, those cracked paws and noses should heal up in no time. And you won’t have to worry about the balm being licked off. All the ingredients are completely safe. Win-win. Even if there is no tongue being displayed for the camera.
Commercial vs. Homemade ~ Always a dilemma isn’t it? We want the very best for our pups and sometimes we think we don’t have the time. I can tell you this is one of the quickest handmade treats you can make. Not only is it quick and easy, it contains healthy ingredients too. We’ve shared homemade snacks made with peanut butter before, but this one has the added benefit of banana. I don’t know about you, but my best intentions of using the beautiful, yellow fruit before it gets too ripe seem to fail on a regular basis. What do you do with that last banana that is past its prime? How about making some of these?
Oatmeal Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 medium, peeled and quartered banana
1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350º F. Pulse oatmeal, banana and peanut butter in a food processor until a dough ball is formed. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 to 1 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out and place on a non-stick baking sheet or parchment paper. Bake 12-15 depending on thickness until golden brown on top. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes. See what I mean…easy-peasy. These treats will stay good 3-5 days in an air-tight container (unrefrigerated) or you can freeze them to last longer. The trick is waiting until they’ve cooled off enough to taste. After all, quality control is big around our kitchen and burnt tongues are definitely frowned upon. Happy noshing!