Saturday, November 1, 2008

Recipes from the Twit Army Mess Hall - Shrimp Dirty Rice


2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 pound ground meat (I use andouille which I grind up but use whatever you like)
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne**
1/2 teaspoon paprika**
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano**
1 bay leaf**
1 3/4 teaspoons salt**
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper**
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
3 cups canned low-sodium chicken or shrimp broth or homemade stock
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and halved
2 scallions including green tops, chopped

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the ground meat and cook until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. (If you're using precooked sausage skip this step and just add the meat to the pan, & cook until heated)
Reduce the heat to moderately low and add the rest of the oil to the pan. (Again if it's a high fat sausage you might not need any more) Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cayenne, paprika, oregano, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, and rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Raise the heat to moderate and stir in the shrimp. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, until the rice and shrimp are just done, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the scallions.

** If you're using a highly spiced sausage none of these may be necessary
Serves 4
This one must be served the same day it's cooked, doesn't keep worth beans but it's quick & easy to make

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Personal Favorite Motto

Here is another needlework finish (Not framed yet, just got it done last night), it's not a detailed as some of my work but the sentiment suits me perfectly! (This pattern was a gift from a friend who also saw it and said "Lil, this is just you"

The pattern is called "Getting Old Sucks" by Raise the Roof Designs

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recipes from the Twit Army Mess Hall - Meat Lasagna

This recipe has a TON of variations possible. I've listed the ingredients generically, check at the bottom for the possible variations.

3 c. of your favorite marinara style sauce (I like a Fra Diablo & combine it with sweet italian turkey sausage)
1 lb of meat (Check meat options below)
12 pieces of lasagna, cooked or the oven ready type
1 egg, lightly beaten
15 oz. ricotta cheese (any fat content you'd like)
4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese or if you're ambitious you can get a fresh ball of the cheese (you need about 1.5 lbs), freeze it & thin slice it, now you're turning this into a 2 day prep dish since the cheese will need to freeze overnight to be firm enough to slice paper thin & I am NOT RESPONSIBLE for sliced fingers)
1/3 c. chopped fresh italian parsley
2 medium or 1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano (neither this or the basil are necessary if you use italian sausage instead of plain meat)
1/2 c. shredded pecorino romano (please not the stuff in the green tube)


Preheat oven to 350

Take the ricotta out of the refrigerator 1 hr before using so it comes to room temperature and is easier to spread.

Cook the pasta (if not using oven ready) according to the package directions, lay aside on sheets of foil or waxed paper so they don't stick together.

Cook meat until lightly browned, 1/2 way through add the onions so that they soften but do not brown. Depending on the fat content of your meat you might need to add oil to the pan.
Add the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes to blend. Take off the heat & put aside.

Mix together ricotta, 1/4 c. of romano, egg, parsley and other herbs (if using).

Assembly instructions

Put enough sauce in the bottom of the pan (a 9"x13" foil pan works fine) to cover.
Layer the ingredients in the following order:
  1. Pasta - 3 pieces (if you like extra pasta you can use 4 & overlap but then make 16 pieces to start
  2. 2/3 cup of cheese mixture
  3. 3/4 cup of meat sauce mixture
  4. 1 c. mozzarella or enought slices to cover

Repeat two more times

Now put on the last pieces of pasta, spread on the rest of the meat sauce, then the last cup of mozzarella and 1/4 c. of romano.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minute, remove foil and continue cooking for another 10 - 15 minutes until hot, bubbly & slightly browned.

Let stand at least 5 minute before serving to firm up otherwise when you cut it the meat & cheese will just run out from between the pasta layers.

Serves 10 - 12

This keeps very well in the freezer for up to 3 months, assemble it but do the baking right before you serve it. Be sure to let it come to room temperature before baking.

Meat options
Ground pork
Ground turkey
Store bought italian sausage either pork or turkey (if you use sweet I'd suggest a spicy sauce, if hot a more mild sauce)
Home made italian sausage (my favorite, I use ground turkey & Penzey's seasoning mix, one suggestion, this really needs to be made up the day ahead to let the spices hydrate and mix in well with the meat, if you use it right after you mix it up it won't taste right)