Sometimes you just want to throw food in the slow cooker and forget about it for 3 hours. If that food happens to be deliciously cheesy pasta then you are in luck! I have a brilliant recipe here for you that will provide sustenance and comfort on even the laziest of days!
1tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp salt
~100g (2 cups) grated cheese
2 cups pasta (macaroni traditional, other pasta works just as well!)
3 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
Crunchy bacon bits
– Throw everything into the slow cooker except the bacon bits. (Try to do it in the same order as the ingredients list, at the very least keep the butter and the cornflour on the very bottom.)
– Turn the slow cooker on to High.
– Wait 3 hours, stirring it occasionally.
– Serve scattered with crunchy bacon bits!
Next up we have these Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls using your home made Ricotta! These make a really nice lunch or light supper for 2. I like variety so I made 2 different kinds. Green Pesto and Courgette and Red Pesto and Red Pepper.
I think that my favourite kind were the Green Pesto and Courgette but that’s probably because I am crazy about anything with courgette in. I love it!
These are a little bit tricky to make but only in the sense of lots of little steps. It doesn’t take long to prep or assemble these! You can even make them ahead and then refrigerate until you are ready to cook them if you’d rather get the prep done at a quieter time.
4 sheets lasagna pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
1 roasted bell pepper (I keep the lightly pickled jars of them as a store cupboard staple)
1 ramekin Ricotta (Your yield will vary, I used all of mine)
1 tbsp green pesto
1 tbsp red pesto
Tomato pasta sauce (Awesome Sauce is a good one but if you use a jar I won’t tell!)*
1/2 cup grated cheese
– Heat your oven to gas mark 6 or so.
– Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add your pasta sheets. Cook for 10 minutes (or according to packet instructions).
– Carefully remove the pasta from the water (keep the water!) and lay flat on a plate or chopping board.
– Take your courgette and very thinly slice it lengthways so you have slices about 1/8″. I used a mandolin but with a steady hand you can do this by hand.
– Place your courgette in a sieve and lower the sieve into the boiling water, balancing it on the side of the pan. Cook for 2 minutes then lift the sieve and drain.
– Put your spinach in the sieve and lower it into the boiling water. It should wilt in less than a minute, then remove and drain.
– Split your ricotta in two and mix the green pesto in to one and the red pesto in to the other.
– Take a sheet of lasagna, spread a layer of the ricotta on it, leaving a good 1″ gap at the end.
– Layer over your spinach and then your courgette or pepper.
– Lightly spray your baking dish with oil.
– Carefully roll the lasagna sheet towards the gap. The filling will move with the roll and start to fill the gap, it may even squish out a little. This is ok!
– Carefully lift the roll into the baking dish.
– When they are all ready pour over the pasta sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
– You can pause here if you like and finish cooking later.
– Put into the oven and cook for about 20 -30 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted and everything is piping hot.
* But really, make the Awesome Sauce. It is actually AWESOME!
Guys!!!! I made CHEESES!!!!!!!!!
Sorry about that. I’ll try to contain my excitement. I was so proud of myself for this one though!
I came back to my house after spending Christmas at my parents’. I had planned to return before new year but plans changed. I came back to discover a litre of milk about to go off… this seemed awfully wasteful! I was racking my brain trying to come up with something to do with that much milk that would keep and remembered an ill fated attempt at making cheese previously. It seemed like an excellent time to take another crack at it!
Turns out, making cheese is actually brilliantly simple! You need:
~ 1 l Milk
2 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Salt
Step 1: A big pan of Milk!
Bring it to the boil. Little bubbles like lace around the edge are what you want. Remove from the heat.
Step 3: Add 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp salt. Give it a stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. The curds and whey will start to separate.
Step 4: Tip it into a sieve over a large mixing bowl. Let it drain. KEEP THE LIQUID!
Step 5: Tip your drained cheese into a container! You now have Cottage Cheese!
Step 6: Tip the liquid back into the pan. Bring to ~200F/100C. The curds will start to separate again.
Step 7: Tip into a reusable coffee filter/a sieve lined with cheese cloth over a bowl or jug.
Step 8: Leave to drain. This may take some hours as the curd is finer so the holes are smaller.
Step 9: On the top you have Ricotta!
Step 10: And on the bottom you have your whey!
So, from one litre of milk you get two types of Cheese and a whole lot of Whey! I will be sharing some recipes for what to do with your cheeses if you need some inspiration! As for the whey, I’m told it makes an excellent addition to soups and risottos in place of stock but I haven’t tried it. It’s an interesting cheesy kind of stock and I’m sure any cheese fanatic will go nuts for the addition of a subtle cheese flavour in other dishes. I’m a bit picky about cheese so I confess, I’ve been giving it to Darcy to encourage him to eat his biscuits! Two weeks of being spoiled at Granny and Grandpa’s has made him a very picky eater!
Wow, what a week it has been! I’ve been pushing my cooking boundaries already this week and I had to do it again today with the Tortillas. It’s been a busy few days and I lost a few hours to that little mishap. I’ve updated the index here again and I’m going to try to keep on top of it this time. I’m coming up on 100 recipes! Yes, there will be cake. I’m generally working hard to get this blog to be the best I can make it. I’m also hoping to also be able to participate in Adopt-A-Blogger #4 over at Dine & Dish which will hopefully mean improvements around here. But that’ll be after the christmas madness. I’m already preparing to go gourmet with the gifts this year. I have a bunch of recipes lying about that’ll be just perfect for so-and-so so I’m gearing up to get cracking with those. I hope you’re all getting ready for an excellent holiday season, I know I’ll be stepping up on the Christmas recipes any day now!
Anyway, on to tonight’s dinner! These Layered Enchiladas were just supposed to be ordinary enchiladas, however, due to the supermarket tortillas going off and my first attempt at tortillas turning out rather brittle I had to go for Layered Enchiladas. I have to say I am impressed with how well they turned out. Instead of having a wrap we each ended up with a slice of ‘enchilada pie’, which was actually really handy for portion control. This certainly went down well with my dad who asked for seconds, which is almost unheard of!
1 pack tortillas or make your own with my recipe here.
~200g grated cheese
1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3 chicken breasts, sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 fresh red chilli, chopped
1x400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 green pepper, chopped
– First make the sauce. Saute the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt in a little oil until soft.
– Then add the chicken and stir until cooked all over.
– Add the chilli powder and chopped chilli. Stir well.
– Pour in the chopped tomatoes with a little water to rinse out the tin.
– Add the sugar and tomato puree and stir until mixed.
– Bring to a simmer and add the green pepper.
– Simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.
– Assemble the enchiladas in a greased baking dish either in the traditional way or:
– Place a tortilla on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle lightly with grated cheese then add a few spoonfuls the sauce and spread over the tortilla.
– Add another tortilla on top. Pour a little passata over and spread over the tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese.
– Add another tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Add sauce and spread out.
– Repeat alternating layers of sauce and passata until all of the tortillas have been used making the last layer passata covered with a good layer of cheese on the very top.
– Bake in a hot oven at gas mark 6 for around 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and everything warmed through.
– Serve in slices while hot. It’s really good with creme fraiche and avocado slices.
This recipe was actually for spinach gnocchi, however, despite following the recipe to the letter when the time cake to cook the gnocchi it was evident that in no way was this going to work! I tried a few anyway and I was right, these were never going to be gnocchi. So I grabbed a baking dish and deposited it all in there, grated some cheddar and parmesan on top and bunged it all in the oven for 25 minutes. Sorted! It turned out to be a surprisingly good bake so no harm. I will be trying another recipe for gnocchi in the future but not for a while I think! For a picture see the previous post.
Serves 6-8 (depends how much you like spinach!)
150g parmesan, grated
3 tbsp flour
50g grated cheddar
– Rinse the spinach and put it in a large pan with the lid on for a few minutes until it has wilted. You may have to do this in batches.
– Turn out into a collander and press out all of the water.
– Return to the pan and add the ricotta and butter. Heat through until the butter has melted and all is combined.
– Remove from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well.
– Spoon into a baking dish and chill for 30 minutes. (The chilling may or may not be necessary for a bake but I was trying to make gnocchi so see what happens!)
– Sprinkle the top with the cheeses and bake at gas mark 6 for 25 minutes until the cheese is golden.
Dinner last night was something of a collaborative effort between mum and me. She made the pancakes, I made the filling and stuffed them, we both worked on the recipe for the filling. These turned out to be incredibly filling, we had 2 pancakes each and I was absolutely stuffed, no pun intended, by the end. I’m still, in some ways, operating on the student premise that a good meal includes as little washing up as possible so this recipe loses point for that as you need 3 pans and a dish but if you have a dishwasher then no worries! You can also make the pancakes well ahead instead of it being all go at once.
For the pancakes:
125g plain flour
pinch of salt
For the filling:
1 onion, chopped
4 rashers bacon, chopped
200g mushrooms, sliced
6 tbsp olive oil or a knob of butter
3 tbsp corn flour
1 pint milk
200g mature cheddar, cubed plus a little extra, grated
grated parmesan or generic “grated hard cheese” to sprinkle
– Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
– Add the egg and milk and beat until smooth and the consistency of single cream, you may have to add a bit more milk to achieve this.
– Leave to stand for at least 5 minutes, preferably 20.
– Heat a non stick frying pan with a little bit of butter greasing it.
– Add a small amount of the batter to the pan and swirl around until the bottom of the pan is evenly coated.
– Leave for about 1 minutes until the edges are cooked and curling then flip over and cook the other side.
– Put on a warm plate covered with a teatowel then repeat until you have no more batter.
– In a separate frying pan fry the onion in a little oil until soft.
– Add the bacon and fry until cooked then add the mushrooms and fry until they are cooked.
– In a separate sauce pan heat the oil or butter and then add the corn flour, whisk together.
– Remove from the heat and then add the milk.
– Return to the heat, bring to the boil and keep whisking until the sauce thickens.
– Add the cheese and whisk until melted.
– Mix together the contents of the two pans, reserving a bit of the cheese sauce.
– Grease an ovenproof dish large enough to hold your pancakes.
– Place about 4 spoonfuls of mixture in a horizontal line in the centre of a pancake.
– Fold over the sides of the pancake by just an inch or so.
– Then fold the bottom up over the mixture and roll into a sort of tube, carefully keeping the mixture inside.
– Lay the stuffed pancake in the dish then repeat with the rest of the pancakes and mixture.
– Pour the remaining cheese sauce over the top of the pancakes.
– Sprinkle the top all over with the grated cheese and parmesan.
– Place under the grill until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
– Serve straight away.