Stravecchio Parmesan Cheese
Stravecchio Parmesan Cheese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



6 no-bake lasagna noodles


1 lb. ground beef


3 cups spaghetti sauce


2 tsp. each oregano, garlic, rosemary and basil


2 tsp. fresh ground pepper


1 small container (1 pound) cottage cheese


1 large egg


1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese


pinch nutmeg


1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese


Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, spices and pepper. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, and nutmeg in a small bowl.  Shred mozzarella cheese.  Spray a 9 x 12″ pan with cooking spray.  Add a little of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Top with three lasagna noodles.  Add about 1/2 the remaining sauce on top of the lasagna noodles.  Spread around to cover noodles.  Spread cottage mixture on top of tomato sauce mixture. Add three more lasagna noodles, remaining tomato sauce, and top with mozzarella cheese.  Cover tightly with tin foil.  Bake covered at 400 F for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven, uncover and return to oven for another 5 minutes to brown the mozzarella cheese a little bit.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 – 10 minutes before cutting.  Serves 8.




Chili for a Crowd


2 lbs. ground beef

2 onions

2 peppers

2, 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes

1 c. salsa

1 large can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp. each oregano, garlic, cumin and cocoa powder

1 – 2 T. each chili and curry powder (depending on heat preference)

Brown ground beef in large skillet adding a little oil if necessary (our ground beef is extra lean so we need to brown it with a little oil).  Place in large (7 quart) slow cooker.  Chop onions and peppers.  Add to slow cooker along with the canned tomatoes, salsa, beans and spices.   Don’t forget to plug the slow cooker in (like I did once).  Cook on low 6 – 8 hours or on high for four hours.  Serves approximately 10 – 12 (or more if part of a potluck, as this was).

Five Things to Do With Instant Coffee (You May Not Have Thought Of)


Instant Coffee.  Coffee drinkers the world over cringe at those words and shudder at the thought of drinking it.  Although I daresay Starbucks has revolutionized the  genre with their line of instant coffee.    Here’s some things you can use instant coffee for:

  • Add a tablespoon or so to tomato based stews and chilis to deepen their flavor
  • Combine one tablespoon instant coffee with one teaspoon each of paprika, oregano, garlic and cumin.  Add two tablespoons oil and mix well.  Use as a rub on meat before grilling
  • Add one or two tablespoons (to taste) to a pint of good-quality vanilla ice cream.  Blend well (you may need to use a mixer) for delicious coffee ice cream
  • Make mine a mocha:  add a tablespoon to brownies or other chocolate-based desserts
  • Mocha Dip Or Spread: Mix some finely ground instant coffee or a little bit of brewed coffee or espresso with one tablespoon of brown sugar  into cream cheese

Some tips:

  • Start slow with adding coffee to your cooking as it’s flavor is intense.
  • It may work better to dissolve the coffee in a bit of hot water before adding so there are no undissolved grounds adding a grainy texture to your cooking.

Some information for this post gleaned from: and

Orange Feta Salad


I had a surplus of fresh oranges.

I Googled around and adapted this recipe by Anna Olson.  I wasn’t making the cake at the same time but, as I still have oranges left, will likely make it soon.  As my orange salad wasn’t being served with cake, I adapted her recipe to incorporate some salty and spicy tastes to balance the sweet.

I peeled and sectioned quite a few oranges – naval and clementine – probably about 8 in total.  An simpler, pain-free way would be to buy several cans of mandarin oranges and drain them and put in a bowl.  Add about 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, 2 T. each olive oil and sugar, and 1 T. curry powder.  Stir.  This is good either served immediately or the next day after the flavors have blended a bit. It was quite a tasty salad and doesn’t get much easier.

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables, Feta and Pastrami


1 c. quinoa, rinsed

2 c. water

Combine quinoa and water in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.

1/2 c. each broccoli, cauliflower and pepper, chopped into large pieces

1 medium sized carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks

2 garlic cloves


Place vegetables and garlic on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Roast at 450 for 15 minutes.

Combine quinoa, vegetables 3/4 c.crumbled  feta and 1/2 c. chopped pastrami in a medium sized bowl.


In a jar or other covered container combine the roasted garlic cloves that have been smashed up with 1/3 c. olive oil, 1/8 c. rice vinegar, 1/8 c. maple syrup and 1 T. of mustard and 2 T. of a spice blend for the dressing.   Chill.