Chicken Vegetable Ramen Noodle

When I was in college I used to make ramen noodles a few times a week in my trusty electric hot pot. It was one of the few things that was fool proof to make in there, besides heating up a can of soup. Once I graduated though the hot pot was thrown out and I stopped eating ramen noodles. Then last year not long after my Dad passed away I had a sudden craving for ramen noodles. There was such a feeling of comfort and safety in that bowl of noodles. A reminder of when life was easier and the safety of youth made you feel like nothing could ever go wrong or nothing bad could happen. Grief is a funny thing. It can make you remember things you completely forgot and question whether or not they happened and can make you find comfort in the oddest of things, hence the ramen noodles. To this day I still enjoy the occasional bowl of ramen noodle and have a case of it in my cabinet at all times. It got me thinking, why not try to make a traditional ramen bowl as opposed to the instant one I have been enjoying.

I began by prepping my various vegetables to have them ready to add to the pot as I was going…

And once I started it came together pretty quick, the most time consuming part of making this ramen bowl was prepping all of the vegetables. Oh yeah, and finding the miso. I ended up going to a local Oriental grocery market that I’ve known about for years. I did find miso at my local supermarket, but, the recipe called for white miso and the one they had was red and I didn’t want to take any chances with subbing ingredients.

And while it was delicious, I did have a minor mishap. I left the pot covered a little too long with the noodles so I ended up with something more like Lo Mein than ramen soup. I did have enough broth for one bowl, but, not for two.

Oh well… My noodles and veggies were just as delicious.

I’ll definitely make this again, but, I think next time I will omit the eggs and the chicken. It was definitely enough with just the vegetables.

 

Chicken Vegetable Ramen Bowl

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more for seasoning chicken

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

2 eggs

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons white miso

8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced

1 cup baby spinach

4 to 5 mini sweet peppers plus more for garnish, sliced

3 to 4 green onions plus more for garnish, sliced

1 large carrot, thinly sliced into ribbons

6 ounces ramen noodles

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once hot, add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Brown chicken for 5 minutes on each side.

Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through.

In a small saucepan, place the eggs and cover with water and cover the pan. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Keep lid on saucepan for 5 minutes. Drain the hot water and fill with cold water, once cool drain the water and peel the eggs.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the remaining oil. Once hot, add onion and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Add garlic powder, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Whisk in soy sauce, broth and miso. Add mushrooms and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add the peppers, green onions, spinach and carrots. Continue to simmer covered for 5 minutes. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary.

Finally, add ramen noodles and turn off heat (the heat from the soup will soften the noodles).

Slice chicken breasts and eggs. Divide soup into bowls and serve with chicken and a halved egg.

Recipe from Simply Organic

Skillet Spinach Lasagna

So, I wasn’t too impressed with this Skillet Spinach Lasagna right after I made it, but, after taking it to work the following day for lunch my opinion changed. I think what initially had me a little eh about it was the lack of sauce and the fact that the bottom of it got burned, but, both of those things are things that can easily be changed next time I make it.

I began by browning a pound of sausage meat in a 12-inch skillet. I was able to find ground sausage meat, but, you could easily use a pound of sausage removed from the casings.

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Next, over medium heat, I added crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt. I let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.

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While the sauce was cooking, I combined ricotta cheese, an egg, a cup of shredded mozzarella and salt in a medium bowl.

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Once the sauce was ready it was time to assemble the lasagna. I set aside 3 cups of the sauce and placed a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles over the remaining sauce in the skillet. I then topped the noodles with a cup of the reserved sauce, 3/4 cup of the ricotta mixture and 3 cups of the spinach. I repeated the layer two times with the remaining ingredients, omitting the spinach from the top layer.

I then returned the skillet to heat; covered and cooked over medium heat until the noodles were softened and sauce began to bubble, about 15-20 minutes. I think next time I will do this step over medium-low heat. I then topped it with remaining cup of spinach and covered and cooked it for another minute or so until the spinach had wilted.

And finally, I uncovered the lasagna and topped it with a cup of shredded mozzarella and broiled it until the cheese began to melt and brown. About 5 minutes. I then sprinkled it with freshly chopped basil.

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Skillet Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground Italian sausage

1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 16 oz. container ricotta cheese

1 egg

8 oz. (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

6 oz. no-boil lasagna noodles

7 cups (about 5 oz.) baby spinach, divided

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Cook the sausage, stirring often, in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through.

Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to simmer.

While the sauce is cooking, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, an egg and the remaining salt in a medium bowl.

Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from the heat.

Once the sauce is cooked remove it from the heat, reserving 3 cups of the sauce in a bowl. Place a layer of the lasagna noodle over the sauce, breaking the pieces as necessary. Top with 1 cup of the reserved sauce. 3/4 cup of the ricotta mixture and 3 cups of the spinach. Repeat the layer two times with the remaining noodles, sauce, ricotta mixture and spinach, omitting the spinach from the top layer.

Return the skillet to the heat; cover and cook over medium / medium-low heat until the noodles are softened and the sauce begins to bubble, about 20 minutes. Uncover and top with the remaining spinach; cover and cook for about a minute until the spinach is wilted. Uncover and top with the remaining mozzarella. Broil until the cheese begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil.

Recipe from Real Simple Magazine

Slow Cooker Sunday: Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna

I love lasagna; I just don’t like all the work that goes into it. It can be time consuming and making sure the noodles don’t tear while boiling them always deters me from making it. But those road blocks are gone since I found a winning recipe to make in my slow cooker.

To begin, over medium-high heat I sautéed mushrooms in olive oil for a few minutes and then added in baby spinach and continued sautéing until the mushrooms were tender and the spinach had wilted.

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Next I added in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and salt. Once the mixture began to boil I lowered the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes.

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Meanwhile I combined ricotta cheese, shredded parmesan cheese and pepper in a small bowl.

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After spraying the inside of my slow cooker with cooking spray I spread 3/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of it. I then layered 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce…

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And topped it with another 3/4 cups of the sauce, the ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.

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I then topped the cheese with another 3/4 cup of the sauce and the remaining 3 lasagna noodles and finally the remaining sauce.

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After covering it and cooking it on low for 5 hours I topped it with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, covered it once again and let it stand for an additional 5 minutes until the cheeses had melted.

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And while it was delicious, unfortunately it didn’t stay together when I tried to cut it out of the slow cooker. Oh well! Taste wins over plating sometimes!

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Slow Cooker Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients:

No Stick Cooking Spray

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 8oz. package fresh sliced mushrooms

1 6oz. package baby spinach leaves

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained

2 cups tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

6 dry lasagna noodles, uncooked

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

 

Directions:

Spray the inside of a 4-quart slow cooker with the cooking spray. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the spinach cook a few more minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the spinach has wilted, stirring occasionally. Stir in the undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

Combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker. Layer 3 lasagna shells over it, breaking the shells to hit. Top with 3/4 cup of sauce, ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Top with an additional 3/4 cup of sauce and remaining 3 lasagna noodles. Spoon the remaining sauce over the noodles.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until noodles are tender. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until the cheeses have melted.

Recipe from Hunts

A Slow Cooker Hit And Half Miss

The cold days of winter call for warm and hearty soups (or stews) to help keep you feeling warm and toasty to beat the winter chill. In a recent issue of Rachael Ray Magazine I came across one such soup that had the added bonus of being made in a slow cooker. A kitchen item I do enjoy using but don’t use often enough.

This stew – a Sausage, Bean & Spinach Stew  – was a cinch to make and was ready in about four hours. I began by adding white beans, chopped onions, carrots & celery, garlic, bay leaves and chicken broth to my slow cooker and cooking it on high heat for three and a half hours. I then added sausage meatballs and let them cook in the soup for about twenty-five minutes. Finally, I added in the spinach for the final ten minutes.

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Final verdict… The stew was delicious. I’ll definitely be it making again. But, I think next time I’ll cook the meatballs a little before adding them to the soup.

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Since I had my slow cooker out from obscurity I figured I would finally try making a dessert in it – a Triple Chocolate Brownie recipe I came across from Martha Stewart.

To begin I whisked together my dry ingredients: flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

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To get started on my wet ingredients I melted butter and bittersweet chocolate together.

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After giving it a few good stirs I added in sugar and eggs.

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I then folded it into the dry mixture along with walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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I then poured it into my slow cooker, which I sprayed with cooking spray and lined the bottom of with parchment paper.

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I cooked it on low for four hours, the final half hour uncovered.

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After letting it cool in the insert for two hours I flipped out the brownies to sadly discover that the edges were quite burnt and definitely not edible.

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All was not lost though… After some clever cutting I was left with six, albeit irregularly shaped, brownies that were quite tasty and definitely not lacking in chocolate flavor.

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Baking in a slow cooker… definitely not my first choice for delicious desserts, but, I wouldn’t rule out trying it again, just not brownies though!

Sausage, Bean & Spinach Stew

Ingredients

1 pound dried large white beans, such as great northern, rinsed and picked through

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 sprigs fresh thyme*

1 bay leaf**

Parmesan rind (optional)*

1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed, shaped into 1/2-inch meatballs

1 bunch spinach, trimmed

Juice of 1/2 lemon*

Crusty bread, for serving

Directions

In a large slow cooker, stir together the beans, chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and Parmesan rind, if using. Cover and cook on high heat until the beans are nearly tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

Place the sausage meatballs on top of the beans. Cover; cook until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 25 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and Parmesan rind. Stir in the spinach, then cover and let stand until the spinach wilts, 10 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice; season. Serve with crusty bread.

*I omitted these ingredients when I made my soup

**I added in two bay leaves as opposed to just one

Slow-Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)

Directions

Lightly coat a 5-quart slow-cooker insert with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper and lightly coat with spray. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Place butter and chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted. Add sugar; stir to combine. Stir in eggs. Add flour mixture, walnuts, and chocolate chips and stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Transfer to slow cooker and smooth top.

Cover and cook on low, 3 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook 30 minutes. Remove insert from slow cooker and run a knife around edge to loosen brownies. Let cool completely in insert on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Turn out onto a work surface and cut into 14 brownies.