Friday, January 14, 2011

Two Sauce Weeknight Lasagna Bowls

This is one of my go-to comfort meals. Really, how can you go wrong with creamy, cheesy pasta topped with a hearty meat sauce? You can't go wrong. 

It's wonderful.
Thank you, Rachael Ray! You can find her original Two Sauce Lasagna Bowl recipe here.  I can just imagine that hers is even better because it has pancetta and ground beef. But even with skipping the good stuff, and substituting healthier ground turkey, it is still soooo delicious!

My kids saw the carrots and they were all, "Ewww! Carrots in pasta?" And then they loved it. After they were finished, I pointed out how they had also just eaten onions. They looked at me like I was crazy. 
Point: Mommy.

Two Sauce Weeknight Lasagna Bowls

1 pound Campanelle pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1  1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, 2 chopped or grated, 1 peeled
1/2 teaspoon allspice, a couple of pinches
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Nutmeg, to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus some to pass at table
A handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

Heat large pot of water to a boil, salt water and cook pasta to al dente.

While pasta water comes to a boil, heat olive oil in a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat, add ground turkey and break it up as it browns. When the meat has begun to caramelize and develops a nice brown color, 4 to 5 minutes, add carrot, onion, 2 cloves of garlic, allspice, salt and pepper and a bay leaf. Cook 3 to 4 minutes more to soften onions and carrots bits then stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in wine and cook out 1 minute then stir in stock and reduce heat to simmer.

While red sauce cooks, cut remaining whole clove of garlic and rub the inside of a medium sauce pot with it. Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add in flour and whisk together a minute or so then whisk in milk and bring to a bubble, reduce heat then season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, thicken 8 to 10 minutes.

Toss pasta with white sauce and 1/2 cup grated cheese. Serve pasta in individual bowls and top with a ladle of meat sauce in the middle of the bowl for mixing in. Garnish with parsley.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Homemade Sugar Scrub

I got a bee in my bonnet to make sugar scrub over the holidays. I had never made it before, so I did my research online and realized that everyone makes sugar scrub with basically the same core ingredients: Some kind of sugar (organic, raw, white, or brown), some kind of oil (almond, avocado, olive, or vegetable), and some kind of essential oil to make it smell nice. 

It was so incredibly easy to make! You take your pick of ingredients, mix them until you like what you see and feel, pour it in a jar, and you're done! It takes all of 3 minutes to make. Kind of. 

'Kind of' meaning that you could be finished right then and there, or you could be like me and spend the next 3 hours fancying up all the jars to make them pretty. I just can't give a naked jar as a gift. It goes against everything I believe in. 

Anyway, here's what I used for the basic sugar scrub:

Turbinado Sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
Brown Sugar
Olive Oil
Sweet Orange and Peppermint Essential Oil
Aloe Vera Gel 

Mason Jars

I didn't really measure anything, but I probably did a 50-50 ratio of the sugars to the olive oil. I started with just the Turbinado Sugar and Olive Oil, but the mixture was a little too coarse for my liking, so I added regular Brown Sugar until I got a consistency that seemed nice. Then I added drops of the Sweet Orange and Peppermint Essential Oil until the scrub smelled wonderful. And I added some Aloe Vera Gel, because it's good and I happened to have some. I don't know if the Aloe made any difference. But I like it, so there you go. 

Oh man, sugar scrub is good! I kept trying it out on my hands as I mixed it. It made them soft and luxurious! I do have a little warning for you, though. If you use it in the bath or shower, be careful because the oil in the scrub can make your bathtub slippery. I wouldn't want anyone to fall and break a hip. For me, the danger is totally worth the sugar scrub experience. But you could also just keep a jar of it at the sink and only use it on your hands. Because look at it! It's gorgeous.

After I finished mixing, I filled all my Mason jars with the goodness.

And I hot glued the inner flat lid of the Mason jar to the outer band lid because I find that whole two-part lid nonsense extremely irritating.

Then I printed up some cute little labels for the top and mod podged them on. I'm hoping they'll be a little more water resistant that way. I also printed up some instructions and hot glued them to the side of the jar. I figured once the sugar scrub recipient reads the directions, she can take that part off if she wants.

I tied a little wooden craft spoon to the side of each jar with raffia.


Then I wrapped each one in a clear goodie bag. Extra fancy!

I am so thrilled with how it all turned out - pretty and practical. And using the scrub makes me feel like I've turned my bathroom into a spa. Especially if I light a candle or two. And after I try to hide all the kids' bath toys. And turn on the fan so I can't hear all the kid noise streaming in from the rest of the house. We do what it takes, am I right?

Happy Sugar Scrubbing!


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