easy weeknight lasagna featuring TJ’s no-boil lasagna noodles

So you know how lasagnas are usually reserved for dinner on weekend nights? Well, not anymore! TJ’s recently (or maybe not, who knows? I just recently noticed it on the shelves so it’s recent to me) came out with sheets of No-Boil Lasagna Noodles that can be layered right into the baking pan without having to be boiled first. So although it’s not the best lasagna that I’ve made in my life, it’s still pretty good. But more importantly, and here’s the selling point, it’s one less pot to wash on a weeknight which makes it a YES in my book.

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Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s No-Boil Lasagna Noodles
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-ounce can San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ricotta
  • Parmesan
  • Basil, chiffonade plus whole leaves for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In the meantime, brown the ground beef in a saucepan over high heat. When the meat is browned, add in the onions, garlic and entire can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes. Lower the heat to medium and let everything cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down. Add in the tomato paste, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Continue stirring and cooking down the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.

Now it’s time to layer your lasagna! Grab your baking pan and spread enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. On top of that goes your first sheet of lasagna noodles. Then sauce again, followed by ricotta, Parmesan, chiffonade(d?) basil, and lasagna noodles. Repeat with as many layers as will fit in your baking pan, leaving about 1/2-inch at the top to prevent overflow. Bake the lasagna in the oven until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice, and serve with an optional basil leaf for garnish.

Hopefully you have enough sauce to get you through! I didn’t make it, as you can see by that dried-out piece of noodle peeking through the cheese on my top layer ><.

bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms

The strong bacon-y (seriously can’t think of another adjective right now…) flavor of the bacon is complemented by the mild sweetness of the enoki mushrooms in this crowd-pleasing (unless your guests are vegans) appetizer!

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Ingredients:

  • Enoki mushrooms, washed and stemmed
  • Bacon slices, halved
  • Soy sauce, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Separate the enoki mushrooms into small bundles and tightly wrap each bundle, starting at the base, with half a bacon slice. Lay each bundle on a baking sheet, leaving an inch between each one. Drizzle the tips of the enoki mushrooms with soy sauce and transfer to the oven. Bake until the bacon is crispy, 15 to 20 minutes.

 

 

spam musubi

One of my favorite ways to eat spam is in spam musubi; a Hawaiian dish which is basically a block of gorgeously fried spam pressed on or in between rice and then wrapped with a strip of seaweed. No, I do not know what spam is – and I do not want to know because this treat is wayyy too delicious to give up! Feel free to add additional ingredients to customize your musubi. As you can see in the picture below, I’ve added some eggs into the mix, along with a sprinkling of Bubu Arare (Rice Crackers) for crunch and a line of Kewpie Mayonnaise because I can, because I wanted to, but mainly because it just takes the musubi to a whole another level!

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Ingredients:

  • sushi rice
  • spam
  • seaweed
  • scrambled egg (optional)
  • bubu arare (optional)
  • kewpie mayo (optional)

Directions:

  1. First you make a batch of sushi rice following this sushi rice recipe.
  2. While the rice is cooking up, remove the block of spam from the container (this might require a ton of banging) and then cut them into 1/4 inch slabs. Fry these slices of spam in a flat stovetop pan until they are seared and crispy on both sides.
  3. When both the spam and the rice are ready, scoop enough rice to cover half of the seaweed (or all of it!) and place the spam on top of the rice. Layer on any additional optional toppings you desire.
  4. To finish, roll the spam in a similar fashion as you would following these sushi rolling tips and seal with rice. Easy and yummy!

musubi

 

 

 

 

 

roasted brussel sprouts

Roasting in the oven is one of my favorite ways of cooking brussel sprouts! The prep time is only a matter of minutes and the end result is an oh-so-satisfying nutty and crunchy bite. My advice to you on this dish is SEASON AGGRESSIVELY. Salt makes all the difference.

brussels

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chicken parmesan

For me, Chicken Parmesan reads filling and comforting, especially when topped off with a good dose of melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese! I use store-bought tomato marinara basil sauce from Trader Joe’s and make it chunkier by adding in diced onions and tomatoes.

chicken

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pan-seared salmon w/ sautéed hericots verts & garlic

This simple lunch (or dinner!) will take you less than 30 minutes to put together. For the salmon, follow this pan-seared salmon recipe to get the salmon going while you cook up the hericots verts following the recipe below.

salmon greens

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