Life In The Kitchen.
Even for those of us who simply adore being in a vibrant and fragrant kitchen, sometimes we often wish we had a few different tools or tricks to help us to enjoy and make the most of our time spent in the heart of the home. A few little changes can make a huge difference in the way that we enjoy our time spent cooking and preparing food, and can even help to make this important room a relaxing and refreshing space to be in. Below you will find 5 of my favorite tips when it comes to making life a little easier in the kitchen.
5 Helpful Tips.
- Keep A Clean Working Space.
This is as simple as tidying as you go. Put products away once you have finished using them, wipe spills as they occur and I also like to keep a sink full of warm soapy water to put dirty dishes in straight away, this not only keeps your workspace cleaner but also reduces clean-up time at the end.
- Keep A Running List.
Keep a running shopping list that is in an easy to see and logical location (the front of your refrigerator is ideal), and add items to this list as you are working in your kitchen. When you use the last of a product add it to your list. There can be little more frustrating than arriving at a crucial stage of your recipe and finding that you are missing a vital ingredient.
- Make The Freezer Your Friend.
Freezing food can add months to the shelf life of products making them available for longer as well as allowing the consumer to buy goods in bulk for fantastic value. Freezing leftover portions or ingredients and even making extra of a recipe to freeze for use another day can be an excellent way of making life a little easier in the kitchen.
- Have A Good Range Of Storage Options.
Everything packaged starts to break down from the minute that we open the packet. Investing in a great range of airtight, microwaveable, freezer friendly and easy to clean containers can be of huge assistance in the kitchen.
Not only will your food stay fresher for longer but you will also find that it is super easy to label and organize these containers into your pantry, making life so much easier every time you reach for an ingredient.
- Personalize Your Space.
Adding a few personal touches such as photos, mementos or anything else you can think of that will add that individual flair to your workspace can lift the whole feel of the room. This in turn can lift our mood and when our brains feel better they function better. Practical and personal additions are always fantastic and a great example of this is in the use of a cork or pinboard. Family members can add messages or reminders, recipes can be placed on there for inspiration and it’s also a great place to keep that running shopping list mentioned earlier.
The Heart Of The Home.
I hope that with the addition of a few of these simple steps that you too will find your life in the kitchen a little easier every day. Some of these tips may seem simple, but that is the beauty of it. These tips are ones that are very easy to implement into our lives and tips that all of us can achieve quite quickly and affordably and can help you to enjoy life in the kitchen a little more.
Why Serve Lasagna?
If you are planning a dinner party, lasagna is a great food to serve. One pan can serve up to 8 people, and there are a variety of types of lasagna that you can make, depending on your guests’ taste. Each of the following lasagna recipes is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party.
Zucchini Lasagna With Beef and Sausage
If your guests are healthy eaters or they are on a diet, this is a great recipe. The lasagna noodles are replaced with slices of zucchini, making it a delicious and healthy meal.
- ½ pound Italian sausage, removed from the casing
- ½ pound of ground beef
- 2 cups of ricotta cheese
- 1-14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1-12 ounce can of tomato paste
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 large zucchini, trimmed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of basil
- 2 tablespoons of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
In a large skillet, cook the ground beef, Italian sausage, garlic, and onion over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Add the oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, black pepper, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, parsley, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix until fully incorporated.
Pare slices of the skin from the zucchini, lengthwise. Cut the zucchini into long strips so that they resemble lasagna noodles. Do not use the seedy strips in the middle.
Place 1/3 of the zucchini strips at the bottom of your lasagna pan. Fill in any gaps with scrap pieces of zucchini. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the zucchini and cover it with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Spread 1/3 of the meat mixture over the cheese. Repeat the steps, making another layer. Make the final layer with the remaining zucchini strips, meat sauce, and sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese on top.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the lasagna for about an hour, or until the top is browned. In the last 10 minutes, add the remaining mozzarella cheese and allow it to cook until melted.
Let the lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Easy as Pie Lasagna
This recipe is very simple, but what it lacks in difficulty, it doesn’t lack in taste. This is a recipe your guests will love.
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 pound of Italian sausage, with the casings removed
- 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
- 1 package of Oven Ready Lasagna
- 2 cups of ricotta cheese
- 4 cups of mozzarella cheese
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 3 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon of basil
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
In a medium skillet, combine all of the ingredients except the spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and lasagna noodles. Cook over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are tender. Remove from heat and pour all but 1 ½ cups of spaghetti into the meat mixture. Stir well.
Pour ½ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan. Spread it out so that it is covering the bottom of the pan. Coat the lasagna noodles with the ricotta cheese, and place them in the bottom of the pan. Because the noodles are oven ready, there is no need to boil them. Next, add a layer of the meat mixture and a layer of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the process for 2 more layers. Top with one more row of lasagna noodles and spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on top.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Allow the lasagna to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Hearty Vegetable Lasagna
If you are entertaining a vegetarian or just someone who is health conscious, this is an excellent recipe.
- 1 package of lasagna noodles
- 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced
- ¾ cups of chopped green pepper
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 3 minced cloves of garlic
- 2 jars of pasta sauce
- 1 container of part skim ricotta cheese
- 4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil
In a large pot, boil water and add the lasagna noodles. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Rinse the noodles with cold water and drain.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the green pepper, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Stir in all but one cup of the pasta sauce and basil, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, and the eggs.
Spread the remaining cup of spaghetti sauce at the bottom of a greased lasagna pan. Layer ½ of the noodles, half of the ricotta cheese mixture, and ½ of the vegetable mix. Repeat layering, and top the lasagna with the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.
Bake the lasagna at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Lasagna is a Great Entree for Your Dinner Party
If you want to please your guests, even your pickiest ones, any of the above recipes will be a huge hit.