DB453A16-

It’s finally feeling like fall–a perfect time for soupin’ it up in the kitchen, and turning on the oven to roast tomatoes. All that sound good? Lasagna soup might be just what the weatherman ordered! I wonder if cousin Gil Simmons is listening?!

This recipe has all the delicious flavors of lasagna without being overly cheesy. Not that there’s anything wrong with being cheesy (HA HA, please, look who’s talking). But it’s plenty rich and hearty without ricotta or mozzarella. See if you agree!

LASAGNA SOUP

1 pint grape tomatoes
olive oil to coat the bottom of a large roasting pan
1 large sweet onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup vodka
1 pound sausage (patties, or casings removed from links) CT folks, I love Longhini!
1 red bell pepper, diced
5 oz. mushrooms (I used baby bella), sliced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, if you have it
1 box (32 oz.) chicken stock (my fave is Kitchen Basics)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup flour
1/2 pound lasagna noodles, broken (note: I found frozen lasagna noodles from Durante’s Pasta of West Haven at Shop Rite in Wallingford–SCORE!)
1 bag (6 oz.) baby spinach
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
fresh basil to garnish (optional), parsley’s always nice, too

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil to coat 9 x 13″ baking dish. Roll the tomatoes around in the olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Gently smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife and add to baking dish. Make sure all the tomatoes are in an even layer. Roast in oven 10 minutes, then shake and put them back in for 10 minutes more. Then shake again and back to the oven 10 more for total of 30 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup vodka after you remove the pan from the oven. Sizzle-sizzle!

Watch the asterisks (*) for where we need to multitask a bit. 🙂

In a stock pot, cook sausage over medium heat, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Add pepper, mushrooms and thyme; cook 5-6 minutes. Add tomatoes/onions/garlic/vodka and chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Add broken lasagna noodles, and bring to low boil. *Cook for 10-12 minutes (follow package instructions as a guide) or until the noodles are tender. Add spinach and cook for about a minute while stirring.

*While the noodles are cooking, in a separate smaller saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Whisk in 1/4 cup flour and continue cooking for 1 minute; whisking constantly. The butter/flour mixture should be bubbling. Slowly whisk in milk/cream until it’s smooth and thickened; about 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and slowly whisk in Romano cheese. Once the mixture is creamy and the cheese has melted, slowly whisk into soup.

Now it’s time to serve. Garnish with basil or parsley and mangia, mangia! Serves four to six people, depending how hungry your people are. 🙂 Reheats very nicely, too.

IMG_7731

For the longest time, my friend and neighbor, Sharen, told me about the yogurt she buys from a farm the next town over. Finally, she said, “C’mon! We’re going for a ride. I’ll show you where it is!” And off we went to Deerfield Farm–just down the way from us, off Route 68 in Durham, Connecticut.

Deerfield Farm barn

Their self-service farm store is stocked with creamy, European-style yogurt (plain or vanilla) that’s perfect to top with homemade granola and fresh fruit. And, though I’ve not yet tried it, they also offer raw Jersey milk (chocolate, too!), eggs, and two items high on my gotta-try list: ricotta and a soft, creamy, fresh cheese called Brianna.

Deerfield Farm prices

Sometimes you’ll find people along with the cows and cats in the barn, but the payment system is simple and old-fashioned. So be sure to bring cash and exact change.

Deerfield Farm honor system
Now that you know what prompted me to make granola, let me show you how–so easy, so delicious. You’re gonna love it!

KATTY’S GOOD MORNING GRANOLA

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients
3 cups rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill–they’re great!)
1 cup shredded coconut (Baker’s is my fave)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons golden flaxseed
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (30 seconds in the microwave did the trick for me)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Ready for how easy this is? Combine dry ingredients well. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then spread out evenly over a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir, then bake 15 minutes more. Let cool, then store. Or enjoy right away over your favorite yogurt. Or gelato. Or however you like to enjoy–just by the spoonful works, too!

 

 

It’s now officially Easter because I woke up today and baked THESE COOKIES.

I’ve shared Nanny’s oatmeal cookies previously, only to realize when I looked at my handwritten recipe, it’s not EXACTLY the same as what’s on the Quaker site now. So, to be sure we have it documented properly, here we go. I’m pretty sure Nanny’s recipe originated from the Quaker oats canister, but then recipes change over time, so let’s get it right for old times’ sake. And for Nanny!

Now, a reminder about my grandmother and one of the many things that made her so cool. Nanny put M&Ms in her oatmeal cookies. And every holiday, she’d head down here with Poppy and a giant platter of them for my cousins and me. She must have made AT LEAST two or three batches, because in my mind’s eye, I can still see those cookies piled high. All of us kids (and my uncles) still remember them fondly–and I’m proud to carry on her holiday baking tradition in her memory.

This year, I wanted to try a Mounds variation just to be a little different. If you love chocolate and coconut together, these will rock your world. If not, stick to Nanny’s original recipe and add a cup of M&Ms instead. I only use 1/2 a cup, but that’s just because Nanny was a whole lot cooler than I am.

NANNY’S OATMEAL COOKIES–WITH A MOUNDS TWIST!

3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick oats, (quick, 1-minute oats–can’t you picture them hurrying somewhere?) uncooked
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped (Valrhona in my house)
1/2 cup tender flake coconut (sweetened)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter, sugars, egg, water and vanilla together until creamy.

Sift together flour, salt and soda. Add to creamed mixture, blend well. Add oats and blend. Then add coconut and blend…then add chopped chocolate (and do what? that’s right), blend.

Original recipe calls for dropping by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. I used my trusty Zeroll Universal EZ Disher scoop (#60, pink).

I love and highly recommend this scoop for perfect portioning!

Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees F…in my house, 13.5 minutes is the magic number, but could be anywhere from 12-15 minutes at yours. I find letting the cookies rest on the baking sheet a few minutes makes it easier to move them from sheet to rack.

Makes 5 dozen, except in my kitchen because (block your eyes, Nanny!) I  love to eat the dough raw and always must ensure quality control, once baked, before sharing with others! MOO.

Happy Easter!