Monday, January 31, 2011

In the Kitchen With Mill'E-Max and Me!

Life has been so crazy lately and for me, there is no better way to relax and decompress from the insanity than spending good quality time in the kitchen. Mill'E-Max is my canine kitchen helper. She assists with things such as throwing away trash, carrying things from the refrigerator to the table where I work, and picking up things that I drop. She makes the entire cooking experience go much more smoothly.
Yesterday and today were both long kitchen days. Yesterday I made chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treats and a huge salad. Today I made a crock pot lasagna and will make french bread to go with it.
I have an unusual kitchen situation in that I don't actually have a stove and oven. My house didn't come with one and I have not purchased one as yet. This requires much creativity on my part, but I don't mind as I enjoy finding different ways of doing things.
People have been asking me for the recipes of the lasagna and the rice krispie treats so I thought I'd post them to my blog. I'm different than most cooks in that I don't measure things very carefully. Well truth is, I don't own a single measuring cup. I'm very much a member of the "eye ball it and guess" school of cooking. I believe that in the kitchen that exactitude is over rated. I realize that the majority of folks don't do things this way so I've tried to give measurements for the recipes I post. I don't know how right they are, so if you make something and you feel like it needs a bit more of this, or not as much of the other, then by all means go with your gut! Taste liberally and don't be afraid to add your own unique touches to what you cook. I think of these recipes as more of a kind of guideline.
Exactitude is overrated!

Rox'E's Rice Krispie Treats
4 cups mini marshmallows
10 oz dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
4-5 cups rice krispies

In microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate, marshmallows, and peanut butter. Mix well and cook on high for two minutes. Stop and stir, microwave for another minute if needed.
Dump rice krispies into bowl of chocolate mix and stir. Drop by spoonful on to wax paper and let sit to cool. You can also press into 9x13 pan, but I find that the wax paper thing works better because I can feel each cookie to make sure everything is mixed evenly.

Mama Mill'E-Max's Crock-pot Lasagna
Ok ok, Mill'E didn't cook this, but she helped out enough that I named it for her! and I did let her lick the spoon after everything was finished...

1 lb italian sausage (I like the kind with lots of fennel!)
1-2 lbs ground beef
1 lb mozzarella cheese
1 small container ricotta cheese
1 large container small curd cottage cheese
1 onion
1 large or 2 small portobello mushrooms
1 package lasagna noodles) you need the kind that don't need to be boiled)
6 cups spaghetti sauce (either home made or store bought)

on the stove, or on a grill, cook the ground beef and sausage using seasonings of your choice. Drain and break up the meat.
Grate the mozzarella; reserving 1/3 of it in its own bowl.
In large bowl combine cottage cheese, ricotta and 2/3 of the grated mozzarella. Mix well.
Chop the onion and mushrooms and add them to the cheese mixture mixing well.

Add half of the spaghetti sauce to the meat and mix well.

Coat a 6.5 qt crock-pot with olive oil (I used basil infused olive oil)
Once pot is thoroughly oiled up, put down a layer of meat and sauce mix. Follow that with a layer of lasagna noodles. You may need to break the noodles to cover the entire area; this is fine to do. On top of the noodles, place a layer of the cheese and vegetable mix. Repeat the layering.
Once you do another layer of meat, pasta and cheese, use 1.5 cups of the reserved sauce, then do another layer of noodles. Use the remaining sauce to cover them. Then take the remaining 1/3 lb of mozzarella cheese and sprinkle on top.
Your crock-pot should be full but not over flowing. If you notice that you may have remaining mix, you can add that before doing the final layer of sauce and cheese.

Bake on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 7 hours.

We're having the lasagna with french bread brushed with basil infused olive oil and an herb mix of garlic, oregano, basil, chili, and red pepper as well as a light dusting of parmesan.
To go with it I made an iced tea which consists of a mix of green tea, lemon peal, peach leaves and melissa. It's very light and refreshing.

I am very satisfied with my morning's work, I even cleaned the kitchen so when it's time to make the bread everything is ready!
I wish I could cook like this every day!
Happy cooking, y'all!


  1. Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipes. I'll have to try them sometime.