Baked Ravioli, aka Super Fast Lasagne

Problem,  I had the “no clue what to make for dinner”  issue. What to make, what to make. I had ravioli, had sauce,  but didn’t feel like ravioli and sauce, and somehow I thought “why not bake it” so I did. Quick, easy, delicious, and it actually tastes like lasagne, without all the work! How much easier can it get? Boil ravioli, brown meat, heat sauce, mix, bake, top with cheese, let finish baking and serve. If you really want to do more, make some garlic bread, also super easy.

Garlic and Butter = Love

 Garlic, Butter, Bread and Mozzarella = Complete Mouth Satisfaction

I made it more difficult than it really had to be, (yea I know, HUGE shock me making something more difficult) only because I also wanted some meat in it. But really I could have just boiled the ravioli, added the gravy without heating, tossed in a pan and let bake. Either way, it was still super easy, and it baked itself while I went outside and worked on the garden and container gardens.

mmmmm beef

Truth be told it tasted like Lasagne, which my brother-in-law pointed out, but was 1/4 of the work that Lasagne is! So hello new substitute for Lasagna. Unless it’s Christmas Eve or Easter and I’m really in the mood to get my Gravy Fix on.  Yes I say both Gravy and Sauce. Don’t know why, my Nonna always called it Gravy, Dad always called it Sauce, whichever fly’s out of my mouth first is what term I generally use.  Food runs in my veins.

So here are the instructions (Easy no meat version):

  • 1 Package Ravioli (standard size not the huge one)
  • 1 Jar Sauce ( I get it in a Jar from a local mom and pop restaurant up the street, try your own local area)
  • 1-2lbs Mozzarella, sliced (amount depends on how much cheese you like)

Boil ravioli according to package, drain. Toss back in the pan they jut came from, pour the sauce over, gently mix. Pour/place/scoop/dump into baking dish, bake for 20 minutes @ 375, top with a generous amount of sliced Mozzarella, put back in the oven and let continue baking until melted to desired stage of cheese love.

As my Italian upbringing taught me, all delicious meals are enjoyed with, and followed by an equally delicious and perfectly executed libation.  This meal was followed by Sambuca over three coffee beans. Each bean has a meaning; they represent health, happiness and prosperity.

Perfect Finish

Cin cin, and always remember, no matter what life throws you…..in bocca al lupo

Barefoot in the dirt….

I garden barefoot, I love it.  I love the dirt between my toes, up to my elbows, I don’t even wear gloves anymore. I love feeling the dirt, love feeling connected. So I’ve been working on the backyard, it was ridiculously uneven, we are talking about an 8″ slope down, and when trying to tan…..yea, let’s just say there was a lot of my flipping backward last year.  So I decided to rip up the backyard, level it out, add a garden, (for things I use every day, rather than having to run to the big garden)  a little area for the firepit, and planting grass  to give me a nice tanning area.  All of this is being done by hand, so it’s taken a few months, but its almost done now!

I didn’t think to start taking pics from the very beginning, but I thought of it not too far in.  
 
Day by day, a little more Almost done tearing it up My containers, herbs, lettuces, beans, and peas So I outlined the three sections, tamped down the section that would be for tanning, and set to work putting in the garden. Setting bricks is not as easy as I thought it would be. They settle, they squish, they move, and oh yea, the ground is NOT even!!All ripped up, and a spot for the garden Starting the bricks, too shallow this time. Had to rip out and restart.Trying to get it right.Setting in the bricks
 
It’s getting there
Three Sides DoneTotally uneven!
 
I look at these pics, and I am really proud of it all.  All this was done by hand!! Once the garden was set in place in transplanted some tomatoes, cucumbers, long neck squash, thai hot peppers, and a bunch of lettuce!!! I love salad, so if I can eat it every day that’s awesome! So now here in the backyard I’ve got containers, and a mini garden, to supplement when I don’t have the time to run over to Lucky Shoe.  So here is the final product..
 

"Organically Enriched" soil, AKA It's full of S#^t!!!Babies are in!!!!

Everything in, plus 2 rows of lettuce seeds!Lettuce BabiesGreen Bean Babies
 

 

Strawberry Vodka, it’s THAT good!

It’s Sunday night, it’s been a productive and seemingly long weekend, even though it flew by. I got a ton of stuff done! The endless laundry that piled up while I was off shooting pics for the “Nudie Foodie” contest, gave the Mud Room a makeover (daunting as I hate spiders and the Mud Room is always full of them), cleaned the house bot to tottom, and almost finished the backyard, tearing up, leveling, making a garden spot, tanning spot, etc. (it’s been a month long process all done by hand) and that actually took up most of today. So with all the hard work this weekend, I felt it was necessary to reward myself! Although looking at it written out it doesn’t sound like as much work as it actually was, so you’ll have to take my word on it.

Last week I saw a great link posted by “Food in Jars” talking about something called “Strawberry Vodka.” As it so happened I had just been strawberry picking with Brandy, aka “Nutmeg Nanny” and Samantha aka “Sweet Remedy.”

 I love Strawberries, I enjoy vodka….I had a plethora of fresh berries so it wasn’t really an option, I HAD to make the vodka! The hardest part was the waiting, 7 days, it seemed like an eternity. And each day I had to “gently swirl” the jar, which was basically like teasing, because I couldn’t have it yet. Needless to say it was worth the wait.

But it gets better……

A friend and I have been chatting about limoncello recently, I love limoncello, always have. It’s magical, and somehow I always have magical things happen when I drink it. Yesterday I set out to find a bottle, 5 stores later I still hadn’t found the one I wanted, however the last shop I came upon had one that looked better than the rest; and their logo is a 4 leaf clover, so well i kinda had to get it there, because, well, if you know me you know why. Into the freezer it went!

And then it turned into the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted, Strawcellovodka only because I haven’t thought of anything better. It’s about 3/4 of a shot of Linomcello, and 3/4shot of the Strawberry Vodka, both chilled, no ice, no mixer.  And it is divine heavenly perfection!!!!!!

Recipe straight from the blog of David Lebovitz!

Strawberry Vodka, makes about 1Qt

One bottle (750ml) vodka, I used a middle of the line vodka, Svedka

2 pints (about 1 1 /4 pounds) strawberries, organic or locally picked or bought

1. Rinse, hull, and slice the strawberries and put  in a glass jar with lid. Add vodka, cover, and shake the jar.

2. Store in cool, dark place (such as a kitchen cabinet or closet) for 5 to 7 days, swirl around once a day.

3. After 5 to 7 days, strain with cheese cloth or a fine mess strainer.

4. Store in a bottle or mason jar and use as you like!

So I want to be a Nudie Foodie…..

Happy 4th of July!!! It’s been a lovely weekend and up next is an even more amazing week!!!!

A huge thank you to Brandy over at  the www.NutmegNanny.com for the most AMAZING recipe for Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries. To say they were a hit at the Sunday BBQ would be the biggest understatement ever! Quick, Easy and DELICIOUS!  I made them, as well as a “Smore Sundae”; a dark chocolate brownie loaded with melted marshmallows and topped with Graham Cracker Ice Cream! That was awesome as well, pretty mind-blowing actually! 

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Saturday night was pretty spectacular as well, spent time with my awesome cousin Jessica for the first time in about 15 years (yes her name is Jessica as well), listened to another friend play an awesome show at Mariners on the river, and even had a  Bernie Williams sighting and autograph earlier in the day. Now let me just say that I do NOT believe in autographs, never have, never will; it’s just a name on paper. However, my little brother is 10, and not only does he believe in them, but Bernie Williams is his hero! He knows every status, record, you name it, he’s his everything! So, I grew a pair, walked up, and asked him for it, told him it was for my 10year old brother, he said sure, I handed him a napkin and the rest is history! Stopped on the way home for a frame for it, and had my parents bring Sam over before going out for the night. Sam hasn’t put it down since then, he even slept with it!

Sam and his Bernie Williams Autograph

Now, on to the good stuff!!!!!!

 So I want to be a Nudie Foodie……. A few months ago a few of my twitter friends will all abuzz with this “Nudie Foodie” thing, and ummmm hello, I love food, and well, I think the body is a beautiful thing and should be captured far more often. So needless to say, combining the two is something I am totally up for! Here comes the Nudie Foodie round two, the second book is in the works, and to celebrate the first and the second The Nudie Foodies are having a contest, and yes I am entering it! What does this involve….? Well, getting naked (naughty bits covered of course) and having some fun with food. Today my basket at the store included two melons, strawberries, peaches, bananas, and chocolate truffles…let your imagination run wild here.  I have an amazing photographer, Eileen of Flawless For You Photography, she knows the body and her craft better than anyone; and she has this amazing talent to bring out the best features in everyone. Find her here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Flawless-For-You/147171895294632 Tomorrow I will be stripping down and fooding up, all for a great cause. We’ve picked out a few pictures, and I have some baking to do tonight to get ready for the shoot tomorrow. (Strawberry Peach Crumble) All the proceeds from the book are for charity. The first book helped Japan, and I can’t wait to see who can be helped with the second book. Nothing like taking it off for charity!

Never too early to start practicing

 

Time to make the crumble and prep for tomorrow!