Lasagna Bolognese (Serves 8)
For assembly, both the meat sauce and the bechamel should be just warm to the touch, not piping hot. Both sauces can be made, cooled, and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead, then gently reheated until warm.
1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium celery rib, roughly chopped
½ small onion, roughly chopped
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces ground beef (90% lean)
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground veal
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
¾ teaspoons sale
Noodles and cheese
15 sheets (9 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles
4 ounces Parmesan, grated (2 cups)
For the meat sauce:
1. Process carrot, celery, and onion in a food processor until finely chopped, abut ten 1-second pulses, scraping bowl down as necessary; transfer mixture to bowl
2. Process tomatoes and juice in food processor until finely chopped, six to eight 1-second pulses.
3. Heat butter in heavy Dutch over over medium heat until foaming; add carrot, celery, and onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened by not browned (about 4 minutes).
4. Add ground meats and cook, breaking meat in to 1-inch pieces with wooden spoon(about 1 minute)
5. Add milk and stir, breaking meat into ½-inch bits; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring to break meat into small pieces, until almost all liquid has evaporated, 20-30 minutes.
6. Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, break up any remaining clumps of meat.
7. Add wine and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 20-30 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until combined, about 1 minute.
8. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes (you should have about 6 cups of meat sauce). Transfer meat sauce to bowl and cook until just warm to touch, about 30 minutes.
For bechamel sauce:
1. While meat sauce simmers, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat until foaming.
2. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 1½ minutes; mixture should not brown.
3. Gradually whisk in milk; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a full boil, whisking frequently.
4. Add salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and making sure to scrape bottom and corners of saucepan. You should have about 3 1/3 cups.
5. Transfer bechamel to bowl and cook until just warm to touch, about 30 minutes
To assemble and bake:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat over to 425 degrees.
2. Place noodles in 13 x 9 baking dish and cover with very hot tap water.; soak 5 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking.
3. Remove noodles from water; place in single layer on kitchen towel and pat dry.
4. Wipe out baking dish and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
5. Stir bechamel to recombine; mix ¾ cup warm bechamel into warm meat sauce until thoroughly combined.
6. Distribute 1 cup meat sauce in the baking dish. Place 3 noodles in a single layer on top of sauce, arranging them close together but not touching at center of pan.
7. Spread 1 ¼ cups mean sauce evenly over noodles, spreading sauce to edge of noodles but not to edge of dish.
8. Drizzle 1/3 cup bechamel evenly over meat sauce.
9. Sprinkle 1/3 cup Parmesan evenly over bechamel.
10. Repeat layering of noodles, meat sauce, béchamel, and cheese 3 more times.
11. Place final 3 noodles on top and cover completely with remaining béchamel, spreading evenly and allowing sauce to spill over noodles.
12. Sprinkle evenly with remaining Parmesan cheese.
13. Spray large sheet foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna; bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes.
14. Remove foil, increase heat to 450 degrees; and continue to bake about 15 more minutes.
15. Cook for 15 minutes; cut into pieces and serve.
Layered Coconut Cream Cheesecake Bars (Serves 16)
84 Nilla Wafers, divided
6 tablespoons butter, melted
(1) 8 ounce package of softened low-fat cream cheese
2 table spoons of sugar
8 ounces of Lite Cool Whip, thawed and divided
(2) 3.4 ounce packages of Jello sugar free instant vanilla pudding
2.5 cups cold milk
1.5 cups Angel Flake coconut, toasted and divided
1. Reserve 24 wafers. Crush remaining wafers and mix with butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Refrigerate while preparing filing.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until well blended. Whisk in 1 cup Cool Whip. Carefully spread over crust. Stand reserved wafers around the edges.
3. Beat pudding mixes and milk with whisk in medium bowl for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of Cool Whip and ¾ cup coconut. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining Cool Whip and coconut. Refrigerate for 5 hours.
How to toast coconut: Just spread coconut evenly in a shallow pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Or spread in a microwave pie plate. Microwave on high for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Whichever method you choose, watch carefully as coconut can easily burn.
Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs (makes about 40 cookies)
Here's a recipe for a wonderful holiday cookie – if you cannot find superfine sugar, you can obtain a close approximation by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about 20 seconds.
Butter Cookie Dough
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
¾ cup (5 1/2 ounces) superfine sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into sixteen ½ inch pieces, at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut, pulsed in food processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses
1. FOR THE COOKIES: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, lime zest, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.
2. Use hands to roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake one batch at a time in 375-degree oven until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Little Cherry Cheesecakes (makes 30-32 servings)
For those of you who are watching your calories, you can deceive yourselves by making these little desserts. The trick is to only eat just one – yeah, right!
(2) 8 ounce packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 box vanilla wafers
1 pint sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can cherry or blueberry pie filling
For cheesecake, cream together first 5 ingredients. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Place vanilla wafers (flat side down) in cupcake liners. Fill ½ full with the cheesecake mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool 1 hour.
For topping, beat together first three ingredients and spread over baked cheesecake. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool and top with a spoonful of cherry or blueberry pie filling. Chill.