Monday, October 18, 2010


I love cooking, as you know, but I need to bake more often. I tend to stick to my stand bys, which hubby loves, but I think something new once and a while would be nice. I was pondering this thought when I was in a baking mood a few weekends ago. So I turned through the marked pages of an ol' favorite of a cookbook and got a few ideas. I, in turn, made some pretty darn good ginger snap cookies.

Giant Spice Cookies

1 package spice cake mix (they didn't have this in my local store and hubby didn't feel like running around town, so I picked a Ginger Bread mix)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 cup water 1/4 cup molasses 6 teaspoons vanilla extract In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, ginger and baking soda. Stir in water, molasses and vanilla and mix well. Using a cookie scoop, place 1-inch balls on greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a glass coated with cooking spray and sugar. Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until surface cracks and cookies are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Hubby's Rating: Like it! He isn't big on cookies unless they are no bake or peanut butter. He enjoyed these the first day, but didn't touch them after that.

My Take
: I was so excited to see how these turned out--I was hoping for a soft, big cookie.
I mean, look at the picture from the cookbook! And then look at the cookies I pulled out of the oven....bummer! They tasted good, especially with a glass of cold milk, but they weren't what I was expecting! They had a bit too much ginger (probably because I used the ginger bread mix instead of a spice cake mix). But, I am still intrigued by that elusive giant, soft cookie picture, so as soon as I find a spice cake mix, I will try again!

Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home. (Click to see pictures of the Giant (soft looking) spice cookies).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lasagna Roll-Ups

I have been spying this recipe for a while now...wondering if it was really as easy as it looked and if there were improvements I could make to the recipe. My husband was gone for 5 days on a training week for work, so I wanted to make him one of his favorite meals, with a twist and I finally dove into the following recipe. I must say, it turned out great and we'll be keeping my changes and making it again!

Lasagna Roll-Ups

8-12 Lasagna Noodles, cooked
4 Cups meat sauce (homemade, or 1 jar store bought)
1 24 oz container cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 teaspoon each of basil, bay leaves, oregano
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.Mix cottage cheese with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, then add basil, bay leaves, oregano, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, stir well. Set aside. Make sure lasagna noodles are cooked, almost to the point of al-dente, but still firm, about 8 minutes in a rolling boil. Take from boiling water and place in a dish with cool water so they do not stick. Spray a 9X13 casserole pan, then lay one lasagna noodle flat in bottom. Top with meat sauce, then cheese mixture. Roll up noodle and place seam down in dish. Repeat with remaining noodles. Top roll-ups with extra meat sauce. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and add remaning shredded cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Pull from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Serve with a side salad and garlic bread!

Hubby's Rating: Love it! He is a big lasagna fan. He said this hit the spot and he loved the leftovers just as much today!

My Take: I love lasagna too, but it's just a pain to make and can be expensive with all the ingredients I add (using my mom's traditional recipe). I like doing the crock pot lasagna because it's easy--but there is always tons left over so I tend to save that for company. I'm glad I found this recipe! I made 10 roll-ups last night. We each had 2 for dinner last night, then 2 for lunch today. I froze the remaining two to pull for a lunch sometime in the next two weeks or so. I can see myself making a pan of this again very soon and saving some for friends of ours that just had a baby. What made this really easy last night was I used meat sauce that I had prepared in the crock pot and froze 2 or so weeks ago. It had hamburg and sweet Italian sausage. If you want to keep the costs down on this easy lasagna, you could easily cut the meat (which I might do to make a meatless Monday version). I am also looking forward to sneaking some spinach in to this next time for extra nutrients. I'm fiddling with the idea of using the basic recipe but using alfredo sauce, chicken and spinach, too.

Recipe Adapted From