Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cookie Obsessed

I am a bad blogger.  I ca't even keep up with my own weekight recipes this week!  Argh.

Okay so rewind to Tuesday night.  We were all still pretty exhausted from the craziness of Dad being hospitalized (he is home now though!  Yay!) and in need of some good old fashioned comfort food.  I decided to make the caprese lasagna roll-ups again.  I made them a few weeks ago, and everyone loved them.  You know my family - that does not often (ever) happen, so I knew when I made them that I would be making them again.  This time around I was quicker, although I do still think that a regular lasagna is faster, yet not as cute or perfectly portioned!  I do also stand by my thought that you honestly cannot attempt to smear the cheese mixture on the cooked noodles until they have cooled.  And please make sure your basset hound does not eat a couple noodles while they cool on the counter.  Oh, you don't have that problem?  Weird :)

As always, they were a huge hit.  Someone who begged not to be named happened to eat 3 roll-ups, which was more than even her boyfriend ate.  They are cheesy and saucy, and the bright pop of the tomatoes and brightness of the basil... exactly the comfort food we needed.  Love these roll-ups.

Then last night, it was a cookie baking kind of night.  I was thinking, and it is kind of funny how many cookies I have been making lately.  I guess it's just the season for cookies and it has me wanting to bake them every night! The funniest part is that I remember blogging last winter that I hate making cookies.  I was on a real cupcake swing then, and now I can hardly remember the last cupcake I make.  I guesss I have phases!  Anyway, I decided to bake some cookies, and Mom had sent me an email that day with a forwarded recipe she got from Food Network: Jamie Deen's old-fashioned ginger crinkle cookies.  I love ginger, and I have been baking crinkle cookies like nobody's business this year, so I figured I would give it a try.  Mom was happy because the recipe did not call for crystallized ginger (remember how much she loathed the cookies I baked that called for that!?) and I was happy because it made the house smell like Christmas as they baked, with all the cinnamon and cloves and allspice!  You roll the dough into balls and then roll the balls in turbinando sugar, which gives them a soft inside and a crunch on the outside.  My mom has said they are very addicting, so beware if you make them :) They go fast!

The cookies from the extra dough; Mom loves them!
Tonight I had a special thing to work on.  We do a Secret Santa at work, and my person wrote that they love cheesecakes and tiramisu.  So I figured, for the big gift at the end of the week, I would combine the two and make tiramisu cheesecake bars!  I found the recipe online and it seemed easy enough: you make a sugar cookie crust (with extra dough for some cookies as well!), then fill it with a mocha-flavored cheesecake, and top it with a cream cheese/ whipped cream topping and chocolate curls.  I have all the parts made, and I am currently chilling the whole thing.  I will cut it into bars tomorrow, pack as many as I can fit into my cute little snowman tin, and bring them to work.  I hope she likes them :) 

A couple things about the recipe; there were some issues.  First, the ingredient list calls for an egg, but then never says when to add it!  Add it after the butter and sugar have been creamed.  I am so glad I realized this error before I attempted to make the dough work for me.  Also, I thought it was very weird that the topping calls for no sugar.  Cream cheese and cream alone?!  So I added 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.  I can't tell you if it is good or not just yet, but I will be leaving a few bars at home for Mom to try, so I can keep you posted!  Now, time to decorate the top with some melted choclate (the recipe calls for grated chocoalte, but I have no chocolate to grate!)

After baking
Thank GOD tomorrow is Friday.

old fashioned ginger crinkle cookies
tiramisu cheesecake bars

caprese lasagna roll-ups
from Cooking Classy

8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
14 oz freshly shredded, low-moisture part skim Mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1 large egg white
1/3 cup freshly, finely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/4 oz)
freshly ground black pepper
3 - 4 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/6 inch thick slices)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 cup Simple Marinara Sauce, recipe follows  (or just use a can/jar of sauce if you want to be lazy like me!)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions listed on package to al dente. Drain pasta (DO NOT rinse with water) and align lasagna noodles in a single layer on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper.

2) For filling, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese and egg white until well blended. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Mix in 12 oz. of the mozzarella cheese and season with salt and  black pepper to taste.

3) Place 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture over each lasagna noodle and spread into an even layer, going from one end of the lasagna to the other. Align 4 thin tomato slices over cheese mixture then sprinkle fresh basil over top. Snugly roll lasagna noodles to opposite end.

4) Spread about 1/4 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Align lasagna roll ups, seam side down in dish. Top each roll up with about 2 Tbsp of the pasta sauce (covering edges of pasta so they don't dry out while baking). Sprinkle top with remaining 2 oz. shredded Mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, plate pasta and garnish with plenty of basil ribbons. Serve warm.

Simple Marinara Sauce
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions to hot oil and saute about 3 minutes until soft, adding garlic during last minute of sauteing. Pour in crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and allow sauce to cook for about 25 - 30 minutes (which will allow some of the water in crushed tomatoes to evaporate) while you prepare pasta and lasagna filling (you can freeze or refrigerate left over sauce in a small airtight container for later use, adding fresh basil if desired).

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