Wednesday, October 13, 2010


RG told me the other day that he was craving for some lasagna. So I remembered to buy some lasagna noodles when I went to Shaws.

Yesterday, I decided to make it for dinner. Being lazy, I didn't follow any recipe. I opened the fridge and just grabbed whatever I could lay my hands on that could possibly work for a lasagna.

So out came - what's left of a rotisserie chicken, 3/4 of a bottle of pasta sauce, some cottage cheese, mozarella cheese, parmesan cheese & some chicken stock. I also grabbed a small white onion, a few garlic cloves....and for seasoning, I chose Italian seasoning & parsley flakes.

So this is just my version of the lasagna based on what I had in my can use anything that works for you i.e. instead of rotisserie chicken, you can use minced meats or mashed meatballs/ can use cream/ricotta/cheddar cheese instead of can make your own tomato sauce instead of using bottled pasta can use other spices like thyme, garlic/onion powder etc etc. You get the picture? Just do whatever you please to suit your taste buds....hence the title "ANYTHING-GOES-LASAGNA".

Since it was spur of the moment kinda cooking....I obviously didn't care to be exact with my measurements. Just taste, taste and taste to get the desired results.

First I boiled the lasagna noodles till soft and cooked. Rinsed them with cold water and then set aside. Next I tore apart my rotisserie chicken with 2 forks to yield about 2-3 cups of shredded chicken. Then I finely chopped my onion and garlic. I heated up my pan over the stove on medium-high heat and added some EVOO. I stir fried the onion and garlic until I could smell the fragrance and I added the shredded chicken, some chicken stock, dash of salt/pepper, italian seasoning, parsley flakes to stir fry till heated thoroughly.

Next, in a large bowl, I added approx half a tub (8-10oz) of cottage cheese, approx 1 cup of mozarella cheese...and then I stirred in the chicken mixture while it was still hot. I mixed till the chicken and cheeses were well-mixed & all the cheeses melted.

Finally, it was time to put together the lasagna. I spread a few tbsps of pasta sauce at the bottom of the baking dish. Then I laid the cooked lasagna noodles on the sauce. On the noodles, I added the chicken/cheese mixture and then topped with more pasta sauce. Then I added another layer of lasagna noodles, again followed by pasta sauce & chicken/cheese. For my last pasta layer....I had ran out of the chicken/cheese I just topped off the final pasta layer with sauce and then spread a generous serving of mozarella and parmesan cheese on top.

My oven had been preheated to 350F......I cooked my lasagna for approx 45-50 min in total. Do check on it after 1/2 hour or so of baking 'cos the cheeses on top might burn. If you see that happening....grab some aluminium foil and use it to cover your lasagna so that it can continue to cook without the top layer being burnt.

Here's my lasagna....ready to be eaten!
Anything-goes cooking is fun. Try it and share with us your results.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New England clam chowder

There were still quite some half-&-half and bacon left in the fridge after the gals made clam chowder when they were still here last week. I decided to make another batch of clam chowder for RG and myself with the remaining ingredients using the same recipe that I had given the gals.

It's a really simple and quick recipe which I found online...that yields very satisfactory results on both occasions when the gals and I had made it. This is the New England clam chowder - the white, creamy type (Manhattan chowder is unheard of in New England!!!)

I had modified the proportions and some of the ingredients to suit our taste buds.

Ingredients (serving size - 2-3 persons)
- 2 slices of bacon (finely chopped)
- 1/2 cup white onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 - 1 cup water
- 1 cup of potatoes (peeled and diced)
- 1/2 tsp salt (or according to taste)
- dash of ground black pepper
- 1 cup half-&-half
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 can (6.5oz) of minced clams
- dash of parsley flakes
- cornflour (to thicken soup)
- frozen puff pastry (enough to cover the baking dish)

- Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and stir fry till brown and slightly crispy. Then add onions and cook till slightly soft & translucent.
- Add diced potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Add more water if necessary during the boiling process and cook until potatoes are tender.
- Pour in half-&-half and add butter and stir till butter is completely dissolved. Add the clams & the clam juice from the can. Cook over low-medium heat for another 10 minutes and keep stirring.
- Depending on whether you like your chowder runny or can add some cornflour (add cornflour to a little cold water in a glass and stir to dissolve flour before adding the cornflour solution to the chowder) to thicken the chowder.
- Top off chowder with some parsley flakes (omit if you don't like parsley).

You can stop here and enjoy the chowder at this point by adding some oyster crackers to it. But I continued my cooking process by scooping the chowder into individual small baking dish and cut out enough puff pastry (I use Pillsbury flaky pastry) to press onto the edges of my baking dish to seal it. Then I placed the baking dishes into my preheated oven (350F) to bake till the puff pastries turn golden brown and puff up. The puff pastry on top of the chowder makes a more filling meal. You can also serve the chowder in a bread bowl.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Raisin cinnamon pinwheels - using frozen puff pastry

Frozen store-bought pastries are the best thing in the world!

No more mess or tonnes of washing up to do.....tea snacks can be ready within minutes.

We were craving some raisin cinnamon rolls the other day and I had some Pillsbury flaky pastry in the I threw together some melted butter, brown sugar & ground cinnamon in recordbreaking time.....spread the mixture out on the rolled out pastry....sprinkled some raisins all over.....rolled up the pastry like a big "popiah"....cut the rolled pastry into 8 equal pieces and placed them on parchment paper on a baking tray. Pop the little babies into the oven at 350F for about 16-18min (or until golden brown) and then we are DONE!!

Anyone can do can involve your young ones when making these.