Today, I went to work and when I got home, Paul was laying tile down in our garage entrance. We live in a really nice space with some high end features, but apparently, when it came time to do the garage entry, the contractor just gave up. For a look at the initial stages of reconstruction of our downtown Knoxville warehouse space, see this article in the News Sentinel done when the developer first started out.
You've come a long way, baby!
Since my honey was working so hard at TOOL TIME activities, I wanted to make him a nice dinner. It ends up his coworkers are coming over to wine and dine in a bit more than a week, so I am cooking up lasagnas on the nights I am not on call to see which ones would be best. THere will be about 12 people, so I need at least two different types. FOLLOWERS, please feel free to send me your lasagna recipes!
Of course, you have to have the "classic lasagna," but I also want to serve something "off the eaten path," so I thought I would try a recipe for pumpkin lasagna. One thing I can say for sure, it has A LOT of pumpkin in it! As always, the recipe follows. I have to say it was not bad, but this recipe needs something to spice it up a bit. I am not sure you really need 5 cans of pumpkin. Who needs 5 cans of pumpkin for any one dish? And the original recipe called for 6! YIKES! I also used mild Italian chicken sausage. Maybe andouille or chorizo would have given it the missing kick?
For dessert, I served up a Pecan Cheesecake Pie. This original recipe called for a jar of caramel sauce that you would ordinarily find in the ice cream aisle. But I found an interesting Dulce de Leche sauce and used it instead and it turned out well. However, I don't believe it will be all that easy to find that sauce. I got it at EarthFare, and I believe the caramel would also be tasty.Also, the original recipe calls for just pecans but I was 1/2 cup short, so I put 1/2 c of cashews I had in the cupboard. Still tasted great!
Mr. Parris's opinion of this meal:
THE PUMPKIN LASAGNA--There was nothing wrong with it. I ate the whole plate, but it was a bit bland.
THE PECAN CHEESECAKE PIE-- very tasty.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 chopped onion
2 lbs. of Swiss chard
1 lb chicken mild Italian sausage
2 ¼ teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of freshly grounded black pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
5 (15-ounce) cans of pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups of heavy cream
1 ½ cups of grated parmesan
½ cup of milk
9 lasagna noodle (non-boiled)
1 tablespoon of butter
1) In a large sauce pan; heat olive oil over moderately to low heat. Add onions and cook, while stirring consistently for about 5 min (or translucent). Increase heat to moderate and add the Swiss chard, only 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper, ½ teaspoon of sage, and ¼ nutmegs. Cook and stir consistently for about 7-10 min. The Swiss chard should be wilted and no liquid should be left in the pan. Remove from pan and brown the sausage.
2) Set the oven to 400 F, let it preheat. In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, cream, and remaining 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper, ½ teaspoon sage, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.
3) In an 8×12 inch baking dish pour in the milk. Top milk with 1/3 of the noodles and spread ½ pumpkin mixtures over the noodles. Layer ½ the Swiss chard/sausage over the pumpkin and top with second layer of noodles. Repeat layering until baking dish is completely filled. On top layer spread over remaining 1 cup of pumpkin and ¾ cup of cream with a sprinkle of parmesan. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 min. Uncover and bake for another 30 min or until golden brown.
Dulce de Leche Pecan and Cashew CHEESECAKE PIE
1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 c cashews
1 jar dulce de leche topping for ice cream
Line a 9-in. pie plate with pastry. Trim and flute edges. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, 1 egg and vanilla until smooth. Spread into pastry shell; sprinkle with pecans.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining eggs; gradually whisk in dulce de leche topping until blended. Pour slowly over pecans/cashews.
Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned (loosely cover edges with foil after 20 minutes if pie browns too quickly). Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before slicing. If desired, garnish with additional ice cream topping. Yield: 6-8 servings.