Quick Recipes and Easy

Dining Out At Home

I really delight in eating at nice restaurants. Not because I don’t delight in cooking, but more to the point, I delight in excellent food. I was working in a small Oregon town for a while and found myself hard pressed for someplace really excellent to eat. There were plenty of restaurants in town, just very few with food I would consider really tasty. This same situation can be found in many small towns all over America.

When I’m getting together with friends, or friend as the case my be, it’s always nice to eat dinner at my house. I am then in control of the evening. No rushing to be in time for my reservation at the restaurant. We are able to delight in whatever music we find enjoyable. There is no waiter hovering for his tip. I especially delight in when the waiter wants to question about the meal and my mouth if full of food.

There is nobody standing around waiting for my table. I know the food will be excellent because I know exactly what went into it. We can stay seated at the table for as long as we want or better yet, go the party into the living room. (Even better on a rainy night)

I thought it would be fun to pass along the makings of a truly fantastic dinner, assuming Italian is a meal of choice. Whatever you do, don’t cheapskate on the ingredients. Start with a nice green salad. Have perhaps two dressings available. Again, don’t cheapskate. A bottle of nice wine is always excellent. Have your dealer help you with the selection. Also, be sure to have coffee available. Perhaps more then one flavor. Now let’s get to the heart of the situation.

Olive Garden Lasagna

Alfredo Sauce:

1/2 lb. sweet or salted butter
12 oz. heavy cream
Fresh ground white pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh Parmesan, grated

Ricotta Cheese Mix:

1 pint Ricotta cheese
2 oz. Romano, grated
3 oz. Mozzarella, shredded
2 tbls. green onions, sliced
2 teas. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teas. salt
1/8 teas. black pepper
1/4 teas. dried basil
1/4 teas. dried oregano
1 1/4 cups Alfredo sauce, cooled

Vegetable Mix:

4 cups broccoli florets
2 cups carrots, sliced 1/4″
4 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced 1/4″
2 cups red bell peppers, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cups zucchini, sliced

Lasagna noodles
18 slices Mozzarella cheese, 1/2 oz. each

Lay out enough dry lasagna strips in a 9×13 pan to
ensure you have enough to make 3 full layers, with
very small overlap on each layer. Remove the dry
strips and cook according to package instructions until
barely “al dente” and drain.

Heat water to a boil in the bottom of
a double boiler. Add butter, cream and pepper to the
top pot and heat until butter is completely melted,
then stir in Parmesan until melted and blended.
Remove top pot and set aside to cool. Divide the
sauce into 2 equal parts. Refrigerate 1 part for
use later.

Combine all ingredients in a
bowl and blend thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Set
aside at room temp.

Combine all veggies and mix well.

Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13
baking dish with vegetable spray. Lay out cooked
lasagna strips (about 4) to cover entire bottom.
Spread 1 1/4 c of the Ricotta mix evenly over the
strips. Top with 8 c of veggie mix and spread out
evenly. Lay out 9 of the mozzarella slices to cover the
veggie layer. Repeat this layering. Top the second
layer of mozzarella slices with lasagna strips and
spread them evenly with 1 1/4 c ricotta cheese mix to

Spray a sheet of foil with vegetable spray
and cover the baking dish tightly with the foil, sprayed
side down. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about
an hour or until the internal temp is 165F. Remove
from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes,
covered, before cutting and serving. Immediately prior
to serving, heat the reserved part of Alfredo Sauce
and ladle the hot sauce over each slice of lasagna as
it is served.

An appetizer is always nice to get the evening started.

Olive Gardens Fried Mozzarella

1 pound block of mozzarella cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup corn starch

Slice the block of cheese lengthwise into about 1/2 inch
sections. Cut each section in half.

Beat the eggs with water and set aside. Mix the bread crumbs,
garlic, oregano, and basil and set aside. Blend the flour with
corn starch and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil for deep frying to 350F. Dip cheese in flour
then in egg wash and then coat with bread crumbs. Place carefully
in hot oil and fry until golden brown. This should only take a
matter of seconds, so you need to watch them closely.
Drain on brown paper bags and serve with your favorite pasta
sauce that has been warmed.

No truly fantastic dinner is complete without a really decadent dessert. Try this on for size.

Cracker Barrel Cherry Chocolate Cobbler

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups butter
1 (6 oz.) pkg. Nestle’s semi sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cups milk
1 egg
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1/2 cups nuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking
powder, salt and butter; cut with pastry blender until crumbs are
size of large peas. Melt over hot (not boiling) water, Nestle’s
semi sweet chocolate morsels. Remove from heat and cool slightly
at room temperature (about 5 minutes). Add milk and egg to melted
chocolate and mix well. Blend chocolate into flour mixture. Spread
cherry pie filling in bottom of 2 quart casserole. Drop chocolate
batter randomly over cherries. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Bake at 350 F for 40 45 minutes. Serve warm with heavy cream.

It is best to have several wheelbarrows available to transport you from the table to the couch. Also, have a prepared statement already written where-by you swear to go on a diet the very next day.

These recipes come from a fun cookbook I was sent by an internet marketer friend of mine. If you would delight in a PDF copy, really FREE of charge, check out this web site:

geocities.com/ddinstories/cookbook.html geocities.com/ddinstories/cookbook.html

Be sure to include the word ‘cookbook’ on the subject line when you send off for it. Thank you for spending a few minutes with me in the kitchen.

About the Author

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