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cookbook review: 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know + "marry me" vs. "still married" Lasagna

100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know comes from Cindy Leive and the Editors of Glamour Magazine.  It begins with the fascinating tale of Engagement Chicken (including an engagement hall of fame...people who made the dish and in turn received a proposal) and the now cult-status recipe for the chicken.  It is followed up by 99 equally enticing recipes with fun names like He Stayed Over Omelet, Make it in the Car Artichoke Dip, Forget the Mistake You Made at Work Margarita, Baby, It's Cold Outside Crabmeat Soup, Instant Seduction Pork Chops, Bikini Season Baked Salmon, It's Almost Payday Chili, and Impress His Family Chardonnay Cake just to name a few!

If the introduction to the book and the fabulous fairy-tale origins or Engagement Chicken weren't enough, each section is packed with tempting recipes that are accompanied by fun explanations and ideas about when to serve that particular dish.  Tucked into some of the sections (which include breakfast & brunch, nibbles, drinks, soups & salads, mains, seafood, pasta, meat-free mains, sides, cheap & easy meals, and sweets) are some great Kitchen Basics such as Five Breakfasts for Very Busy Women or How to Make a Perfect Cheese Plate.  Bringing up the rear of this fun, fabulous cookbook is a MENU section in which you can find the perfect way to fit starters, mains, sides, and sweets together for a fabulous dinner party or intimate affair (with some more kitchen basics to help you along).

I love the recipes in this cookbook.  I think it's the perfect give to give a young woman venturing out to "find herself" and start an independent life.  Whether she's going off to college, moving into her first apartment or home, getting engaged (though you may want to get this into her hands before then if she's really wishing it would happen soon...the lore of Engagement Chicken is strong), or even getting married.  That said, I think it's a fun addition to any woman's kitchen.  I know I've enjoyed it and will continue to cook from it and loan it out to friends.
Marry Me Lasagna
serves 4-6
or  
Still Married Lasagna
from me
 serves ~12
I wanted to include the actual recipe from the book since I'm reviewing it, but I couldn't help myself in changing it up.  After all, I'm not in need of a "marry me" lasagna...so I went for a "still married" version of it.  Either one will be delicious.  My version will include the things in green!  I didn't leave out anything called for, just increased a few quantities and added a few extra ingredients.  If I make it this way next time (and for some reason, I never seem to make lasagna the same way twice), I will double the ricotta and cottage cheese...and probably increase the mozzarella and parm, too...cheeseslut that I am.

3 (4-5) c. Marinara Sauce
8 oz. (~16 each) uncooked Lasagna noodles
1 (15-16 oz.) container Ricotta cheese
4 oz. small curd cottage cheese
3 eggs
1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
6 oz. baby Spinach
2 c. freshly grated mozzarella
½ c. freshly grated Parmesan
Basil leaves, finely chopped (chiffonade) for garnish

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Cook lasagna noodles until al dente, drain, and let sit in colander.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, eggs, and Italian seasoning.

Spread 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish (or lasagna pan).  Top with a layer of noodles (4), followed by ½ (⅓) of the ricotta mixture.  Repeat with second layer of marinara, noodles, and ricotta mixture.  Layer spinach over all of this (this will be right in the center of the whole dish).  Finish with last layer (do two more layers) of noodles (and ricotta mixture...ending with noodles) and then spread ~¾ marinara over the noodles (leave a little for serving).  Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan.

Slide into the oven and bake for ~1 hour, or until top is golden and filling is bubbling around edges.  Noodles will be tender when pierced with a knife.  Remove from oven and let cool ~15 minutes before serving.  Cut into thick slices and garnish with basil.  Serve drizzled with extra marinara (put a spoonful of marinara on plate and serve a slice on top...I like it underneath so as not to mess with my cheesy top layer)I love serving lasagna with a green salad, a loaf of crusty bread, and a bottle of wine...or milk.
*I received a free copy of this book to review. I received no compensation and all opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
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*Trish of My Slap Happy Kitchen is hosting PPN this week.
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