My Parents’ 40th Anniversary Dinner Menu:

Princess Lasagna

Strawberry and Feta Salad with Candied Walnuts and Berry Vinaigrette

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Grilled Italian Chicken

Pita Garlic Bread

4 kinds of Tortes (Chocolate, Almond, Cheesecake, and Raspberry)

 

Princess lasagna is a marrying of two really great recipes into a fantastic journey of your taste buds.  When I was a young girl, with the bloom still on my cheeks, my parents would often take us to Youghiogheny (pronounced yah-kuh-GAIN-ee ) Country Club (YCC) for dinner or brunch.  When it was on the menu, we always ordered Princess Soup, a rich, velvety experience that was the perfect way to start your meal.  It’s quite simple to make and if you don’t want to incorporate into the lasagna it is quite good all on its own.

 

Princess Lasagna

 

1 (8 oz) package lasagna noodles (I use Barilla no boil noodles, so there’s no prep for them)

Princess Soup (recipe follows)

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, sliced

16 oz mushrooms, rinsed and sliced

5 cups ricotta cheese

1 large bunch of fresh baby spinach, torn into large chunks

4 cups shredded mozzarella

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  If you use regular lasagna noodles, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and rinse with cold water.

 

In a stock pot prepare soup as directed below.

 

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat, cook and stir the garlic for 1 minute, then add mushrooms, cook until mushrooms cook down, about 5 minutes.

 

Lightly coat the bottom of a deep dish pan with enough soup mixture to coat.  Layer with 1/3 of the lasagna noodles, 2 cups ricotta, 1/2 of the spinach, and 2 cups mozzarella, and repeat the layers. Place the remaining noodles on top, and spread remaining soup.

 

Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven or until brown and bubbly. Top with  the remaining cup of mozzarella and cup of Parmesan cheese, and continue baking until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

 

Youghiogheny’s Princess Soup

 

2 carrots, finely diced

2 small onions

5 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp flour

1 qt chicken stock

1/8 tsp mace

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

2 cups heavy whipping cream, scalded

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

 

Sauté the vegetables in butter, about 5 minutes until carrots are soft and onions are translucent, stir in flour, one tablespoon at a time, stirring continuously. Slowly add chicken stock, add seasonings, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain cream and add. Stir in cheese and parsley. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Heat through but do not boil.

 

Strawberry and Feta Salad with Candied Walnuts and Berry Vinaigrette

 

3 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam

2/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup raspberry white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

12 cups Mesclun (pronunciation: MESS-klunn) (salad mix of assorted small, young leaves like spring mix)

1 small red onion, sliced thin

1 cup reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

3/4 cup easy candied walnuts (recipe follows)

 

Place jam in microwavable bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds until jam is melted. Add the jam, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to a container with a tight fitting lid, and shake well. Refrigerate any unused dressing.

 

In a large salad bowl, combine mesclun, red onion, and strawberries.  Toss with two tablespoons of dressing to marry the salad.  When ready to serve, top with feta and walnuts. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

 

Easy Candied Walnuts

 

You can store these in a container with a tight lid for a couple of weeks, but if your house is anything like mine, they disappear very quickly.

 

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp water

2 cups walnuts

 

Microwave butter in a 2 quart glass bowl until melted. Add remaining ingredients and stir nuts until coated. Microwave the bowl, uncovered 4-5 minutes, stirring every minute, cool in a single layer on wax paper.

 

Grilled Italian Chicken

 

So easy, but so yummy! The microwaving cuts down on grilling time, so the meat is cook, but still tender and juicy.

 

5 lbs chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

2 bottles of your favorite Italian dressing

 

Marinate chicken breasts for as little as 30 minutes or for a long as 3 days in Italian dressing, depending on how much time you have. Preheat grill. Place chicken in a 9×13 glass casserole dish and microwave for 3 minutes on high or until the edges of the chicken turn white.  Grill the chicken for 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through.

 

The Macaroni and Cheese, Grilled Garlic Pita Bread and Tortes were not made by me, so I don’t have the recipes, but they were very good!

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