Monday, 2 April 2012

Guest Post and a Giveaway

What a Lucky Day!
A Guest Post and a Giveaway!

Some of the things we enjoy in life are best when shared with the ones we love.  Sharing with you these last few months since I started my food blog has been a complete blast.  One of the very best parts of the entire experience has been making new friends along the way.  I had the recent pleasure of making friends with fellow blogger Kayle where she writes about her love of food and shares with you her very yummy recipes on her blog The Cooking Actress.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her posts and salivating over many of her very awesome recipes.  I think you will too.

I feel very fortunate to be able to introduce you to Kayle and hope you will try her delicious recipe she shared with us today as well as visit her at her site and get to know her.  She is by far a remarkable young woman, actress by day~aspiring chef by night ; )  Born and raised in Ohio she now calls New York City her home.  You can find her whipping up homey dishes for dinner, scrumptious chocolate temptations, and the one I stumbled upon when I first met her...Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate! I know right...uh...yum!

Thank you to Kayle for taking the time to visit and sharing with us one of my all time favorite dishes!  It is an absolute pleasure for me to be able to introduce her to you : D

Really now...doesn't this pic make you hungry and want to make lasagna???

Hi there! My name is Kayle and I have a little blog called The Cooking Actress. In case the title didn't give it away, I am an actress-I live in New York City with my boyfriend (Michael) and I love cooking and baking up deliciousness in my tiny NY kitchen!

I am so excited to be doing this guest post over here (it's my first)! I am an avid  follower of “I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen”, and Jenn and I have definitely formed a friendship over the past month-which I am so happy about! When discussing what recipe I should share with you guys, Jenn expressed the desire for me to perhaps share an Italian family recipe. The unfortunate thing about most of my Italian side's family recipes is: my grandma is being strange and stubborn about getting them to me (I've seen her make her Wedding Soup a million times! Yet she still insists I need to watch more before she can give me written down instructions! *sigh*).

Anyway, I do have this great lasagna recipe that I love. You know what's funny, though? This recipe comes from my Irish side, my mom's mom! So weird, but so true-I like my Irish family's lasagna (to be fair, my Grandma Blogna never makes lasagna, so I don't know what that would be like). Michael even loves it, and he can be weird about Italian food (he was raised Italian as well, but it somehow made him tired of it, whereas I love it!) As with many handed down recipes, the instructions weren't very specific, and it's very easily adaptable. I'll make sure to share with you all I've learned from making this quite a few times, so hopefully you won't have as much trouble as I did the first time I baked it!

Me (frantic and on the phone, 2 years ago): “Mom! How much ricotta cheese should I use??! It doesn't say! And by large jar of sauce, what does it mean? Also, my lasagna noodles are all broken apart, is that normal?”

Mom: “...I don't know...use your judgment...”


I don't do well when I don't have a very detailed recipe, and I was even worse back then. Ah, I was such a rookie.

I'm going to give you all the recipe that I like to use-Beef Lasagna. This can very easily be vegetarian (for one thing, just omit the beef and use meatless sauce). It can also very easily have things added (Spinach? Sausage? Eggplant? Whatever floats your boat, just put them in the layers).

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and please let me know if you have any questions! :)


Family recipe from my Grandma Friedrich (maiden name Moore)

Makes 1 large lasagna pan (or one 9 x 13 pan and one 11 x 7 pan)


·         About 1 pound lasagna noodles (you may need less, I usually do. I also use Ready Bake lasagna noodles to make my life easier—I end up using 15 noodles in all, when doing so. To make this healthier you can use whole wheat.)

·         32 oz. Container of ricotta cheese (you may use less or more, depending on your preference of how much ricotta you want. I always use 32 oz. I also love ricotta.)

·         Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Provolone cheese. The original recipe calls for 1 package, each, of sliced cheese. I prefer to use shredded, and usually use about 3 bags of “Italian” shredded cheese (which contain a mix of mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone). (You can also use different cheeses, or more or less, to taste.)

·         About 1 large can/jar of your favorite pasta sauce (homemade or store bought. I use meat, you can use meatless or whatever you like. The amount you use depends on preference. I use less than called for, as I don't love a lot of sauce.)

·         1 pound ground beef, browned in a skillet (Optional-you can also use whatever add-ins you choose.)


·         Cook lasagna noodles and drain (if not using oven ready noodles). Brown the ground beef in a pan—season to taste.

·         Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

·         Spray pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray.

·         Put a very thin layer of sauce on bottom of pan(s) (helps keep bottom layer of noodles moist). Then lay lasagna noodle layer. Layer (in whatever order you prefer. I usually layer noodles-sauce-ricotta-beef-cheeses-noodles-etc.) the meat, ricotta, other cheeses, sauce, and noodles. Repeat until the pan is nearly full. (9 x 13 pans have 3 layers, 11 x 7 pans have 2 layers—could perhaps hold 3.) The top of the lasagna should have the cheeses.

·         Sprinkle dried basil on top of layered lasagna (optional).

·         Cover with foil (with the underside coated in non-stick spray) and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake more 10-15 minutes-or until bubbly and beginning to brown.

·         Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.

·         Make Ahead Directions: Take the layered, uncooked, lasagna pan(s) and cover tightly with plastic wrap, then foil. Refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze up to 2 months. When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and replace the foil. Bake refrigerated lasagna the same as you would bake fresh. Bake frozen lasagna 1 hour and 30 minutes, making sure to remove the foil before the final 10-15 minutes of baking.

In Honor & Celebration of my very first guest here on, I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen...

I am offering two of my favorite new kitchen toys to you for my very first giveaway!
Just my way of saying thanks for reading and visiting

Only one winner, sorry : )

Open to everyone!

How to win?  It's really easy!

Leave a comment here and tell us,

What was one of your all time favorite dishes you and your family shared when you were growing up.
& a few more ways to enter if you would like...

Like The Cooking Actress on Facebook
Follow The Cooking Actress on Twitter
Like I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen on Facebook
Follow I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen on Twitter

Leave an extra comment for each to let us know you have followed or are already following and you will be entered for each comment.  A total of 5 entries per person : )  Yay!!

Thanks for stopping by and visiting, Good Luck to everyone who enters : )





 Winner will be announced Monday April 9th.  I will notify the winner so I can email them to get their mailing address for where to send their new kitchen cookware.  And again, thanks! : )
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