Holiday Recap

Seasoned Cooking has been published since 1998. And, since we have a soft spot for holidays and seasonal happenings, that means that there's a treasure trove of great articles on special events, like our upcoming year-end holidays. So, this month, I'm offering a quick look back at some Christmas-themed articles from past issues. Won't you join me in exploring everything from gift ideas for cooks to decorating the Christmas tree over the years? To begin, let's start with something new. Here's a recipe for One-Step Lasagna with Fresh Tomato Sauce that comes to you from Victoria Smith:

One-Step Lasagna

  • 1 pound of meatless sausage patties or links
  • 1 jar (15 ounces) spaghetti sauce or 2 cups of the fresh tomato sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 package (7 ounces) uncooked lasagna noodles, trimmed to fit a 12x7-inch baking dish
  • 1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese, divided
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Crumble the sausage in a 2-quart microproof casserole dish. Cover the dish with a casserole lid and microwave on High, 5 minutes, stirring once during cooking time. Add spaghetti sauce and water; mix well.

Spread one-third of the vegetarian meat sauce in 12x7-inch microproof baking dish. Arrange half the uncooked noodles over sauce. Spread with one-third of the ricotta. Top with one-third of the vegetarian meat sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella. Repeat the layers, with the remaining noodles, ricotta and vegetarian meat sauce. Top with the parmesan cheese.

Double wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Cook on High for 15 minutes. Cook on 50% power for 12 to 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cook on High 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese if desired.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30-35 minutes

Fresh Tomato Sauce

  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 lb. tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, fry the onion in the oil for 10 minutes, until soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes, until they are soft but still bright in color and fresh in flavor. Season the sauce with salt, garlic, and pepper freeze until required.

Usually I serve this sauce just as it is, which is fine for pasta and simple dishes, although it can be pureed in a food processor and then strained quickly though a sieve if you want a smooth sauce. Ideally it would be useful to keep both types, the chunky and the smooth, in the freeze.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Now that you have an easy new dish to enjoy over the holidays, enjoy the blast from the past!

Craft and Decorating Ideas:

Gift Ideas for Cooks:

  • Holiday Gift-Giving Guide by Ronda L. Halpin
    Everything from themed baskets for the adventuresome to spices as stocking stuffers.
  • Holiday Gift-Giving Guide by Ronda L. Halpin
    Get gift ideas for the cooks in your life ranging from under $20 to over $200.
  • Holiday Gift-Giving Guide by Ronda L. Halpin
    Got a coffee nut on your list? How about someone who loves cooking, but has no time? Don't worry, we've got you covered!
  • Holiday Gift-Giving Guide by Ronda L. Halpin
    Get some great holiday gift ideas for the cooks on your list ... all for under $50.
  • Holiday Gift-Giving Guide by Ronda L. Halpin
    Everything from silicone oven mitts to a battery-operated milk frother are in this year's gift guide for cooks.
We hope you enjoyed this little journey down memory lane. And, of course, have a very Merry (and tasty) Christmas!!