Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lasagna and a new spice blend

Photo from Cooking Light

Last night it was meatloaf and mashed potaotes and tonight it's more comfort food. In this month's issue of Cooking Light, there is a recipe for Chicken-Ham Lasagna. A few reviewers complained that this dish was bland. I don't always agree with reviewers who say dishes are bland - sometimes what is bland to some is just simple, uncomplicated comfort food to others. Still, I did notice that this sauce had no garlic - bland or not, I felt this sauce could use a good dose of garlic. I also used homemade chicken stock and Parmigiano-Reggiano. I'm sure that both of those ingredients helped to kick up the flavor a bit. I also used whole wheat lasagna noodles which I think go very well with an alfredo-type sauce.

We all thought it was very tasty. However, it did not hold together well for a lasagna. This could be because I used the full amount of sauce even though I was not using no-bake noodles. I also think it's because it did not have anything like ricotta cheese - ricotta helps to hold a lasagna together. If I made this again - and I probably would - I'd make it as a ziti-style bake instead of a layered lasagna.

Those of you who order from Penzeys know their little secret. I didn't know the secret when I first ordered from them and was puzzled. I thought they had made a mistake. Then I realized that it wasn't a mistake, it was a gift. A fun surprise to look forward to when you open the box. When you order from Penzeys, they throw in a random spice. This time it was Florida Seasoned Pepper.

I wasn't sure how I'd use it and thought it would end up unopened and unused, languishing in the back of my spice cabinet. I couldn't have been more wrong - I used it tonight on our asparagus side dish and it was wonderful. I simply sauteed the asparagus with a little EVOO, coarse salt, crushed garlic, freshly ground pepper and a little of the Florida Seasoned Pepper. At the very end, I added just a touch of fresh-squeezed lemon. It was peppery and citrusy - full of flavor. Not only did DH and I like it, but the boys ate all of their asparagus without complaint - a major feat in this household. With a reception like that, Florida Seasoned Pepper is sure to become a regular in this household. Thanks Penzeys!


  1. I did not know that about Penzey's! I have bought my stuff at the store in Indy. Guess I will have to order next time.

  2. I wish I could shop at a Penzeys! The gift is fun and I suppose it helps to offset the shipping costs just a bit, but having a Penzeys store nearby would be even better. :)

  3. Penzeys Rocks. I mention them on my blog so much they really should be paying me a commission or giving me some free spices or something!!

  4. I got two of those little "surprises" in my recent Penzey's order. I LOVE that pepper! Try it in mashed potatos, it's wonderful! I have come to think of it as "kicked up" lemon pepper :)

  5. Two surprises - maybe you're sending in bigger orders than I am! ;)

    Wouldn't it be nice if we COULD get a kickback for our free "adverstising". ;)

  6. I'm glad you wrote about the Florida Seasoned Pepper. I got the same surprise in my box this week and I'm not sure what all to do with it!

  7. Hi Erin - I was puzzled too and just decided to throw it on in and see what happened! I think it would be good on fish and broccoli too.