Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Swiss Chard Lasagna


You gotta try this fast, easy and somewhat healthy recipe. I say "somewhat" because well....the only really healthy part is the Swiss Chard. The original recipe calls for a lot of Asiago Cheese, a little Mozzarella, one cup of Ricotta and some Romano cheese. That's a whole lot of cheese and lets face it, can be pretty fattening. So, I changed it up putting mostly 2% shredded mozzarella and only a little Asiago.  When it came to the Ricotta, I used regular Saputo.  Light Ricotta is unacceptable and non-fat Ricotta is simply a crime. Please, I don't even know what it is... :(

So basically if you love cheese, this recipe is for you!  The creamy, gooey rich texture of the mozzarella, cream and ricotta married so well with the fresh basil and light garlic flavor of the swiss chard.... It was so well balanced and just heavenly!  I had it last night, today for lunch and now I'm craving it again. This is major comfort food, people.

Option: I had a small piece of lasagna paired with a grilled chicken breast. Swiss chard goes well with Chicken.

Swiss Chard? C'est quoi ca?

This leafy veggie is known as Bette à Carde in French and Bietola in Italian. This is one of my grandmother's favorite things to make.

Chard belongs to the same family as beets and spinach. Swiss Chard is a tall leafy green vegetable commonly referred to as Swiss chard (and scientifically known as Beta vulgaris). (sounds nasty)
Chard has a crunchy stalk to which fan-like wide green leaves are attached. The leaves may either be smooth or curly, depending upon the variety. - Check out the health benefits below - there are tons

Ingredients- Serves 4
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles - depending on the brand and your baking dish , you may need more
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, finely chopped, leaves and stems separated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 + 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream - you can use 10 or 15% cream - don't sweat it
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese - I prefer Romano
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil + extra for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 7 ounces asiago cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) I used 2 cups of 2% Mozzarella - Asiago has too much of a strong smell for my liking.
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)  I used 1/4 cup of Asiago


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Soak the lasagna noodles in a bowl of hot water until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chard stems and garlic and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook until wilted, about 3 more minutes.
Mix the ricotta, cream, egg, Parmesan, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
Brush a 2-quart baking dish with oil and add 3 noodles in a single layer. Top with half of the ricotta mixture, chard and asiago. Repeat with the remaining noodles, ricotta mixture, chard and asiago. Cover with foil and bake until the cheese melts, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with mozzarella and bake until bubbly and golden, about 5 more minutes.

Before serving your lasagna, garnish each piece with chopped fresh basil, and drizzle a little bit of good quality olive oil. It adds another dimension of flavor. - Trust moi!

Health Benefits
Both the leaves and the roots of Swiss chard have been the subject of fascinating health studies. The combination of traditional nutrients, phytonutrients (particularly anthocyans), plus fiber in this food seems particularly effective in preventing digestive tract diseases. Our rating system awards Swiss chard with excellent marks for its concentrations of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. Swiss chard also emerges as a very good or good source of copper, calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, folate, biotin and niacin.

I love this recipe - Enjoy!

Super-duper Double Chocolate Cookies with Peppermint-chocolate Drizzle

Hi Guys!

These chocolate cookies are THE most decadent cookies I've ever tasted!

The cookie recipe is from the Food Network Chef, Nigella Lawson. She's the pretty one from the UK! When you watch Nigella on the "telly", you'll see that she has the power to inspire...maybe its the British accent. I don't know.

Anyway, her original recipe does not include the drizzle. You may choose not to use it but I just love the subtle mint flavor.

They are made primarily with dark chocolate (70%) so they're not too sweet.

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a huge fan of great cookies, especially the staff at Trattoria Mundo. I'm sure that I'm known as the annoying cookie girl because I never want the cake or other desserts on the menu. I always ask for cookies :)

Cookies are under rated. Prepare these for your next dinner party.
With so many guests asking for "a verrry small piece"...."gimme a sliver" , a cookie like this is perfect, wouldn't you say??  They're pretty big, so you could serve one with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream with a mint leaf on top! I just thought of that now...mmmm.
No dinner party? No ice cram? Have one with a glass of milk - they are so rich and chocolaty, you'll need one! You'll roll your eyes in delight with every bite..hey, that rhymed :)

Since many items are measured in grams, I use a small electronic scale to weigh my ingredients which I picked up at Ares Kitchen Supplies.  I strongly recommend this method for best results. Conversion is complicated and tedious.

Ok now,  practice your British accents, Ladies and Chaps! 

That's right, you must read the recipe aloud in British...I picture people doing this and it makes me giggle..


125g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids (I use Baker's chocolate - about 4 squares + 1 quarter square)
150g flour
30g cocoa, sieved
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g soft butter
75g light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, cold from the fridge
350g (1.5 to 2 bags) semi-sweet chocolate morsels or dark chocolate chips (check how many grams are in each bag)


1.Preheat the oven to 170C (Approx. 340F). Melt the 125g (about 4 squares and a quarter of baker's chocolate squares) dark chocolate either in the microwave or in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water.
2.Put the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
3.Cream the butter and sugars in another bowl. (I use my hand held mixer, itself an odd source of comfort to me.) Add the melted chocolate and mix together.
4.Beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Finally stir in the chocolate chips.
5.Scoop out 12 equal-sized mounds – an ice cream scoop and a palette knife are the best tools for the job – and place on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.
6.Cook for 18-20 minutes, testing with a cake tester to make sure it comes out semi-clean and not wet with cake batter. If you pierce a chocolate chip, try again.
7.Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 4–5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to harden as they cool.

Serving Size : Makes 12

75g icing sugar
1 x 15ml tablespoon cocoa, sieved
2 x 15ml tablespoons boiling water
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Heat until combined.
Using a teaspoon, zig-zag the glaze over each cooling cookie

Cheerio, Mates!
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