Classic Lasagna with Red Gold Tomatoes

classic lasagnaI can’t even tell you how many times after slaving away in the kitchen all day and producing what I expect to be a great meal, my husband sighs and says, “can’t you just make something normal?”.  Really?  Really?!  Well here ya go, honey!  A classic lasagna with no “abnormal” ingredients.

Well, not totally normal.  I did make my own ricotta.  I promise, it is so easy though you’ll wonder why you never made it before!  Plus I did not have ricotta in my refrigerator, but did have milk and heavy cream on hand.

I love using the pre-seasoned canned tomatoes when I want to make a quick recipe.  Plus, it’s nice that they already have basil in them because my garden certainly does not this time of year.  (Midwest problems)  The only thing I am growing right now is a half-dead parsley plant.  Sometimes it just makes more sense to buy something that was canned when the veggies were fresh!

This is a great, classic lasagna recipe for when your husband requests something “normal”.  Comfort food at it’s finest, and it can also be made ahead of time, which is always a bonus!  If you like this recipe, and would like a chance to win a lasagna kit, head on over to Red Gold’s FB page to enter!

Red Gold Classic Lasagna, from Red Gold

Classic Lasagna with Red Gold Tomatoes


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Red Gold® Crushed Tomatoes, or 2 (15 ounce) cans Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pound Laura's 92% Lean Ground Beef, or any ground beef or Italian sausage, cooked and drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) box traditional lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 (15 ounce) carton low fat ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350o F.

In large mixing bowl combine water, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, salt and ground beef, stir to combine ingredients.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with 1½ cups of sauce mixture. Arrange 1/3 of noodles on top of sauce, slightly overlapped. Top with ½ of ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of sauce. Repeat layers and top with last 1/3 of noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours; until noodles are cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

The recipe makes 12 servings, but you could divide the recipe into two 9x9 inch baking dishes and freeze one.

*Sidenote: the husband also thoroughly enjoyed an “abnormal” lasagna a few weeks later flavored by roasted butternut squash and goat cheese.

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Edible Gift: Popcorn Bark with Toffee and Dried Cherries

popcorn bark

Need a last-minute gift for your co-worker, dog-walker, or neighbor?  Something to bring to your holiday get-together?  This popcorn bark is quick, easy and tasty!  The combination of salty, sweet, and crunchy is a perfect snack.  It only takes a few minutes to put together, and it’s pretty enough to give away as a holiday treat.

I received this lightly salted popcorn from G.H. Cretors, who also provided me with the recipe.  I love popcorn for snacking, but I had never thought of putting it into a bark before.  This popcorn has such a clean flavor, and the salt is so light that it is not only great for eating plain, but also as an ingredient for other recipes like cookies, snack mixes, etc. Plus G.H. Cretors popcorn is gluten-free and GMO free!  Check out their Chicago Mix at Costco – because you’ll want the big bag.

Happy holidays!

Edible Gift: Popcorn Bark with Toffee and Dried Cherries


  • 1 lb. dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chips)
  • 4 cups G.H. Cretors Organic Simply Salted Popcorn
  • 1/4 cup toffee bits (I used Hershey's brand)
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries


Line a 9x13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chocolate in heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat. Reserve 1/2 cup melted chocolate, for drizzling. Pour remaining chocolate onto prepared baking sheet and spread evenly. Top evenly with popcorn, dried cherries and toffee bits. Drizzle reserved chocolate on top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate is set. Remove from pan and peel off the parchment paper. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cups

giant cookie dough cups
Oh yes, that is what you think it is.  Glorious raw cookie dough wrapped in dark chocolate.  Don’t worry there are no eggs in the cookie dough, so no one is going to get sick…unless of course you eat the whole thing yourself.  Then I cannot guarantee you won’t get a stomach ache.  These are very rich, but a justifiable indulgence for the holidays.

The cookie dough is sweet, so I would definitely recommend using a semi-sweet or dark chocolate for your coating.  I made jumbo cups, but you can definitely use a standard size muffin tin or a mini muffin tin if that is more your speed.  These make great edible gifts if you don’t eat them all yourself!

Chocolate Cookie Dough Cups, makes 12 4-inch cups, dough recipe from Love & Olive Oil

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cups


  • Cookie Dough:
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk (non-dairy milks are okay too)
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Chocolate Cups:
  • 1 lb dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate candy coating


Beat butter and sugars and in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Cover and chill dough for about 1 hour.

While your dough is chilling, melt half of your chocolate or candy coating. If you're using chocolate chips you'll want to temper the chocolate to get that nice shiny shell and avoid the chocolate from blooming (those white streaks you see in chocolate). If you do not want to go through the trouble of tempering though, don't worry. These cups should be stored in the refrigerator so your chocolate will stay hard anyway.

Divide melted chocolate into 12 4-inch baking cups or tartlet pans. If you don't have these, you can always use a standard size muffin tin. You'll just get more cups! Use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to spread the chocolate up the sides of the paper liners. Allow to set at room temperature or put in the freezer to speed up the process.

Once the bottom of the chocolate cup is hard, fill each one with cookie dough, smoothing it out and pressing into the sides so there aren't any gaps. Then melt your remaining chocolate and spread over cookie dough to create a seal.

If you want to just make a few cups and do something smaller with the rest of the dough try making mini cups or these chocolate chip cookie dough truffles!

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