Picking Out a Recipe

Picking a new recipe to try can be a lot of fun. Tasting the final product is even more fun. As one of the judges for the Last Recipe Standing Contest, we read through several recipes, looking for the ones that made our mouth water. We narrowed them down to 8. Then they went before the Redding.com readers for their vote for the final 4. Then came the final round for tasting at the 4th Annual Taste of Redding. Which one did the audience choose?

When looking for a recipe, you want to consider a couple of key things: harmony of flavors and balance. Harmony of flavors is quite simply whether the ingredients compliment each other. Do they work together or do they clash bitterly? Balance looks at whether there is too much or too little of a certain ingredient in relation to the other ingredients. If you have 5 ingredients in a recipe, you should be able to taste all 5 without one overpowering another. It’s best that you use ingredients that are fresh and seasonal, harvested at their peak when flavor is optimal. Also you want it to have a good mouth-feel with textures that are not too soft or too dry. The final dish should do more than fill you, it should be a feast for the eyes, heavenly to your nose, and excite your taste buds.

So back to which recipe was chosen for the Last Recipe Standing. Drum Roll. And the winner is…Garden Fresh Noodle-less Lasagna. Here is the award winning recipe by Patty Jeantet. It’s fresh, flavorful and even has a little twist…no pasta. Perfect for an Italian themed dinner during the summer. Congratulations Patty on a great dish!

GARDEN FRESH NOODLE-LESS LASAGNA
By Patty Jeantet
Ingredients:
2 pounds hamburger
1 large eggplant
3 medium zucchinis
1 medium red onion
15 mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
4 medium tomatoes
1 10-ounce bag spinach
2 16-ounce jars of marinara sauce
1 16-ounce package shredded mozzarella cheese
6 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 16-ounce container cottage cheese
1 bunch basil
1 teaspoon celery salt
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
1 12x10x3 foil pan

Directions:
1. Brown the hamburger. Drain. Set aside.
2. Dice red onions, tomatoes and garlic. Slice mushrooms.
3. Pour a little olive oil in large pot. Saute onions, mushrooms, then add garlic, tomatoes and the browned meat. Add marinara sauce and celery salt.
4. Cut ¼ cup of basil and add to sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and cook for about an hour. Meanwhile, slice eggplant and zucchini long ways 1/8 inch thick.
5. Preheat oven 350 degrees when sauce is ready.
6. Cover the bottom of a foil pan with meat sauce, then put layer of eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella and sauce. Next, put a layer of zucchini, cottage cheese, mozzarella and half of the spinach and sauce. Repeat the first layer and sprinkle with parmesan.
7. Cover lasagna with foil coated with olive oil, oil side down, to prevent sticking.
8. Place pan on top of cookie sheet to catch spills. Cook covered one hour and cook uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. Take it out when you can stick a fork in it and it goes through easily.
9. Top with fresh basil and more parmesan.

Bon Appetit!

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