Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

PB Choc Chip Cookies

More cookies!!  Though peanut butter cookies have never been my favorite, I really love these.  It might have something to do with the fact that they are not dry, like many other peanut butter cookies.  If you get the timing right, these will come out of the oven gooey and cool to a nice chewy texture.  If over-baked, they do have a tendency to be a bit dry the next day, so do try to avoid that sad scenario.

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Creamy Tomato Cheddar Soup

Tomato Cheddar Soup

I’ve always hated Campbells tomato soup.  Sometimes I would try to like it to no avail.  Not even when paired with a grilled cheese sandwich.  This naturally led me to the belief that I simply hated tomato soup, and that was all there was to it.

Then one day it happened.

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Lasagne al Forno


Lasagne al Forno.  So delicious.  Homemade ragu bolognese, fresh pasta, creamy balsamella, nutty parmigiano throughout with a sprinkling of mozzarella to top things off–this dish is so worth the effort and the leftovers are amazing.

If you’ve been following my posts leading up to this grand finale, you’ve had a sweet peek into each of the delicious ingredients in this authentic Italian lasagne.  Yes, this dish is a labor of love, but the results are nothing short of delizioso.

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Sorry, no picture for this post.  Though this recipe is really a quickie and part of my ongoing series of Lasagne al Forno posts, I thought it might be easier to do a separate post for this last ingredient.

Balsamella, more widely known as bechamel, is a thickened milk sauce with a wide variety of uses.  One of the four ‘mother sauces,’ balsamella uses a roux mixture to thicken milk, creating a velvety sauce or base for such dishes as cannelloni, macaroni and cheese, creamy sauces, and more.  Depending on the ratio of flour and butter used to milk, this sauce can range from thin to rather thick and may be used plain or flavored with herbs, spices, cheese, and more.

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Fresh Pasta

Fresh Pasta

It has been awhile, hasn’t it?  Funny how time can fly by between posts.  We’ve finally gotten into some warm weather, which makes it hard to stare at a computer screen.  Plus, we are now expecting our THIRD kiddo (due in November), and there’s nothing like a little first trimester funk to suck the motivation out of a would-be blogger.

In any case, and at long last, I’ve finally gotten around to the next installment in my series of posts on homemade, authentic Italian lasagne.  While you can certainly buy dried lasagne sheets or even fresh sheets for lasagne, for whatever reason, I had a sudden urge to make my own pasta from scratch.  Gotsta justify owning a pasta press, right?

The recipe for pasta is quite simple, though I’ll say right now that making pasta with a couple of ankle biters running around is a whoooooole lot different than the first time I made pasta back in college.  As I recall, the boyfriend and I made a date night out of it and I can still clearly picture the fettuccine he had wrapped around and around his neck in a serious effort to make the longest strand mankind has ever seen.  Now that I think on it, my future husband’s help may not have been that different than my 4-year-old’s…

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