Beef Ragú with Herbed Ricotta

This dish was inspired by one of my favorite foodie Instagram-ers and made for the perfect rainy Sunday supper tonight! It takes only minutes to prep, leaving your slow cooker to do all the work. Serve the hearty and flavorful ragú over your favorite pasta with a dollop of herbed ricotta and you’ll wow everyone at your dinner table any night of the week. Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1, 28 oz can chopped tomatoes ( I use fire roasted tomatoes)
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz chopped carrots (approx. 3 large carrots)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 lb of favorite pasta (I use fusilli or pappardelle)IMG_7367

Directions:

  1. Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Rinse and pat dry flank steak. Cut into large chunks with a sharp knife.IMG_7366
  3. Place steak in the bottom of the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour in the stock. Add garlic, carrots and spices including bay leaves and thyme.IMG_7368
  5. Top with chopped tomatoes and cook on high for 6 hours.
  6. While meat cooks, combine the ricotta, parmesan and parsley in a small bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.
  7. Remove meat from slow cooker using tongs and shred.
  8. Add honey to the sauce and using an immersion blender, gently purée. Take care, as slow cooker is shallow and sauce will be hot!
  9. Return shredded meat to the sauce and set slow cooker to the lowest setting.
  10. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare pasta of choice according to package directions.
  11. Serve sauce over pasta with a dollop of herbed ricotta and garnish with additional parmesan.IMG_7410

*Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Turkey Veggie Lasagna

This is what you get when you’re torn between making meat lasagna and veggie lasagna; an omnivores delight! There’s something for everyone in each layer of this delicious no-boil, oven-ready casserole.  The ground turkey and pepperoni satisfy the carnivores in your family while the veggies please the herbivores at your table. It’s cheesy, it’s flavorful, it’s easy to make and will feed a hungry crowd with leftovers to spare.

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Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • cooking spray
  • 1, 25 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I use Lidia’s Organic)
  • 9 no-boil lasagna noodles (I use Barilla, oven-ready)
  • 30 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (packed loosley)
  • 16 slices (thin) turkey pepperoni (I use Hormel, low sodium)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a frying pan, brown the ground turkey over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and Italian seasoning half way through the cooking process.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, Parmesan, oregano and a pinch of both kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of the marinara into the dish and spread it out to cover the bottom.
  5. Line the dish with 3 of the lasagna noodles. They do not need to touch.
  6. Spread about 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the three noodles.  Top with half of the browned ground turkey using a slotted spoon to drain off any fat. Layer turkey with   half of the shredded carrot, spinach and pepperoni slices. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of mozzarella on top of everything.
  7. Repeat steps 3 – 5, starting with the marinara and layering three more lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta, the remainder of the turkey, carrots, spinach and pepperoni and 1/3 cup of mozzarella.
  8. Pour 1/4 cup of marinara over the top, layer with the last three noodles, spread the remaining ricotta on the noodles and sprinkle with the mozzarella.
  9. Bake covered for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until top is bubbly and lightly browned.
  10. Let rest approximately 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Don’t worry, it’ll be plenty hot!!

Suggestion:

When covering a dish topped with cheese with tinfoil, I usually lightly spray the underside of the foil before covering the dish.  This way even as the cheese melts, the foil can be removed without sticking to the top layer which is arguably the best part!