Lasagna with Quark Cheese

This quark cheese could not have come at a better time. My colleague had sent me a text stating he was bringing in 12 ounces of quark cheese and it was all mine. He had recently worked at a farm to table dinner and a lot of food was leftover for the taking, and one of them being quark cheese. It was awesome quark cheese at that and from Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They make awesome cheese curds, so I was excited to try their quark cheese.

When I took the cheese home, I gave it a taste, and it was confirmed how awesome it was. The quark cheese was soft, a bit tangy, and reminded me a bit of ricotta cheese in texture. That’s when I knew what I was going to do with it, and what a better way to use up a lot of my tomato sauce that I have been freezing from an abundance of tomatoes from my garden. What’s better is my kids did not know I was putting in this cheese, so it was a new experience to a meal they already love, lasagna.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 lb ground chuck, cooked, and fat drained
  • 5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (I made my own)
  • 12 pasta sheets, I tried the ‘Oven Ready’ type
  • 1/3 cup shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz Quark cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • aluminum foil

Start by cooking your ground chuck. Once cooked and drained, return back to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in your tomato sauce, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetable soften, and the sauce is cooked through. Once cooked through, set aside.

To a mixing bowl, add the quark cheese, eggs, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is blended through.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

To a baking dish, lightly spray with cooking spray.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Ingredients
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Ingredients

Now time for assembly. Ladle about a cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and evenly spread out.

Top with 3 sheets of the lasagna shells. Add dollops of the quark cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Ladle a bit more sauce, top with pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, cheese mixture, meat sauce, pasta, and finish with covering entirely with the meat sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the meat sauce, then cover with aluminum foil, and place into the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, remove, take off the foil, and return back to the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Remove, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes (I know that is the hardest part).

Now you are ready to serve. Slice into squares, shower with more parmesan cheese if desired, or shower with some chili flakes.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe

The end result, and I don’t say this because I made this recipe with quark cheese, was spectacular. It had everything you love about a great lasagna, but there was something about the quark that really made it special.  So if you have never tried quark cheese, do so, and if you have plenty to spare give this recipe a shot. I hope you enjoy!

Lasagna with Quark Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Lasagna
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ lb ground chuck, cooked, and fat drained
  • 5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (I made my own)
  • 12 pasta sheets, I tried the ‘Oven Ready’ type
  • ⅓ cup shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz Quark cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking your ground chuck. Once cooked and drained, return back to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in your tomato sauce, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetable soften, and the sauce is cooked through. Once cooked through, set aside.
  2. To a mixing bowl, add the quark cheese, eggs, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is blended through.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  4. To a baking dish, lightly spray with cooking spray.
  5. Now time for assembly. Ladle about a cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and evenly spread out.
  6. Top with 3 sheets of the lasagna shells. Add dollops of the quark cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Ladle a bit more sauce, top with pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, cheese mixture, meat sauce, pasta, and finish with covering entirely with the meat sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the meat sauce, then cover with aluminum foil, and place into the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
  7. After 35 minutes, remove, take off the foil, and return back to the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Remove, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes (I know that is the hardest part).
  8. Now you are ready to serve. Slice into squares, shower with more parmesan cheese if desired, or shower with some chili flakes.

 

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich

Do you love sandwiches? I know I do and as a matter of fact I really was craving a BLT the other day, but you know what, tomatoes are just not in season here. This sandwich however is in season as it is comfort food season! This one is the Italian style pulled pork sandwich, and one that screams comfort, and as a matter of fact my kids devoured this sandwich and came cruising back for another one.

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe
Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe

The pork is slow cooked in a great tomato based mixture until fall apart tender, then served on some crusty bread with melted provolone cheese and sauteed greens. What’s not to love!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder, fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried red chili flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
  • 1 whole head of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of beef stock
  • 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of rapini
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup additional beef stock
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • bolillo rolls, to your serving
  • Chicago style sport peppers, optional
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, per serving

Start by making your rub for the pork. To a small mixing bowl, add the fennel seeds, red chili flakes, chopped rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Give a good mix, and season with some salt and pepper.

Add the pork shoulder to a large cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, large enough to hold all of the broth and tomato mixture. Make sure it is fat side up.

Add the garlic mixture to the top of the pork shoulder. Next pour around the shoulder the beef stock, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and onions.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and let the pork shoulder rest on the counter as the oven heats up. Your goal here is to build a nice crust, then either cover with foil and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and braise for 2-3 hours, or what I did was simply transfer everything to a slow cooker, covered it and forgot about it until the next day (I recommend this approach as it was like butter).

Once the oven is heated, add the pork, and build a nice crust, about 25 minutes or so. Next, carefully remove from the oven, then place in a slow cooker, on low, and cook for about 10 hours or so. I simply did this overnight.

Ingredients for making Italian style pulled pork sandwiches
Ingredients for making Italian style pulled pork sandwiches

Now let’s make the greens. To a stock pot, add the rapini and spinach. Give a pinch of salt and crushed red chili flakes, and the additional cup of beef stock. Bring to a simmer, stir, and cover, cooking until the greens are completely wilted. They will not be pretty, but they are super delicious, and great for you to boot.

Now let’s make the sandwich. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your roll, but not all of the way through. Layer in the cheese, and place in the oven, cooking until the roll is crusty and the cheese is nice and melted. You want a crusty roll here as when you fold in the pulled pork and greens, it gets pretty darn saucey. You’ll see. It’s like the best gravy for swiping your sandwich into.

During this time shred the pork. It should simply fall apart. Once shredded, mix everything together. Remove the roll from the oven, then add some greens, fold in the pork mixture to your liking, and top with a couple of sport peppers. I liked adding the peppers as that vinegar and subtle heat cuts through that savory pork.

Eat this one over a plate people as that pork is so super juicy and it will run out all over your plate. This sandwich is a real homerun, feeds a ton of people (We ate it for two days and I ended up freezing a ton of it), and is super delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Sandwiches
Cuisine: Italian Style
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder, fat trimmed
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried red chili flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
  • 1 whole head of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of beef stock
  • 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of rapini
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup additional beef stock
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • bolillo rolls, to your serving
  • Chicago style sport peppers, optional
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, per serving
Instructions
  1. Start by making your rub for the pork. To a small mixing bowl, add the fennel seeds, red chili flakes, chopped rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Give a good mix, and season with some salt and pepper.
  2. Add the pork shoulder to a large cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, large enough to hold all of the broth and tomato mixture. Make sure it is fat side up.
  3. Add the garlic mixture to the top of the pork shoulder. Next pour around the shoulder the beef stock, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and onions.
  4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and let the pork shoulder rest on the counter as the oven heats up. Your goal here is to build a nice crust, then either cover with foil and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and braise for 2-3 hours, or what I did was simply transfer everything to a slow cooker, covered it and forgot about it until the next day (I recommend this approach as it was like butter).
  5. Once the oven is heated, add the pork, and build a nice crust, about 25 minutes or so. Next, carefully remove from the oven, then place in a slow cooker, on low, and cook for about 10 hours or so. I simply did this overnight.
  6. Now let’s make the greens. To a stock pot, add the rapini and spinach. Give a pinch of salt and crushed red chili flakes, and the additional cup of beef stock. Bring to a simmer, stir, and cover, cooking until the greens are completely wilted. They will not be pretty, but they are super delicious, and great for you to boot.
  7. Now let’s make the sandwich. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your roll, but not all of the way through. Layer in the cheese, and place in the oven, cooking until the roll is crusty and the cheese is nice and melted. You want a crusty roll here as when you fold in the pulled pork and greens, it gets pretty darn saucey. You’ll see. It’s like the best gravy for swiping your sandwich into.
  8. During this time shred the pork. It should simply fall apart. Once shredded, mix everything together. Remove the roll from the oven, then add some greens, fold in the pork mixture to your liking, and top with a couple of sport peppers. I liked adding the peppers as that vinegar and subtle heat cuts through that savory pork.

Italian Wedding Soup

It’s funny how some things come about. For example this recipe stemmed from a conversation I had with some of our neighbors. We got on the topic of food, as we pretty much always do, and we started talking about soup, as it is nearing soup season here in Wisconsin. I brought up the idea of Italian wedding soup, as obviously I was craving it, and later that day I was in the kitchen making it. I wanted a bit of a simple soup, but one that was hearty and that could be eaten over the course of a few days. This was exactly the soup that was not only comforting, but one that was really easy to make.

If you have never had Italian wedding soup, it is essentially a soup made with meatballs, and some sort of greens. In my case, I used a variety of greens as I wanted something healthy to balance out the marriage of the meatballs.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

If it is any indication, my wife fell in love with this soup and said it was the best she’s had, as she has tried a variety from other restaurants in town.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 whole carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heads of endive, torn
  • 2 whole broccoli leaves, chopped
  • 2 whole brussel sprout leaves, chopped
  • 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Additional parmesan cheese for serving

Start by adding your ground chuck to a mixing bowl. Toss in the egg, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, and egg. Mix with your hands incorporate all of the ingredients. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.

Next, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Take the meatballs, and sear on all sides, cooking until medium. Remove the meatballs, once cooked, and place them onto a paper towel lined plate.

To a soup pot, add the canola oil and let it come to temperature. Toss in the onions, carrots, celery, broccoli and brussel sprout leaves (if you are using) and garlic. Cook until the onion begins to soften, then add in the stock, garbanzo beans, endive, and the meatballs.

Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup
Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup

Cook this until the stock begins to boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or so.

When you are ready to serve, ladle the greens, stock, and meatballs into your soup bowl. Garnish with more parmesan cheese, and dig in.

I don’t know what is best about this soup besides everything. The greens, at least in my opinion, are what shine in this Italian wedding soup. The balance out everything. It’s so savory, garlicky, and just down right comforting. If you are looking for a great soup, give this one a shot, plus it’s a great use of your broccoli and brussel sprout leaves if you are growing them in the garden. Hope you enjoy!

Italian Wedding Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American-Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 whole carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heads of endive, torn
  • 2 whole broccoli leaves, chopped
  • 2 whole brussel sprout leaves, chopped
  • 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Additional parmesan cheese for serving
Instructions
  1. Start by adding your ground chuck to a mixing bowl. Toss in the egg, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, and egg. Mix with your hands incorporate all of the ingredients. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.
  2. Next, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Take the meatballs, and sear on all sides, cooking until medium. Remove the meatballs, once cooked, and place them onto a paper towel lined plate.
  3. To a soup pot, add the canola oil and let it come to temperature. Toss in the onions, carrots, celery, broccoli and brussel sprout leaves (if you are using) and garlic. Cook until the onion begins to soften, then add in the stock, garbanzo beans, endive, and the meatballs.
  4. Cook this until the stock begins to boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or so.
  5. When you are ready to serve, ladle the greens, stock, and meatballs into your soup bowl. Garnish with more parmesan cheese, and dig in.

 

Pizza Style Hot Dogs

Are you the type, like my family, where every couple of weeks you kind of have a typical dinner menu? There seems to be a bit of consistency with my family where every couple of weeks we are making homemade pizzas, or making some sort of riff on hot dogs. With that said, this was one of those weeks. I made a handful of pizzas for the kids, and a couple of days later we were eating Nueske’s smoked wieners. Both of these yielded some leftovers, and that’s when the idea sparked to do a take on a pizza style hot dog! Was this good? Yes, it was pretty darn good and underneath the melted cheese and sauce was this wonderful (and I think one of the best) smoked wiener.

Pizza Style Hot Dog Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooked wiener, or hot dog, I use Nueske’s.
  • 6 slices of pepperoni
  • 1 hot dog bun
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

This is pretty simple. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Add the wiener to the bun, and tuck in three slices of pepperoni on each side of the wiener. Place the wiener and bun onto a baking sheet, and place in the oven, just to warm up the wiener, and slightly crisp up the bun and pepperoni.  Crisping up the bun holds well with the melted cheese and sauce.

How to make a pizza style hot dog

 

When the bun is slightly toasted, about 4-6 minutes, remove it from the oven, and top with the mozzarella cheese, the sauce, and top with the Italian seasoning.

Place this bag into the oven, and bake until the cheese is nice and melted. Once melted, remove from the oven, and get ready for an adventure.

Your first bite is quite the surprise! You get the slightly crunch from the bun, almost like a nice and crisp pizza crust, then the common flavors of pizza, and then that awesome snap of the Nueske’s wiener. Is this thing worth making?

Pizza Style Hot Dog Recipe

ABSOLUTELY! Would I make this again? OF COURSE. This pizza style hot dog kind of blew my mind, and to me, that’s always a great thing. So the next time you have any pizza leftovers, and some wieners or hot dogs in the refrigerator, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy, and have a great 4th of July!