I’ve started a new little challenge for myself. Every week I pick a new recipe from a favorite blog, cookbook, cooking magazine, etc. and try to make it completely out of items in my “home store” pantry. That means nothing from the fridge or freezer, and I have to have it on hand already. It’s been pretty fun so far. I made Chicken Mozzarella Pasta, Peanut Butter Poodle Pancakes, and most recently “Calm Before the Storm” lasagna (all pics on our Facebook page).
For the lasagna. Here is the recipe I was originally working off of found in my Rachel Ray cooking magazine:
Most of the substitutions were pretty easy. I used Thrive Freeze-Dried Ground Beef, chopped onions, and tomato powder for the basic sauce. I used freeze dried mozzarella cheese which I’ve tried before on pizza and it works great. The question I was worried about was the ricotta cheese layer. I decided to google making homemade ricotta and found this recipe which seemed like it would work with powdered milk so I gave it a try! It’s a simplified version of ricotta, you can make true ricotta by doing even more processing but this was fast, easy, and tasted great to us.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups Thrive Instant Powdered Milk
1/3 cup lemon juice or white vinegar
1 tsp. salt, optional
1 T. oil or butter, optional
Mix the water and milk powder in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat up to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (or just before boiling). The milk will get foamy and start to steam. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat and add in the lemon juice and salt and butter if desired. The oil/butter can be helpful to encourage the curds and whey to separate better since the powdered milk is a non-fat milk.
Let the mixture sit for 10-20 minutes. You should see the milk separate into curds (white clumps) and whey (yellowy liquid). Once it all seems to be separated, strain the curds using a strainer with small holes and/or a cheese cloth or clean t-shirt. I just used a strainer and it seemed to be fine. I like to make things easy. I let it strain for about 30 minutes and then squished out as much of the excess whey as I could by pushing against the curds with a spoon. It made a crumbly cheese that was perfect for this lasagna.
- Jodi Weiss Schroeder