Spiced Cranberry Ricotta Scones

Well here we are approaching Christmas, and I actually have my act together enough to post a festive recipe for you ahead of time! Hopefully you can make this for your family on Christmas morning…or on any morning :)

Before I met Nate, I had never celebrated Christmas. I guess every family does it differently, but at his house (or technically his mom’s house) the whole family wakes up Christmas morning, opens presents, and then has a big, yummy breakfast. You need food after all that exhausting unwrapping.

Spiced Cranberry Ricotta Scones

The first year I got to spend Christmas morning with them, I wanted to contribute something, so I made these delicious overnight cinnamon rolls. They’re definitely a good choice! They get prepped the night before and then you just take them out about an hour before you wanna bake them to let them warm to room temp. Nate’s mom also makes turkey sausage and bacon and has plain croissants and chocolate croissants and blood orange juice! I told you it was a big, yummy breakfast ;)

 Spiced Cranberry Ricotta Scones

If you want to be really decadent, you could make this thick and rich hot chocolate too. It’s practically like eating (drinking?) dessert.

But another great breakfast food is scones. Ok, maybe not in England because I think they eat them for tea time there. But in America, scones are lovely for breakfast.

Spiced Cranberry Ricotta Scones

We had some leftover ricotta the other day and I knew Nate loves scones, so I tried to  come up with something festive. Not only did I succeed (I think cranberries and spices definitely scream holiday), but Nate said they were “AMAZING.” And I think I have to agree ;)

Spiced Cranberry Ricotta Scones

Spiced Cranberry Orange Chocolate Ricotta Scones

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Makes 8 large scones

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 cup fresh cranberries (or thawed frozen ones)
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I actually used mini nonpareils because I had them and they’re festive!)
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup whole milk + 2 Tbsp to brush tops of scones
zest of one orange (about 1 Tbsp)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon together.

Add the butter and use the a pastry cutter (and/or your fingertips/ potato masher or ricer) to cut/blend the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in cranberries and use the cutter again to break them into pieces and quarter berry sized chunks. Add chocolate chips.

In a small bowl, blend ricotta, milk, egg and orange zest. Stir them into the flour mixture to form a dough with stiff spatula or wooden spoon. The dough will be very wet.

Dump dough on to a very well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 1-inch thick circle. With a large knife, divide the dough 8 pieces, cut like a pizza (or whatever shape you like your scones). Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula and keep them at least 1-2 inches apart because they will spread. Brush scones lightly with milk.

Bake the scones for about 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Best served warm but still delicious the next day. They even stay pretty moist when straight out of the fridge!



Vegetable Lasagna

Since my grandpa passed away a couple months ago, my mom and aunt decided to help my grandmother go through her house to clean it up. Both my grandma and grandpa love(ed) to save things…I unfortunately inherited this packrat tendency.

This cleanup was necessary both because their house contains all sorts of crap, but also because my grandma will be downsizing to an apartment.

Vegetable Lasagna

During the cleanup my mom found and bequeathed to me a collection of recipes my grandfather had saved.

The ironic thing is that my grandfather didn’t cook (though he loved to watch the Food Network), and my grandmother also doesn’t cook…which makes you wonder what exactly he was saving these recipes for.

I think I also inherited his recipe clipping addiction.

Vegetable Lasagna

When my mom mentioned giving me this collection, my grandmother got upset, saying that maybe she would make some of these recipes now…even though she hadn’t made any of them for the last 50 years.

A lot of his recipe clippings came from newspapers and the back of food cartons, and some were hand written ones scribbled while watching cooking shows on tv.

Vegetable Lasagna

The recipes were super organized. He had different envelopes on each of which he wrote a category: Dessert, Salad/Vegetables, Side Dishes, Meat and Poultry, etc. There must have been 10 different categories.

Going through each category I was able to learn a little something about my grandpa- his favorite foods. There were about 20 recipes for the practically the same dish in each category, though the sources varied.

Apparently his favorite dessert was apple crisp/pie, he loved any type of chili, and in the pasta category, he preferred Lasagna.

Vegetable Lasagna

The recipe in this post came about from adapting one of “his” recipes. I think it must have come from the back of some lasagna noodle box, and I have to say that it turned out delicious! I’ll be sharing more of his recipes in the coming weeks.

When my mother gave me my grandpa’s recipe clippings, I knew exactly what I had to do- finally cook the dishes my grandpa had been saving for someone to make.

I guess maybe he was saving it for me :)

Vegetable Lasagna

Hearty Vegetable Lasagna

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Serves 8-10

1 lb lasagna noodles, not the “no boil” ones
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1 bunch broccolini, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2- 26oz jars pasta sauce
1.5 tsp dried italian seasoning
15 oz Ricotta cheese
16 oz (4 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook pasta 8 min or until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Spread noodles onto a sheet pan coated with cooking spray so noodles don’t stick together.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large saucepan over med-hi heat. Heat oil and add onion. (**You could easily add ground beef here and skip the broccolini if you wanted it to be non-vegetarian). Cook onion 2 minutes then add mushrooms, broccolini and garlic and cook until tender.

Stir in 4 cups (1 1/3 jars) pasta sauce and italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Mix ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella and eggs.

Spread 1 cup remaining sauce in greased 9×13 casserole dish.

Layer 5 noodles on top of sauce, slightly overlapping noodles to fit. Spread 2 cups of the veggie sauce over the noodles. Dollop with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly in pan. Sprinkly with 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese.

Repeat above step, layering noodles, veggie sauce, ricotta, parmesan.

Top with 5 more noodles and top with rest of sauce.

Sprinkle with 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered 40 minutes or until bubbly. Put a sheet pan covered with foil underneath to catch any drips.

Let stand 15 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers.

*Note: I found this recipe much better the next day. Some of the sauce gets absorbed into the noodles and it’s not watery.