Campfire Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna: 30 minutes in a cast iron dutch oven, cooked over a campfire. Simple, easy, delicious, and incredibly filling.

Glamping: Campfire Spinach Lasagna

Campfire Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna: 30 minutes in a cast iron dutch oven, cooked over a campfire. Simple, easy, delicious, and incredibly filling.

Campfire Spinach Lasagna

“Glamping”– or, Glamour Camping– is the perfect way to enjoy time ‘with nature,’ while still feeling happy and full at the end of the day.  This series of “Glamping” recipes will focus on cooking outdoors, with recipes as exciting and fulfilling as your camping trip.  

Camping trips can leave you full of dilemmas– You’re starving, you’ve been hiking all day, and yet just as you want one of the biggest, most filling meals ever, you find yourself without electricity, refrigeration, or even an oven.  What’s a hungry hiker to do?!?!  I’ll tell you what you’re going to do– you’re going to eat!!!  With a little planning and preparation– you can find yourself chowing down on lasagna.  This recipe for Campfire Spinach Lasagna is vegetarian, simple to prepare, and delicious.  It’s also a fantastic way to eat a few more carbs than normal, especially before or after a big hike.  We devoured this tasty pasta dish the night before our hike into the Grand Canyon, and managed to eat the entire batch all by ourselves.

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This Wild Berry Lavender Granita with Whipped Ricotta is a gourmet-level icy treat that can be made without any special ice cream equipment!

Wild Berry Lavender Granita with Whipped Ricotta

This Wild Berry Lavender Granita with Whipped Ricotta is a gourmet-level icy treat that can be made without any special ice cream equipment!

Wild Berry Lavender Granita with Whipped Ricotta

This Wild Berry Lavender Granita with Whipped Ricotta is a gourmet-level icy treat that can be made without any special ice cream equipment!

Last summer, I wandered aimlessly with the husband through the blistering heat of the Tuscan sun, eating as many cold things as possible.  I mostly ate gelato, because well, it’s gelato.  (I really don’t need to explain that one, right?)  Along the way, however, I also found myself devouring gelato-filled cannoli (what?! I didn’t even know that existed!), and of course, granita.  If you aren’t familiar with granita, it’s an icy frozen treat, traditionally made with water, sugar, and lemon juice.  It’s also used as a palate cleanser between meal courses. (File this factoid in your brain somewhere, just in case you someday have an especially fancy-schmancy dinner).  My favorite thing about granita is that it’s ridiculously easy to make at home– no ice cream maker required.  This Wild Berry Lavender Granita with Whipped Ricotta is the perfect way to cool down on a summer day.

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Lemon Pepper Octopus

Lemon Pepper Octopus

Lemon Pepper Octopus - Perfect for seafood lovers!

Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

Are you feeling adventurous?  Let’s talk octopus.  That’s right, those eight-legged sea monsters that spend their days looking like they’ve escaped from a Jules Verne novel.  The spineless, fascinating creatures that can fit through any space they can squeeze their jaw bones through.  Well, my friends, those leggy beasts are also completely and utterly delicious.  The husband talked me into buying one on a Jungle Jim’s trip, and that’s how our invertebrate obsession began.  This recipe for Lemon Pepper Octopus is easy, and sure to leave you with a tender and flavor-packed meal.

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Rosemary Fig Pizza

Rosemary Fig Pizza

Rosemary Fig Pizza- Thin Crust Gourmet Pizza with Gorgonzola Cheese, Fig Jam, and Fresh Rosemary

It’s time for pizza!  Everybody loves pizza– even if someone says they don’t, there is probably at least one kind of pizza they would, in fact, love.  Pizza means choices, and not just for toppings.  Some love the goopy, deep-dish Chicago-style pizza.  Others prefer huge, thin slices of hand-tossed New York-esque pizza.  There’s also the traditional Italian Margherita pizza, and a newer favorite– the gourmet pizza.  These tasty slices are usually on a thin crust, and have flavorful, non-traditional toppings.  One of my favorite gourmet pies is this Rosemary Fig Pizza.

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Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta

Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta

Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta- Perfectly Sear Scallops at Home!

Do you love pasta?  Do you love seafood?  If you haven’t been combining them to make quick, delicious dinners– this recipe for Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta could revolutionize your dinner routine.  (Okay maybe not, but it’s seriously quite tasty.  And fast.  And did I mention tasty?).  The Italians, of course, are onto something with all the seafood and pasta dishes filling their kitchens and dinner plates.  Let’s join them!

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Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan. A little less cheese, a few more veggies, and baked eggplant instead of fried.

The grass is green again,  flowers are blooming, and the vegetable section at the market is beginning to look healthier and more vibrant.  That’s right- it’s spring!  It’s time to put away that slow cooker, and remember how to use your vegetables in something other than soup.  One veggie-centric recipe I love devouring is Baked Eggplant Parmesan.  Fairly often, this dish is served with fried eggplant and more cheese than vegetables.  I prefer to bake the eggplant, use a little less cheese, and throw in a few extra veggies.

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Lemon Risotto

Gourmet Special: Lemon Risotto

Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

How do you feel about rice?  Have you given that much thought?  (I can’t be the only one fixating on rice… right?)  Personally, I think rice is delicious.  I even love plain old white rice– add a little butter, pepper, and soy sauce– and you have an easy, if somewhat bland, side dish or snack. However, my favorite rice, the star of rice dishes, the rice dish that is not simply a background for your main dish, is risotto.

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Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Cooking 101: Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Red Wine Pasta Sauce- Easy to make, and ready by the time your pasta is done cooking!

Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class?  Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes.  These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.

Do you ever find yourself with less than 30 minutes to make dinner?  Of course you do.  When this happens to me, I usually find myself making some kind of pasta.  I even convince myself I’m saving time by starting the water boiling process in my electric kettle.  (I’m pretty sure this does NOT save me time, because I have to do this in two batches.  I do it anyway, and that’s okay).  This Red Wine Pasta Sauce is an easy, flavorful addition to a quick weeknight meal.

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This vegan Red Wine Pasta is perfect for wine lovers on a date night, and is ready start to finish in about 20 minutes.

Red Wine Pasta

This vegan Red Wine Pasta is perfect for wine lovers on a date night, and is ready start to finish in about 20 minutes.

Red Wine Pasta

This vegan Red Wine Pasta is perfect for wine lovers on a date night, and is ready start to finish in about 20 minutes.

Picture the following:  You have a date, you’re supposed to cook, and you only have about 20 minutes to get the food ready.   What do you do?  Panic?  (Yes, of course.)  Call for a restaurant reservation?  (Maybe.)  However, there’s another option.  Are you ready for this?  You can make fancy pasta.  That’s right– pasta that looks terribly impressive, but in reality only takes a few minutes longer to prepare than plain old spaghetti marinara.  This Red Wine Pasta is vegan, flavorful, and incredibly quick to prepare.

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Classic Italian Tiramisu

Classic Italian Tiramisu

This boozy and creamy Classic Italian Tiramisu is easy to prepare, uses cooked eggs, and is perfect for both Date Night and parties!

Ahhh tiramisu.  Just the thought of it makes me smile.   And really, how can you help but love this slightly boozy, creamy, coffee dessert that melts in your mouth.  If it doesn’t make you smile, think back and try to remember if you’ve only eaten it at chain restaurants.  For years I thought I didn’t like tiramisu (I’d only had it at a certain Italian restaurant whose name will remain anonymous. Except it starts with an O and then with a G. Sorry O.G., I don’t like your tiramisu. At all).  That all changed when I was visiting friends in Paris and had this creamy coffee goodness for dessert one night.

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