Tag Archives: quick

Lazy Lasagna

My family requested lasagna for dinner yesterday, but I didn’t get home till 5 p.m. so it would have been a mad dash to get lasagna on the table by 6:30.

Here’s what I made instead. Although it’s about the same ingredients as lasagna I didn’t have to take the time to layer everything out. I just threw it all together, topped it with cheese and stuck it in the oven. Easy peasy.

Lazy Lasagna | A delicious and simple recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Lazy Lasagna

Serves 6-8


  • 12 oz. lasagna noodles
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb. loose Italian sausage
  • One bunch of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water boils break up the lasagna noodles into irregular pieces and add to the pot. Cook according to box instructions, about 12 minutes.

In the meantime, heat oil in a large, ovenproof skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt. Sauté until spinach is wilted, another minute. Set mushrooms and spinach aside.

Without cleaning the pan, add the sausage and brown. Add the sauce, mushrooms and spinach. Combine well. Drain the noodles and add to the skillet. Add half the cheeses and mix well. Top with the remaining cheese, cover and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.


Lazy Lasagna | A delicious and simple recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Quick, Chunky Crochet Hat — A Free Pattern

I knit a lot of gifts this last holiday season. With the completion of a belated scarf last week, I’m just about knitted out. I needed a new project that would satisfy my short attention span and was something different.

I found a simple crochet hat pattern on TangledHappy.com that used the herringbone half double crochet stitch. I’d never heard of it, but after a couple of video tutorials, it looked easy enough.

I didn’t have the hook size the pattern called for, but I had something close, so I used what I think was an N size hook (it’s unmarked for some ridiculous reason). This made the gauge off for the original pattern so I had to wing it, which is why I’m posting a pattern on my blog. I also added contrasting trim and pompom.

These are incredibly quick to complete. I made two yesterday and one this morning. They are a great way to use up excess yarn, especially if you double up worsted weight and crochet two strands at once, which I did with the blue hat shown in this pattern.

Quick Chunky Crochet Hat | A Free Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Quick, Chunky Crochet Hat with Pompom — A Free Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat


1 skein of chunky yarn such as Lopi or Lion Brand Thick and Quick OR two strands of heavy worsted yarn crocheted together as one strand.

1 skein of contrasting yarn, weight can vary

Size N crochet hook

Darning needle

Two toilet paper tubes (opional)

Sharp scissors

Removable stitch marker

Continue reading Quick, Chunky Crochet Hat — A Free Pattern

Easy homemade cocoa

One of my son’s favorite winter treats is hot cocoa. He learned the words when he was about 18 months old. I prefer hot cocoa made with milk but there’s so much sugar and other junk in store bought cocoa, plus usually you are supposed to use water.

So I made my own. And it’s super good! I also never have whipping cream so to make it extra special I use my Nescafe milk frother to top off the cocoa with a thick layer of foam. It makes me feel like I’m in a fancy cafe.

Easy Homemade Cocoa|Alaska Knit Nat


1 cup milk

1 tsp. honey or agave nectar

2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder



In a small saucepan whisk together the milk, honey and cocoa. Heat to desired temperature. Top with whipped cream or milk foam.

Easy Homemade Cocoa|Alaska Knit Nat Easy Homemade Cocoa|Alaska Knit Nat

Easy Homemade Cocoa|Alaska Knit Nat



Quick craft: Soda Bottle Kitty Planters

This was a perfect crafting weekend. Between family dinners and birthday parties my friend Kelly and I had just enough time for small crafts.

I’ve been hauling around some two liter soda bottles in my car for several weeks with the intention of creating kitty planters I saw on Recycleart.org (original post from Brudiy.com).

It took no time at all to cut the bottle to shape, paint it and plant some lovely soleirolia in it. Here’s our version.

Quick craft: Recycled soda bottle kitty planters. Irresistibly cute from Alaska Knit Nat


one, two-liter soda bottle


permanent marker

acrylic paints in black, white and pink


glossy finish spray (optional)

small plant

extra soil for planting

Quick craft: Recycled soda bottle kitty planters. Irresistibly cute from Alaska Knit Nat


With sharp-tipped scissors, cut the top off of your bottle. Also poke some drainage holes in the bottom if you think of it. Clean and rinse the bottle. Note how deep your potted plant is to determine how tall your bottle planter should be. Also note where the “paws” are to determine where to place the ears. I didn’t think to do this so the black cat looks like his head is turned to the side, which is OK with me. With a Sharpie, draw the cat’s ears on the bottle. Cut around the ears and the back of the bottle. It should now look like a clear cat shape.

Paint two coats of desired base color on the outside of the bottle. Place your fist inside the bottle to make it easier to paint all around. Hold it up to the light to see if you missed any spots. I used a sponge brush and dabbed all over to give it more texture and eliminate any brush strokes. Let fully dry.

Paint on the ears and nose in pink. Paint the eyes and whiskers. Let fully dry.

Spray on an even coat of glossy finishing spray. I only did this because I was afraid watering the plant might cause the paint to chip over time. It’s probably not necessary. Let gloss dry.

Quick craft: Recycled soda bottle kitty planters. Irresistibly cute from Alaska Knit Nat

Place a plant of your choice in your kitty and enjoy how irresistibly cute it is.

Quick craft: Recycled soda bottle kitty planters. Irresistibly cute from Alaska Knit Nat

Quick Vegetable Soup

I’m home sick today. During my two-hour pity party in bed this morning, I lamented over the fact that no one can bring me soup and my cabinets were bereft of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle.

It is a scientific fact that chicken soup is good for colds; but I’m not well enough to drive to the store and buy some, so I rolled my sick self out of bed, I took what I had on hand and made some delicious vegetable bean soup with a chicken broth base. Way better than store bought. And guess what? I’m feeling slightly better. Up from 61% to 68%. Not bad!

Quick Homemade Vegetable Soup | Alaska Knit Nat

Cast of Characters:

Quick Homemade Vegetable Soup | Alaska Knit Nat

1 Tbs. olive oil

3 Tbs. finely chopped onion

1 carrot, chopped

1/2 celery stalk, chopped

3 crimini mushrooms (or one giant baby portobello mushroom) sliced

1 sprig fresh thyme

4 cups chicken stock

1 can white beans, drained

salt and pepper to taste

Serves 2


Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, mushroom, salt and pepper and sauté until most of the liquid evaporates, about five minutes. Add the thyme and stock and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until carrots are tender. Add the beans and bring back to a simmer. Simmer another five minutes or so until beans are heated through.

The fresh veggies add more depth to the chicken stock so it doesn’t taste bland. The mushrooms create a wonderful richness and depth to the broth.


Quick Homemade Vegetable Soup | Alaska Knit Nat