Photo Credit: Daniel J. van Ackere   © 2007 Boston Common Press, DBA America's Test Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credit: Daniel J. van Ackere
© 2007 Boston Common Press, DBA America’s Test Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.


Start your favorite newlyweds off on the right culinary track or stock your own home with this carefully vetted list from America’s Test Kitchen. ATK editorial director Jack Bishop reveals to Fox News Radio’s Lilian Huang Woo, the very best gifts to get (or receive) for coffee fanatics, seasoned bakers or even novices in the kitchen.



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Classic Lasagna

Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen
Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen


Why This Recipe Works: Lasagna is a crowd-pleaser: What’s not to love about a dish layered with tender noodles, meaty sauce, and gooey cheese baked until golden and bubbling? But it’s also time-consuming to prepare. We didn’t think this hearty and satisfying favorite should be off-limits when cooking for less than a crowd. Our goal was a streamlined version for two. For an easy meaty tomato sauce, we found that meatloaf mix lent more flavor and richness than ground beef. A little cream with diced tomatoes and canned tomato sauce gave us a velvety sauce reminiscent of a Bolognese. Swapping traditional noodles for no-boil noodles was an easy timesaver. A baking dish made far too much for two, but the noodles fit perfectly in a loaf pan. We simply layered noodles with the sauce and a combination of mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan for a perfectly proportioned two-person lasagna.

Serves 2

Meatloaf mix is a combination of equal parts ground beef, pork, and veal and is available in most grocery stores. If you can’t find meatloaf mix, substitute 4 ounces each of ground pork and 90 percent lean ground beef. Do not substitute fat-free ricotta here.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces meatloaf mix
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup juice reserved
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

4 ounces (1/2 cup) whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus 2 tablespoons, grated
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 no-boil lasagna noodles
4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1. FOR THE SAUCE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in meatloaf mix and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 2 minutes.

2. Stir in cream, bring to simmer, and cook until liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and reserved juice and tomato sauce. Bring to simmer and cook until flavors are blended, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. FOR THE FILLING, NOODLES, AND CHEESE: Combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, egg, salt, and pepper in bowl.

4. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of loaf pan, avoiding large chunks of meat. Lay 1 noodle in pan, spread one-third of ricotta mixture over noodle, sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella, and top with 1/2 cup sauce; repeat layering 2 more times. Lay remaining noodle in pan and top with remaining sauce, remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella, and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

5. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Bake until sauce bubbles lightly around edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until hot throughout and cheese is browned in spots, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbookby the editors at America’s Test Kitchen

Lemon-Herb Cod with Crispy Garlic Potatoes

PHOTO: Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen
PHOTO: Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen


Why This Recipe Works: We set out to develop a simple one-dish dinner of flaky cod and crispy roasted potatoes. For potatoes that would cook through quickly, we sliced russet potatoes thin, tossed them with oil and garlic, and shingled them into two piles in a greased baking dish. We roasted the potatoes until they were spotty brown and tender then added the cod fillets—topped with pieces of butter, sprigs of thyme, and slices of lemon—and slid it all back into the oven. After just 15 minutes more, we had a perfect dinner of moist, subtly flavored cod and crispy, garlicky potatoes.

Serves 2

Try to purchase cod fillets that are similar in size so that they cook at the same rate. If the fillets are much thinner than 1 inch, simply fold them over to make them thicker. Halibut and haddock are good substitutes for the cod.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (8-ounce) russet potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 18 slices)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
2 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless cod fillets, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 lemon, sliced thin

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush 13 by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil.

2. Toss potatoes with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Shingle potatoes into baking dish in 2 rectangular piles measuring 4 by 6 inches. Roast potatoes until spotty brown and just tender, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating dish halfway through roasting.

3. Pat cod dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Carefully place 1 fillet skinned side down on top of each potato pile. Top fillets with butter pieces, thyme sprigs, and lemon slices. Roast cod and potatoes until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 140 degrees, about 15 minutes.

4. Slide spatula underneath potatoes and fillets and gently transfer to individual plates. Serve.

Arranging Cod with Potatoes and Lemon

Shingling Potatoes

1. Shingle potato slices into 2 piles of 3 tight rows, each measuring about 4 by 6 inches. Gently push rows together so that potatoes are tidy and cohesive.

Layer with Lemon Slices

2. After parcooking potatoes, carefully place 1 cod fillet skinned side down on top of each set of potatoes. Top fish with butter pieces, thyme sprigs, and lemon slices and return to oven to finish cooking.