After last week’s New Orleans overload, I am still doing laundry and am just now feeling rested and getting back into my workout groove. So this past weekend, Mr. Dish and I were perfectly content to sleep in and be completely unproductive. It was glorious.
I did, however, want to get back on my one-new-recipe-a-week band wagon, so I decided on a basic, straightforward dish that I’ve NEVER attempted before: Lasagna. I can hear the Italians out there snickering at me right now and I don’t want to hear it! The big noodles intimidate me, OK? Which is why I chose a recipe that called for this:
Idiot-proof pasta. Just what I need!
This lasagna recipe from The Food Network’s Down Home with the Neely’s seemed to be one that I couldn’t mess up. Prepping the meat sauce and ricotta cheese mixture took a little time, but it wasn’t hard. Because I was using oven-ready pasta, I didn’t have to worry about over or under cooking the noodles. It came together quite nicely, in two very cheesy layers:
I used 2% cheese! Shhh, don't tell Mr. Dish! He didn't notice!
About 35 minutes later, I had a gooey, heavenly-smelling lasagna. Home-made!
Oh, you bet we went back for seconds.
One modification I would make to this recipe for next time… the instructions say to overlap the noodles, whereas the box instructed me NOT to let the noodles touch. I stuck to my guns and followed Mama Neely’s instructions. The noodles were a little tough where they overlapped. Not to the point of being inedible by any means, but I will not overlap them next time I make this.
Other than that, this lasagna was AWESOME! Mr. Dish (a self-proclaimed picky eater) has been eating lots of leftovers. We added no seasonings or toppings to the lasagna after baking, and we were ready to lick our plates. I can’t wait to re-heat some for dinner tonight!
OK, I know. It’s lasagna. It’s easy. But I still get a thrill out of trying something new and wind up with a new delicious option to add to the recipe file. Even if it’s something this simple that I’m just now brave enough to try.
So my super-duper-awesome lasagna was my oven “high.” My oven “low” came the very next morning, when I made a tray of brownies to take into work. Nothing fancy. BROWNIES. From a BOX. Spread in a 13×9 pan, bake 22 minutes… raw in the middle. Of course by the time I realize this I have a plate full of brownie mush (which would have been excellent if I were getting ready to serve ice cream sundaes) and 30 minutes before I need to be at work. I don’t know if it’s my oven, or me… but every time I make brownies, I get too-done edges and raw middles. No happy medium. I would have taken a picture of the mess, but it didn’t occur to me to do so as I was violently throwing the mush in the trash. So if anyone has any brownie baking tips, please pass them along.
At least I have my lasagna…
from The Neely’s
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for pan
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (8-ounce) jar tomato sauce
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 (8-ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded mozzarella
- 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded Cheddar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.
In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and saute meat, onion, and garlic until meat is browned, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Drain pan of fat and add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, then mix in cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, and seasoning salt.
Spread a little of the meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Lay half the noodles in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping by 1/2-inch. Spread half the egg and cottage cheese mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle half the mozzarella and Cheddar evenly over the cottage cheese mixture. Pour half the meat sauce on top. Repeat layering in same order. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan on top. Bake in center of oven 30 to 35 minutes until sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.