Monday, January 28, 2008

What's for dinner?

My wife is a really good cook, and she often writes these long posts where she describes what she made or plans to make for dinner.

I don't cook very often, and I describe myself as a "one hit wonder" in the kitchen. Well, I have a few things I know how to make well; the main breakfast staple is quesadillas, especially when Hatch green chiles are available, and I usually put a fried egg on mine. Ben just likes plain quesadillas with nothing but cheese.

That's not my specialty, though. The one dinner dish I know how to make really well is lasagna. I made one for Ginny last night when she came home from her camping trip. So for a change, I'm writing the dinner post. Ginny took a picture of it, but she didn't send me the image yet so I don't have a visual for you. I should also mention that my best friend's dad used to call me "Garfield," so he would probably find it funny that that's my main dish.

My mom taught me how to make lasagna when I was in college, and over the years Ginny has been suggesting ingredients to add to the mix. At base, I have always used these items which have not changed, except for tweaks to the amount:
  • One package of lasagna noodles
  • One and a half cans of Hunt's spaghetti sauce
  • One container of ricotta cheese
  • Three cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • About a teaspoon of parmesan
  • One egg
  • Salt and pepper
Then there are variable ingredients for the inside; last night I used:
  • A pound of ground beef
  • Some mushrooms
  • A quarter of a red onion
  • A few leaves of fresh spinach
  • Some unfrozen artichoke hearts
So anyway, you chop up all the vegetables together in a big (i.e., deep) frying pan and sauté them in either olive oil or grape seed oil. There should be approximately equal amounts of each vegetable, so use the quarter of an onion to compare with the other things. Set the vegetables aside, start the pot boiling for the noodles, and crumble up and brown the meat in the big pan. Pour in the spaghetti sauce and mix it in with the beef, then add the sautéd vegetables and mix them in too.

While the noodles are cooking (about 12-14 minutes) put half the mozzarella in with the other two cheeses and an egg. Add some salt and pepper, mix them up.

Smear the bottom of the pan with a little of the sauce and stuff. Put in a layer of noodles. Then put on a bunch of sauce and stuff, and smush on some of the cheese mixture. Add more noodles. I use four layers of noodles and three layers of sauce stuff and cheese stuff. I use all the cheese on the inside, but I leave a little sauce to pour on top at the end.

On the last layer, put on the extra sauce and then cover it with the rest of the mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes with foil, then take off the foil and do 15 more minutes. Throw in some garlic bread during the last ten minutes.

So that's my own happy homemaker post. I don't do this very often because it takes me about an hour to get the thing ready (I'm a slow vegetable chopper) and another half hour to clean up the mess. Besides that, I also got a bottle of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and a prepackaged Caesar salad, and I used some cherry crumb cobbler that was in the freezer.

Ginny was happy. My doctor hates me. :)

1 comment:

  1. Let me just say that Russell has really mastered lasagna. For a man who is not at all a cook, that is saying a lot. He really did a great job on this one and I ate way more than I care to admit. ;)

    Thank you so much honey for that wonderful meal!