Let's just continue our journey of around-the-world cuisine, shall we?
I was all set to blog about muffins this morning, and then did an abrupt 360º at the last minute. I mean, I already posted cupcakes this week, and what are muffins but slightly less sweet cupcakes? Plus, I jibber-jabbered all day yesterday about my world-traveling recipes so why not expound on that?
My thoughts exactly :-)
Ah, lasagna. Who doesn't love lasagna? Layers upon layers of savory meaty goodness, gooey melted cheese, and tender pasta... I'm just ready for this dish all over again!
About two weeks ago, the hubby took a little bit of spicy sausage out of the fridge to make B's & G's. The B's & G's never happened, so I was left with the tiniest amount of sausage and no idea what to do with it. As luck would have it, I also had quite a bit of homemade marinara leftover in the fridge from another meal. And then, I realized I had ricotta too. That's all it took.
I crumbled and browned the sausage before adding it to the leftover marinara...
Prepared a quick ricotta mixture- ricotta, an egg, shaved parmesan (cuz' I had it on hand and it needed to be used), and dried parsley...
Cooked some lasagna noodles...
And got to layering y'all!
I assembled the lasagna by spraying the pan liberally with cooking spray, laying down a layer of pasta, then a layer of the ricotta mixture, a layer of spinach, a layer of the sauce mixture, and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Lay down another layer of pasta, and repeat all the layers. Repeat until the casserole dish is filled to the top. Sprinkle with more mozzarella, and voila!
You've built a lasagna :-)
I actually made a tiny lasagna in a square (9x9) pan. I think it would perfectly feed 4-6 people, depending on how much lasagna a person likes to eat. This fed the hubby and I for a dinner, and then me for 4 lunches. It makes great leftovers too, by the way.
I served it with an Olive Garden salad. The hubby loves himself an Olive Garden Salad. Yep, complete with dressing and all!
I thinly sliced some fresh basil, and strategically placed it on top of the lasagna after it came out of the oven.
Look at those luscious layers!
We also sipped on a cabernet while enjoying the lasagna, and I must say, the cabernet was a perfect pairing.
It's Friday again, and I believe Valentine's Day is this weekend. I love when Valentine's Day falls on a weekend. Not because it matters to me, but I'm sure it helps other people out. I remember feeling so left out in high school, college, cubicle world, etc. when Valentine's rolled around and people's significant others sent them to school or work with giant, stuffed pink teddy bears. Or a dozen roses. Or even a toddler-size box of chocolates. And seeing how there's millions of people without significant others, at least they won't have to be subject to all that this year. Unless of course people are bringing their gifts in to work today or Monday to show them off... Ugh.
I don't mean to sound whiny here, but Valentine's is my least favorite holiday. It feels like a forcibly commercial holiday and all I mean by that is that it seems retail America wants to sell us a bunch of clutter to celebrate our love. #1- Not everyone has a significant other. I suspect this may play favorably into retailer's hands though, as young lovers try to prove to the world just how much they are loved by someone. It's an inclusion thing. Everyone wants to be included, not excluded. #2- To me, nothing says "I love you NOT" than all this nonsensical "Made In China" pink and red junk. Love is so much more than picking up a box of chocolates at the drug store on your way home from work.
The hubby and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Well, I guess we do, but in a homemade way. We always plan a special meal, I make a special dessert, and then we park our butts on the couch for a Netflix-a-thon. It's just us. No stuffed animals. Nothing made in China. No dead flowers on my counter.
Although, if the hubby wanted to get me a live plant, it would be hard to say no :-) You can always plant those outside in the spring.
Ok, I'm done with my usual Valentine's Day rant. Have a great weekend everyone!
Recipe adapted from: The Pioneer Woman
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
1 link spicy sausage, casing removed
3 cups Homemade Marinara
1 1/2 cups Ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
2 cups fresh spinach
~2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
fresh basil, thinly sliced (for garnish-optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat a (9x9) square casserole pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a sauce pot, heat marinara sauce over medium-low heat. In a small skillet, crumble and brown the sausage. When browned, drain and add to the marinara sauce. Stir to combine. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, add ricotta, egg, parmesan, parsley, and salt. Stir to combine.
4. Cook lasagna noodles according to package.
5. Assemble the lasagna: I found 3 noodles fit the square pan, even though you have to trim a little off the noodles. Just trim the noodles, and discard of the ends. Layer noodles on the bottom of the pan. Then spread a layer of the ricotta mixture. Cover the ricotta with a layer of spinach, followed by a layer of the marinara mixture. Sprinkle a good amount of mozzarella on top, then lay another layer of noodles down. Repeat layers until you've used all the noodles (I found I made 3 layers). Top final noodle with sauce, a layer of mozzarella cheese, and finally the parmesan. Cover lasagna with foil, and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil, and cook for another 10. Remove pan from oven, and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. Slice, and serve.
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