Friday, January 6, 2012

(Day 6) Success in the kitchen

I love to cook. A lot! My whole life I cooked by the books and I had to measure everything perfectly. My husband tried to encourage me to break out and make new recipes, but I was too afraid. I am a perfectionist and it extended to my cooking. My mom would laugh at how exact I was when I cooked. But my goal has been to try and not be so "by the books" and go on my own. Well the last few years I have been doing better at that and lately especially. The other night I decided to do the ultimate. For me ;) I have several lasagna recipes that we like and I wanted 1 ultimate recipe that would combine them all. So I tried the other night to combine all of them. It was scary and my kitchen got totally demolished. But it was a success!!! Richard said it was the best lasagna he has e.v.e.r had. So that was a big compliment. Here is the recipe if you are curious:

Red sauce (from my "awesome cook" friend SarahLynn)
6 carrots-pealed and cut up
2 garlic cloves-minced
1/2 onion cut up
1 tablespoon of butter
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tsp of Italian seasoning.  
1 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste
1 bunch of cilantro-chopped
1 bunch of Italian parsley-chopped. 
3 cans of diced tomatoes
1 lb of hamburger
1 lb of sausage (didn't include this time, but plan to next time)
2 cans of spaghetti sauce.

Warm butter and olive oil in a large stockpot then dump in carrots, onions and garlic. Cook on Medium-Low heat until the carrots start to soften and onions start to turn clear. Add Italian seasoning and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Then add cilantro and parsley to pot and allow herbs to sweat out for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn heat to Medium and add diced tomatoes. Stir frequently. Cook until almost all of the tomato juice is gone (it will look similar in consistency to a chunky salsa but don't worry in a few minutes it will be beautiful). Now transfer that to a bowl and allow it to cool (probably at least 10 minutes) before placing in the blender, and blend until it is thick and saucy. While the veggies are cooling, use the stockpot to cook the hamburger and sausage. You will want to season it with a little bit of salt and pepper. When the meat is all cooked and the veggie herb blend is done combine the two. And then add two cans of spaghetti sauce. Let simmer for 30 minutes and enjoy hearty red sauce (next time I want to cook it ahead and let it simmer in the crock pot on low for a couple hours to make it even better).

Cheese mixture (combination of my mom's lasagna and the recipe from the noodles box)
15 oz. ricotta cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1/2 c. Parmesan

Cook the red sauce according to the directions and mix together the cheese mixture while the red sauce is simmering. Preheat oven to 375 (I used no-boil noodles so this might be different using normal noodles). When both are done put 1 1/2 cup of red sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 in pan, a layer of noodles (for my noodles 5 worked), half of the cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of red sauce, noodles, rest of the cottage cheese mixture and 1 1/2-2 cups of red sauce. Cover with aluminum and cook for 50-60 minutes. When it is done, remove from oven and take off the foil. Put as much mozzarella cheese as you want (I used about 1 cup) and let it sit for 10 minutes at least. The longer you let it sit, the more it settles and is not runny. 

So yummy!! But warning, this is what your kitchen will look like:
That is if you have 2 needy and 1 crying baby who wouldn't nap to take care of while trying to cook. Luckily it cleaned up fast during the lasagnas cooking time. 

We inhaled it SO fast that I didn't get any pictures of the finished thing! But it looked like any normal lasagna, so just imagine that. 

p.s. yeah sorry I didn't post this truly on the 6th. I had most of it written, but didn't finish it because yesterday was crazy busy. Richard and I did go to the temple though! It was awesome.

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