Monday, February 24, 2014

Cheap and Easy TJs Lasagna

My grandma Nono has been so kind as to remind me that it's time to update my blog. I told her I didn't have a lot going on besides work, and who wants to hear about that? But I guess here are some things that I had published recently:
A review:
An editorial:
And an interview:

I've also redesigned my professional website, although I'm still working on some technical details.

On the home front, I had good luck last week with my first batch of lasagna. Or maybe second, but I don't remember making it before. I was at Trader Joes (otherwise known as TJs) which I LOVE when I got the idea and so I just sort of guessed on the ingredients, but it turned out so great that I'm making it again nary a week later! This is not the fastest or easiest or most economical as far as things I make goes, but only because I am extremely cheap and impatient and lazy at cooking, so relatively this is still pretty easy and pretty cheap.
Here are all the things I got at TJs:

I LOVE their $1.99 organic baby spinach. So much cheaper than at the conventional stores and doesn't come in one of those huge annoying plastic boxes. Just a nice bag. Also recently discovered that they sell oatmeal in a bag instead of in one of those cylindrical boxes which I always just throw out anyways because we keep our oatmeal in a big jar but that's unrelated to this recipe.
Also featured are: "no cook lasagna noodles," a tub of ricotta, shredded mozzarella (because shredding soft cheese is the worst),  parmesan, 1 lb ground beef, and $1.79 tomato basil pasta sauce, which incidentally, Nathan and I pronounce "pasta sass" where the "a"in pasta is the same as in "sass." I'm not sure where this originated. Hot sauce is also "hat sass." addition to this are ingredients that I just had around: 2 eggs, milk, some fresh parsley (which has been growing gangbusters since I stuck the pot on the balcony and never paid attention to it again) salt, pepper, chili flakes, and fennel seed. Oh and some leftover red wine (also from TJs, duh.)

I don't measure anything, and frankly most of the time find recipes that require measuring things annoying, so I'm not going to put any measurements on here and you perfectionists out there will just have to deal.
0. Preheat oven to 350
1. Brown up meat with some salt, pepper, and fennel seeds. Drain fat into something you plan to throw away and which is not plastic and will not melt. A jar or can work great. *Also you could easily do this veggie and just sauté up some zukes!*
2. Add pasta sass and simmer (hold on to that jar)
3. Throw that tub of ricotta in a mixing bowl with two eggs, two big splashes milk, some moz (probably 1.5 cups) and grate some parm in there too. Add pepper and parsley and mix!
4. Get out your lasagna pan. 9x13 maybe?
5. Spoon 1/4 of your sauce mix into the bottom of the pan and spread around so the bottom is saucy. Saucy bottoms yes indeed!
6. Lay some noodles in there. I just barely overlapped and then had to break some noodles in half to get the edge.
7. Spread on 1/2 of your cheese mixture.
8. Layer on some baby spinach.
9. Then another 1/4 of your sauce mixture.
10. Repeat steps 6-9
11. One more layer of sauce (this should be your last 4th! and then sprinkle some moz and parm on top.
12. Remember that jar? put like 1/2 cup of liquid in there (either wine or water or both!) swirl around to get the extra bits of sauce in your jar and pour around the edges of the lasagna.
13. Cover that mama with foil and bake it for 45 minutes.
14. Uncover and bake an additional ten minutes (or longer if you happen to get involved in watching the olympics and forget about it).


I imagine if you were feeling lazy you could just skip the meat (or buy meat sauce) and pour the sauce in directly from the jar saving you that one pan of clean up and like 10 minutes.

Otherwise, it's just a whole lot of kitty cuddling in these parts:

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