Monday, April 14, 2014

Post Baby Meals...Lasagna

So my mom says I am "nesting" because I am cooking and planning a few meals after A and B's arrival. For everyone else that knows me, I feel like this is a typical Shaz move. I am such a planner (to the point of exhaustion) when it comes to most things. I typically have my days, weeks and sometimes months planned out. I have to know what I am doing for dinner at about 7AM, or at least an idea of whether I am going out or staying in. Needless to say, I've been thinking about what I am going to do for meals post babies since about January.

That said, I decided to cook up a couple lasagnas to freeze until after the boys are born. I know lasagna isn't the best summer meal - but it's filling and satisfying...and we all know how much I love me some pasta. YUM. :)

I opted to make two different "lasagnas" but one is really a baked farfalle (the little bow ties). Here are all my ingredients - mostly things I wanted to use up in my fridge like some extra block cheese, spinach, tomatoes, etc.


I've used this "oven ready lasagna" before and it was really simple. It beats having to cook/boil the lasagna sheets and then dry them out, all the while trying to not stick them together or tear. Here's what the box looks like (generic), I recommend it!


I made my cheese mixture which consisted of ricotta cheese (whole milk), two eggs, parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper, garlic salt and for added protein, garbanzo beans I blended in the magic bullet.


I cooked the sausages right away to get everything going. I started cooking 4 sweet Italian sausages and 2 hot and spicy ones. Can you tell which is which?? Hehe. After they browned up a bit, I then sliced them up to finish cooking them a little quicker.


I made a homemade sauce, but also wanted to get rid of this jar that's been in my fridge. So like my Grammy-in-law, Mary says, use a little bit of red wine to get the rest of the sauce out! I pour the wine in the jar, cover it and shake it so its all blended. I then pour it into my pan.


And here's my homemade sausage meat sauce...


...and the cheese mixture all mixed up, ready for the layering process to begin.


Set up for success!

First, I greased my two pans with olive oil, then poured in a bit of the sauce on the bottom, then the pasta later, then the cheese layer, then some spices and the meat sauce. The next few photos will show my process.






As I was finishing up my last few layers, I realized I completely forgot about my veggies - tomatoes and spinach. That's how my brain has [not] been working lately. So I quickly added those two to one of the top layers, even though I would've preferred them be in the middle somewhere to cook a little more thoroughly.


I tossed what little sauce I had left over on top of the veggies so they wouldn't crisp and burn, sprinkled some parmesan cheese over the sauce and covered with tin foil. I am baking them (as we speak!) at 375 for 45 minutes. I will then take the cover off and bake another 10 minutes or so. Then of course let the sit at least 30 min before cutting into them. I personally won't have that problem since I am freezing mine, but just FYI it keeps all the juices in there nicely and firms up pretty well.

As a side note, if you use a lot of fresh farmers market veggies in your lasagna, it will become very juicy and runny. I suggest adding some breadcrumbs for both flavor and absorption. And the more it sits, the firmer it becomes, so you may even want to make it a day in advance. You can always top it with more sauce and cheese prior to serving. Don't forget to pair it with your fav red wine. ;)


And after they were done cooking:




That's all for now! I am loving being home during the day (I'm still in my PJs). I am going to go lay down again now because I don't want to get in trouble! Off to work again tomorrow.

xo,
Shaz


P.S. I forgot about my flashback photos!  Here is one of me, Kate and Keyla - my besties from Pepperdine back in October, 2010. Recently Keyla celebrated her birthday AND her engagement! Congrats to KK!!!