Thursday, August 7, 2014

On the homefront

Actual documentation of small amounts of cooking! An oven-baked meal is a rare beast right about now. I honestly only bothered with this because we were having company. Our kitchen just gets blisteringly hot during the summer so I'm not always willing to go for it.

lasagna in process
{lasagna in process}

bread + spread
{bread + spread}

caesar dressing
{caesar dressing}

classic caesar
{classic caesar}


Is it weird that I don't use a recipe for lasagna? I always eyeball it. I mix ricotta with a few eggs, salt, pepper, chopped basil and Parmesan. Then I just layer sauce, noodles, ricotta mix, mozzarella, repeat a couple times. I've finally started not pre-cooking my noodles and it's awesome. I hate wrangling cooked noodles. I do lay them out in the pan, pour boiling water over them and let them soak for 5 minutes but that probably isn't even necessary.

I made the garlic bread by whipping together salted butter and a few cloves of pressed garlic. I sliced the bread almost all the way through, slathered the butter between the slices and wrapped the whole thing in aluminum foil to bake for a bit. You don't get the lovely browned tops, but it's a lot easier.

I pulled the Caesar salad recipe directly from Bon Appétit and it was perfect - super traditional. I did chop the romaine because I personally hate unchopped salads. They look pretty but I just don't want to have to cut up slippery lettuce while trying to hold a conversation.

And if you're wondering what Circe is waiting for in that last picture ...

romaine nubs
{romaine nubs}

She sticks pretty close while we're cooking because we're terrible and will feed her scraps of food. We're super strict about never feeding her from our plates (which is amazing because she's learned not to beg and she just leaves the room if we start eating) but it's so nice to have her in the kitchen while we work that we bribe her. Romaine hearts are her fave.


  1. I like to use a mixture of half ricotta and half cottage cheese in my lasagna. I sometimes feel that too much ricotta makes the lasagna seem a little dry. Just thought I'd share. I'm in the same boat this summer, haven't been cooking much. Last night was a success though, I cooked chicken that all three kids actually ate (maybe it had something to do with the salad dressing that I gave them to dip it in?).

    1. Interesting! Does the cottage cheese flavor come through?

  2. I love lasagna but have a SERIOUS aversion to ricotta, so I started using a béchamel instead (and yes, it adds steps), but it makes the lasagna super special/delicious. Btw, our dogs love carrots too. I think it's the crunch (and of course I like to think they'll have good eyes when they get older).

    1. Mmmmm ... lasagna with bechamel would be similar to pastitsio, which is one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes. Somehow it never occurred to me to do it with lasagna! Yum. I use the Martha Stewart mac and cheese recipe which is bechamel based as well. Soooo good.

      I'm also obsessed with ricotta, though. The bonus for me is that I always save a little bit of the leftovers (sans egg, obvs) and eat it drizzled with honey and almonds. But that probably sounds terrible to you!

  3. I agree with Sarah. Once I found out how good béchamel lasagna was I ditched the ricotta. And I love ricotta. Also I don't use mozzarella, but do use parmesan.

    Also Circe, love.

  4. I've used cottage cheese in lasagna too. Pioneer Woman did it, I followed suit and loved the result! It's a little thicker, and it just brings dimension but not a cottage cheesy flavor. I'd recommend giving it a try!

  5. I wing it too, every time! But back this train up! You don't have to pre-cook regular noodles? I've tried the no boil kind twice and was not a fan. They're just too thin and not all that great which was a bummer!

    1. Well, I think the TJ's noodles I had are technically no-boil (but pretty thick!), but I've heard of people using regular noodles without a problem. Apparently you just need to make sure you put sauce in the bottom of the dish first (which I always do anyways) and use enough liquid (I'm always going overboard on sauce, so this isn't an issue for me).

      I'm cautious because lasagna is a relatively expensive dish and I'd hate to experiment and end up with something inedible, so I'll probably always soak the noodles in boiling water first! But still so much easier than working with fully cooked noodles.

  6. it's not weird to eyeball lasagna, but it's endearingly weird that YOU eyeball lasagna - i thought you'd spreadsheet it!


Trying captchas this time - better or worse than having to log in to comment? Let me know! Sorry for all the hoops but the spam has been terrible lately!