Well, it is late, but I finally got to it. It was a busy day, and I meant to bake a cake earlier, but didn’t get to it until later. I enjoyed doing some yardwork therapy today in my yard since the weather was so absolutely beautiful! Yes, I actually do enjoy doing yardwork, at least when it doesn’t wear me out too much.
WordPress will actually show this post on February 15, but I did, in fact, make it on February 14. So, it is still Valentine’s Day. I hope you all enjoyed a Happy Valentine’s Day. Please celebrate with me with my festively-decorated chocolate cake! It’s not perfect, but it tastes just fine. I haven’t made a cake in forever. There are actually some Christmas candies on it – some of what I had left over from my Christmas cookies. And, I enjoyed some of my cake while it was still warm – yum! Hopefully, you found a way to make the day enjoyable.
I love to cook and bake, and today, I decided to make some lasagna! I also need just a little bit more to do to keep my mind occupied. Lasagna is definitely a rich-tasting comfort food for me, and with the temperatures getting cooler while going into Fall, it is one of those dishes that tastes delish when it gets a bit chilly outside. Plus, my son likes it too, so that is another good benefit. The thing is, I generally make so much that there is enough left over to freeze and get out at a later date to enjoy – yum!
So, I thought I would do a photo documentary of making my lasagna today, as well as throwing together a cucumber and tomato salad, along with some Texas Toast. Of course, the meal would have been “perfect” if I had made my own garlic bread, sauce, and cheese, but I don’t go quite that far. I could always buy some Italian or French bread, slather it with butter, and shake on some garlic salt, but the Texas Toast is just as good. I could also make my own sauce, but that is an involved process, as well as cheese-making. At any rate, I hope you enjoy my time invested into making some great food this morning. Are you hungry yet? Let’s eat!
First, purchase and gather all of your ingredients and cooking materials. Next, be sure to wash your hands and prepare your cooking area. Following are the next steps I followed in making my dinner:
I like to use about two pounds of ground beef, one pound of Barilla lasagna noodles, two jars of Prego Mushroom spaghetti sauce, and two pounds of mozzarella cheese. I don’t use Ricotta cheese because I don’t like it – neither the taste, nor the texture.
Be sure to coat the bottom of your roasting pan with some spaghetti sauce so the lasagna doesn’t burn it.
Now, it’s time to fire up the stove to cook your ingredients.
You can cook your lasagna noodles and ground beef at the same time. Of course, first, bring your water to a boil before placing the noodles in your pot. Brown your ground beef and drain out the grease before pouring in your spaghetti sauce to cook.
Next, pour in your spaghetti sauce, stir it in, and let it cook.
While your noodles and sauce are cooking, you have time to slice your mozzarella slabs. Never use grated mozzarella in your lasagna as it will dissolve into one soupy mess. Also, be sure your mozzarella is not cut too thick or it will not melt well. Then, you will have to turn up your oven temperature, and risk burning the bottom of your pan. It’s not worth it.
When your noodles and meat sauce are ready, you can start layering your lasagna to prepare for baking.
Next, spoon in a layer of meat sauce over the noodles.
Next, place a few slices of mozzarella on top of the meat sauce. Then, repeat each step until you have nothing left to layer.
I like to start warming my oven as soon as my noodles are finished cooking and while I am layering my lasagna so it provides enough time to come up to temperature by the time I’m ready to bake.
My roasting pan of lasagna is now ready for baking. I also like to just rinse out the spaghetti jars with a tiny bit of water and dump the rest of the sauce into the pan so there is no waste. Then, I put the top on the pan and place it in the oven, baking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
I always recycle as much as possible. So, I rinse the jars to take to the Recycling Center sometime, and I toss the cardboard noodle box and metal jar lids into my recycle dumpster. While I also recycle plastic bags, the cheese plastic was too messy to clean, so that became trash.
Next, I get out my Texas Toast on a metal platter, having it ready for baking once the lasagna is done. You can also bake it at the same time as your lasagna if you have a convection oven option on your microwave and you need to have it ready at the same time as the lasagna. However, if you have the time and prefer to save some electricity, just wait until the lasagna is done and use your oven. Your lasagna will need some time to cool before you can eat it anyway.
While the lasagna is baking, I get out my veggies for my cucumber and tomato salad. I remove any stickers, rinse them with water, cut them up and place them in a container, and get the Kraft Sun Dried Tomato salad dressing ready to add. I typically add about 1/3 bottle to the mixture.
One cucumber and one tomato are plenty to make salad for two people, but you can add more, as well.
Next, slice up your tomato.
Then, place both ingredients into a bowl or container and add the salad dressing, stirring it up. This tastes really good!
Now, it’s time to take the lasagna out of the oven – it’s done!
There is my homemade lasagna – as homemade as it’s going to get! Yum!
Next, be sure to lower your oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit to bake your Texas Toast. It takes a bit longer in the oven than in the convection microwave, but turns out better. In the oven, keep the Texas Toast in for eight minutes before taking it out to flip over. Then, return it to the oven for another five minutes. That should be just right.
There, the Texas Toast is perfect!
In all, this process took about 2.5 hours from start to finish, including eating and cleaning up everything afterwards.
And, there is my comfort food homemade lasagna and salad with Texas Toast! It was soooo good! That mozzarella is really delicious!
Of course, here is my “manly” meal on my Lady Carlisle fine china, but what are you gonna do? I have it and I’m going to use it.
I hope you enjoyed my virtual baking lesson for today – time for seconds! Gotta watch that cholesterol now, for sure.
A better Christmas cake than last week! December 31, 2018
I’m getting better at decorating these holiday cakes, now. Instead of trying to frost half green and half red, I just decided to frost all red, and make a green Christmas tree, outlined with cinnamon drops.
Some of my Frosted Christmas Sugar Cookies, December 27, 2018
I’m at it again – baking for most of the day today! It’s the holiday season, and I really would like my family and friends to enjoy some of my goodies.
Some more Christmas Cookies, December 27, 2018
Today, I baked two batches of sugar cookies – from my great grandmother’s recipe. They are absolutely delicious, and even better when they’re frosted!
Cookies cooling after taking them out of the oven, December 27, 2018
Only two of the larger gingerbread man-style cut-outs broke in half, so I did really well keeping everything whole. And, I definitely worked up a sweat more than once today, but the end product is all worth it!
A tray of cookies after being baked, December 27, 2018
Today, I baked some apricot-nut roll pastries to continue celebrating the Christmas spirit! The recipe is one that my Mom had since the late 1960s or early 1970s from the magazine, Better Homes and Gardens. My first tray turned out a little gooey (see above), but I improved by adding more flour after that (see below).
If you don’t really like apricots, the pastries are still really great! You just use apricot jelly to make them, and it causes them to taste quite sweet. They are really yummy, and my family and I love them!