Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'ma Cookin'

Go ahead and get it over with ... faint, make snide comments, twitter it .... Sherri's cooking! Not only is she cooking, she's making it up as she goes, and is making a masterpiece to rival the likes of Paula Deen and Emeril. Ok, maybe we shouldn't go that far but it is a momentious occasion because Sherri is in the kitchen, creating a yummy, delicious dinner that she is guaranteeing will be loved by all.

Sorry, about typing in the third person. It's sorta annoying isn't it? I'll stop now.

It's Saturday and for the most part has been a very laid back day. Hubby is recuperating from a rough work week, Son is recuperating from a week of camp, and me, I'm just recuperating because everyone else is. As I was sitting around doing a whole of nothing I started thinking about my cooking disaster from earlier in the week.  I decided it was time to redeem myself and come up with a meal worthy of .... Blogdom. I'm sure you saw that coming, right? I mean if I'm going to put my failures out there for everyone to see, it would only make sense that I would follow up with a success.

So, I put my little thinking chef hat on and came up with a plan. I wish I really had one of these, 'cause I would totally put it on and have my photo taken just so you could see how official I am.  I guess we'll just have to use our imaginations on this one.

Now to the plan - tonight we're going Italian. I have to preface this by saying, believe it or not, I actually make a pretty mean lasagna. If you don't believe me just ask my mama and she'll back me up. However tonight my plan is to bake a lasagna like no other.  Before I go any further I must warn you that this blog is going to be heavy in photos and details - if you're not into that  STOP reading now, say adios and we'll see ya later. Otherwise read on

I started with the sauce - tomato sauce, garlic, onion, and Italian seasons.  Looks good doesn't it?  While the sauce simmered I put on a pot to boil for cooking the lasagna noodles. Question about pasta. Do you call it just by the type of noodle or do you follow it by the word "noodle" For instance is it spaghetti or spaghetti noodle? fettuccine or fettuccine noodle? lasagna or lasagna noodle? The reason I ask is because on the box it reads lasagna  but if you google lasagna you get these images . You have to google lasagna noodle to get this image  which is what I'm talking about here. Pot - Boil - Noodles. Get it?

See what I mean about photos and details? It's not too late to bail, run while you can!

No? Still here. Ok, read on.

While the lasagna noodles were cooking I was busy putting together the innards. Hmmm, lasagna innards. Doesn't sound too appetizing does it? Believe me, though - it will be!

First the cheese. I mix mozarella, cottage cheese (yes, I said cottage cheese, I don't do ricotta - yuck!), parmesan, and two eggs for binding. This is what you get  Now, I realize that this mixture doesn't really look all that appealin. If fact, it looks pretty barfy. However keep in mind this is a filling, that once cooked, it's a bubbly, gooey, cheesy goodness.

Next I chop zucchini  and mushrooms I also brown and crumble Italian sausage.

The noodles are ready, time to put it all together. But first, let me tell you that I've discovered a new way of making lasagna.

Instead of making a big ol' pan of it  I make individual lasagna rolls! A pan is a good choice when you're feeding a crowd and need a lot. However, when it comes to serving it out of the pan I've always had a problem getting the slices to come out cleanly. They usually come out looking like a lump of lasagna instead of a slice.  One day while searching for recipes I discovered the concept of lasagna rolls, individual servings. They're really no more trouble to assemble and definitely serve up cleaner.

What follows are the steps for assembling lasagna rolls.

First you lay individual noodles in the pan. 

Next spread the cheese mixture covering about 1/4 of the end of each noodle. 

Top it with a little sauce 

Roll it up, covering the layer of cheese/sauce  note the little noodle tail on noodle #3 - very annoying, but does not effect the overall success of the dish.

Another layer of cheese 

followed by sauce and  crumbled sausage. 

Roll your noodles one more time  oh wow, look! Three more noodle rolls have appeared. I'm a magic cook!

This layer - no cheese - pour on the sauce 

 add a couple of mushroom slices 
(excuse the blurry photo, it's hard taking pictures and cooking at the same time),

add a slice of zucchini 

sprinkle liberally with this 

and there you have it  ready for the oven. Bake it in the oven at 350* for about 35-40 minutes.

While waiting for your lasagna to cook you might want to put together a few side dishes. No Italian meal is compete without a salad and garlic bread. I'd like to tell you that I went outside to my garden and harvested lettuce, carrots, and all that other stuff that makes up a good salad but that would be a lie. What I actually did was open a bag fresh from Kroger. .

For my bread, I've learned there's nothing wrong with what comes out of a box ... if you fix it right.  The key is to not bake it in the oven. Instead, cook it in a grill pan on the stove top .

It comes out looking mighty good, don't you think?

Ding! It's ready. Mmmmm, sure does look good, And it REALLY smells good too! I just wish I could activate this thing so you could smell it too. I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.

Meanwhile, let me show you the finished results. .

Mmmmm, these guys seem to really think it's pretty good too.  They're enjoying their meal, not so much having their picture taken while chowing down. Sometimes they just go along with my craziness, knowing it's in their best interests to not rock the boat. They're just thankful for a home-cooked meal that is not only edible but delicious to boot!

And finally, to wrap it up ....

 This girl supervised the whole thing. The preparation, the baking, and the eating. Unfortunately for her, this was not a cat-friendly meal. She was not happy to discover there would be no handouts.

Sorry Spunk, maybe tomorrow night.


  1. Looks FABULOUS, Sherri! We still have leftover manicotti from earlier in the week. Also, although I did not blog about it, I made a pan of lasagna the following day, adding pepperoni to the ground beef layer. It was dee-licious! (I pretended that it was vegetarian - lol!)

  2. P.S. I'm going to tweet this - just because you dared me to! ;-)

  3. Looks yummy! Am going to have to give this a try. I love lasagna and so do the boys in my family.

    Thanks for sharing!