Monday, July 9, 2012

Seat of the pants, recipeless

My birthday is Thursday, and since J's family always celebrates everyone's birthdays with a dinner and a "party" we all got together last night.  J's grandmother kept asking what I wanted for dinner, and being pregnant, there's really NO way to plan ahead for a dinner meal.  Some days, nothing sounds good...others, everything sounds fantastic.  So, she suggested lasagna...a Stouffer's Lasagna.

Now, excuse my snottiness, or don't because I don't care if you think I'm snotty...but my family doesn't do Stouffer's.  Growing up, if we had lasagna, we had homemade.  No if ands or butts about it.  So, I suggested that if J's grandmother wanted to buy the ingredients I'd gladly make the lasagna myself. ingredients.  Hhhhmmm.  How to explain the ingredients I found when I opened the fridge Saturday night after work.

2 pounds of browned ground chuck (cool, I can work with this, thanks for browning it for me)
1 HUGE jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce (hhhrrm, pretty sure I need crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and then tomato sauce...thinking...)
No cook lasagna noodles/oven ready (this is the way to go, don't get the kind you have to cook...)
1 pound of shredded mozzarella
1 smallish tub of cottage cheese
1 pound of shredded cheddar cheese

Hrm...I'm missing a few ingredients.  Now, I don't have my mother's recipe, but I had read several recipes beforehand and pretty well knew what I needed to do to make lasagna.  And, I had a recipe at the ready in my email...because I was pretty well thinking I'd have a few more ingredients lol

So, at 1230am Sunday morning, I decided to put this lasagna together.
Hrm...what to do exactly.
So, I got out a big bowl, dumped the cottage cheese in it, mixed in 2 eggs.  Then I remembered...I needed garlic.  Ideally, I needed garlic cloves to have been browned with the meat.  Dang.  What now?
Of course, I shook an unspecified amount of garlic powder into the cottage cheese/egg mixture!  Problem solved!
Down went the first layer of noodles
Down goes the first layer of cottage cheese/egg/garlic powder mixture
Down goes the first layer of mozzarella cheese
Now for the first layer of meat.  Done.  Looking good.  I'm forgetting a key ingredient, I know I am.  Oh well, I'm flying by the seat of my pants here, let's keep flying.
On to the next layers of everything.
OOHHH, I need onion.  Wait, where does the onion go?  Shouldn't it be browned?  I hate onion, but I know the lasagna will need it.  Damnit!
What does my ingeniousness self do? Find an onion, chop half of it...into rather large bits, hrm, chunks would be a better adjective. to get these onions in here without it being too noticeable?
Of course, I mixed it into the 2nd layer of meat.  Yes, I realize that just like the garlic, the onions should have been browned into the meat...but remember, I didn't brown the meat, it was provided for me.  I improvised the best I could!
So, 2nd layer of meat.  Looks pretty oniony...but oh well...flying by the seat of my pants right?
Last layer of noodles and cheese.
Wait, out of my cottage cheese and mozzarella.  I was really hoping to avoid using cheddar on a lasagna.  Who uses cheddar on lasagna in the first place?  Hrm...
Dang, can't avoid it, lasagna has to have cheese on the top.  So, layer of shredded cheddar cheese goes on top.
Done.  Now, to see if it's even edible.

After making this, J and I send a few texts back and forth (he was at work, telling what would have happened if he were home to input his own ideas on this seat of the pants recipe less lasagna!

Me: "Making our lasagna...without a recipe"
J: "Oh boy"
Me: "Maybe it'll be edible"

Getting ready for the dinner yesterday, J asks me how I made the lasagna.  I told him.  "Do I need to go ahead and place a pizza hut order?"  He made so much fun of me, I was crying laughing.  We were both sufficiently scared to eat the lasagna by the time it came out of the oven.

There she is, in all of her hideous glory

Family sits down to dinner...I've told J's aunt and mother a bit about the lack of recipe.  I have my parmesan cheese ready to smother this lasagna and any horrible taste it may have.
The family insists on serving the birthday girl first.  I tell my father-in-law, just a small piece.  J and I start laughing.  I admit to being afraid of the everyone is scared.  Who wouldn't be scared if the cook is scared?!

Ya'll, it wasn't bad.  It was edible.  Dare I say, some bites tasty.
The family ate it up, there was only about a quarter of it left.  They all said it was "good"  "tastes great"
My theory?  They don't know good lasagna...I mean, it was suggested we have Stouffer's.

I text my mother a shortened version of this story...told her that if J and I die, she needs to enjoy my life insurance money.  Spend it on something fun she wouldn't spend her own money on.  LOL!!
When I text her and told her that the family said it was good, what was her reply?
"They're just being kind"
I laughed so hard.  I told her that I didn't think Daddy would even eat it (Daddy is kind of like a dog, he'll eat anything you put in front of him), did she want me to freeze her some and save it for her?
"No thank you"

I am my mother's clone, I'm afraid.  LOL

Next time, I promise, I'm getting Mommie's recipe.
No more Seat of the Pants Lasagna


  1. haha, I love lasagna. Actually, a few months ago, I posted a lasagna recipe on my blog ( I am not Italian (I'm almost 100% German) and my husband is Russian, but if I say so myself, I make darn good lasagna (with sauce from scratch!) I can't use the no-boil noodles though ... they just don't seem the same to me!

    Happy early birthday!

    1. Awesome! I'll try it next time! LOL!! I do not suggest you try my recipe lol

  2. I had lots of people tell me how good the Stouffers Lasagna was. I tried it and wasn't impressed. I definitely make my lasagna homemade. I guess I'm a lasagna snob too :)

    Glad it turned out okay. Funny story!