armadillas



A rebel in my kitchen

As much as I love cooking, it sure is nice every once in awhile when someone else decides to cook for me. Who doesn’t love to be pampered for a change? Me, me, me! That’s right. Tonight I had every intention of stepping aside and finishing the last several chapters of American Gods by Neil Gaiman whilst someone prepared me a date-night-at-home dinner. Yup, relaxation called to me from the couch. I contemplated pouring myself a mug of vino. If I had a face mask handy, it would have been all over my face. So there I was, book open, ready to finish the last page of my current chapter….when I was called to the kitchen. Grudgingly, I flipped my book down.

That was my first mistake. I should have just stayed in the living room and let a certain someone do things however they intended to do them. Then, once my dinner was ready and being served, I would have enjoyed every last bite without complaint. Alas, this is not what happened. I was called into the kitchen and once entering, there was no turning back.

Can I admit something? I’m a bit of a control freak. Now hold on just a minute before you get your panties in a bunch and start fussing at me. Does it make it better if I say I”m only a control freak in the kitchen? I can’t help it. I walk in there and see someone fiddling around and this uncontrollable urge to take over kicks in. I try to fight it. I tried to fight it. I was all set to turn heel and work on my self control. But then I was politely asked to saute some spinach. There was my second mistake. I should have refused. It’s easy enough to throw some oil, garlic, and spinach in a pan on medium heat, right? Of course it is! I could have simply shouted some helpful tips from the other room. But no, I agreed to help, and I could feel the maniac monster begin to stir inside me. Gulp!

So, there we were in the kitchen, him draining the lasagna noodles from their boiling bath, and me discreetly (with very suspicious eyes) watching him as my spinach began to wilt. Shame on you, Tijuana. Shame shame shame! BAD LLAMA! Before I knew it, I was directing traffic, dropping instructions, and like some kind of jittery addict, moving in on the action. It was bad. I had to keep reminding myself that I was not the chef and that someone was kindly cooking me dinner. All I was supposed to do was saute the spinach!

But that’s how this rebel lasagna, as I fondly call it, has come into being. It was completely winged by my companion (who had never made lasagna before) with most of my helpful/annoying tips ignored. It was a good thing, too, because the lasagna was pretty darn tasty. A little saucy perhaps, but perfectly cheesy with a surprising kick from the sauteed spinach and pepper flakes.

Ingredients:

  • Lasagna noodles (he did three layers of three)
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 15 oz tub of ricotta
  • 1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese (or an Italian blend)
  • A few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
  • A few dashes of Italian seasoning (we didn’t have any so just mixed up some basil, oregano, and parsley)

First thing is first; set a pot of water on the stove top and wait for it to boil. It’s best to do something else in the meanwhile or else your water will refuse to do anything. Let’s saute some spinach! Set a saute pan (or whatever kind of pan you have) on medium heat. Drizzle in a couple tablespoons of the olive oil. Hit that hot oil with your garlic!

Smells so gooooood! Now add the espinaca. I love that word. It’s so fun to say!

If you appreciate hot stuff like me, be generous with the crushed red pepper flakes. Can you see them?

I know it looks like a lot of espinaca (ahem spinach), but don’t worry. It will wilt down into deliciousness.

Once it looks too tempting not to eat right then and there on the spot, remove from heat and set aside

By now, your water has begun to boil. Salt it up real good and add a splash of olive oil. That’s something my dad always did. It helps prevent the noodles from sticking together into a caboodled mess.

You’re only going to cook the noodles halfway since they will continue to cook in the oven. Remove from heat and drain

Now time for the layering…which involved lots and lots of photos. Start with a layer of noodles in your baking dish, casserole dish, whatever kind of dish you plan on using

Layer of sauce please (this might have been where I started barking out directions, however much ignored they were)

Layer of shredded cheese

Look! Crazy fingers added another layer of noodles

Um, more sauce?

Oh, we need to mix the ricotta with the Italian seasonings. Someone decided to just do it in the ricotta container. How innovative. Man after my own heart!

We also decided to implement a freezer bag and pipe our ricotta

Once you’re done piping out ricotta cheese, add another layer of shredded cheese. You can never go wrong with cheese!

Oh man! Layer of spinach. Heaven! The kids will never know until it’s too late. Anyone remember that episode of Arthur?

Finally, add the final layer of noodles. My nerves rivaled poor Mrs. Bennet’s by this point

Spread remaining sauce over top layer of noodles. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese over sauce. Hit everything with a dusting of Parmesan. Eh, add an extra dusting for all your hard work. Your oven should be preheated to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes

When your timer starts a-dingin’, crank  your oven up to broil and let the cheese get all bubbly and maybe even a little burnt looking if you share my sense of taste

Thanks my lover (Sookie reference!) for such a fabulous dinner. It sure was yummy. The only way I can think of ending such a wonderful evening…is by snuggling on the couch and watching The Emperor’s New Groove. You know, now that it’s on my mind. I guess the book is just going to have to wait til tomorrow

Tijuana

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Comments

  1. * SB says:

    It looks like he did a good job…its making me hungry now. (and I totally remember that episode of Arthur!)

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
  2. * armadillas says:

    He did an amazing job. My mouth was watering before he got it out of the oven. And every time I eat spinach, I think about D.W. Fond memories!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
  3. * BMos says:

    Can’t go wrong with lasagna. Know what you mean about being a kitchen dictator, though; it’s truly difficult to watch someone cooking when you just _know_ there’s a better way of doing it!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
    • * armadillas says:

      Tell me about it! I had to bite my tongue so many times I’m surprised it’s still attached to my mouth. But I agree- it’s pretty hard to go wrong with lasagna

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago


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