Monthly Archives: March 2011

A lasagna that might change your life

A few posts back, I mentioned a spectacular lasagna recipe. It’s my go-to meal when I have folks over for dinner because I’ve finally perfected it and can guarantee that it will turn out fab. Now that I’ve gotten it just right, I want to share it with you!

A sidenote — my camera died just as I went to take photos, and the iPhone photos did not turn out as expected. I promise to do better next time.

White Lasagna with Spinach, Artichokes, and Mushrooms
Adapted from a yoga magazine I picked up in 2006.

TO 

The ingredients
Lasagna Noodles
4 Cloves Garlic
1 T. Butter
2 to 3 C. Ricotta
16 oz. Mushrooms (white or cremini)
1 can (14 oz.) Artichoke Hearts
10 oz. Frozen Spinach (you can use fresh if you roll like that)
3/4 C. dry white wine
1 Bag Shredded Mozarella
Parmesan

The utensils
Pasta pot
baking dish — 9×13 works, but I use one that’s a little smaller because I’m just one person!
Non-stick skillet or pan
Chopping knife, regular knife, spatula, stirring device
Garlic mincer (optional, but AMAZING)

The How-To

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cook lasagna according to package directions
  3. While that’s going, mince your garlic and chop your artichokes and ‘shrooms. A rough chop is fine, and don’t forget to drain the artichokes. No need for all that extra liquid.
  4. Throw a tab of butter and the minced garlic into a nonstick pan on medium heat. Let the butter melt and the garlic cook — but don’t let it burn!
  5. Throw in the artichokes and ‘shrooms. Let the concoction cook down a bit (maybe 3 minutes), allowing the mushrooms to darken/soften.
  6. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook 1-2 minutes more so the liquid reduces slightly.
  7. Add the frozen spinach. If you’ve thawed the spinach, or you’re using fresh spinach, you can also wait and layer it in when you’re building the lasagna. I don’t do this for two reasons: I’m too lazy to actually thaw the spinach, so cooking it with everything else allows it to thaw a bit, and I make sure I don’t forget it, which I’ve been known to do when I add it on its own.
  8. Buy this point, it’s time to drain the pasta. Here is where the wheels usually fall off the wagon. If you’re not careful, the noodles will rip apart. So, I’d suggest draining them and then running cold water over them so you can pick them up by hand instead of using tongs.
  9. Now, fill your baking dish with a bottom layer of noodles and spread ricotta on top. I still haven’t found a good way to spread ricotta, so I just kind of glop it on the noodles. Then, add half of your spinach, mushroom, artichoke mixture. Don’t worry if a little of the cooking liquid makes it into the dish, it’ll just maximize the taste! Finally, top the layer with some Mozzarella and Parmesan.
  10. Layer another set of lasagna noodles and the rest of your Ricotta, veggie, Mozzarella mixture.
  11. Add the final layer of lasagna noodles and top with the remaining mozarella.
  12. Cover with foil and put in oven for 20ish minutes. Since you’ve already cooked the lasagna noodles, you’re really just melting the cheese and melding all the good parts into one fabulous dish.

While it’s getting all bubbly and ooey-gooey, go ahead and clean up the kitchen, throw together a quick spinach salad, and open a great Cabernet. You’ve got the time.

When the cheese is nice and bubbly, remove from oven and serve immediately, but not before adding a bit more Parmesan. After all, you’ve got so much cheesy goodness going on already, why not add a bit more?!

When I make a pan, I can typically eat it for several days (again, I’m just one person and it makes a lot). I’m also a notorious bring-my-lunch employee, so a pan of this ensures I’ll have lunch for at least part of the week.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under foodie, Recipes!

The one with diamonds…and smarm

A couple weeks ago, I made dinner for DD and I. As he was dishing up his pulled pork, he casually said

You know what we need to do next weekend?

I assumed he was talking about the massage gift certificates we needed to use, or the family we needed to see, or some other trivial task. Instead, he said:

We need to go ring shopping.

Without missing a beat (though, to be sure, my heart missed at least one), I replied that we could easily do that this weekend since we’d be out in the suburbs and could just stop at a jewelry store in the mall. See, while we’ve talked about marriage, it’s always been a “someday” conversation. In fact, just recently we’d had a rather massive miscommunication about the timeline I thought we were working against. So for him to be ready to look at rings…well…it was surprising.

That Saturday, after his nephew’s basketball game and before we went to dinner at my parents, we stopped by the mall and moseyed into a certain chain jewelry store that shall remain nameless. While I’m not a fan of buying engagement rings from chain jewelers, I figured it would be a good place to start browsing.

Apparently, we walked in the same day they were having THE BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR OMG!

Maybe it won’t be such a casual experience after all?

I explained that we were just looking to get an idea of what I liked. That we weren’t buying.

I began trying on rings and we began talking the 4Cs. I mentioned to her that I’m a princess cut, solitaire kinda girl, and would probably prefer a Tiffany Setting, or perhaps a Compass Setting. You know, something like this:

 

Or this:

 

I asked the saleswoman if she had either of these settings to try on. She didn’t. But of course, she said they could “do anything” so my setting of choice wouldn’t be a problem – and that if I didn’t like it, they had a 60 day, money-back guarantee. Which is great and all, but why would I buy something that I wasn’t totally sure about – money-back guarantee or not.

As we continued trying things on, another saleswoman joined us. It wouldn’t be until later that we’d realize we were moving up the chain of command. Even so, I felt like we were keeping things casual and were avoiding the hard sell. I mean, who buys an engagement ring in front of their bride-to-be anyway?

Then DD pointed to a ring off in the corner. The saleswoman took it out and quietly said “this one’s $17,000.” Until now, she hadn’t said the price of one.single.ring. I tried it on, politely ooooed and ahhhed and gave it back, just as the District Manager walked up.

Ding ding ding. Apparently, we’d hit the jackpot. I like to think that ring was attached to some secret alarm that, when picked up, tells the District Manager that there’s a live one on the hook.  

District Manager dismissed my notions of being surprised and gave the hard sell. TODAY ONLY! BEST PRICE! Blah. Blah. Finally, he just pulled DD off to the side to “give him some pricing”. As they talked, the saleswoman sized my finger, “just so I’d know it”.

And here’s why I’ve told you this very long story. For the sole purpose of what happened next.

District Manager (clad in a full business suit) and DD walked back toward us. As I watched them out of the corner of my eye, I saw District Manager spray something in the general direction of his face and then slide the offending item back in his pocket, all smooth-like

Dude. He totally sprayed Binaca in his mouth. BINACA!

Hey, I totally get wanting to be fresh and minty. But I thought breathe spray went out of style sometime in 1995. Aren’t there enough mints and gums on the market these days that you can keep your breathe fresh without looking like a completely smarmy salesman? Or at least could you wait until we leave the premises?

Somehow, we successfully made it out of their alive, with DD’s credit card untouched, and with only a little slime left on our clothes.

7 Comments

Filed under DD (aka My Man), glass half full, rambling nature, relationships

Snobbery

A week or so ago, a “friend” called me a snob because I’d posted a tiny rant on Facebook about newbies at my yoga studio. I don’t really consider myself a snob, but I suppose there are a few things that do force my nose into a slightly upward position.

Yoga
I know, it’s something that should be least likely to bring out the snobbery. But, because I’m shelling out some cash to take a yoga class, I expect a certain environment. I expect it to be hot. I expect it to be 60-75 minutes of a mix of meditation and sweating it out. I expect the instructor to work my body to the max. I expect it to be quiet, save the for instructor’s encouraging voice and the music. And yes, I do like to be around other people. If I didn’t need these things to feel like I’d gotten the most out of my practice, I’d stay home and do it myself.

What I don’t want? Fellow students who can’t stop talking and giggling during the entire class. Instructors who make too many jokes. One or two quips is just fine, but an entire class of stand-up comedy? Not so much.

Jeans
I don’t typically spend a lot of money on clothes. I wear clothes until they die and when they do die, I’d like to spend as little as possible on replacements. The one exception to this is jeans. I’m a pretty petite gal. Small waist, non-existent hips, and relatively long legs. In magazines, I tend to look at the tips for “boyish figure”.

Unfortunately, most women have these things called hips and therefore, most pants are made to fit women who possess them. While I seem to have decent luck with dress pants, well-fitting jeans have always eluded me. I’d have a big gap in the waist, or they’d be too short or too baggy or some combination of the three.

Then, I found The Buckle. Most brands they carry measure by waist and inseam instead of the vague 2s and 6s and 10s of female sizing. The downside is that their brands are on the pricey side. Last week, I decided I needed some new jeans for work and wanted to avoid spending an insane amount of money. I also felt like maybe I was getting a bit too old for The Buckle. So, I tried Express and The Limited. Express’s jeans looked like shit on me and frankly, felt cheaply made. They were this strange mix of stretchy denim. I’m sorry folks, denim should not feel like spandex. (Obviously, I’m also a snob about my denim.)

After several attempts, I ended up back at The Buckle with a pair that not only looks my age, but is well made and will (hopefully) last me for years. Worth the extra cash in my world.

Restaurant Weeks
Metro Detroit has several restaurant weeks. My favorite is Detroit Restaurant Week, because there are some really amazing fine dining establishments in the city. Several suburbs have their own as well, and there’s one coming up in March. As a friend and I were planning our attack, I noticed that the majority of the restaurants were chains. Upscale chains, but chains nonetheless. I made a comment that I wanted to nix the chains — after all, why would I spend upwards of $35 to eat at a chain when there are so many locally-owned places? Why would I make a point of going to a chain when I can go to a chain anytime? To me, there’s something about a chain — upscale or not — that makes it less appealing. I made my case, but my friend still thought I was crazy.

Now that I’ve admitted to my snobby tendencies, I feel the need to share a few things I’m not a snob about:

Shoes
I really hate shoe-shopping. The shoes I love and subsequently buy will inevitably leave me in a world of pain. I hate shelling out money for shoes unless it’s under $40. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Manolo and a Choo. If I could live in my tennis shoes all the time, I probably would. My favorite pair of shoes is a $20 pair of red peep toe pumps that I bought at  Payless. And I’m more than OK with that.

Makeup
The last eyeshadow I bought cost me a whopping $35 for 9 shades and I thought that was insane. Had I not had a free makeover that left me feeling extra fabulous, I would never have bought it. The rest of my make-up is from CVS and most of it doesn’t get worn on a daily — or weekly — basis.

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

ABCs of Blogging

I know, MeMe’s are so last season. But, when you’re lacking blog content, they work. Also, I figure what with my anonymity and irregular posting, you guys probably don’t know much about me. Let’s see if we can change that! Thanks to Heidi for the lead on this particular MeMe.

A. Age: 29. 30 in June. Whoa.

B. Bed size: Double for now. When DD and I begin co-habiting someday soon, it will be a queen because a full just ain’t big enough!

C. Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom. Specifically, cleaning the shower.

D. Dogs: None owned by me. I grew up with a few different dogs and my parents have a dog now. But I only have visiting rights, so I suppose that doesn’t count. But, I’m definitely pro-dog and anti-cat.

E. Essential start to your day: On weekdays, a shower. On weekends, more sleep.

F. Favorite Color: I wear a lot of red. I love using it as an accent color.

G. Gold or silver: Are we talking jewelry here? Then silver or white gold.

H. Height: 5’5″. When I stand up straight.

I. Instruments you play: I played the clarinet when I was a kid. Not so much anymore.

J. Job title: Managing Editor.

K. Kids: None. But probably someday. You know, when I can come to terms with the fact that I will need to gain a bunch of weight and then actually take care of the children I birth for at least 18 years.

L. Live: Detroit. And not in the suburbs — in the city.

M. Mom’s name: Since I don’t give real names, let’s just call her Mom.

N. Nicknames: Again, a bit too much info. for the ol’ anonymity ploy. But Supergirl was a nickname once upon a time.

O. Overnight hospital stays: Yep. When I got a third kidney. And that was a 5 night stay to be exact. As a child, I was in the hospital a number of times over the years; it’s all kind of a blur now.

P. Pet peeve: oh, soo many. When DD leaves clothes in my living room because for some reason he can’t seem to change in a more normal place like the bedroom. When people ride my ass on the expressway.

Q. Quote from a movie: Too many. This was supposed to be a quick ditty, not a trip down the Internet Rabbit Hole.

R. Right or left handed: Right.

S. Siblings: Nada.

T. Time you wake up: Either 6 or 7, depending on my weekday morning plans. On weekends, it’s more like 9, 10, or — somedays — 11.

U. Underwear: Vickie’s Secret, the $5/25 bin. And not the sexy ones. In fact, I was just in there buying underwear and I swear the teenage girls in line behind me had sexier underwear in their baskets than I did. I’m old.

V. Vegetables you dislike: Never been a fan of the brussel sprout. But really, there aren’t too many veggies I hate. Fruit, on the other hand…

W. What makes you run late: my inability to get out of a warm bed.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: hmm, I’m sure I’ve had at least one chest x-ray. Also a foot/toe x-ray.

Y. Yummy food you make: pasta! pasta! pasta! I make a fab white lasagna

Z. Zoo- favorite animal: polar bears. The Detroit Zoo has a great exhibit.

4 Comments

Filed under list mania, loft style living, me! me!, transplant

Protected: Three’s a crowd

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Enter your password to view comments.

Filed under crazy crazy, Detroit, glass half empty, Hmm, loft style living, rambling nature, relationships