Thursday, December 26, 2013


So sad that Christmas has come and gone, but now we have the new year to look forward to. This year we celebrated with family on Christmas Eve. My family came over for dinner and presents, and this year we decided to be non traditional and cook lasagna. Don't tell, but I wanted to cook lasagna cause it makes such a large amount that I can only cook it when I have company coming so this seemed like a great opportunity. 
I've made this lasagna a few times now and posted the recipe before but just in case I left something out, here it is again. This is for a 9x13 lasagna:
-1 onion diced
-2 cloves of garlic minced
-3 carrots chopped
-2 ribs of celery chopped
-1 lb of ground beef
-1 lb of ground pork
- knob of butter
- olive oil
- 1 cup of beef stock
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- splash of dry white wine

First heat the butter and oil in a pan and then add your veggies and meats, cook until meat is no longer pink.
Then turn up the heat and add your white wine, just a splash, you want it to evaporate and steam the meat.

Then add a cup of beef stock and a can of tomato sauce
Give it a stir, turn the temp to low, and cover for 3 hours, you'll want to pop the lid off and give it a stir every so often.
Once you meat sauce or ragu is finished you'll need to make bechamel sauce. If you are in Italy you have the luxury of buying the sauce at the store, it's not as popular in the US so we have to make it. The bechamel sauce is very simple to make, it's also known as a white sauce and Martha Stewart has a nice recipe. I first learned how to make bechamel when I was about 15 and taking home economics in high school, we were making homemade mac and cheese and we used the white sauce as our base and added sharp cheddar to it, it makes the best mac and cheese so if you have a little extra time instead of making the stuff in the box I highly recommend making your elbow noodles and then making a bechamel sauce and melting your cheese in that and then mixing it all together, you won't want the box stuff ever again. So a basic bechamel sauce is:
- 3 tbsp of butter
- 1 quart of milk ( do not use fat free)
- little less than a cup of flour
- a pinch of nutmeg
- salt to taste
First for the bechamel sauce you heat the butter in a pot then whisk in the flour and make a roux once you have a creamy paste whisk in the milk. Keep whisking over medium to medium-high heat for about 15 mins until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon nicely. Somewhere in that 15 mins of whisking you'll want add in the pinch of nutmeg and a bit of salt.
Also you need noodles for the lasagna, so sometime during the ragu and bechamel sauce you have to boil up some lasagna noodles. Then you'll spray a bit of non stick spray in the bottom of your casserole dish and layer up with pasta, ragu, bechamel, and sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano finished with parmigiano reggiano on top. Bake at 350 until it's all melted and bubbly. 
I re-created the olive garden salad to serve with the lasagna, pretty easy just some chopped lettuce, sliced tomatoes, green olives, red onion, pepperoncinis, and croutons. I had a bowl of parmigiano on the table for guests to add and I served it with T. Marzetti's roasted garlic vinaigrette, which is almost identical to the olive garden dressing, just an FYI if you are like me and could drink that stuff from the bottle.  
After dinner we opened gifts and then we had dessert. Dessert was provided by my awesome husband who introduced us to the Mars Cake. This is the US version because they do not sell Mars bars here in the US but according the Internet the Milkyway is the closest thing we have. You need 7 milkyway bars, 1 stick of butter, and about 5-6 cups of rice krispies. Heat the butter and chopped up milkyways in a pan on low-medium heat once melted pour over rice krispies and mix it all up, pour the mix in a greased pan and top however you wish, I put on some Christmas sprinkles to make it festive. 
And here is one of the best gifts I received...
I got a kitchenaid mixer! Can't wait to cook up some things with this baby!
Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas with friends and family and of course great food!

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