Thursday, January 12, 2012


Crazy times have started, I started teaching on Monday and as expected, I have much less time and the time I have, I tend to be lazy... the fact that I don't have a table or chairs does not entice me to write either but I do try to keep good habits. Not that you really care about this but my first lecture was horrible, the second one better and we will see how it goes, hopefully my level of stress will reduce but right now it's still pretty high. It's strange, I can present in a conference in front of however many people and be completely confident and comfortable but put me in front of 120 sophomore students and it's panic time... Anyway, I haven't cooked much at this point, I did invest in a zester to make some cranberry sauce in order to make some yogurt parfaits as snacks and a pot to boil water (and cook the delicious home grown broccoli given to me by Kate, so good!!!!).

I have to say that this is the one good things about being back here, Gainesville is as close as it gets to a home town for me for some reason and being able to spend time with friends I missed is priceless, so I will enjoy that as much as I can. This week I mostly ate smoked turkey and swiss on a slice of sour dough bread and Asian inspired salads, I need to share that chicken marinade with you later, I will have to do it again, I just winged it and didn't take pictures... just one of those, I don't feel like cooking but I need food for the week moments.

I am also catching up on the recipes on my favorite blogs for the past month... they have been piling up in my cooking inbox... I don't know how you do it but I keep a note in my phone where I add any recipe that looks yummy when I come across it, and at the end of the week I just go to that list and pick whatever I feel like eating the coming week. Honestly I have way to many recipes on my computer, I am in the thousands now... I should really do some cleaning but I am a recipe hoarder, I cannot help it... I have even things I will probably never make but just in case...

Anyway... Today I will share a lasagna recipe, I LOVE lasagna, it's really one of my favorite casserole kind of dish and it's so easy, it is a little time consuming, but so worth it. The recipe here is a mix of a few things, and you can definitely simmer it a little longer but I was in a hurry that day and I had miscalculated my schedule by 1h and it still came out great. I have to say that the precooked lasagna sheets are a very cool short cut, I refused to use them out of principle but I am sold on it now!

Recipe adapted from What's Gaby cooking
- 1 package no-boil lasagna sheets
- 2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 c Parmesan cheese, shredded

- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 2/3 c milk
- Salt & peppe
 - Ground nutmeg to taste

- oil
- 4 oz thick cut bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1lb ground meat (I used a meatloaf mix)
- 1 c red wine
- 1 1/2 c chicken stock
- 2 c milk
- 3 (14.5 oz) cans of tomatoes, roughly crushed (I crush them in my hands)
- Salt & pepper to taste


- In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium high heat.
- Stir in the flour and whisk together to create a roux. Brown and slowly add in the milk and whisk to avoid lumps.
- Continue whisking until the bechamel is thick. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Set aside.

- In a food processor equipped with a metal blade pulse the onion, carrot and celery into a coarse paste

- In a large sauce pan over heat a couple tbsp of oil over medium high heat, add the bacon and sautee until render it's fat, you can discard some of the fat if there is too much.
- Add the coarse veggie paste and brown, 15-20 min, be careful not to burn it though
- Add the ground meat and continue to saute until it is fully cooked.

- Add the red wine and let it reduce by half.
-  Stir ½ cup stock into the saucepan and cook until totally evaporated. Repeat with another ½ cup stock. Stir in the last 1/2 cup stock along with the milk and the tomatoes.
- Cook uncovered, until the sauce resembles a thick, meaty stew. Season with salt and pepper.

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- To assemble, place a layer of the bechamel in a 13x9 casserole dish, followed by a layer of the noodles and then topped with a layer of the ragu and half the cheese. Repeat this process.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy!!! (as is or with a salad, I have to tell you that the leftovers are almost even more delicious!!!)

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