Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't Panic

Once or twice in my life a day,

I don't plan well.


There have been those instances, albeit few and far between

(I lie)

when I looked up at 4:57 PM and realized I had no plan of action for dinner.


And having a plan of action for dinner is important if one is going to have

er... well, dinner.



You have to be smart.

You have to be wily.

You have to breathe deeply

and pull off the impossible.


You have to make a "Panic Meal".


Now, to be completely honest,

I do not recommend the "panic meal" approach.

It's not for the novice or the fainthearted.


Who am I kidding???

ANYBODY can make a panic meal,
and chances are no one will ever know.

Except The Chief.

He's on to me.



First, go to your pantry.


Marvel at how incredibly disorganized it has gotten.

Remind yourself not to buy anymore non-stick cooking spray.

But don't marvel long - we don't have the time.


Locate something, anything to start with.


I found  'ready to cook' (no boiling required) lasagna noodles

and a jar of pasta sauce.

It looks like we're making Last Minute Lasagna.



I dug through the fridge and found a half of a red bell pepper, and half an onion.



Heat up a little olive oil and throw in the sliced onion, bell pepper, and two cloves of garlic, chopped.

I really like Bertolli's - I buy it by the gallon.

And I can pronounce it.

I like to stick with brands I can pronounce.



Don't put the heat up too high - nice and gentle.  You're just trying to coax some of the sweetness of the veggies to the surface.


Throw in some salt, and while you're at it throw in some dried herbs.

 In case you hadn't heard, putting salt on veggies when they are sauteing pulls moisture out and softens them up!

** And I think the above picture is really the one when I added the sugar - looks like way too much salt!

I used thyme and basil (because I'm trying to get rid of some of my half empty jars).

Does that make me sound pessimistic?  Should I say half full?

In case you were wondering, very little measuring goes on when I'm in panic mode.  But I'm guessing that's about a quarter teaspoon of each.


Go ahead and throw in a little sugar and then some butter.


Or vice versa.

Or is it Willy Nilly?


Please don't question me when I'm in panic mode!

The order of things doesn't matter!



Things move along much more quickly when you just blindly follow my
incomprehensible instructions.

Thank You.



Now, while that concoction is cooking,

mix together some ricotta cheese

(or you could use cottage cheese),

1 egg, and some grated parmesan.


Stir it up really good.

I threw in some parsley flakes - because I had 'em.

It's really amazing- the things I find in my pantry.

There's also a garden shovel and a trowel in there.

But I didn't need them for this recipe.


Set the ricotta mixture aside.



Now take the vegetable mixture out of the skillet and put it in a bowl.

Marvel at how much it cooks down.

You should probably use a whole onion and a whole pepper - just sayin'.


Find SOME KIND of meat.

I had 2 half packages of bulk breakfast sausage.



You could use ground beef, ground turkey, or even chopped up cooked chicken.

Or if you want to go meat-free,

throw in a bunch of mushrooms!



I browned the sausage with a little fennel seed

(to make it taste more Italian and less Jimmy Dean)

Then I dumped my jar of pasta sauce in with the browned meat.



Will someone please send me a new wooden spoon?


Honestly,
This one is just embarrassing.


Now,

Time to assemble the whole hodge-podge.

Start with a layer of sauce on the bottom.


Then a layer of lasagna noodles.


A layer of the ricotta mixture...


This is where I threw in the sauteed veggies.



Repeat all your layers, ending with sauce.

Then cover it all with a layer of Mozzarella cheese.


I had some fresh Mozzarella, but any kind will do.

Throw it in the oven at 375 degrees.

Cook it til it's done!

About 45 minutes.

Browned food tastes good!


I filled my baking dish a little too full and it ran over in the oven.

There was smoke.

Just added to the whole panic aura.


It was yummy.

The Chief never suspected a thing.

I served it with homemade cheesy basil  bread!

You'll like it,

I think!

And no, I'm thinking we probably shouldn't count the carbs.

I don't need the grief.



Look for The Weege tomorrow.

Lu



1 comment:

Judi said...

Yum, pasta always goes over well at my house. Will substitute the mushrooms for my vegetarian hubby..layer of onions and peppers-oh yeh baby!