Okay, I apologize. So this isn't exactly coming "later today or tomorrow" as promised. I'll tell you what - I wasn't even planning to make it a two-parter, except that I was at a good stopping point right when my morning sickness reared it's ugly head and I pressed "publish post" just moments before tossing my cookies. I mean, y'all, (aren't you much more apt to be easy on me with a southern accent? I don't know, it just seemed appropriate), this morning sickness just sneaks up on you and can ruin your whole day. I had intended to come back sooner, but the morning sickness stole my blogging mojo. But I'm back. Sorry to keep you all in suspense. I hope you've not lost sleep over this story. It's not that good.
Alrightythen. So the other night I thought lasagna sounded good, and despite my sordid lasagna past, I thought I'd give it a shot. I was a little pressed for time since I should have started it sooner than I did, but surely - SURELY - that wouldn't be a problem.
So I took the box of noodles out of the pantry and perused the recipe on the side. Now, if you're just laughing that I'm STILL using the same recipe off the same box, let me tell you that it's yummy and it's working for me. Someday I'll venture into something more daring, but for now, it's what this chef is sticking to.
I rolled up my sleeves and began making dinner. I browned the meat... I combined the cheeses and eggs... sauce! I needed sauce! Now, I've made it from scratch before (those who know me are probably raising their eyebrows thinking, "Really?!" but it's true. I have.), but like I said before, I was pressed for time. So I went to the pantry and got my two JARS of sauce. I opened the first one easily and picked up the second. It wouldn't budge. I banged it on the counter like I've seen others do (why?) and nothing happened. I think I may have injured my hand slightly from trying so hard. (I was really wishing at this point that I had a husband in the house. Yeah, Gary would've been a good choice, but I'm talking about a husband. In college, my friends and I called those rubbery flat things that it seems like you always get from Realtors that you use to open jars, "husbands.") Short of busting the jar open, the thing was being stubborn. So I headed back over to the pantry and crouched down to the bottom shelf. I tried the next jar. It didn't budge. I tried the next jar. Voila! It popped open. However, it smelled a little odd, and was it any wonder? I opened a jar of SALSA for cryin' out loud. After I added it to the collection we have going in the fridge, I tried my last and final jar and thankfully it popped open. Can you imagine if I'd thrown salsa into the lasagna?! Ha! (Wait - would that be good?)
So I began the layering. At this point, I can't help but have flashbacks every time I make lasagna. I have to make sure I'm adding noodles. Thankfully, I was. This was going to be GREAT! I'm on my last layer, when it dawns on me: I had forgotten to layer the cheese. Meat, noodles, sauce, meat, noodles, sauce... Seriously! When will I learn?! What am I so busy thinking about that I can't make lasagna like a normal human being? So, I gingerly lifted up each noodle layer, and tried to creatively spread the cheese mixture around evenly. I was so thankful I remembered the noodles. Imagine how impossible it would have been to do without them! It was tedious and took forever, but I did it.
Now, I did have a glimmer of brilliancy when I made this lasagna. I split it in half and made an extra to freeze. I must say, I was proud of myself. This thinking ahead thing is a big step for me. After I put one batch in the oven, I covered the other with foil and put it in the freezer. That's when I read the fine print on the box that read, "Please call 1-800-xxx-xxxx for make-ahead or freezer directions." Fantastic. I can't imagine I did anything to cause explosion or poisoning when we're ready to eat that frozen lasagna, but I'll keep you posted.
A few years ago, I got one of Rachel Ray's 30-minute meal cookbooks. I tried one of the meals. I'm not kidding when I say it took me nearly 2 hours. So believe me when I say that YOUR lasagna would've baked for an hour by the time I finally got mine in the oven.
I almost took a picture of the disaster my kitchen had turned into. Meat grease splattered everywhere, ricotta cheese on the counter, shredded mozzarella on the counter and on the floor, sauce on my shirt and on the floor... I mean, how do I make such a mess? Good thing I don't mind cleaning it all up.
In the end, the lasagna turned out just fine and everyone in my little family liked it. I just wish I could cook without it being a fiasco. I even made Southern Eggs last night in preparation for a brunch I hosted this morning and had to call my sister at 10:30 because I panicked and couldn't find the recipe - this was after I'd begun making them. (By the way, I found the recipe in my book right where it belonged just as Amy answered the phone. Sorry, Amy!)
I'm wrapping this up now because right on queue, my evening morning sickness has kicked in again - every night around 8:30 or 9:00. But before I depart the topic of cooking, I have to direct you to the Pioneer Woman's site. If you've not gone there before, go NOW. She has some delicious recipes up, that inspire me, yes, even ME! to cook. (This is what you were curious about, Michelle...) I tried her pot roast and mashed potatoes a couple weeks ago... mmmmmm-MMM! So delicious. Her recipes aren't that complicated, but what's best are the step by step pictures and commentary she includes. And she's super-duper funny, which in my book, makes cooking so much more bearable. You can also visit the Pioneer Woman's blog, which is laugh-out-loud funny.
This concludes this session of Kitchen Woes with Angie. Stay tuned for future episodes, including, "Where's the Cornstarch?" and "Macaroni and Hardly-Any-Cheese" and "Waiting for Jello" (which is not MY story, but it's too funny not to tell you).