Friday, November 14, 2008

Cooking Show Woes

Watched some cooking shows today. They were pretty, fun, and holycraptooexpensive.
Who has enough money to buy whatever is the latest haute foodie item? A fifty dollar block of parmigiano reggiano to sprinkle on my soup? Why thank you! Seventy dollars for wine made by geese in the small French village of Wearetomuchtoafford? Oh goody goody!

Would it kill the premise if they just made normal affordable food? Give me some pasta and tomato sauce. Where is my simple ham sammich? 

In the spirit of Food You Can Actually Afford To Cook, I'm going to throw some recipes out there occasionally. Things that take two pots or less and won't kill you to make. Sauteing petit diced rack of virgin lamb? Uh, no. A kick ass chili that's one pot? Ah, yes.

What's that? Veggie in the house? Fear not, you guys are included too. I'll even throw some recipes in that you veggie heads can serve your Gnaw On A Carcass buddies. 

Just a heads up: I'm assuming you have basic cooking skills. Nothing fancy but enough to know what kind of food goes in what pot. If you can't boil water, then well... you're screwed. Sorry about that. 

First up:

Tuscan Lasagna. (I don't know if it's Tuscan at all, it just looks good on a recipe card) It's a tall, thin layered lasagna so choose your pan accordingly. The smell of this will have you drooling within five minutes, I promise. 

What you need:
A box and a half of lasagna noodles. (maybe both boxes if your pan is gargantuan.)
A bag of frozen squash, zuccini summer squash-ish mix.
A can of pasta sauce. (I use the 99 cents one)
One can of diced tomatoes. (two if you like wet lasagna) 
About a pound o' beef. (cheap stuff is just fine)
Some red wine (cheap is good here too)
One container of ricotta cheese.
A bag of mozzarella cheese (Mizithra works better, but is more costly)
Five slices of Italian bacon. (this is the only really expensive thing)
Italian spices you have lying around.

   I know this sounds like a lot, but it is worth it. Don't forget to go cheap on these things. Once they're all together it won't really matter if they cost 99 cents or fifty bucks. 

 So cook the beef in about a cup of red wine. Brown it but don't crisp it.

Boil pasta per box instructions. Remember to leave some cooking time on the pasta because you'll be putting it in the oven to bake. 

Combine tomato dices and tomato sauce in a bowl on the side.

This lasagna has thin layers so don't overfill it too much or it'll slide all over the place. 

Layer as such: Oil the pan, layer of lasagna noodles, layer o'beef, noodles, thin layer of ricotta, noodles, squash mix and 1/4 of cheese, noodles, rest of the cheese, then on top put the Italian bacon.  
In the beef and squash layers spread the tomato/tomato sauce mix and sprinkle on some Italian spice mix (or basil, salt, oregano). Make sure you leave enough tomato mixture to put over the top layer of noodles as well.

Bake at 350 for about 20-40 minutes. Check the pasta to make sure it's not getting too soggy.

Take it out and let it set. Setting is important in this recipe because of the squash layer being so wet. 

Cut it up and nom down. 

So there's a recipe from my humble room where I say things like, "where the hell is my cutting board and who moved my pan". 

Up next, Fufu Souffle' .