73. Lasagne

The Browns Backers go all out

I do the majority of my cooking on Sundays, but since it is football season (the most wonderful time of the year!) Sundays can get a little busy because of game schedules. We live in Baltimore, but I love the Steelers (obviously) and Cleve is a Browns fan (duh). Last year we became members of the Worldwide Browns Backers club–which is a fantastic club. The members are rowdy and fun and so committed to their team Also, I have never seen a group of people so excited for a first down.

So every Sunday there is a lot of: who plays when?  Can we watch that on TV at home? Do we have to go to a bar? Do we want to watch with the Backers?  So this particular weekend I chose #73 because I could make it on Saturday and then bake it on Sunday when we got home from the bar.

Let’s begin, shall we? I didn’t do any sort of tracking time-line wise since I was making this ahead of time, blah blah blah. Anyhoo…

I began with the sauce. I was unaware that spaghetti sauce could come from a packet, but lo and behold #73 explicitly said “follow directions on package for meat sauce using ground beef and tomato product of your choice.” Tomato product of your choice. Ew. Is that like cheese product?

So I did the chunky Marinara version and added that to some ground beef that I browned. Easy.

So now to the noodles. #73 said to use 1/2 of a 16 oz package  in a 13×9 baking dish. I looked at that size dish but that didn’t seem like enough to me. And when was I going to use lasagna noodles again? So, in two batches, I made the entire box. And I used the giant roasting pan that I have. I don’t know how big it is, but it’s bigger than a 13×9. So I am aware that dried pasta expanded when you cooked it, but I didn’t realize how much.

So the noodles were a little big for the pan

I was only 1 and a half layers in when I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough sauce for this monstrosity. So I pulled a kitchen MacGyver and made do with what I had in the house. My solution was to add a can of tomato paste, a 1/2 cup of water, and a smorgasbord of dried Italian-type seasonings into the remaining sauce. It was an Oregano bomb. But it mixed nicely with the packet-and-tomato-product-of-my-choice sauce.

So I was doing the layer of noodle, layer of cheese, layer of sauce thing. But you can see that I have mad spatial relation issues. Why did I think that I should put that many noodles in that orientation in that big a pan?

Don’t you love how the lasagna, layer by layer, is forming a pasta wall to keep in all of the cheese and sauce?

Once assembled, the lasagna weighed at least 3 and a half pounds: 1 pound pasta, 1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ricotta (yeah, I doubled it–I doubled everything else!), and about 1/2 pound Mozzarella cheese. This frickin’ thing was big enough feed all 17,000 Jolie-Pitt kids. Although I doubt that Angelina would allow them to eat noodles made from refined wheat and tomato sauce made from a packet. Or who knows, Brad Pitt is from the Midwest. They may eat Frito Pie every other night..  Star and People haven’t told me anything about their eating habits. An aside: has anyone else noticed that Shiloh and the twins look EXACTLY like Jon Voight? Once you see it you won’t be able to un-see it.

After the excitement of the game, Cleve was knackered.

So back to Sunday. The Browns made a valiant effort against the Miami Dolphins, but, alas, they were not victorious. Cleveland took the loss a little hard and was so distraught that he dropped to the floor and fell asleep.

Seriously. Right in the middle of the room. Like the cat. I don’t know how he is able to do this. And this was even before dinner. This was not a beer nap or lasagna-induced food coma. Color me confused.

So back to dinner. I let the refrigerated lasagna sit on the counter to warm up slightly before I put it in the oven to bake. This is how it turned out:

This was pretty good. Nothing fancy, but it got the job done and was nice to come home to after a day of vigorous cheering and beer drinking. And the bonus about having all that extra pasta hanging about the sides? Crispy deliciousness! Which is totally the best part of baked pasta.

Alongside the lasagna I put in some refrigerator crescent rolls that I brushed with my herb’ed butter from #23 Barbecued Chuck Roast. While all of that was going on I made a salad (more on that below).

For dessert I served the oranges, apples and pears that I got from my Arganica Food Club crate (I re-upped for another 3 months!), and some pecans, raisins, and dried apricots (from my cupboard) mixed with the almonds that I had leftover from #108 Baked Stuffed Shrimp.

#73 suggests Italian candies like Torrone, Jordan Almonds, or mints. So I went to the Safeway knowing that they wouldn’t have Torrone in stock, but I thought that they’d have Jordan almonds. But no. Andes candies? No! What’s a girl to do?To quote Kramer, Who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s quite delicious. It’s very refreshing!

But since I mentioned the crate, I want to include a photo because it was pretty. I must note that for the salad I made a Caesar Salad (my Caesar, which is very close to an Italian salad bowl with anchovies and egg. Right?) with the red leaf lettuce that was included in my Arganica crate. Of course, romaine is the preferred lettuce, but my organic red leaf worked out just fine. My crate was awesome.

I also got sauteed kale, butternut squash soup, mashed squash, and a curry apple carrot soup out of this crate. It was a whole week’s worth of meals.

This lasagna heated up really well. The leftovers were yummy. I froze about a fourth of it, but I had to throw away the rest. I hate wasting food, I really do. But I didn’t know what to do with the rest of that thing.

Also, some of my family and friends may have been distressed by the photo of me in Browns regalia. To make up for it and prove my loyalty, I present these photos, which were from my own personal Black & Gold week, the 5 workdays leading up to last year’s Super Bowl (they are not the most flattering of photos, but they serve their purpose):

Day 1. Subtle jewelry

Day 2. Shiny Scarf

Day 3. Flowered dress

Day 4. Scarf, head scarf, and emblem sweater

Day 5. Big ol' sweater and Steeler-logo headband

Day 5. Socks

Gosh,  I just can’t help myself. I must do a jaunty pose when in front of a camera. Amiright?

In summation: I love my Steelers. And this was a pretty good lasagne.

This entry was posted in 1970s, Fruit, Ground Beef, International Cuisine, Pasta, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to 73. Lasagne

  1. iamsurly says:

    Meat sauce from a package. Ah, the wonders of science.

  2. JenEngland says:

    Woman. I almost skipped the post and went right to the BROWNS WTF????? comment. Then I remembered Cleve (duh) is a Browns fan and it all made sense. Still, did it burn?

  3. veg-o-matic says:

    I wish you could still find Spatini sauce mix in an envelope. It was definitely one of the better ones.
    So let’s talk sauce level for a minute. Every time I make lasagna it seems to be dryish, no matter how much sauce I use. Restaurant lasagna is always nice and saucy. How was this recipe (even though you had to wing it there)?

    • Yinzerella says:

      This was pretty good and wasn’t dry (except for the yummy crispy edges). I loaded this up with a lot of stuff. I used the full 16 oz container of ricotta (which I jazzed up with a lot of extra herbs and garlic powder). As for the sauce, this is my guess: 2 14.5 cans of diced tomatoes, a 6 oz can of tomato paste, 1/2 cup water, and then 16 oz of beef. How much does that make? A lot, right?
      When I was a line cook (oh yeah!) at the Italian Oven, we served our lasagna like this: make it as you normally would. Cut a slice, pour a wee bit sauce over it (maybe a sprinkle of cheese) and then put THAT in the oven. I don’t know if that helps.

  4. Stephanie B says:

    VIVA LA RAVENS! Phew… Now that THAT’S out of the way 🙂

    Love your blog (duh).

    Also, Steg gave me your info and I have been totally slacking with my intentions to email you regarding some choice vintage finds my mother has from an estate sale she is currently doing for a friend. If you’d like to come over and check it out, I’m sure she’d cut you a great deal!

  5. Alisa says:

    I too was worried when I saw the Brown’s jersey I thought I was going to have to call Melissa Gorga and have her pray for you.

    • Yinzerella says:

      Bonus points for a Melissa Gorga reference.
      By the way–what do you think of the RHWONJ reunion so far? Oh how far Teresa has fallen!

      • Alisa says:

        Teresa what happened? I used to be all team Teresa but now I really can’t even stand watching her. I’m wondering when Danielle will chime in with her “opinion”.

  6. JenEngland says:

    Pray the Browns Away! Ha!

  7. Cleve says:

    Emily, a note of correction: I fell asleep on the floor after the terrible blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans (Matt Hasselbeck?? Really???). The Dolphins game was actually an exciting last-second win.

    Lasagne was tasty, though.

  8. Laura says:

    I have no idea what frito pie is, but someone recently told me that “walking tacos” are a thing and now I must have this salty, saucy snack.


  9. Crafitiute says:

    A fine lasagna indeed. I am all about Italian recipes since they tend to be cheap and last FOREVER. My Pasta fagoli recipe lasts like all week and costs about 4 dollars to make.

    And although it does make me shudder to see you in browns gear, I am comforted knowing that they will never be a threat. And that you will rock Black and Yellow when we play them

    • Yinzerella says:

      You know it! The Steelers and Browns play New Year’s Day at 1pm (so do the Ravens) so we’ll have to go out to watch the game. We’ve decided that we’ll go to the Browns Backers and I’ll wear all of my black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow. I’m hardcore.
      Also, i would like to see that soup recipe of yours.

  10. Dillon says:

    Bwahahahahahahaha. I forgot you worked at the Italian Oven. Was it the fried zucchini that gave you the crazy burn?

  11. Cititoarea says:

    I don’t know how you did it (metaphorically speaking) and your lasagne looks so tasty!

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