To add non-engineering related activities to my life, I have decided to cook (or grill, bake, etc … you know what I mean) one out-of-ordinary meal every week, hence the name; and by meal, I mean either a dessert or something that can be eaten as lunch or dinner. Last week’s meal of the week was cheesecake, but I did not take any pictures to show you as my blog didn’t exist back then. This week’s extraordinary meal is one of my favorite dishes … lasagna! I know that everyone is a bit biased in regards to their own mother’s cooking, but I assure you: my mom’s lasagna is the best. First, she does not use ricotta cheese. Personally, I’ve never been much of a fan of ricotta cheese, which is why I don’t like many of the lasagna recipes out there. Second, my mom adds bechamel (white) sauce in addition to the usual meat and tomato sauce. Third, she adds ham to each layer, giving a distinct flavor to each bite. And of course, last but not least, she puts all her love when assembling the lasagna. The last statement is corny, I know, but not untrue. And to put it in perspective, as a teenager, I could easily eat half a tray on my own as either lunch or dinner (even breakfast); that’s how much I liked it.
I never attempted to make lasagna on my own, until I found a recipe online that resembled my mom’s recipe; this recipe was posted in Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. My girlfriend K introduced me to Mel’s blog with a great burrito recipe (link). Mel’s delicious recipes and detailed instructions have turned her blog into another one of my favorites. You will find that most of my weekly meals will come from her. I can’t thank K enough for finding this online source of goodness.
After perusing Mel’s recipe index, I found this lasagna recipe. The main difference between Mel’s and my mother’s recipe is how the bechamel is prepared. Maybe one day, if I am worthy enough, I will try my mom’s method. In the meantime, as I learn, I will continue using this recipe; nevertheless, this lasagna is still really close in flavor to that of my mother’s. The only problem is that, since I am not a teenager anymore, I cannot eat half a tray. I need to maintain some degree of portion control.
I took a couple of pictures to show you. Here is the assembled lasagna before the putting it in the oven:
Here is the lasagna after cutting it into 8 portions:
Surprisingly, each portion is about 600 Calories; I expected more, but you won’t see me complaining.
I didn’t have to modify anything from the original recipe except for four things. First, I used ground beef instead of turkey. Second, I didn’t use mushrooms. Third, I added ham in between layers. And fourth, I had to change the logistics of the tomato sauce as I do not own a handheld immersion blender. Since I have a regular blender with a glass jar, I had to combine the hot vegetable mixture with the tomato sauce and the diced tomatoes. Other than these four things, I followed the recipe to the letter.
The lasagna came out great. The noodles were perfectly moist yet firm to the bite, and the meat sauce combined perfectly with the bechamel, yielding a flavor experience out of this earth; I’ll enjoy this for the next couple of days. Stay tuned for my next Meal Extraordinaire of the Week!