OK…so some might think that this post is going to be about one (or both) of my children. It’s not.
I found a new lasagna recipe today. Actually, I should be careful about how I say that. Yes, it is a new recipe to me, but it’s not like I have some tried and true recipe that I always use to make lasagna. Truth be told, I haven’t made lasagna in years…unless it came out of a box in the freezer.
I chose this recipe in particular because my son loves lasagna, but he hates meat in his lasagna. So, here I have the recipe for “Easy Meatless Lasagna” that I found at BettyCrocker.com. Given the source, I really thought this recipe would be easy to follow. But apparently, Betty doesn’t write her online recipes quite the same way as she writes her cookbook recipes.
According to the recipe, this lasagna has just 3 steps. I can see how, in a broad sense, that is true. (1) Preheat oven and prepare cheese mixture. (2) Place various layers of sauce and cheese and noodles in pan. (3) Bake. Easy peasy, right? Nope. Not when step 2 reads as follows:
Spread 2 cups of the pasta sauce in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches; top with 4 uncooked noodles. Spread ricotta cheese mixture over noodles. Spread with 2 cups pasta sauce and top with 4 noodles; repeat with 2 cups pasta sauce and 4 noodles. Sprinkle with 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Spread with remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Seriously…that should not be all one step!! The first time I read this, I knew there was a chance that I’d mess it up. After each layer, I checked and double checked. Somewhere in the middle though, I thought I had it down and I stopped checking. I got to the end of my 2nd jar of sauce and it was still telling me to add sauce. So then I repeated my layers back in my head and realized that the mozzarella cheese is in the wrong place too. Then, I started doubting the whole thing. The only thing I know for sure is that I got the bottom 3 layers right. After that it’s all a big blur.
So…my sad attempt at lasagna is in the oven now, and I have no clue how badly I messed it up.
Yes, I know I didn’t write about freezer cleanout week 2. Just take my word for it that we did cook something from the freezer that week, but it just wasn’t worth writing about.
This week’s cleanout night featured frozen Mahi Mahi filets. The prep I used for the Mahi Mahi can be used on a wide variety of fish. So far, I’ve only used it on Mahi Mahi and on Sole. What I do is my own version of blackened fish, first introduced to me on our family’s spring vacation to South Carolina. (Some of the best blackened Mahi Mahi that I’ll probably ever have!!)
In a small bowl, combine paprika, red pepper, black pepper, salt and garlic powder. You’ll have to play around with the ratios of these ingredients depending on how spicy you like your fish. Typically, my mixture is largely paprika, salt and pepper, with just a pinch of red pepper. Mix these ingredients thoroughly. Lightly coat thawed fish in olive oil. Sprinkle spice mixture generously over both sides of the fish. Cook fish in pan with olive oil over medium heat. The cook time will vary depending on the type of fish and the size of your pieces. One thing I’ve learned is that its best to only flip the fish once. Most fish gets more delicate when cooked, and multiple flips makes for a big crumbly mess. (I see this much more with the Sole than with the Mahi Mahi.)
So, I am by no means an expert at cooking fish. But, I have certainly eliminated the bland fish blues in our house.
I couldn’t help myself…this looks positively sinful. I just might have to make some.
Pumpkin Spice Magic Bar Mini’s
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I don’t know how it is in your house, but for us, the freezer is pretty much a graveyard. The only thing that seems to escape the freezer readily are waffles and ice cream bars. Used to be that our children would eat a lot of chicken nuggets. They still do, but it seems to happen more often when we eat out, and not at home anymore. Over the weekend, my daughter made a request for chicken nuggets, which had my husband digging to the depths of the freezer to see if we even had any. In the process, he stumbled upon many things still worth rescuing from the freezer graveyard. See…we’ve only had this fridge since last Christmas, so very little has actually perished in this particular freezer.
Along with the new menus that I’ve been trying to get off the ground (the ones that strongly encourage my children to try new foods regularly.), we are now launching Project Freezer Cleanout. At least once a week, I’m going to try to make something that utilizes a minimum of one ingredient pulled from the depths of the freezer. This week’s meal is not too much of a stretch though, I must admit. The ingredient for this week is sea scallops.
Sea scallops are one of my favorite seafoods. I have learned over the last year or so that scallops are not all that difficult to prepare, and they are fabulous when cooked well. Too often, people overcook scallops, rendering them chewy and unappetizing. For my scallops, I like to keep things simple. The scallops we’ve been buying are some of the largest I’ve seen…about 1.5-2″ in diameter and about 1″ thick. The cook best if they are allowed to reach room temperature before cooking. If the centers are still cold, they don’t cook evenly and you’ll likely end up with overcooked outsides by the time the centers are cooked. I heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil and pan are hot, I add the scallops and cook 2-2.5 minutes. Then, I flip the scallops and cook another 2-2.5 minutes on the other side. You’ll know they’re fully cooked when they become opaque inside. Pair the scallops with some steamed or grilled vegetables or with the rice or pasta side of your choice. This week, we enjoyed ours along with some Market Day fried rice…also from the freezer. 😉