Mad Hungry's Cheesy Baked Lasagna

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I got the inspiration and recipe from watching Lucinda Quinn's Mad Hungry show at The Lifestyle Network. I love Mad Hungry because it is a cooking show by a mom who likes to take certain short-cuts to some of her recipes to make the preparation easier and more efficient without sacrificing flavor. Plus the dishes are simple and convertible enough for Filipino cooking.

I love preparing pasta dishes. Over the years, I have prepared so many of them. Except for lasagna. It has always kind off intimidated me, in a way. Last week our lovely neighbor prepared one, and was supposed to give me a portion but, alas we were out on a party. This made me salivate for lasagna all week, and around Thursday I stumbled upon Mad Hungry which featured lasagna. I took it as a sign from the cosmos that I should prepare lasagna this weekend. Hehe. #palusotlang

It is so easy to prepare. Believe me. Being a lazy mama, I think this dish is so convenient that next time we're having guests over I am preparing this one again. And it's super sumptuous too. Our guts had no more space for dessert after eating it (now, that's a first).

So enough of my rambling and here are the steps, slightly modified by me. If you want to see the original recipe that inspired me click here.

What you need:

1 pound lasagna noodles or packaged precooked lasagna noodles
4 garlic sausages
1 large egg
1 pound ricotta cheese
1/2 cut grated cheddar cheese (Note: Luncida recommends pecorino or parmesan since I want to be more practical I substituted good old cheddar it was yummy just the same)
5 cups Basic Italian Tomato Sauce (I made this on my own, see instructions below)
1 pound mozzarella cheese
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
for the tomato sauce: whole peeled tomato, basil, butter (optional) salt and pepper

What you need to do:

Basic Italian Tomato Sauce:
1.Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Swirl around the olive oil to coat the pan, and when the oil is hot, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, just long enough to release the garlic's fragrance and transform it slightly from its raw state. Don't cook it to golden.
2. Raise the heat to high and stir in the tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the basil sprig, if using. Remove the basil before serving and swirl in the butter, if using.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and a generous pinch of salt and cook for half as long as the package suggests. Drain and float in cold water. (Skip this step if noodles are precooked.) -> I used San Remo pre-cooked lasagna so preparation was made even easier.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, fry the sausage links until cooked through, about 10 minutes. With kitchen scissors, cut the sausage into disks in the pan and continue to fry over low heat until the cut surfaces are crispy, about 20 minutes. Drain off the fat.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the egg, ricotta, and 1/2 cup of cheddar.
4. To assemble the lasagna, spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Overlap one third of the noodles atop the sauce to cover the pan bottom. Spread all the cooked sausage over the noodles and spoon over another cup of sauce. Lay down the second third of noodles. Evenly dollop all the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and flatten with the spoon to make an even layer. Top with the remaining noodles to completely cover the cheese. Pour over 1 1/2 to 2 cups sauce to cover. Evenly lay all the mozzarella slices on top. Drizzle with olive oil.
5. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbling all over and lightly golden on top. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. (Let is set, patience is a virtue mga muthers!) =)

Pictures to show you:

My raw ingredients

Osterized whole peeled tomatoes with basil

Ricotta and grated cheddar with egg

The first layer of lasagna, brown garlic sausages

Topped with mozzarela cheese

Finished product

Dinner is served!

Where Have I Been?

Friday, June 29, 2012

I mean the first question that comes to mind is who cares? But I do have two faithful readers. Hubby and my little sis. Ha!

So the question is valid if you ask me. Yes, yes. I have been MIB (Missing In Blogging) action. Truth be told, it's not for lack of material. I have been taking snaps of random things that have been happening to me but I always end up... asleep.

My! This baby has made me so lazy to even get up and face my laptop. I know that's a lame excuse of pregnant blogger. This pregnancy has been so fuzz-free compared to the rollercoaster first trimester of our first baby. The first one had all the works. Dizzy spells, headaches, vomiting, weird food aversions, painful contractions, etc. This one, aside from the occasional headache, one time painful contraction, everything else has been rosy.

But the baby did make me sleepy all the time. I have this debate in my head all the time. Hey cool movie in HBO right now vs. sleeping. Eating out with hubby vs. sleeping. Walking around our community vs. sleeping. Seeing old friends vs. sleeping. Blogging vs. sleeping. So on. Guess which side always win? Pretty obvious no?

So, this post is sort of my soft introduction to get back into blogging. Frankly, I blog for me more than anything else. I started it because when I became a mom I was flooded with all this emotions that were so foreign, and I cannot even contain. So I said I just have to share it lest I burst! Hence, 90% of this blog being about how much I am in love with my family and my son. I was thinking before, it would have been cool to have documented my pregnancy as well.

Now, I am given a second chance. Being pregnant is the weirdest, happiest, scariest, and the most vulnerable experience a woman could undergo. Being able to see my thoughts be formed into words while going through that entire process again would be awesome. For me at least.

The process of writing is always personal more so if one will talk about one's journey to motherhood. Pregnancy, I should say is something only person who is undergoing it can understand. I was scared for the entire 9 months that I was pregnant before. I am still scared every minute right now. It's like my own beating heart doesn't matter much. The beating of the life inside me matters more. I have come to terms that during these months my body is not entirely my own. That primarily it's for our baby. And I give it wholeheartedly.

I have to start writing more. This feels good. You'll hear from me you'll see.