lasagna for two

lasagna

I’ve been working longer days the past few weeks. This means I get out of work late, much later than BF would like, because it means I don’t have quite as much time to make dinner before he’s ready to chew his own leg off. In order to keep all of BF’s limbs attached, I’ve made an effort to pre-make at least one meal a week. Sometimes he’s even lucky enough for me to make one of his favorite things : Lasagna.

Who doesn’t love lasagna? The best part is, I can make it all the day before. I just refrigerate it overnight, and then BF pops it in the oven towards the end of my shift. Voila – dinner is ready by the time I get home. As an added bonus – BF gets to feel like he made dinner that night. :)

I almost didn’t post the recipe, since it uses a jar sauce, so I kinda feel like it isn’t REALLY a “recipe”. Then I figured, who doesn’t have days where they get home from work too exhausted or too late to make dinner? And who doesn’t resort to jarred sauces once in awhile? Especially if you can find one you like (for me – that’s Trader Joe’s Bolognese).

Since we’re a small family of two (sometimes three) people, I make mine in  a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, and it’s still enough to feed us for a couple of meals. If you want to make more, just use a larger pan, or if you want to make some for later, just make an additional batch in one of those foil loaf pans and store it in the freezer until the mood strikes. (Or, in my case, to feed the boy if I have to leave town for work).

Just try to mangle yours slightly less when it’s time for your photo-op :)

Lasagna for TwoMakes one 9 x 5-inch loaf of lasagna

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • ½ (1.25 lb) package Italian turkey sausage (sweet or hot)
  • ½ lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 package whole milk ricotta (trust me on this, please don’t use skim. If you’re going to use skim, just skip the ricotta altogether)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or a couple sprinkles each of basil and oregano)
  • Shredded Italian cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Remove sausage from casings and cook with ground beef in a sauté pan over medium-high until brown. Add onion and continue cooking until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in your jar of sauce and lower heat to simmer.
  2. While sauce is simmering, mix Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into the ricotta. (If you have milk or cream on hand, you can add a splash or two to thin the ricotta just a little bit). Set aside.
  3. Assemble the lasagna: Put just enough sauce to coat the bottom of the loaf pan, and place a lasagna noodle on top. Scoop meat sauce mixture into a layer over top.Spread ricotta mixture onto one side of another lasagna noodle, place ricotta side down into pan. Top with more meat sauce, and repeat until you’re out of room.Once you’ve reached your last noodle, add your remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with Italian cheese. Feel free to grate some parmesan over top, maybe sprinkle some Italian seasoning.
  4. Now you can either – bake in a 375 degree oven until cheese is hot and bubbly (about 30 minutes) OR cool, cover, and refrigerate.

To bake from refrigerated, take out of the fridge while the oven preheats to 375. Once the oven is preheated, bake the lasagna, covered with foil, 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake additional 15 minutes or so until cheese is hot and bubbly

TIPS

– Grease your pan or, if you’re extra lazy like me, just line it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

– Adding fresh parmesan on top will encourage browning. If you think it’s ready but it just won’t get brown enough, feel free to pop the broiler on for a minute or so.

– Another trick – Keep a baguette in your freezer. Let the baguette sit, wrapped in foil, at room temperature while the lasagna bakes, then throw it into the oven for the last 15-20 minutes or so of baking and it will be just as good as new.  

chicken parmesan

chicken parm 1

Chicken parmesan gets a bad rep for a number of reasons. Your usual chicken parmesan will arrive either soggy, drowning in sauce and cheese or dry and deep-fried – thrown on top of some pasta. This chicken parmesan is neither soggy, nor dry, and especially not fried. This chicken parmesan allows you to achieve a crispy chicken that is still tender, and has no melty cheese or sauce on top (except that last shaving a parmesan you see on top of mine – melted ever so slightly by the heat of the still-warm chicken).

Most breaded items are dredged in flour, then egg, then breading. I got the idea of dipping them in garlic butter from a recipe I saw over at simply recipes. It was rather ingenius, if I do say so myself. If you prefer the old-fashioned way, go ahead, but you’ll save a dish if you do it this way.

It’s baked, not fried, which means that you have time to clean up your mess, set the table, sit back and relax – whatever you like for the time that the chicken is in the oven. Using thin-sliced chicken helps it to cook faster, and if you’re a breading freak (like yours truly) make sure you use panko to get them extra crispy, and cut them into “nuggets” to get a higher breading-to-chicken ratio. The nuggets also make it a little more ‘kid-friendly’ – just serve them with the tomato sauce to dip in on the side. :)

Chicken Parmesan

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 lb thin-sliced* chicken breast (cutting into nuggets is optional)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated parmigianno-reggiano (or a mix of parm & pecorino)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • a few grinds of the pepper mill

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Melt butter in small bowl. Add garlic and stir to combine.

2. In a separate bowl (I actually like to use a paper plate, so I can just throw it away when I’m done), mix together bread crumbs, cheese, and seasonings.

3. Dip chicken in melted butter, then bread crumbs, being sure to press it into the bread crumbs for maximum adhesion.

4. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and cook at 450F for 15 – 20 minutes until cooked through. If you have to brown it more, turn it up to broil at the end, but be sure to keep a close eye on it! You can flip them half-way through, if you like, for more even browning, but you will end up sacrificing some of the delicious breading.

*If you don’t want to buy thin-sliced (it does cost more), you can slice your own and/or pound it thin