Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cue Garfield

Ah...Tuesday evening, Kitschies. What are you doing tonight? I'm trying not to melt and I'm arguing with my nail polish. Why? No. I'm not insane. I'm having a creative block that was induced by PHD's latest weekly challenge. I know I'll have a breakthrough at some point, but right now, I'm arguing with my brain and my polish because it is just not coming out the way it's *supposed* to. Do you ever have moments like that? Maybe it's my brain telling me I need to sit this one out. But I refuse!

Enough of that. Time to let things be for a bit. On to the post at hand. The hubs and I usually like to plan out our menu for the week so we can try to prevent multiple trips to the grocery store. Last week, he asked me what my favorite pasta is. That's easy: lasagna. Specifically, MY lasagna. But, HELLO!?! It's flipping hot! The last thing I want to do is spend a bunch of time in the kitchen in front of a hot stove/oven. But that's exactly what I did. It ended up being a good thing because we had a bunch of leftovers and that means I didn't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen putting something else together! I don't remember where I found this recipe, but I have yet to try any other lasagna recipe.

Lasagna with Meat Sauce

8 oz lasagna noodles
2 Tbsp salt for cooking noodles
1 Tbsp olive oil
16 oz low fat ricotta cheese
8 oz sliced Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chuck or round
1 large can (28 oz) tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
2 cups water

Start sauce about 30-45 minutes in advance (or the day before).

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are soft; add ground beef and brown. Pour off excess fat. Add remaining sauce ingredients; stir well. Simmer slowly, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Cook noodles in boiling water with 2 Tbsp salt for about 25 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Drain; add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Arrange noodles in a shallow 2 1/2 qt baking dish. Make 3 layers each of noodles, ricotta cheese, Mozzarella cheese, meat sauce and Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered at 325* for 45 minutes.

NOTES: I use a 9x13x2 glass baking dish. This really seems to be the perfect size. I always spray the bottom of the baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. I don't know if any of you have any helpful tips to spread the ricotta cheese, but I usually just use my fingers and glop it on and then try to spread it out as evenly as I can. It comes out ok in the end, but it sure is a pain in the butt. This was enough to feed both the hubs and I for at least 3 meals.

See...so hot in the house - you can see the steam in the picture!

Ready for the oven.

Fresh out of the oven

Ready to enjoy!

I have a question for you, my beautiful readers. When you have a case of creative block, what do you do to unblock? When you have a great idea in your head but it just doesn't come out right, what do you do? Do you just keep at it, hoping that it'll work itself out or do you do it once, realize it's not working and then move on? Where do you go, what do you do, for inspiration? Do you have a sure-fire, go-to thing that always inspires you?

Listening to: Spotlight (Twilight Mix) by Mute Math
Mood: frustrated


Jen said...

I love that you post recipes on here. It inspires me to try my hand at cooking :)

My mani's hardly ever come out the way I planned or I mess something up. Sometimes I push on through it or add more things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When I realize it's hopeless, I remove it and go with something plain and simple. If you have a creative block, then step away from it and it'll probably come to you later :) I think you're going to come up with a fantastic mani for the challenge and I can't wait to see it :)

Lacquer Ware for Tips and Toes said...

What a tough question. If something isn't working for me I usually leave it alone. I often find myself turning the idea or concept in my head 50 thousand different directions. And I always end up with a finished product that I'm pleased with because of my methods. I think I do it that way because...after spending years working with youth, I often have to reframe things or rephrase things so they understand something - because everyone learns differently. This has made me think a lot about how many different directions I can approach one dilemma.

Taking a break and a breather and maybe totally abaondoning your original idea can often leave the space necessary in your brain to come up with an even better idea that works. When we focus on the same idea over and over...our brain doesn't have the space for a totally new concept/idea to take its place....so letting go is sometimes the best thing.

Good luck...its a process and everyone is different but I do love your challenges and I also understand the feeling of hitting a wall and wondering why you can't tear the damned thing down, lol.

ANSTAH said...

wow I totally salivated and bookmarked this page. I need to try your recipe out with my mom. I LOVE me some good pasta/ lasagne =D

Brooke said...

YUM!! I'll have to try this vegetarian!!

and by the way, I adore Garfield :)
Growing up, I already read the Sunday Garfield comics. I think that is a huge reasons why I'm such a sarcastic person now.

Writers block... well, when I have that, I typically just post polish pictures - I think my readers much prefer looking at my pictures to reading what I write, but I still torture them with silly details about my day, my life, and my pets on a regular basis :)

Megan Harmeyer said...

Thank you for all the encouraging words, ladies. I think I'm just going to sleep on the ideas for a while to see what comes up. To make myself feel better, I ended up doing a mani with Zoya's Mimi - their Sparkle collection colors always makes things better!

@Brooke - if you do make the lasagna vegetarian, let me know how you change it up!