Having kids makes you old in numerous ways. For example, you can initially only handle one “event” per day. Like an old lady who can’t get her hair done on Wednesday because she has a doctor’s appointment (even if the hair appt is at 9 and the doctor is at 3), it seems that I can only do one major outing before I need, er, I mean, the kid needs a nap.
Today’s event was lasagna. It was a learning experience. **Let it be said that this was NOT my first lasagna, but it was the most thought-provoking lasagna i have experienced.
First, the recipe hunt. Facebook offered several suggestions. Then I looked at the noodle box, my cousin’s tried and true method. Finally, Allrecipes, my go-to method. I really wanted to try the “worlds best lasagna” with over 1200 5-star ratings: it even made it’s own sauce. But alas, i had no tomato paste. (Does anyone else think of the Shel Silverstein poem about gluing tomatoes with tomato paste?) I ended up doing a mix of recipes.
I finally got the sausage browned (and drained, and drained, and drained), the cheeses mixed, noodles pre-soaked and compiled it into one large masterpiece. The noodles are shorter than the 9×13 pan. Do you stagger or pile? I ended up piling but would welcome constructive criticism.
It was pretty tasty. I’m not a huge sausage fan, though i did like the variety and added seasoning. I wonder what “real” ricotta would do for a bolstering as well. The worst part of it all was that i ate alone 🙁 . H had broccoli. (At what age can he start having acidic tomato product?)
I realized why Stauffer’s charges $89.95 for one of their ready-mades. What a time eater! I only worked until noon to get that done! I can’t imagine what some FT working moms go through for a pasta bake – they’d be making it the night before (and after already doing one meal and cleaning it up, who wants to make a second?)! So, working moms, I validate your Stauffers decisions. (Although I do think the homemade tastes better. It’s in the sauce.)
As I was washing the dishes (yes, I was THAT productive today!) I started thinking about all the additions, corrections and substitutions involved in the meal. After all the searching and weighing options and deliberating over the “perfect” recipe, I decided it’s really all about ingredients. When you make something out of stuff that naturally tastes good, it’s a good dish. It’s not the recipe that will get you the perfect dish. Any chef worth their minutes on the Food Network will tell you it’s a guide, but you have to “season to taste.”
I think life is like that too. I’m one who gets caught up in the recipe – finding the perfect way of doing something. I love nothing more than order, consistency and a good rule to follow. But instead I should “taste and see” what is good, as the Pslamist said. Even if I follow the recipe exactly there’s no guarantee it will come out as the recipe-submitter promised. Instead, I shall find the best ingredients life has to offer and include them in the dish. Even if something is slightly off, I can season it or, better yet, use google to find someone who made a similar mistake and find a remedy.
So yes, this is an exceptionally LONG post about a lasagna, which showed me how I need to be living. Not by the perfect ordering and measurements, but by including the best stuff the world has to offer.