It’s time we talk about dinner.
I know I said I would be talking about baked goods, but I can’t ignore the fact that most of my friends don’t know how to cook for themselves.
In a world full of appointments, meetings, work, and Netflix time, it really doesn’t surprise me how many people just don’t take the time to cook for themselves. So, how do you find the time to make (good) food, that won’t take too much time or skill?
Try making a schedule of what you want to eat each night of the week. From there, get everything you need, and take some time (Sundays work best) to make some meals for the week ahead.
The meals don’t have to be ~fancy~(unless you’re trying to impress someone), but they don’t have to be boring either.
Now, I’m not going to pretend like I always cook for myself. I’m fortunate enough to live at home with two very good cooks for parents, who make dinner for me. BUT, that doesn’t mean they didn’t teach me how to cook for myself. I don’t starve or eat out all the time when they go on vacation.
I find that when I’m left alone, the hardest part is deciding what I want to eat. Making a schedule totally takes that problem away. Oh, it’s Tuesday? Turkey burger and a salad. BOOM. Wednesday? Must be time for leftover lasagna I made on Sunday night.
Along with making a schedule, I try to make meals that will last a couple days. Dinner, lunch the next day, dinner again… you get it.
Also, what’s the deal with leftovers? Why does the word always come after a groan or with a scrunched up facial expression? You ate that yesterday and loved it, but today it’s straight from Satan’s garbage bin?
No. No. No. Leftovers are your friends. And in some cases, food tastes better the next day. It has time to hang out and let all it’s different flavours get to know one another.
So, here’s a recipe for lasagna that you can make ahead of time, and will provide you with at least a couple of meals for the week.
(Let me know if you want me to start posting some healthier recipes on here too. I have lots and wouldn’t mind sharing with you.)
You know how a lasagna works, right? Layers of noodles, and sauce, and other good things? Mine is made from an Italian sausage and mushroom sauce, and ricotta and spinach, but it’s really up to you if you want to change it up.
P.S. This was actually my first time making lasagna but I think I nailed it.
Italian Sausage and Mushroom Sauce
- olive oil (just keep the bottle near you)
- 3 Italian sausages (meat removed from casing)
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- ~10 mushrooms, chopped (roughly if you like mushroom chunks like I do)
- 1/2 evaporated milk
- 1 (660 mL) can of spaghetti sauce (any type works)
- Italian seasoning to taste
- a handful of parsley, chopped (optional…I’m just super obsessed with it.)
Ricotta and Spinach Layer
- 1/4 onion chopped
- 1 package of frozen spinach (whole leaf)
- 1 (15 oz) tub of ricotta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- lasagna nooooooodles. (enough to cover your dish for 3 layers of noodles)
- mozzarella cheese, grated
- Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, and leave in water. Set aside.
Italian Sausage and Mushroom Sauce
- Heat a large sauce pan on medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add your onions and garlic and sauté until the onions get softer
- Add mushrooms and continue to sauté until those get soft too.
- Next add your Italian sausage. Remove the meat from the casing ahead of time, and cook until browned.
- Add your spaghetti sauce, and any Italian seasoning you may like.
- After that, add the evaporated milk to cut the acidity.
- Then add your chopped parsley. This is completely optional…I just really really like fresh parsley.
- Stir that up, and you have your meat sauce!
Ricotta and Spinach layer
- Heat another pan on medium heat and add some olive oil.
- Add your onions, and cook until soft.
- Add the spinach. Sauté, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Next, add the ricotta cheese. Yep, the whole thing.
- You’re done!
How to Assemble
I used a 9″x 13″ dish. See photos below.
Layer 1: Thin layer of sauce to prevent the noodles from burning
Layer 2: Noodles.
Layer 3: Meat sauce. Then cheese.
Layer 4: More noodles.
Layer 5: Ricotta cheese and spinach.
Layer 6: Then more mozzarella.
Layer 7: Noodles.
Layer 8: The remaining meat sauce
Layer 9: The rest of your cheese.
Now toss that sucker in your oven (heated to 350°F), for about 30 minutes. You may want to cover it with foil part way if the cheese on top starts to get too dark for your liking.