Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Little Valentine's Day Dinner Party! (Part Une)

First of all, I apologize for flaking on my Football-ternative Little Dinner Party, those of you that know me understand that this is always a possibility. I was going to create a nacho bar, but for a few reasons this idea was canceled. The first being that the Chicago Tribune scooped my story, and did it much better I might add. And another reason was because of the possible health risks associated with eating that many calories. The biggest reason was because I had a paying writing gig, which is always better than cooking for deadweight friends.

It's that time again however. Valentine's Day! Those of you grimacing right now, grow up. Valentine's Day is just another excuse to binge on heart shaped baked goods and candy. Taking Valentine's Day seriously is the reason why you're probably still single. Let's face it, nobody wants to hear another mediocre looking person utter the completely unoriginal, "I hate Valentine's Day." Have the gals or gentleman(s) of choice over for a little contemporary Italian dining. Come for dinner, stay a little longer for card making! BYO-Postage. Instructions below:

Lasagna is for Lovers

This is my nearly 90 year old Grandma's recipe. Her lasagna has been a staple for many of my Italian family's get-togethers. I've had my share of lasagnas elsewhere and none compare to this classic. I love the story behind this recipe just as much. My grandparents were great travelers in their golden years. In the late 70s, they took a trip to Italy to explore my grandpa's heritage, in preparation for the trip my Grandma took an Italian language class. After the last class she had her classmates over for lasagna and this was the recipe she came up with. This was my grandpa's favorite dish and it's easy to see why. It lacks ricotta cheese as ricotta does not always agree with the bowels of the elderly.

1 lb ground animal (I use turkey)
20 oz tomato sauce
1 white diced white onion
1 box lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded swiss 
2 cups shredded parmesan 
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Step 1: Preheat oven to 325. Saute onion in olive oil and seasonings. Once translucent remove onions to a sauce pan. Pour sauce in with onions and stir. Next, brown your meat in the same saute pan and then transfer meat to sauce. 

Step 2: Heat and stir sauce while noodles boil. Mix cheeses together, saving 1 cup parmesan for topping.

Step 3: Once noodles are cooked begin layering your lasagna. Start with a layer or sauce in your baking dish. Stack first layer of pasta over top of that. 

Then again with the sauce: 

Then cheese: 

Step 4: Make four layers of noodles and then sprinkle remaining sauce and cheeses on top. Cover and bake for 30-35 minutes. For best results allow to cool for ten minutes. 

Cut-and-Paste Valentine's Pour Deux, For One

There are fewer things I respect more in a man than a handmade Valentine. I've only received from one special guy and let's just say, he loves the lasagna. Anywho, these cards are pretty easy. Take whatever paper doilies and adhere a little of this to a little of that etc. I'll admit I cheated a bit and used this magical machine called The Silhouette, a printer-esque device that cuts shapes out of construction paper. Remember the elementary school Ellison presses? Well I do, and this is exactly like it. I used a 40% off coupon to buy the blank stationary and it was well worth it. 

Get this stuff. 

And make these!

Note to the Host: Make sure to collect everyone's postage $ (especially your date's). Stamps are expensive.

This is a great activity for platonic dates and children who have parents in jail. So put Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan in and get to work, Valentine's Day comes but twice a year on The Little Dinner Party.

Stay tuned for Valentine's Part Deux: Candy and Dessert

No comments:

Post a Comment