The Main Event

Did you ever have a craving for something but by the time you got it all together and cooked, you were tired of it? That's what happened with the lasagna today. I think I mentioned that I haven't made lasagna in about 4 years. I couldn't figure out why. Well, after the main event which took 4 hours to cut, cook and assemble, it was pretty clear why I hadn't made it in so long...it takes FORever!

Now I can see why the recipe used so many pots and pans. If you don't, it really drags the process out. So my abbreviated version may have used far fewer pans, but it took twice as long to cook all the elements in the recipe.
First I sauteed the onion and garlic in a sauce pan with EVOO. When onions were translucent, I set the pan aside.
Then I browned the ground beef. I have to say that the store where I purchased my 93% lean ground beef has a different picture of what that means than I do. I drained off five very large ladles of watery fat after browning. Then spooned it into a sauce pan with the onions and garlic.
I wiped the pan out with a paper towel and added spices and Prego Spaghetti sauce to heat. I haven't used Prego for quite a while and they must have changed their formula, because it was overly sweet.
Once warmed, it was added to the onions and ground beef in the saucepan. In the interim, I had cooked the lasagna noodles till al dente and rinsed in water. I then lay them on a tea towel to thoroughly drain.
Once warmed, the noodles, meat sauce, ricotta mixture and grated mozzerella where layered repeatedly and finished off with a light layer of parmesan. The dish then went into the pre-heated oven.
I decided not to rewrite the recipe here since I wasn't totally happy with the end result. You can find the recipe here if you're interested. What would I do differently the next time I make lasagna? First, I'd make the tomato sauce from scratch, skipping the Prego. The taste that you come away with was not tomato sauce but something very sugar-y, not tomato-y. I'd add more spices, not sure which ones but more, so you could taste them over the excessively sweet tomato sauce. I'd hunt down my original recipe in the 1960's Betty Crocker cookbook and use that. But above all that, I'd probably opt to try a frozen version. All assembled, just pop it in the oven! So much easier! Then, even if you don't care for one of the frozen entries, you won't have waste 4+ hours and the ingredients.

It was kind of like that with French Onion Soup from scratch. I made this many times over the years and loved it. Each time was labor intensive but the result so very good, it was worth it. That is till I tried Trader Joe's frozen version. For a very small price by comparison you get an identical soup with virtually no work!! Holy onion peel! It is utterly amazing!! The taste equals if not surpases my many hour long homemade version with ease.

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