Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving Thanks Where Thanks Is Due

Do you ever feel like no matter how many times you say.. "Thank You" it just isn't enough?  This is what I love about Thanksgiving.  For me.. it is more than grubbing on juicy turkey and starchy side dishes.  It's a day to reflect on the blessings from God over the last year.  This is something that we should do every day but, Thanksgiving is a chance to really take a look at all we have been given and say "Wow, God has been so good to me. I am so undeserving but, thank you!"

Thanksgiving is the ultimate comfort holiday.  It's a chance for some of us to grab a pair of slippers, put on fat pants, pig out on pie, watch Christmas movies, unplug the phone and play games with family.  Is there anything better?  It was the first time in a long time that I felt disconnected from the world and connected to the people that mean the most to me - my incredible family.

Over the years, I've had the pleasure of watching my mother develop the fine art of orchestrating Thanksgiving dinner for a constantly growing family.  I can quite honestly say that the 1 turkey, 7 side dishes, 2 bread options, 2 cranberry options, and condiments are ALWAYS packed with flavor.  I am so thankful for my Mom's ever-growing patience and kitchen skills on this holiday.  She is such a blessing to our family.

This year, I filled my plate with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, turkey with gravy, and stuffing that will make your mouth do cartwheels.  With the combination of love, fellowship and great food... what is better than Thanksgiving?  There is such a feeling of warmth and comfort when you look at your plate of Thanksgiving dinner.....

... immediately followed by a loosened belt and an afternoon turkey coma.  Shortly followed by pie, coffee, and perhaps some wine.  Seriously.. I LOVE this holiday.  :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lasagna Inspired - Husband Tested

As mentioned in my earlier blog, Inspiration in a Bowl of Meat, I decided that I was going to create a dish that was inspired by my Mom's lasagna.  I really wasn't sure how this was going to turn out or if it was even going to cook correctly but.. I was going to give it a go.

Earlier this week, I gathered all my typical lasagna ingredients and replaced the noodles with......... pizza dough. :) My ultimate goal in this dish was to make it taste like lasagna AND also taste like pizza.  I knew that it would be a challenge to keep it from being soggy and watery.  So, I have a theory on how to fix my error...

Lasagna Pizza
- 1/2 or 1 lb of ground meat (I used turkey meat but, sirloin or pork would be good too)
- Half of a medium size onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 jar of pizza sauce
- 1 1/2 TBSP of fennel seed
- 2 TBSP of dried Parsley
- 1 lemon - squeezed (or you could use 1 TBSP of lemon juice)
- 1 container of ricotta cheese (sorry, I didn't write down the size but I'd guess that it was 2 cups)
- 1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 roll of pizza dough (I used store bought Pillsbury but, you are welcome to make your own if you prefer)
- Salt and pepper

So, I started by laying out the pizza crust on a baking sheet.  To avoid a watery pizza.. I would suggest baking the pizza dough alone before applying the toppings.  Follow the directions.. or just bake at 425 until golden brown - which would take 8 to 10 minutes.  While the crust is baking, brown the ground meat in a separate pan - add the fennel seeds at this point (the fennel will give it that pizza taste).  In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon, parsley and garlic.  Once the crust is done baking and the meat is browned.....

.... Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over the top of the crust.  You might notice that I did not bake the crust first.. my pizza was a little watery.  On top of the ricotta mixture... spread a layer of the pizza sauce.  The point of lasagna is to see the distinguished layers and that was something I was trying to keep in this dish as well.

Over the pizza sauce, add a layer of ground meat.  If you don't like too much meat on your pizza.. I would recommend only getting a 1/2 pound.  Over the top of the meat, add a layer of cheese. 

Bake at 425 for 10 to 12 minutes. 

Serve and enjoy! 

The taste is pretty incredible.  It really does taste like lasagna and pizza had a baby.  The spices and flavors blend perfectly and you do get the 2 separate tastes.  Very delicious.  I hope you like it.