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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Attn: We interrupt this tax prep session for a lasagna break

After dealing with IRS (or FIRS as one hilarious commenter put it) rules and regulations all day, I was in the mood for some comfort food, namely lasagna. I knew TubaDad wouldn't object, since the day he turns down homemade lasagna is the day I check him into the nearest hospital. So around 4pm yesterday I unclenched my shoulders, waved goodbye to TurboT*x, and got to work.

Now I'll be the first to admit I'm not a good cook, but I can follow directions and I know that TubaDad's mom included a great recipe for lasagna in the family cookbook. So here's what I made, complete with my notes (in itals) and images for people like me who can't cook without pictures.

Better Homes & Gardens Lasagna (a favorite in TubaDad's family since the 1970s)

- 1 pound sausage
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon whole basil (I used the chopped up spice jar stuff from my pantry... so sue me)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1-pound can of diced tomatoes, undrained (my store only sells 14.5 oz cans, so I used one of those, but next time I'd use 1 and a half cans)
- 12 ounces of tomato paste

- 10 ounces lasagna noodles
- 3 cups fresh Ricotta (buy the 32oz tub and you'll have a little left over)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons parsley flakes
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound Mozzarella cheese, sliced very thin

Brown meat slowly and drain off excess fat. (Make sure you squish/break it into really small pieces while you're cooking it. I left mine a little too chunky.) Add the next 5 ingredients and simmer uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender. (Note, start the water before you start anything else because it takes forEVER to boil.)

Combine remaining ingredients except Mozzarella cheese.

Place half the noodles in a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread with half the ricotta cheese filling, layer with half the Mozzarella cheese, then half the meat sauce. Repeat the layers one time. (I ended up with some noodles left over, so I tossed them rather than make the noodley part too thick.)

Bake at 375 degrees in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting -- filling will set slightly. (OK, you know there's no way we waited 10 minutes before diving in, but it still tasted great!) Makes 12 servings (depending on who's eating...)

PS: Thanks for all the awesome IRS jokes and comments. Between the laughter and the lasagna, I'm feeling no pain!