Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A lasagna mishap, a brownie save, and a baking first

Last night was a fluke. In theory, Spicy Portobello Lasagna sounds great, but if you haven't made lasagna before and aren't following a recipe, things don't come together the way you want them to. It's okay, Sanne. You can't be great at everything.

A few tips for better lasagna:
-Add crushed red pepper, a dash of cayenne and chopped portobello to the ground beef in your favorite lasagna recipe. 
-The typical cheese ratio is about 2 parts ricotta to 1 part mozarella to 1 part parmesan or whatever other kind of cheese you like.
-Don't forget to add plenty of sauce so the meat doesn't dry out.

it's pretty though

No worries, though. I saved the day by making Sanne's from-scratch brownies, with chocolate chips and a larger splash of milk, making them a little fudgier than last time but just as delicious.

Tonight we are going to an old stand-by. Pizza. But this time, we are making our own dough. This is something we haven't tried yet, because typically, we save pizza for when we're feeling lazy. I poked around online for homemade dough recipes, and found a few with good reviews that were basically the same. I'm not sure why baking intimidates me so. If I've learned anything from watching The Biggest Loser, its that I need to face my fears and make my own pizza dough. By myself. So here goes.

I found this recipe on Mix together:
3c flour
1t salt
1T sugar
1c warm water
2T vegetable oil
1 pckg dry active yeast (which is 2 1/4t)

Mix the dry ingredients and slowly incorporate the water and oil. My dough was super sticky, so I ended up having to add about another cup of flour. Basically, just keep adding flour until you get the right consistency. It also helps to have a baker nearby, encouraging you. Because if you're anything like me, you psyched yourself out and ended up ruining the first batch and had to start over. That's okay. Jay got voted off the Biggest Loser and ended up coming back a few weeks later and he's still losing weight!

This recipe said that the dough didn't need to sit in a dark corner somewhere and rise. I set it in a bowl on the stove while I finished the sauce, just in case. They were right, though. About 10 minutes later or so, I rolled it out, topped it off and it was good to go. So easy!

I used a homemade pasta sauce, with crushed red pepper, chili powder, a dash of cayenne pepper, dried oregano, and parsley. Then, some chopped plum tomatoes, torn fresh basil and monterey jack & cheddar cheese. And of course, some more crushed red pepper on top.

Bake it at 370 for about 25-30 minutes.

Oh, it's good. We are talking about variations on the dough for next time. Whole wheat dough with herbs baked into it... like rosemary and garlic, or basil, spinach... any other ideas?


  1. What was wrong with the lasagna? Your biggest loser references crack me up, I watched the most recent one yesterday and cried like a baby, as usual.

  2. The lasagna ended up smelling and looking wonderful but lacking what you would really want it to taste like. I added chopped portobello to the meat with crushed red pepper flakes, rosemary, oregano and garlic and it was delicious but it was on the dry side. It was one of those times where when it's all said and done and you're tasting it and you know exactly what you need to change next time. More cheese and more sauce! Learning experiences are how we all become better cooks! -sanne