Thursday, October 11, 2012

Help Wanted - Chefs needed

The other night the boy and I tried a new recipe. It looked promising. A version of lasagna that includes veggies and a cheese sauce. Sounds good, right?

Well, yes, but...
I'll get to that but in a moment.

I started out by chopping up the veggies:

Then we cooked the diced onion with a clove of chopped garlic. Once the onions were tender, we added in 1 cup of ground beef. I admit this seemed like a small amount, but we went with it. Brown the beef, then add in the carrots, celery and diced tomatoes. Now if you read my first recipe post, you know I don't enjoy tomato chunks. So I pureed them again!

Now we've got something that looks like this:

The recipe said to cook this for 30 minutes, and I admit, I skimped a bit and only cooked it for 15 - 20. I guess this is my first question: Would it have made a difference if I had cooked it longer?

So now it was time to make the lasagna layers. Here's the stuff:

The recipe had directions for a cheese sauce, but also admitted that it was complicated and you could substitute a store-bought option. I went with an alfredo sauce that looked good, but I'm not sure that was the correct choice. I'll get to that in a minute.

When we went to make the layers, using the specified 9 x 13 inch dish, we noticed there was no way there was enough meat and veggie stuff. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture. The whole pan full would have been one layer had I had my way. But we stretched it to two.  So I know that if I make this recipe again, I'll definitely be doubling the meat and veggies.

After putting it together, it's time for the oven.

That stuff on top is the entire jar of alfredo sauce.

And here's the final result:

Looks tasty, and it pretty much was. Except for one thing. Can you see it better here?

The noodles didn't get entirely cooked and were, in fact, a bit rubbery if not downright crunchy in places. Oops?

So what did we do wrong? Is it the cheese sauce that was tasty, but too thick or just not enough? Would doubling the meat and veggies add enough liquid to help cook the noodles?

If you have any suggestions, let me know! If we can figure out the correct recipe proportions, I'll post the final results. This one has so much potential!