Friday, November 16, 2012

Food Friday: Lasagna!

I love pasta...spaghetti, lasagna, manicotti, ravioli...I love it all.  I mostly make spaghetti at home because its quick and easy.  Lately I have been making lasagna more often because of this awesome recipe that I found in the Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary Cookbook.  The cookbook contains recipes from men and women in the community and I have found lots of recipes that I use regularly.  If you have one you should definitely pull it out and use it.  This lasagna recipe is actually Laci Lynch's and it has become my go-to when I want to make lasagna.
The recipe actually calls to use a 9x13 dish but I somehow manage to stuff as much of the ingredients into an 8x8 dish since its just for Michael and I.  I have made it in a 9x13 dish before but it just seems like we have so much leftover.  When I make it in a smaller dish it usually all gets eaten in a couple of days.
2 cans Hunts Garlic Tomato Sauce (I buy Hunts Garlic, Basil, and Oregano Tomato Sauce and I had to get 4 cans because I could only find the small cans)
1 1/2-2 pounds hamburger (I use a package of ground chicken)
Lasagna noodles (I use the no boiling required type)
1 Large Container Cottage Cheese (If you are using the smaller baking dish, you won't need the whole container)
2 Cups Shredded Cheese (Sometimes I use cheddar and sometimes mozarella, or a mixture of the two if I have it.  Both are really good.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and brown your ground meat...

Pour a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of your dish...just enough to cover.

Add a layer of noodles on top.

Next a layer of meat.  I used 1/2 of mine.

Next a layer of cottage cheese and then a layer of shredded cheese.

Then another layer of tomato sauce...I may be a little heavy handed with the sauce...I love tomato sauce.  You may want to go a little more light :)

More noodles...

Another layer of meat and sauce...

And a final layer of cottage cheese and shredded cheese.  I could be heavy handed with the cheese too.  Its not a good lasagna unless your ingredients are bubbling out of the top :) 

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  You can cover it for about 50 minutes and then uncover for the last 10 to brown the top.

OK so is it just me or does it look burnt?  haha...I don't know why this picture showed up like this but it turned out perfectly and was delicious!  This recipe is a little more loose (it could be all the sauce and cheese that I loaded in there) than some lasagnas but it tastes so good.   I made this on Tuesday of this week and it was all gone Wednesday night....I'd say it was a success, especially considering that Michael doesn't like leftovers! 

 If you own a JVFD Ladies Auxiliary Cookbook, or any cookbook put together by local people, pull that thing out and use it...there are lots of great recipes to be tried! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kellan's First 1st Birthday Party!

Kellan's first, 1st birthday party was on his actual birth date and we had a cookout at my parent's house.  Most people think we are crazy for having 2 parties but right now its what makes sense for us.  We live 3 hours from my family and considering my grandmothers, my parents' 8 siblings, my 20 cousins plus their children...that's a lot of schedules to work with to try to get to see everyone!  So for now, Kellan will have party in North Carolina for my side of the family and a party here in Virginia for Michael's side.
I love fall and was thrilled when I found out that Kellan would be born in October!  I love pumpkins, cooler weather, changing leaves...So this year's party theme was about what mommy likes because I'm sure every year after this one I will have a more opinionated birthday boy.   Although I'm looking forward to that too :)
I wish we had taken more pictures of the food because my dad grilled ribs and chicken and they were phenomenal!  The whole family always looks forward to my dad's cooking and luckily my parents love to have everyone over to eat.

The birthday boy all ready for his pumpkin party!

Mommy and daddy were worn out before the party even started!

Kellan sneaking tea from papa

Papa did a great job getting us stuff to decorate with...hay bales, pumpkins, corn stalks, and soy beans

I wish they showed up better but I even found the cutest candy corn lights!  One thing about having a pumpkin party is that you are able to find tons of decorations!

Kellan even got to meet my high school friend, Gretchen's little girl Sadie for the first time!  I can't believe it was Gretchen's first time meeting Kellan...where did the year go?

So its no secret that Michael and I are super picky about Kellan's food...this was Kellan's first cupcake and he wasn't exactly sure what to do...

but he figured it out QUICKLY!

When it was gone he cried for more...Mimi felt bad for him so she gave him part of her cupcake...then he cried for more.  Michael heard him and didn't realize that Mimi had given him more so he felt sorry for him and gave him half of his cupcake.  I'm pretty sure Kellan had close to 2 full cupcakes and he enjoyed every last bite!

One downside to a one year old's birthday have to keep convincing them to want to open presents.  Kellan was not interested in opening gifts...he just wanted to play with the stuff he already had so he kept escaping.

I'm just going to play with this Little People farmer...I'm need to open anymore...

Admiring his new train overalls...

He, of course, had to stop everything to look at his new book.

Checking out his new dump truck.

My Aunt Trudy with my cousin Dana's little girl, Brooklyn.

Owen says "Yep, I think these will fit you Kellan!"

I'm not sure what he's opening but ALL of the kids came up to check it out!

Umm...I'm just going to play with my farm for a while mom...

My grandma Peggy and Mr. Carter and Aunt Carolyn

Mimi holding Brooklyn

The guys were more interested in a game that was on...

Eden says "Mom, quick...put this in your one's looking!"

As soon as he opened his sofa from Aunt Jessie and Uncle Shannon, he plopped himself down...

and leaned back to get more comfortable!  It was so funny to us that he knew exactly what to do with a couch just his size.

It even opens up to a bed with a zipped in sleeping bag....we've gotten a lot of mileage out of this couch already!  He loves it!

Someone else tried it out too :)

Papa with the birthday boy...he was so sleepy!  We tossed him in the bathtub to wash off all of that cupcake (we shook crumbs out of his overalls all night) and then put him to bed.  He enjoyed his party so much and we are so thankful to have such a big family that stays close and makes the effort to get together for celebrations.

Kellan and Eden enjoying the couch the next morning.  Judging by some one's hair, they partied pretty hard at their birthday!

Where did they put those cupcakes?

And then he found the balloons that had fallen overnight and a whole other party began...

Oh how we love this little boy!