Lasagna… Sort Of

Lasagna noodles

Calling all cooks who’ve ever added something “extra” (or unorthodox) to a meal in order to make it happen (and… relying on your understanding in advance.)

I had four lasagna noodles left to my name.  Half a jar of ready-made pasta sauce (yes, occasionally I succumb to convenience) enhanced with garlic, sauteed cherry tomatoes and olives, of course — whatever was on hand.

The kitchen is my playground!

Olive This Sauce

Next, I added a smattering of Italian herbs, some freshly grated Parmesan, and Italian sausage & ground chuck browned with onions &  garlic (popped into the freezer for future consideration) … you know how it is.

Meat Sauce

Then I topped it with a hefty dose of cheese.  Never mind that it was Cheddar; such is “weeknight lasagna” on the spur of the moment.  Help me out here… is it lasagna or lasagne?  I need to know authentically — even if my recipe isn’t.

Many thanks for overlooking my grammar police tendencies. xo

Lasagna

Did I mention olives?  As far as I’m concerned, olives and pasta reside in the same food group — or in close proximity in my world.  (Unbiased opinion proffered for your consideration…. )

But, yeegads!  I was out of ricotta!  Enter Greek yogurt…

From humble beginnings arise great things.  (Quote attributed to “unknown.”)

Players

The Man of Few Words was due home for supper in an hour (and per my usual modus operandi, time got away from me.)  Knowing he’d be happy with a corn dog if I so deemed (he’s soooo easy to cook for), I did my wifely best to justify my time at “home” while he slaved away 8 hours in 100° Oklahoma heat.

“Look what I did all day” on a plate… so to speak.  Not that I’m motivated by guilt — or justification.  But, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. ;)

For the record, TMOFW would never consume Greek yogurt (no matter how much I wax on about its glories) but time was a wastin’.  How could I thicken it up?  Make it more “ricotta-like?”  Hmmm…

I promptly added a couple of eggs and threw in Parmesan cheese, along with select Italian seasonings.  (Basil, oregano, parsley.)  Too soupy.  Tossed in Panko bread crumbs.  (Beggars can’t be choosers.)  Still too soupy.  Threw in some finely shredded Cheddar…

(Cheese — even the un-Italian kind — gives the illusion of cheese filling, yes?)

Then I added a lil’ more heft with plain ol’ bread crumbs.

Yeehaw!   Jusssst right!

(Picture Goldilocks saying that wearing cowgirl boots or flip flops, but do not attempt to try this at home unless you have 35+ years’ cooking experience under your belt and/or total confidence that a few eggs and “mock ricotta” will rise to the task.)

By the way I don’t normally resort to deception in the kitchen…

(She laughs.  Bwaaaahaha!)

After an appropriate amount of time in the oven (40 minutes?  I lost track), this Greek yogurt-laced “lasagna” emerged victorious from the oven.

(Apologies for photo quality; the sun was really bright or setting; I forget which.)

Dinner Is Served

For good measure I plated it with warm bread drizzled with garlic butter as a tasty distraction.  (Side salad not shown.)  Bread always floats my boat; his, too.

Although I’ve been known to eat leftovers from his plate… or start early.

Pay no attention to the “bite” on-screen (or plate)…

Garlic Bread

Sometimes a girl’s gotta make do with the ingredients on hand.

Make supper — dinner? –– on the fly.

(I hail from farm country where supper is the evening meal.)

Whatever works!

Got any substitutions you’ve recently tried, successfully or not?

Do tell.

Enjoying a dang tasty meal in spite of “deception,”

~ Kimby

P.S.  In the event I don’t reply to your much appreciated comments, I’ll be HERE (or other secret fishin’ holes around the lake) most of this weekend.  I said I was taking August off, and all (and I meant it… no deception intended.)

Fishin' Hole

20 thoughts on “Lasagna… Sort Of

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever been this brave with a meal but you pulled it off wonderfully! I’ve been making things more and more without a recipe lately and have really impressed myself with some soups (I know I’m weird, but soup is one of the things I crave, even in 100 degree weather) and most recently with a chicken enchilada casserole. But I didn’t really have to substitute anything strange – I don’t know if I’d have pulled it off as well as you! Bravo!

    • Veronica, you’re “allowed” such exceptions due to your present stage of child bearing. ;) Cravings trump last minute (aka desperate…) substitutions. Many a fine craving-satisfying meal was accomplished by opening the fridge or freezer, lol! Thank you for the vote of confidence. Keep punting on those recipes, with or without measurements!

  2. Kimmmeee! I love the throwing in and improvising…see what started this volcanic eruption…four little lasagna noodles, and you created a masterpiece!! ONLY a damn creative mind and excellent cook can do this…you make it look easy…it’s not, most folks wold have tossed those 4 lonely noodles! Touche, my queen of making something magnificent out of not much! xo ~~ally

    • Ally, you are the Queen of Improvising! One of the huge helps to me (or at least the catalyst for some of my “ideas”) is blog world, where creativity abounds. It also helps to have an innate sense of what might work and what won’t. (Can we say years and YEARS in front of the stove?!) I’m grateful for the inspiration — and thank you for the accolades.

    • Thank you so much, Jasline! I tend to put off shopping (including grocery shopping) until I absolutely have to — sort of like playing Jeopardy with my pantry. I’ll take “Four Lasagna Noodles For Two,” Alex. ;)

  3. Can u believe that I’ve never tried Lasagna? I just don’t have the heart to bite into Garfield’s fave food! Hahaha!

    My son loves lasagna, but somehow I just refused to try. Don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of tomato-based pasta, or perhaps it’s due to the thick chunky pieces of pasta……. But if you were to make it for me, I would be most delighted to tuck in :)

    • Shirley, I’d forgotten about Garfield’s obsession with lasagna, ha! Thanks for the happy reminder! :) If I made lasagna for you, I’d make my “authentic” version… the ragu sauce is cooked for hours and it’s more of a meaty, wine-based concoction, layered with creamy Besciamella — a “smooooth” lasagna. I think you’d like it! xo

  4. I use lasagna as a way to hide all sorts of vegetables from Master C. We was devastated to learn about the hidden eggplant, I did not want to mention the mashed sweet potato in the meat sauce! I really must get more adventurous with using up leftover Greek natural yoghurt that I always seem to have left over. Great post.

    • Serena, many a fine mother has “added” a few veggies to a dish now and then. ;) I just used up the last of my Greek yogurt in a yeast dough this morning (subbed for sour cream) — we’ll see how that turns out!

    • Maureen, that making do mindset is one I’m sure you embrace wholeheartedly with your New England background. Necessity is the mother of invention! ;) The MOFW did indeed have seconds and the “leftovers” made for a great lunch the next day.

  5. You are too funny. I wish I’d been invited over that night because I just love the look and sound of this lasagne. I love the touch of olives and the Greek yoghurt and the warm garlicky bread. What a perfect meal! xx

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