Monday, February 27, 2012

FREE COOKING: Leftover Lasagna

So this dish was one of those pleasant surprises to me! :) 

It started out as I was making a lasagna, and ended up having some leftover lasagna pasta. It was just enough to make one more small lasagna, but I had run out of the sauce or filling (whatever you call it) I was using for the other one! So I remembered I had some leftover sauce from the Brazilian Style Hot DogYes, this lasagna should have been posted way back then, but I have so many different things to post about, that I get a little carried away and lose track of the "chronology" of things! hehehe...

When I first learned how to make a lasagna, with my dear friend M. from south of Brazil in California, I learned a pretty delicious recipe, that is quite heavy on the cream and cheese, but a guaranteed success! 

I'm not sure if I ever shared this here, but as much as I love cooking and entertaining friends, I dread cooking for guests! It has more to do with my own insecurities than anything else (hoping to be done with that soon...hehe)! I'm a total people pleaser, so when I'm cooking for people, I want everything to turn out perfect, and I fear so much things going wrong, that they often do. Or at least I think they do!:D

Mostly I think this is due to the way I cook. Free cooking is great and all, but it leaves more than enough room for big disasters! And when people are coming over, I have to constantly tame my urge to free cook. I remember having a friend visit from Indiana, and as I started doing a beef stew, I felt like adding red wine to it just to see what happened! I had never cooked with wine before...well...I spent a LONG time fixing the damage so things would be edible! Big disaster....hahaha. whenever I have to cook for people, I have a few recipes I always use, because they are a sure success. And the lasagna recipe I learned from my friend is definitely one of them.

This lasagna I'm posting about today was SO SO easy to make, that I kept thinking I should definitely make lasagnas more often! It tastes great, it's a one dish meal, and did I mention easy? Okay...I have to give credit to the leftover sauce I had in the fridge. So let's say this is the perfect thing to do with leftover sauces you may have around :)
How did I make it? Given I didn't have A LOT of sauce left, I just did the "old trick" of adding water to increase volume! Yes, that's what I did! hehe. Yes the sauce did look and taste pretty watery, and I kept thinking this was probably not going to be a super tasty lasagna! But I was on a mission to not waste any of my leftovers, and little did I know what was about to come out from that!

So after "increasing" the sauce [see here for sauce I used], I added sauce to the bottom of dish, than layered whole wheat oven-ready lasagna, added sauce on top and some fresh spinach, sprinkled a tiny bit of cheese (I used maybe 1/2 cup in the entire lasagna, because it was all I had left and it worked great!), and added some pitted kalamata olives as well. I kept layering it like that, and ended with whatever I had left of the sauce, olives, spinach and the rest of the cheese. So basically once you have the sauce already, all you do is layer things in the dish, and pop in the oven!

Believe it or not, this turned out one of the best lasagnas I've ever made! And I learned that a lasagna does not need a heavy sauce and LOTS of cheese to taste awesome!!! My leftover sauce barely had any hot dog left, so it was mostly the tomato sauce and the vegetables, so it tasted more like a veggie lasagna.

SO good! I just hope I can replicate this :)

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