I meant to mention this last week and forgot, but Plum Market has a special distribution deal with Zingerman's. Meaning, when I went to the Bakehouse to get key lime pie no. 2 (to take to my mom's for lunch), it was significantly more expensive than it was at Plum. In response to my "UGH! WHAT?" I learned of said deal. Plum carries a ton of Zingerman's products, so keep this in mind when shopping. Especially for desserts. Yum. I went a little crazy today and bought a smattering of different desserts -- another thing I really like is Plum sells individual slices of random Zing desserts for $1. So today I got two slices of Zing coconut cream pie, an individual Zing key lime pie, some Plum-made rice pudding and tapioca, and two gigantic red velvet cupcakes. Deep down I know there's nothing special about red velvet -- it's just chocolate cake with food coloring. But since we had red velvet cupcakes at our wedding, they'll always hold a special place in my heart. Smoosh.
The Never-Ending Bedroom Decoration Project
We've lived here two and a half years. And there's still stuff getting done. Pretty lame, right? But I feel really good about how our bedroom is coming together. And quite frugally! You see, 80% of the art in our room is pictures I've taken. It's like my own little mini gallery! Pictures by me, between $2 and $6 for varying enlargements, Meijer frames for $5, matted box frames from Ikea for $5, and, my best steal, a set of three ribbon-hung 4 x 4 frames for $2 at Target. Woo! Anyway, I think this wall is finally done...
A few weeks ago, I picked up the Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen cookbook, even though the bastards DID NOT hire me to work there! UGH! Anyway, it's a pretty cool book, and if you're not familiar with them, they walk you through their recipe decisions, like we used this instead of this, this brand instead of this brand, and this tool instead of this tool, and why. So it's a pretty interesting read. I didn't find many recipes I'll try, though, but I knew instantly I wanted to make the skillet lasagna. MMM! Here's the poached recipe (they want you to subscribe to get it from them! Eff that!):
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic clove, minced (as you know, I skipped this ingredient)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb meatloaf mix
10 curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese (about 1 cup) (I used part skim instead)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
Steph Note: I'm still not braving red meat, so I used sweet Italian pork sausage (yeah! I touched meat!), oozed out from the casings, and added a chopped red pepper, as recommended in the book's recipe.
Steph Note: I didn't have a full quart of diced tomatoes, so I used 1 14 oz can diced, 1 14 oz crushed, and a handful of sliced, fresh, MICHIGAN cherry tomatoes (and eliminated the tomato sauce completely). I also threw in a handful of fresh, chopped parsley, figured I had it why not, right?
Steph Note: If you're like me, and don't think the recipe is 100% clear about whether or not the noodles should be precooked, they should NOT be precooked. (I figured, and luckily I was right!)
1. Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a quart measuring cup. Add enough water to the tomatoes to measure 4 cups. (See my note above.)
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion (and peppers, if using) and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the meatloaf mix and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
4. Sprinkle the noodle pieces evenly over the meat. Pour the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce over the pasta. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes. (The sauce should look watery after 15 minutes of cooking. If dry, add up to 1/4 cup additional water to loosen the sauce.).
5. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta over the noodles. Cover the skillet and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the extra Parmesan separately.
I figured it would be tasty because, you know, duh, it's lasagna! But I was worried the sauce would taste a little bland and I wasn't sure how the sausage would taste. Well.... let me tell you... It. Was. Delicious. Seriously. The recipe produced four full servings, with a scoop of seconds for dinner for each of us. I could have eaten the whole thing though. Mmmmmm.
And finally. Just because it's STILL funny (and because Little Chris finally send me his photos from our Vegas trip). Brad and LC at the Mandalay Bay: