Two cooking successes have been added to the ‘book’ (blog?) over the past few days – I made my very first “real” lasagna, and I made oatmeal without the help of a microwave! Win, win, my friends.
Saturday night we hosted a dinner party for an early birthday celebration (D’s). With six mouths to feed – three of whom had put in some long miles that day (20, 13 & 10), and one of whom came straight from a Rugby game – the menu definitely needed something that’s sure to satiate a real hunger. Being the only meatless diner, I took it as my personal mission to cook a veg-friendly meal and satisfy the masses.
Done, and DONE.
Baked Italian dishes are usually a safe bet; it’s rare that anyone has an aversion to melted cheese, flavorful marinara sauce and soft noodles. Add in some vegetables & a hearty serving, and you’ll have a content dinner table.
I went with lasagna – Jenna’s Spinach & mushroom lasagna, to be exact.
There were no changes, other than I didn’t measure the cheese used. I know when there’s sufficient melted coverage, and there’s always room to add more if your pallet so desires.
Served with a side of spinach salad (strawberries, feta, pecans & vinaigrette).
Lasagna, you will be seen in my kitchen again soon! Easy assembly, flavorful and satisfying? Yes, that’s a recipe for success!
Moving on, oatmeal is making a slow return to the breakfast routine. I’m definitely out of the every-day habit, but with the return of cooler morning temperatures, its appeal is resurfacing.
During our last Trader Joe’s excursion, I stood and stared at their oatmeal options for a good five minutes. They don’t sell oats in bulk, and the choices they have are quite varied. I always avoid the “Steel Cut”, because to me that reads “Takes Time to Cook”.
I took a risk! The oatmeal bowl could use a change-up; I’ve only heard good things; I could probably stand to be a little bit more patient with my breakfast in the morning.
I boiled the water, added 1/4 cup of oats, stirred regularly (after stepping away for almost 2 minutes and watching the pot almost boil over – don’t take those instructions lightly!), and added sliced bananas + a drip of vanilla extract at the end.
I topped it with my nut butter scoop (I use the 365 organic peanut butter – peanuts + salt + stirring) & a sprinkle of Sweet Cranberry Pecan Granola (Love Grown Foods).
Taste-bud heaven? There you are! These oats have a lot more flavor, a slightly fuller texture and a much lower risk of burning the roof off of my mouth.
Breakfast bowl trial: victory!
In case you’re curious: why steel cut vs traditional quick-cook rolled oats?
Steel cut oats are “less processed”, and are generally higher in fiber + protein. There’s not a huge difference, and in the end it will probably come down to what you have time for in the morning, or what your taste preferences are.
What are your favorite lasagna (or other baked pasta) add-ins?
Are you a steel cut cooker or quick-oat microwaver?
Tried anything new this week? Let’s see it!