My Proudest Culinary Accomplishment

Tonight, I made a grand 3-course meal for my husband and myself, and I think it was my best meal yet. On the menu: strawberry-walnut salad with homemade strawberry dressing, lasagna, and dark-chocolate mousee.

I wasn’t particularly planning on making anything special for dinner, but my hubby and I were both sitting around in a lazy funk, and I decided that cooking something, anything at least couldn’t make me feel any worse. As it turned out, this fancy meal completely turned our evening around.

I had all the ingredients for the three courses because they are all things that I’ve been meaning to make for awhile but just haven’t committed the time to making them.

The salad was made with lettuce from my bountiful basket last week, fresh strawberries, crushed walnuts, and a homemade strawberry dressing. I found the dressing recipe on Pinterest.

Strawberry Dressing

In a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) combine:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • ~3 tbs apple cider vinegar (this is what the recipe called for, but I didn’t have any so I used plain ‘ole white vinegar)
  • ~2 tbs champagne
  • 1 tbs splenda
  • pinch of salt

This was my first time making a lasagna, and it was quite a success! :) The lasagna recipe was also loosely inspired by a Pinterest recipe, but as a poor college student nearing the end of the semester and financial aid, I didn’t splurge on fresh herbs (even though I love them!). Instead I used a dried “Italian Seasoning” blend. I also greatly¬†increased my sauce to noodle & cheese ratio, because, well, I LOVE MARINARA SAUCE, and I’m not so big on lasagna slathered in cheese, either. Here is my best recollection of the recipe, as I was sorta wingin’ it for awhile:

The Marinara-Lover’s Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. 100% whole-grain lasagna noodles
  • 1 pkg. Jenny-O Sweet Italian Ground Turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 big can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbs italian seasoning (taste-check sauce as you go to make sure it’s to your liking) and another 1 tsp italian seasoning to be used separately
  • red pepper flakes (for sauce, to taste)
  • ~ 1 cup spaghetti sauce (I added prego to the sauce at the end because I decided it wasn’t saucy enough)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook lasagna noodles ~2 minutes less than package instructions (they will cook more in the oven)
  • Sautee diced onions, garlic, and ground turkey until ground turkey is thoroughly browned
  • Add crushed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to sauce, and let simmer for ~15 minutes
  • Beat 1 egg and add then mix in cheese and 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • Lightly spray baking dish
  • Once sauce is done, layer sauce, noodles, and cheese in baking dish (in that order and repeat until all ingredients are used up)
  • Bake for ~20 minutes, until cheese is melted

Finally, for dessert I made a relatively healthy¬†Dark-Chocolate Mousse, which I served with strawberries for dipping. It was made with coconut milk which is ridiculously high in saturated fat, but from what I’ve read, the saturated fat in coconuts is actually one of the few healthy saturated fats. I would need to do more research to be sure of its health value, but for now I’m risking it. The recipe was also found on Pinterest, but this time I followed the recipe exactly without taking any creative liberties. You can find it here. This dessert is so rich that you only need a little bit to feel thoroughly satisfied.

I may have set a new personal dirty-dishes record this meal. My hubby is on perpetual dish duty, but tonight he sure didn’t mind after he tasted the food! We (and by we, I mean mostly my hubby) nearly polished off half the dish of lasagna.

Tonight we will go to bed with happy, full tummies, and I can feel good about serving a healthy (and in our humble opinion, gourmet-tasting) 3-course meal that we didn’t have to pay restraunt-prices for! :)

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