Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hubby’s Birthday Dinner: Lasagna and Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yesterday was hubby’s birthday. He’d rather not tell the world, which is of course what I’m here for. Happy birthday! I was more excited than he was, but he says I’ll understand in a few years when I’m old, too.


I decided to make his favorite lasagna. I’ve made this many different times and I always come back to it because it’s just so yummy. And then for dessert, I wanted to do something I’d never done before. Red velvet cupcakes showed up on an allrecipes.com search a while back, so it was the first thing that came to mind.


To start off with, I double the meat sauce in my lasagna recipe. Made as written, it’s just plain skimpy, and who wants a piece of lasagna with skimpy meat sauce? Not us. I started off with 2 pounds of ground beef and plenty of chopped garlic.


Cook it until it’s no longer pink and then drain it. Yada yada, you know the drill. Anyway, at that point, you can add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano, sugar, pepper, and dried onion soup mix. I think it’s the onion soup mix that makes this so unique and tasty.


I think I was so distracted by trying to use different settings on my camera that I neglected to get crisp, focused pictures. My bad. Anyway, stir it up, cover, and let simmer for a half hour. You can use that time to cook the lasagna noodles and prep your cheeses.

Cheese #1: The recipe says to use cottage cheese, but I’ve taken to substituting ricotta cheese. I add an egg and a teaspoon of basil to it for texture and taste.


Cheese #2: shredded mozzarella. I didn’t take a picture because it was just a zip-lock bag from the dairy section, nothing too fancy.

Cheese #3: Parmesan cheese and lots of it. Again, I didn’t use the fancy stuff. I think maybe next time, I will.


Mmm, that sauce has gotten tasty and delicious. It’s hard not to sneak tastes of it here and there.


Spread some of it in the bottom of the pan.


Lay in three cooked lasagna noodles, then layer the cheeses and meat sauce. I’d have taken more pictures, but washing my hands so many times seemed like a huge pain in the butt.



My, oh my. That dish got awfully full.


I sprayed a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to the cheese, covered it, and then stuck it in the oven.

After 40 minutes, I uncovered it, and after another 10 minutes, I took it out.


My presentation wasn’t so hot, but neither of us cared because it was so tasty!


I’m telling you, that dried onion soup mix really makes it amazing. Try it.

So that was the main course. Also needed dessert!

In one bowl, flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.


In another bowl, sugar and butter.


Add eggs. Four of them.


And sour cream.

And a whole bottle of red food coloring.

And some milk and vanilla extract.


Mix it up, then gradually stir in the flour mixture.


Put in paper-lined muffin cups. How pretty is this?


Bake them, and then while they’re cooling, whip up some frosting with butter, cream cheese, vanilla, sour cream, and confectioner’s sugar.


Once the cupcakes are completely cool, top them with the cream cheese frosting. I used a zip-lock baggie with the corner cut off.


Mmmmmm. Delicious.


Then my color-blind husband asked me if the cupcakes were actually red, or if they were just called that. I guess the prettiness of them was lost. But they still tasted pretty good!

Recipe in tastebook soonish.

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