Thursday, July 9, 2009

Macaroni Noodle Lasagna

When I went back over the pics I took of Bruce shopping for groceries last week, I was impressed with the food choices he'd made.

He did of course shop from the master list that he and Jane use, but he could of detoured from their list and shopped impulsively.

However, he didn't. And wine isn't available in CO Whole Foods, so no chance of a repeat of theRaleigh shopping experience!

Perhaps it was because I was hovering, helping him focus and locate the Good Stuff For Less and WFs 365-brand products, both of which offer the best value.

Additionally, I always have success staying on-budget, on task, and under-whelmed when ...
  • I shop with a grocery list,
  • buy produce in season that's plentiful and priced accordingly
  • and when I buy generic brands rather than high-priced brands.
And as per my top tip, Bruce did buy at least 80% of the family's groceries from the edge of the store as whole, unprocessed food such as fresh produce, meat, fish, dairy and dry bulk items.

His $240 worth of purchases included:
  • lettuce, chard, broccoli, cucumber, cilantro, lemons, peaches, apples, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, avocados, garlic, ginger,
  • cheddar cheese, goat cheese,
  • beef burgers, chicken thighs, pork sausages, 2 packs Whole Catch frozen fish.
  • 365-brand: pink frozen shrimp, milk, soy milk, grated Parmesan, yogurt, orange juice, canola oil, macaroni noodles, crackers, tea & coffee.
  • Bulk nuts, dried fruit, rice and a few other miscellaneous items.
This week Bruce and Jane have their hungry, 16-year old nephew staying, and Jane tells me he eats as much as their two tweens, so in essence she's cooking for six.

With that in mind, and given the items Bruce purchased, I'm proposing a meal idea of hearty lasagna:

Macaroni Noodle Lasagna
1) In a pot gently simmer 2 cups milk with 2 peeled & smashed cloves of garlic for about 10 mins. Set aside.
2) In another pot, melt two heaped tablespoons butter, add two heaped tablespoons flour, stirring with a wooden spoon over med heat for 5 mins.
3) Pour garlic-infused milk over roux (butter and flour mix), stirring with wooden spoon. You can use a whisk at this point to help mix the roux through the milk and to keep the milk from lumping. (If it does start to lump, pour the lot into a food processor or blender, whizzing it till lumps have dissipated.) Cook gently for about 10 mins. season with S&P and a dash of nutmeg.
4) Saute a chopped onion, zucchini, and half a bunch of washed chard.
5) Slice 4 large tomatoes and grate a chunk of cheddar cheese.
6) Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add two cups of macaroni and cook. When macaroni is al dente, drain in a colander--running colander under hot water tap--return macaroni to pot and hot plate, allow any residue moisture to evaporate then add a couple tablespoons of butter.
7) To assemble: Layer a large baking tray with buttered macaroni, top with a layer of Bechamel sauce (white sauce), layer with sliced tomatoes and dot with sauteed greens, drizzle with grated cheddar cheese.
8) Repeat layers, and top with grated cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 45 mins or until lasagna is hot all the way through.

To Serve: Lasagna can stand on its own as a vegetarian meal served hot or cold, accompanied by a side salad or sauteed greens or grilled meat or fish or a combination of any of the above. Be as creative as you want with this versatile dish.

If you prefer fish or shrimp in your lasagna, add chunks of raw fish, or unfrozen shrimp alongside the sauteed greens (fish will cook when you cook lasagna).

And if you prefer meat in your lasagna, add chunks of sauteed sausage, or hamburger.

Again, be creative. You can't go wrong experimenting with lasagna so long as you have a good Bechamel sauce, your choice of pasta, and either fresh tomatoes, or a bottled (or home made) tomato sauce.

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