Sunday, October 3, 2010

Karen's Skillet Lasagna - A busy day life saver!

This is a milestone year for our family.  At the same time we are sharing Sophie's joy and excitement for preschool, we find ourselves struggling to get through Nick's senior year with our sanity intact.  I can multitask, sure, but the work involved in senior year is daunting.  Senior government projects and presentations, community service projects, photos, announcements and of course, the senior apparel.  Not only is it time consuming, but it's all adding up very quickly, and to be completely honest, I'm overwhelmed.  We've had four photo sessions.  One for each kid through the school and one for each through a portrait studio.  It might sound a bit overkill to have that many photos but I've lost some confidence in the photo studio that contracts with the schools. 
Nick's senior school pictures were taken when we went to the school for registration.  The students file into a classroom set up like a photo studio, while the parents wait outside.  I've obeyed this rule for the last 3 years, resisting the temptation to chase behind him, yelling out instructions on how to avoid a goofy smile.  But this year is his last, so I did just that.  I followed him in, telling him to smile, but not smile and at the last second I realize he's wearing a ridiculously oversize baseball cap, sideways.  "Get rid of that thing!" I shout. 
Last week the photos arrived and we all fell in love with his pose.  The best one yet (thanks to me), but there was just one little problem... the lighting.  He looked like he had two black eyes, in the hideously green stage of healing.  Add that to the green cast over his chin and around his mouth and he looked like the Incredible Hulk!  I couldn't send these photos out to his grandparents, unless maybe I had Nick autograph them all, "Lou Ferrigno" first.  The replacement package was just as bad as the first, so they were all returned and we had professional photos taken instead. 

With all this excitement, my fridge is bare.  I feel like I have no time and no energy to shop or cook.  If there was one thing I'd never want to admit, it's that I still like to eat the chili macaroni and lasagna flavors of Hamburger Helper once in a while.  They're convenient to have on hand and quick to make on busy nights.  But the preservatives and sodium content in the spice mixes have prompted me to find other alternatives.  One handy recipe we really enjoy  was created by an online friend, kzbhansen.   It's so easy and versatile that whenever I need a quick meal, I know I can whip this one up with whatever I have on hand.  I sometimes use green or red pepper in place of the mushrooms, broken lasagna noodles instead of the Mafalda (which I've never been able to find anyway), Mexican four-cheese blend instead of all cheddar and I always serve it with cottage cheese.  It tastes like lasagna without all the prep work.  If you miss the baked cheese layer, you can transfer the cooked meat and noodles to a casserole dish, sprinkle the cheese on top and then broil it for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. 

Karen's Skillet Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups mafalda noodles (Mini Lasagna noodles)
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (4  ounce) can sliced mushrooms, sliced
1 (26  ounce) can pasta sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup cheddar cheese, Shredded

Brown beef and onion in 4 quart Dutch oven over medium heat until no longer pink, drain.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except for the cheese.  Heat until boiling, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.  Serves 4-6

1 comment:

  1. How I remember those busy time with the family growing up. Just came back from one of my son's and they are living that hectic time.
    What a great way to perare lasagns; for sure it's a kid pleaser.


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