December 5th, 2005

Hercules

Cooking With CartoonMan

Welcome friends, I glad you could make it. Today (and by today I mean yesterday, Sunday) we're making a lasagna, a new dish to christen the new oven. As a side, we'll be preparing some fancy green beans.

Now, you want to get to the grocery store nice and early, so you have time to prepare. Beforehand, check which items you already have. I had to pick up some cashews and peppers for the beans and diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes and oregano for the lasagna. And of course, the beans themselves (2 pounds frozen) as well as 3 pounds of ground beef and some lasagna strips.

By now it should be mid-afternoon, so you want to pop in a movie. I considered The Incredibles, but I settled on watching Daredevil with commentary. An hour and a half before game time, go to the kitchen and start working.

Throw onion and garlic into a skillet and brown the ground beef. Then stir in basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. A lot of this requires measuring by teaspoon. If you don't have one, just use the cap of a Nyquil bottle. There could be some Nyquil drops left in it, but don't let that stop you, it's always good to eat healthy, and there won't be any mediciny aftertaste. Finally, throw in the tomatoes and simmer. In the meantime, mix one egg, some ricotta cheese, and some parmesian cheese in a bowl (use as much pepper as you want).

When all that's set, start to layer. Put some of the meat down, then 4 strips of uncooked lasagna strips, then half your cheese, more sauce, 4 more strips, the rest of the cheese, more sauce, and top it off with 4 more lasagna strips and sprinkle some grated mozzarella on it. Stick it in the oven for an hour (warning, that top layer of lasagna strips won't cook and come out crunchy, that's okay, give it to the household pet).

You may have time to go back up and watch some more of Daredevil, but at this point, give up hope of finishing it. Now you can start on the beans. Boil water while you cook some bacon. Start cooking the beans and crumble the bacon, setting it aside. Cook the pepper and the onion, make sure they soak up that bacon fat real nice! Now, the directions say to put the beans in cold water, but I say why the heck am I going to do that when I just cooked them? Dump the beans, bacon, cashew, and whatever else you're craving in the skillet and cook it all together. Keep warm. Go back upstairs and watch as much of Daredevil as you can until the lasagna is done.

It's a little past the target time because you left the lasagna in longer to cook the top layer (which didn't happen anyway), but now you're ready to eat. I suppose the best 90's cartoon to watch with your meal would be a DVD of Garfield and Friends, but since I don't like that show enough to buy it, I recomend The Simpson's season 6's "Two Dozen And One Greyhounds" for their delightful Lady and The Tramp homage. Or you could always sit down with a loved one (note: This is good for Sunday night dinners, but don't make a habit out of it, it's December, and you'll have a lot of DVDs to get through in the coming weeks!).

This has been Cooking With CartoonMan. Have a good meal, and remember, if you can eat two ingredients separately, eating them together won't kill ya.
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