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Kitchen Experiences of a Student

Game Plan For Lasagna Day 
 
Dec. 3, 2009 11:07 am 
Updated: Dec. 4, 2009 8:47 am

Lasagna Day (my practice run for making lasagna for my family on Christmas Eve) is this coming Saturday. I have spent some time on the recipe exchange finding the best recipe and I’ve settled on World’s Best Lasagna. I originally had 6 people coming, so the lasagna would feed 8 in total, but the word spread and I obviously couldn’t uninvite people so I now have to find some way to fit 13 people in my teeny apartment. 

I am a little worried the lasagna won’t feed all those people, so I’ve started looking at making a couple of side dishes to pick up the slack. Definitely garlic bread (not on homemade buns – still too chicken to try cooking with yeast – but the garlic herb butter will be hand-mixed!) and some sort of salad, as those go well with Italian food. While I was stalking other people’s posts on the RE today and yesterday I grabbed a few other ideas for dishes to accompany the lasagna. I’m planning on making stuffed mushrooms  (I personally hate mushrooms but everyone else loves ’em) that I will prepare the night before or in the morning and then pop into the oven while the lasagna is cooling. 

I’m also looking into some kind of appetizer – something kind of light, so it doesn’t overpower the main dish. Maybe just a variety of dips with veggies and crackers? Curried Hummus is one of my favourite recipes from this site. I was thinking about making apple crisp for dessert, and I might still do that but perhaps not... we’ll see. If not I’ll find an easier, quicker, lighter dessert. 

I’ve printed all the recipes so far and will adopt the “tape to a wall” method for easy reference. 

So here’s the game plan: the BF will be out all Friday evening which means I can make as much mess as I want :) Friday evening when I get home from work I will start the sauce for the lasagna and let it simmer for at least a couple of hours. 

I’ll get all the veggies for the side salad chopped and put them in our mini crisper container. 

I’ll take some butter and some cream cheese out to soften. 

I’ll prepare the mushroom caps. 

I’ll chop up the herbs and garlic for the garlic bread and mash it up with the butter, then put it in the fridge and let it sit so the flavours spread. 

I’ll put the finished lasagna sauce, the tray of mushroom caps, and the garlic butter in the fridge for Saturday. 

On Saturday morning I’ll assemble the lasagna and put it in the fridge. 

I’ll find a dessert recipe, pick up the groceries for it, then put it together. 

I’ll make the appetizer, whatever it is.

And then I’ll tackle the cleanup... my apartment is a bit of a disaster right now. 

Everyone’s coming over at around 5:30 or 6 and the appetizers will be ready then. Dinner will (hopefully) be done by 6:30 or 6:45. 

I’m getting so excited! I’m not as nervous as I was because I’ve been staring at all these recipes all week and have pretty much memorized them by now :) I’ll let you know how the day goes, although I’m sure I’ll be on the RE for quick questions now and then. Thanks to everyone for your help!

 
Comments
Dec. 3, 2009 11:27 am
Hi there...just so you know you picked THE best lasagna to make. I have made it several times and it always seems to be better each time. Follow the recipe carefully and you will have great results! I made it for my Mom's bday party last year and got rave reviews from all. Good luck with your party, life is so much better when you have a house full of friends to share a meal with. BTW, you can make the apple crisp the night before too, just get some vanilla ice cream and micro wave it a few minutes to warm it up. Works like a charm and a great ending to a fantastic lasagna!!
 
Dec. 3, 2009 1:25 pm
Here's my suggestion from experience. Make your lasagna the night before so flavors can meld and set-up. Next Mushrooms will keep you in the kitchen and not with guests(plus you hate them), so why not be Italian for the night and put out a antipasto platter? A few sliced(cured) meats and cheese, breadsticks, and veggies, done. No extra time in the kitchen watching the oven. For dessert with Italian food, chocolate(anything. These are just some suggestions and not meant to 'hijack' your menu. Just wanting to save another evening enjoying the company as well as the food. Mangia!
 
Daiseyland 
Dec. 3, 2009 4:15 pm
Your worlds best lasagna is almost identical to the one I've worked out over the years. I add some sliced Provolone or Swiss cheese to the layers. It adds a kick of flavor and it's stringy like mozarella. I also add an extra egg to the ricotta, parmesan and parsley mixture. I brown onions and sometimes mushrooms with the meat and add it to the sauce. The meats and cheeses and eggs make it a very rich dish. I always serve it with a green salad and warm crusty Italian bread. I put the bread in the oven when I take the lasagna out to cool. I don't make it garlic bread, but serve garlic butter and plain butter with it. I put the whole unsliced loaf on the table with a sharp knife in front of the oldest male or most macho male, and ask him to slice the bread. (Show him how if he doesn't know). For some reason or another, they LOVE slicing the loaf of bread! I usually serve a veggie dip and raw vegetables ahead of time instead of anything heavy. I want them to really enjoy the meal. With the salad, and bread the lasagna is plenty. I used to serve a red wine and always had water glasses on the table too (and candles). I often made a Sour Cream Chocolate cake that was a Pilsbury recipe, but I find I like a lemon flavored dessert following tomato/garlic or even peppermint. The fastest, easiest dessert I ever made from scratch was an ice cream pie made with a rice krispie/melted chocolate chip crust. It was filled with peppermint stick ice cream and topped just before serving with real whipped cream and chocolate curls. The chocolate curls were just a Hershey bar peeled with a potato peeler. You can use any flavor of ice cream. Mine was on Christmas eve so the peppermint was perfect. I would also crush some candy canes or starlight mints to top a chocolate or plain vanilla ice cream. My Italian neighbors would also serve some strong coffee or a tiny glass of liquor at the end of a meal. Maybe coffee ice cream in a chocolate cookie crust with whipped cream would replicate that. In any case, you seem to have all the bases covered. If you can make the lasagna the night before and if you have room in your fridge, go for it. It will soak up the sauce and tastes better, because it will be cold when you cook it, watch your time. Have a wonderful time and let us know how it works out. Oh, and since you are still on a budget, when your guests ask if they can bring something, tell them yes, the wine and the chocolate.
 
Daiseyland 
Dec. 3, 2009 4:23 pm
Oh, forgot to mention, roast the whole garlic cloves in the oven with the lasagna. While the lasagna is cooling, squeeze the garlic out of the clove to either add to the butter, or spread on the bread. This way it smells yummy while it is baking, and everyone can adjust their own garlic. I use Elephant garlic when I can find it.
 
Dec. 4, 2009 6:21 am
Those are great ideas, thanks everyone! I've actually been taken off dessert duty, a friend (an amazing baker) said she would bring dessert. That makes it much easier for me :)
 
Dec. 4, 2009 8:47 am
The name isn't lying - it truly IS the World's Best Lasagna! It's a little time-consuming but it's totally worth it in the end. Good luck with your dinner party!!
 
 
 
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PolkaDot

Home Town
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Member Since
Sep. 2009

Cooking Level
Intermediate

Cooking Interests
Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Mexican, Italian, Quick & Easy

Hobbies
Hiking/Camping, Camping, Boating, Biking, Walking, Reading Books, Music

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About Me
I'm a 22 year old novice cook - I live with my boyfriend in a small apartment with a teeny kitchen. Right now I'm trying to eat healthier and cut some meat out of my diet - I'm writing a blog about cooking my way through a vegetarian cookbook! I love trying new recipes, and adjusting them to suit my tastes.
My favorite things to cook
I love BBQing, making casseroles, and putting together any kind of soup. I'm also trying to get into baking - my kitchen is tiny so I have to use simple recipes, but I love making muffins and cookies to share.
My favorite family cooking traditions
When I was little my mom taught me how to make brown sugar syrup for our homemade pancakes - everytime she made pancakes at home, I would make the sauce to go with them.
My cooking triumphs
Lasagna Day - My first ever dinner party in my apartment, I made spinach salad, stuffed mushrooms, lasagna from scratch, and apple crisp. It was a hit with my friends, I got so many compliments!
My cooking tragedies
When I was in high school I decided to make some cinnamon buns, but the only recipe I could find was a huge batch, so I cut it in half. However, when I went to mix the ingredients, I found myself adding the full amount of some but only half of others, and I couldn't remember how much of each I'd already done. I tried cooking them anyways, but they were terrible!
 
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