Thursday, September 22, 2011

Birthday Season

It's the birthday season in our family. It started with Lanna in August, then in September we have Gran Gran, Yai Yai and Grandpa Dave. In October we have Papa and Grandma Cathy. Right after that we jump into the holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It's quite a crazy time of year.

This year we're having one big mass party for the "Grands" on Saturday. But of course we do a little dinner for everyone on their actual birthday.

Last week we celebrated Gran Gran's birthday with wonton noodles and lemon cake. We did the world a great service and taught Gran Gran how to do duck face:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Today is Yai Yai's birthday and I decided to experiment. Traditionally the Chinese eat noodles on a person's birthday. The length of the noodle symbolizes the longevity or their life - I'm 99% sure that's why we eat noodles. I took some liberties with that and made a lasagna for Yai. But not just any lasagna, I made a bacon, chicken, and spinach alfredo lasagna. And it turned out to be FREAKING AMAZING!

There are a few things I'll do differently next time I make it. Triple instead of double the alfredo sauce and use half milk half cream.  Double or take out all together the bacon because it got lost in everything else. Cover the entire top with fresh tomatoes because they really helped to balance out the heaviness of all that cheese.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Alfredo Sauce:
1/8 C butter
1/2 t garlic
1/4 C cream
1/4 C milk
1/2 - 3/4 C parmesan
salt/pepper to taste
2 heaping T of flour
(Note if you're using this for regular Alfredo pasta skip the flour and use all cream instead of milk)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 container ricotta cheese (the smaller sized container)
1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and squeeze out as much water as possible
5-10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
A handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half or 2-3 sliced romas
1 package of lasagna noodles (I ended up using one who package, plus one extra sheet)
1 cooked chicken breast cut into small pieces (I picked up a rotisserie chicken from costco and used one side.)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease your baking dish
3. Melt the butter (remember you're TRIPLING THE RECIPE FOR THE SAUCE). Add the garlic and saute until aromatic.
4. Add the flour and cook over low heat for a few minutes.
5. Add the milk and cream slowly and heat until it starts to thicken.
6. Add the parmesan and stir until fully melted. Season with salt and pepper It should be thick like a good gravy.
7. Mix the spinach and ricotta season with salt and pepper. It's important to season all layers of flavor.
8. Spoon some sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
9. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Scoop a third of the ricotta mixture onto the noodles and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chicken and mozzarella.
10. Cover it with sauce and repeat step 9 twice more.
11. Once you get to the top add the last of the sauce and sprinkle on the last of the mozzarella. Top with tomatoes and bacon.
12. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Then broil until the top gets golden brown.
13. Let your lasagna sit for a few minutes so the sauce isn't too runny.

I think this can easily be made vegetarian (sorry vegans) by booting the bacon and chicken and adding mushrooms or whatever other vegetables you want.

1 comment: said...

You totally had me at Alfredo sauce. YUM!!!!!!

And--when did this blog get so fancy?? Looks great. Those pictures of your family are fantastic. What beautiful girls. Seriously.

Love the comments on the gear post. Don't know if you'll have a chance to see that I responded about the nail cutting . . . not to be a total braggart, but it's my one true talent. I have a gift for cutting baby nails. Bryan cut Sam's skin many moons ago has never tried cutting any of the babies' nails since. It IS traumatizing.