Tuesday, January 6, 2009

keep 'em busy

My brother and his wife are about the best I've ever seen at having their kids help in the kitchen. I remember my nieces as little more than toddlers wielding the paring knife like pros. So the apple tart may not be worthy of Martha Stewart, having kids help in the kitchen keeps them busy, gets them involved in food and makes it more likely they will try and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Even small children can be involved. Here's M breaking up lasagna noodles for a skillet lasagna that was awesome! She loved breaking up the noodles, and also helped dump the diced tomatoes into the pan.
The recipe was from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. (www.americastestkitchen.com)The book has lots of other great recipes.

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound meatloaf mix (they actually sell this at the butcher, half beef, half pork)
1 minced onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1/8 tspn red pepper flakes
10 curly edge lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces (don't use no-boil)* kids do this*
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan * older kids*
8 oz whole milk ricotta (our store only had part-skim and it was fine...)
1/2 cup minced fresh basil (I didn't have this)

Pour tomatoes and their juice into a quart measuring cup, add water to measure mix to 4 cups. (This was confusing, I didn't know if I was supposed to add the sauce too. I ended up skipping this step and adding 1/2 cup water or so a few times in the cooking process...) Heat oil in deep 12 inch skillet until shimmering (med-high) add onions and red pepper flakes (I omitted the flakes since M isn't a huge fan of spice.) Stir in the garlic for about 15 seconds, add the meat and break up/cook until pink is gone. (I drained a few Tbspns of fat at this point.) Sprinkle noodle pieces on top, pour on tomatoes and sauce. Cover and simmer stirring occasionally until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes. (I had to add water a couple times as the bottom threatened to scorch...)  Remove skillet from heat and stir in parmesan. Dot blobs of ricotta on top and cover for another 5 minutes off heat. YUMMY! M loved it and had some in her thermos for lunch today. I served it with "asparagus spears" that M enjoyed with ketchup. I might try stirring some drained spinach into the lasagna next time, but I'm afraid it might make it watery. Maybe that will solve the water issue!

Let me know if anyone tries this one and what you think. It will definitely be added to our regulars!

5/5 stars


  1. I think I am going to make this for dinner tonight!

  2. was it easy enough? I'm making skillet tuna noodle casserole tomorrow... ( one pan, noodles cook in the sauce...)