December 11th, 2010
for years and years my cousins and i have been talking about getting together to learn how to cook – way before tisay got pregnant, way before i got married, way back in the day when the three of us were a lot younger. while on the phone with robin we decided to get together and do an impromptu cooking session. robin had spent a day in the kitchen with chris’ mom while she was in texas for thanksgiving and got re-inspired. she wanted to try her lasagna. i decided on baked ziti.
i found the recipe through the internet from allrecipes.com. i read some suggestions and i altered the recipe a bit. the whole meal (good for 10 ppl) cost about $30.
**photo soon to come**
1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 pound ground beef
2 (24oz each) bottles of classico sauce – tomato & basil
6 ounces of provolone cheese, sliced
14 oz of mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, grated (i forgot to do this step)
1 1/2 cups of sour cream (next time i wanna try ricotta cheese, although the sour cream was fine)
small teaspoon of minced garlic
half of an onion, chopped
preheat oven to 350 degrees
boil water then add pasta, a pinch of salt, and a bit of cooking oil (about 8 min)
cook ground beef until brown, add chopped onion and minced garlic
-add classico sauce and let simmer 15 minutes
butter 9×13 baking pan with pam (butter spray)
layer as following:
-1/2 of the ziti
-1/3 of the sauce mixture, stir pasta and sauce together
-sour cream (put in a ziplock back and snip a corner) or ricotta cheese
-1/3 sauce mixture
-topped with grated parmesan (i forgot this step but it still came out yummy)
cover baking pan in foil and leave in for 30 min or until cheeses are melted.
leave the last third of sauce on the side in case some people want theirs extra saucy
let it sit a few minutes to cool down
**more photos soon to come**
while robin and i cooked in her kitchen, the boys – jake and dino – just waited patiently (thank goodness!) and watched tv. we didnt think it would take us so long to prepare the meal, and then we had to wait another 30min or so for the dishes to bake. it was italian/carb night. we had a full dish of lasagna, courtesy of robin, and a full dish of baked ziti, and a side of store bought garlic bread, along with some delicious wine, some vintage ale — and for jake, water and tea since the poor guy was sick. dessert consisted of warm cinnabon. YUMM!
dino got all excited because he wanted us to learn all these great dishes that he likes. haha.. i guess it’s great to be a man. we have a page full of dishes & desserts requested by him. i guess the women will be getting together to learn new dishes while the men simply drink beer & wine and wait patiently for us to finish and later on critique us to help us make our dish better.
my baked ziti looked scrumptious! i had a feeling while i was preparing it that it might be a little too dry. i was right. the flavor was great but it was a bit too dry and everyone agreed. i should have followed my instincts and made extra sauce on the side in case of this situation. oops. from this cooking lesson, i will definitely add a lot more sauce. other than that i think it came out terrific. if i were to make this meal for just jake and i, i would probably cut the recipe in half – maybe even a third. there was so much. i would also make a side of salad and a few pieces of garlic bread.
i am so glad that we finally got together to do this. i am also re-inspired to learn all the dishes i like, new dishes i want to try, dishes jake likes, and just learn to be comfortable in the kitchen. i wanna be that woman who can cook anything, who can throw an awesome party and have delicious food that people will remember and want to know my secret recipe. maybe i’m shooting a little too high, but hey..who knows?
now all i need is a super cute apron and a cute recipe box. i have been looking for a few years now but i can’t seem to find the “right one.” aprons-wise, i’ve found a couple of cute ones, but recipe boxes are so much harder. i am really picky and it needs to be perfect. i’m thinking of making one myself. this baked ziti will be my first recipe in the box. other than that, i really only now how to cook like 3-4 other dishes.
i also want to get a separate recipe box for baking! i would love to learn how to make a cake from scratch, frosting from scratch, make cupcakes, make eclairs, make all kinds of desserts! too bad my family has a history of diabetes, but really, who can resist the sweets?!?! i have an insane sweet tooth! =P
there’s talk that we might prepare a “feast” during new years, but it’s not definite yet. i am just happy that we finally got together and did it. i hope tisay can make it next time and the three of us can get together at least once a month to do this. i had so much fun!