Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Bite Takes You Home- #TheHundredFootJourney Inspires Homemade Lasagna

Cooking From The Heart

Next week, audiences across the country will be treated to a culinary delight when The Hundred-Foot Journey” comes to life on the silver screen and touches our hearts, souls and stirs our appetites in more ways than one. In DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” the opening of a new Indian restaurant in the south of France next to a famous Michelin-starred eatery is nearly cause for a heated battle between the two establishments, until Le Saule Pleureur’s icy proprietress, Madame Mallory, recognizes her rival’s undeniable brilliance for preparing masterful meals. 

The Hundred-Foot Journey” abounds with flavors that burst across the tongue. A stimulating triumph over exile, blossoming with passion and heart, it is a portrayal of two worlds colliding and one young man’s drive to find the comfort of home, in every pot, wherever he may be.   And like any great meal that leaves you thinking about your next perfect bite, what is that perfect bite, that perfect meal that says home to you?

Growing up, my favorite part of school was lunch. It wasn’t because it meant that we were free to play and the rigors of class were left behind, at least for 45 minutes, but because lunchtime meant going to grandma’s house where I would find a heaping bowl of macaroni (it wasn’t called pasta back then) smothered in butter with of course all of the gumdrops I could smuggle out of the candy jar on my way back to school.  I’m not sure if it was the meal or the fact that I was spending time with her, but to this day macaroni and butter is my go to meal when I’m in need of comfort. When I posed this question to my own family, the answer I unanimously received from all of them was my homemade lasagna and so today’s challenge will be to try to recreate that family favorite here for you.

Some things you must know ahead of time:
1) My entire cooking reparatory can be summed up by saying “375, in a pan, 45 minutes”- if it can’t be created in those parameters, it’s just not happening unless it happens to be “350, in a pan, 45 minutes”.
2) I never measure anything when I cook-ever. It’s the same way I live my life- throw it in, mix it together and hope for the best.
3) In our house cooking is seldom a solitary activity but a family event.  I truly believe that fact was the real reason that lasagna was the dish that they picked when I asked my children and grandchildren what was the one meal that every bite “took them home”

With those caveats out of the way, let’s get started:


1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 large jar Spaghetti sauce
1 Box lasagna noodles
2 large hard-boiled eggs
1 16 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 container Parmesan
1 bag shredded mozzarella 
Seasoning salt 


1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.    Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. Time saving tip- if you don’t have readily available hard boiled eggs, throw them in with the lasagna noodles and cook both together.

 3. While noodles are cooking, in a large frying pan sauté meat is browned, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon and lightly seasoning with seasoning salt. Drain meat of  excess fat.

4.    Lightly spread a thin layer of Spaghetti Sauce on the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.

5.    Lay half the noodles in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping the noodles

6.    Spread half of the meat on top of the noodles in the prepared pan. Tip: As some of family does not eat meat, we make half of the pan with meat, and the other half without.

7.    Spoon ricotta cheese and a crumbled hard-boiled egg on top of the meat.

    8.    Liberally sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the meat and hard-boiled egg.  My family loves cheese-the more cheese the better.

    9.    Pour spaghetti sauce on top of the ingredients and cover with another layer of lasagna noodles

10. Repeat layering in same order.

11.  Cover with the remaining lasagna noodles and coat with the rest of the spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and mozzarella on top.

12.   Cover with foil.  Bake in center of oven 45 minutes until sauce is bubbling around the edges.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving. 

Enjoy with freshly sliced French Bread or Garlic Bread and you have yourself a meal where every bite takes you home.

The only thing better than fresh from the oven lasagna for dinner by the way is cold lasagna for breakfast.

What is your one meal where every bite takes you home?  Stay tuned later in the week when other members of our team share their favorites.

In the meantime, don’t forget DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” opens in theaters everywhere August 8.

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  1. Lasagna is a great "STAPLE" hearty meal, great choice by your family! Even without measuring*O*

    1. It's measured with love and smiles and lots of taste tests!