Tag Archives: Busboys and Poets

Guess Who’s Back? [Lasagna Recipe]

21 Feb

Back again. Throwback anyone?

Thanks for being so patient while I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off. I have been so busy trying to be a good host for my friend Lars that I have had little time for anything else! I haven’t been to the gym in a week – can you believe that? People from the gym were legitimately calling me to find out if I was okay. You know you’re a gym rat when…

Anyway, I’m back and so ready to get back on the healthy living train. That’s not to say I didn’t have a good time with Lars. I had so much fun showing him around America’s capitol. I took him to Old Town Alexandria for their annual President’s Day parade…

IMG_2054[1]And out for yummy eats…

Chocolate fondue at Bread & Chocolate

Chocolate fondue at Bread & Chocolate

One of the biggest music scenes in D.C. is the jazz circuit on U Street, so one night we went out to Bohemian Caverns to catch a great jazz concert.

IMG_2065[1]And Lars, being American for the day, had deep fried Oreos for dessert.

IMG_2066[1]Excuse the dark photo, the venue was in a cavernous basement with very little light.

One of the things the often comes up when people come to visit is meals out. Aside from breakfast and one dinner at home, every meal we had was at some sort of restaurant. Not only does that get expensive, it can sometimes be difficult to find healthy options.

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Falafel pita with side salad at Busboys & Poet

I didn’t stress about it too much, but I am happy to go back to making my lunches and dinners. The one meal I did make for us at home was a big pan of lasagna. I made it for us on Sunday evening and there are still leftovers in my fridge!

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This recipe is so easy and delicious – classic Italian comfort food.

Classic Italian Lasagna

Makes 16 3″x3″ slices
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s no-boil lasagna noodles (or similar – alternatively, you could use 16 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked)
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 80% lean, but you could use a leaner meat if you wanted)
  • 1 jar (usually 24-28 oz.) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. In large skillet, brown meat; drain and return to pan.
  2. Stir in spaghetti sauce and pasta sauce; simmer 10 minutes while preparing ricotta filling (see below).
  3. Heat oven to 350°F.
  4. In large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, oregano, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  5. Spread about 1/2 cup meat sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Arrange 4-6 pasta pieces lengthwise over sauce, overlapping edges. Spread 1/3 cheese mixture over pasta; spread with about 3/4 cup meat sauce.
  6. Repeat layers in the pasta, cheese, meat sauce order. Top with can of diced tomatoes (this will make it look very juicy but don’t worry – most of the liquid will soak in, leaving the lasagna nice and moist); sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  7. Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake until cheese is lightly browned, ~10 minutes.
  8. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

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Buon appetito!

 

 

 

Frankenstorm

29 Oct

Good morning, everybody! I’m writing to you from home, because work was canceled today, due to Hurricane Sandy. My office follows the federal government for closures, so we closed after the government made an announcement that their offices would not be operating. Hurricane Day!!!

It’s like snow days in high school. Despite the closure, the weather in Washington is still fairly mild – it’s not very windy right now and the rain is pretty light. I hope all of you in the northeast and mid-Atlantic are being cautious and have prepared yourselves for the storm. Stay safe, everybody!

We’ve got the Weather Channel on and are tracking where the storm is headed. It looks like we could get quite a bit of rain, but the winds won’t be nearly as high as those in New York or Connecticut.

Let’s backtrack to the weekend. My office threw me a surprise party for my birthday! I didn’t see it coming at all, but was so pleased. One of my co-workers even made adorable mini-cupcakes.

I’m so thankful for the wonderful people I work with for making me feel so special.

Saturday was a nice, long walk all over the city with Stefano. Our first stop was to Eastern market to check out the fall foods.

The market is chock full of homemade cheeses, sausages, baked goods, along with fresh produce of every sort imaginable. For lunch, we stopped by the bakery to get lox bagels on fresh bread. A strawberry smoothie made an appearance, too.

On our way to the market, we stopped by a cute bookstore that was tucked away in a small courtyard, complete with fountain.

We popped in, but I didn’t see anything that caught my eye. Kindle or no Kindle, the real things are still #1 in my book (Ha!).

After grabbing lunch at the market, we moseyed over to the Capitol building, which was surrounded by tree in the middle of changing colors – so beautiful!

Stef and I spent a long time playing in the leaves, throwing them around and making big piles. We’re really mature.

That evening, we went to a friend’s Halloween party. Neither of us were really planning on doing Halloween this year, so we scrambled to come up with costumes. He ended up as an Italian soccer player and I dressed up as Liz Lemon from 30 Rock. I even had a bag of cheese puffs. Our friends took some pictures, so I will post those when I have them

Speaking of friend, I told you guys last week that I had some visitors in town. Their last day was Sunday, so we went out to brunch at Busboys and Poets near U Street. I have been there several times and each time, I love everything I eat! That morning, I ordered their Oaxaca omelet with home fries.

The omelet was so flavorful and creamy, thanks to the black beans and guacamole inside. The potatoes were just wonderful! I could have eaten a plateful of those.

After brunch, Stef and I had just enough time to do a Costco run while the girls were packing and returned home just in time to see them off. Luckily for them, they were on one of the very last flights out of the airport before it was shut down for Hurricane Sandy. They let me know that they got home safe and sound, though the flight itself was a scary one – they must have hit part of the storm while they were flying!

Today looks like we’re going to stick out the storm, though the power is still on and it just feels like a gloomy Sunday. Stefano is hard at work grading papers and I will probably dive back into a book I’m reading called ‘Sex and World Peace’, which is about how microcosmic events of gender inequality affects national security on a macro level. Yes, it sounds textbook-y and yes, I’m a total nerd. If any of you have read ‘Half the Sky’ by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, check this book out!

Food For Thought: Are any of you in the line of the hurricane? What have you done to prepare?

Being from Seattle, I really don’t have any experience with major natural disasters, so I wasn’t sure how to prepare myself. We’ve got candles, flashlights, and bottled water so hopefully that will be all we need!

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