Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pioneer Woman Cookbook Review #1: Lasagna

Throughout this summer, I will be attempting to review one Pioneer Woman Cooks recipe per week here on my blog! I hope you are as excited as I am! And I hope that doing my P90X workouts will combat all the butter, cream, and cheese in her recipes.

Last week, I cracked open her cookbook and looked for something to start with that I had most of the ingredients on hand already. I chose the lasagna because I have a particular way that I have ALWAYS made lasagna so I'll have something to compare Ree's recipe to.

By the way, I hate that I just ended that last sentence with a preposition. Just sayin'. Back to the story!

Let's start with the "cast of characters" as Ree says. Her pic:

My ingredients looked almost exactly like this except that I used pre-shredded mozzarella, fresh basil (I have a plant!) and shredded Parmesan instead of powdered. On we go:

This recipe was very simple to put together. You really don't have to be an expert in the kitchen to make this lasagna. However, it did take me about two hours start to finish. Too much time in the kitchen for a busy mom of four like me!

Here's how mine looked right out of the oven (my pic):

I had invited our friends Devin and Sarah over to try it out, and they both loved it. Ben and the kids raved about it too. No one said anything negative about it at all and everyone loved that it had hot breakfast sausage in it. Were they just being nice because I had made it?

But here's my opinion on her lasagna (after all, that's why you're reading this, right?). I thought the meat sauce part was very good. Extremely tasty. Loved it. And that's about it.

The FIRST thing I'd change is that I would add a third layer of noodles to this dish. It only has two layers of noodles with half the meat and cheese mixtures on top of each layer! It made for a very meaty casserole instead of the fancy noodle layers I knew as a kid. I got one bite that was nothing but melted mozzarella and I just about gagged.

The SECOND thing I'd change is that I would switch the cottage cheese out for Ricotta. I was keeping an open mind about the whole cottage cheese thing until I tasted it. No contest, Ricotta's sweet, creamy taste and consistency beats the heck out of plain ol' cottage cheese. I'll never stray again.

So here's Pioneer Woman's pic of her finished lasagna:

The ratings:
On a scale from 1-5 (5 being the best)

I would give this recipe
a 4 for easy,
a 5 for consistency with the cookbook pictures,
a 2 for time required, and
a 3 for "best ever tasted?"

So the overall rating for "Lasagana" is (drumroll please...) 3.5 out of 5!

See ya next week!

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