Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dining Al Fresco On the Cheap!

I had to postpone my Hubby's birthday party. His birthday falls on Labor Day weekend, so I figured it was best since a lot of people were going to be out of town. Also, I'm still not that happy with my house but I will eventually need to get over that. Anyway, I was thinking we could have it later this month , which will work out better with the temperature cooling down.

Image via Martha Stewart Living

In the past, I have given the hubby themed typed party's; one year it was a Mexican inspired themed with miniature liquor bottles that he knocked out of the pinata. Then I did a barbecue inspired one with the red bandannas. I attempted to do a Hawaii themed once, but this was when I discovered that working during the day and trying to give a party that same evening doesn't particularly work--at least, not for me. What happened was I waited to get a few things the same day as the party. After all, it was Labor Day Friday, so I left the office a little early to go the store. Just when I had the pineapples in my cart, I got a call from my boss and had to go back to my office for a mere ten minutes to prove I was still there. After getting off the phone with her, needless to say, I was not very happy with this huge setback. I started thinking, how was I going to get to the store, gather up my pineapples, pick up my cake that I had special ordered, get home in rush hour traffic, make my appetizer, set everything up, run the vacuum... I was so distraught from the thought of all that that I called everyone from my desk and cancelled. I can assure you that the bakery was not thrilled with being stuck with a huge volcano chocolate cake with the words Happy B-day Hubby!

Image via Williams -Sonoma

For me, the lesson I learned from that incident is to schedule parties on Saturdays or Sundays, when I'm not working with no boss to get in my way! You know, one party that I did not mention before that I gave to the hubby was an Italian inspired party. I did that one in the fall when he graduated with his MBA, and miraculously got a job and some money! So I'm thinking of doing something like that again. This lasagna was one of the first recipes I ever did, and I still do it. I'll have to call my old neighbor Sandy for a fancy vegetarian one to serve as well.

DaVinci Lasagne Supreme

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons salad or olive oil
1 can (1 pound) tomatoes
2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves, 1/2 package (8 ounces) Da Vinci lasagne, 1 pound Ricotta Cheese, 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese shredded, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly brown beef and onion in oil. Add tomatoes, paste, water, parsley, salt, sugar, garlic powder, pepper and oregano; simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, about, 30 minutes. Cook lasagne as directed; drain. In 13X9X2 " baking pan, spread about 1 cup sauce. Then alternate layers of lasagne sauce, Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese, ending with sauce, Mozzarella, and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 40 to 50 minutes. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Makes 8 servings. Ciou!

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