Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pasta, Parent Conferences and Pantry Purging

"The Great American Pantry Purge" phrase was coined by my friend Toni in Alaska.  I am so envious of her, because the pantry in her house is larger than my bathroom.  One weekend we were over at their house for dinner, she told me what she had planned for our menu that night and further explained that it is was because they were in the middle of their Great American Pantry Purge Week...meaning that she was using and cooking with what was already in the house - she made it sound so much fun with her catchy phrase.

Fast forward, I have been diligently trying to keep with my coupon cutting, weekly calendar dinner menu planning (so I only need to hit the grocery store once during an entire week) and really trying to pay attention to what I can use up in the kitchen.  Nothing makes me more crazy than over buying something that I already have an abundance of in the many cans of tomato soup and tuna does one house need, really??

Angus watching mom purge, organize and collecting his socks around the house.
A few weeks ago were parent-teacher conferences at our girls' school.  They have a wonderful program where the leadership academy students and parents make dinner for all the staff that are there late at night for conferences and don't have time to run out for a quick meal.  This time the theme was Italian - perfect!!

The best news of all was that the meal I wanted to make, I was able to purge everything I already had on hand in our kitchen.  I just love it when a plan falls into place.

As I have previously mentioned, my husband's family published their own family cookbook.  Some of the recipes go back three generations and have stood the test of time and taken on their own spin as the various family members try them out.

The famous family cookbook.
One of our go-to favorites is "Grannie's Lasagna".  Awesome quick fix, weeknight casserole that is perfect for families or pot lucks, and even makes great leftovers too. So, purge your pantry away while you enjoy this one and for all those great teachers out there who give so much of their time.  After dealing with teenagers all day, it's the least I could do for them.  I even purged our remaining King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls into these delicious garlic, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese bread creations - yummy!!!

Grannie's Lasagna
Courtesy of Jan and Will

(1) 12-ounce package noodles (egg, bow tie, etc.)
(1) 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
(1) pint sour cream
1/2 pound Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 pounds ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 to 2 cans tomato sauce (or 1 jar of marinara or spaghetti sauce)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Saute meat, onion and garlic.  Drain meat.  Add tomato sauce and sugar, set aside.  Boil noodles as directed.  Mix drained noodles with cream cheese and sour cream.  Spray Pam in large casserole dish and spread noodles in bottom of dish.  Add meat mixture on top and finish off with fresh Parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered approximately 45 minutes, until bubbly.

Also needed to purge Mark West Pinot Noir

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