Last week while I was typing, my six-year-old son asked me for an index card. Over the next couple of minutes, he lay in the floor of my office, writing away. I helped him spell most of the words, but I wasn’t paying attention to the content as a whole. By the time he asked me for an envelope and a stamp, I realized he had written an invitation to some of our friends. We mailed the letter, and as a result, I lay awake last night wracking my brain to come up with some nice, yet easy, dinner choices for tonight’s company.
Since I will be busy all day, I’ve decided to make two things that will be super easy, but they are still on my husband’s list of favorite things to eat. The main course is a four-ingredient lasagna. I used to hate making lasagna because it was so time consuming, and frankly, I can’t stand the sight of ricotta cheese! However, the ingredients I use are:
6 lasagna noodles, cooked
Half a block of Velveeta cheese (or something comparable), cut into quarter inch slices
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 can or jar of spaghetti sauce
After cooking the noodles and beef, I make two layers of noodles, cheese, beef, and spaghetti sauce, in that order. I always save the majority of the ingredients for the top half, since that’s the half that everyone sees. If you don’t mind a runny river of cheesy goodness, you can serve it immediately after baking. If you’re like me, however, you will want it to look as good as it tastes – in which case, let it cool for 45 minutes or so before serving.
My main side is a four-ingredient mashed potato concoction, thanks to my sister-in-love (engaged to my brother), Mandy, for the recipe!
8-12 small potatoes (I always save the big ones for baking), cooked and mashed
Butter to taste
Milk to desired consistency
Lots of shredded cheese
After making mashed potatoes as usual and adding butter and milk, place them into a baking dish. Cover the top with shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees until the cheese melts. I must admit that the first time I made this, I was trying to make regular mashed potatoes. I used too much milk, and figured that some time in the oven would dry the potatoes out a bit. Since Mandy had been bringing cheesy mashed potatoes to our house for special occasions, I thought I would give it a try! It’s now one of the easiest and yummiest side dishes in my repertoire!
A little bread here, another vegetable there, and dinner is done!
On a side note, my son has inspired me to try to bring some formality back into my friendships. How fun would it be to throw a dinner party and actually send out cordial invitations? Gone are the days when people ate at friends’ houses three or four nights a week, and entertained once or twice a week in their own homes. With all of the demands that we place on ourselves, we find it difficult to make time for visiting with our family and friends. If we would turn off the television once in a while, I wonder if we would get bored enough to remember the important people in our lives?
A challenge: call someone important to you and invite them for dinner!