This week for Swap I made Caesar salad. As a “side” I made Spinach Lasagna. Seriously… this salad is so good that it takes center stage and everything else (even the main entree) becomes secondary. Have you ever made homemade Caesar salad? If not, you’re totally missing out. If you like Caesar salad, you’ll love homemade Caesar salad. And I’ve got the best recipe for it in the whole wide world, I kid you not. Braydon and I have been Caesar salad lovers for a long, long time. We consider ourselves sort of Caesar Connoisseurs. And once the bambinos came into the picture they soon became Caesar salad lovers-and-connoisseurs at very early ages. K & O have been eating it, and loving it, since they were barely two. Meera started even earlier. She started eating it, and loving it, basically as soon as she got a couple of teeth to chew with. At this point the three of them will often order Caesar salad when in a restaurant (only if the restaurant is known by them to have a “good Caesar”; they’ll balk at a “bad Caesar”), and at home they eat pounds and pounds of it (again, only if it is “good Caesar”). I’ve always gone through spurts of alternating between making the dressing myself, buying good versions of it, and –of course—we often order it when out. But recently I’ve come across what I believe to be the planet’s best version of homemade Caesar dressing. Recipe posted below. Note— with permission from Shalinee, I broke the “no pasta” rule that we have for Swap because: a) we both agreed that lasagna is something we wouldn’t ever be able to pull of making on a weeknight, thus it isn’t “typical pasta,” and b) I was really aiming for comfort food this week for Kyle and Owen given that they’re still in massive transition from-their-old-school-to-their-new-school.
This week’s meal:
- Caesar Salad
- Spinach Lasagna
- Store-Bought Good Crusty Bread (we warmed this in the oven until crisp, and then ate it dipped in good olive oil with salt, pepper, and herbs – the bambinos go crazy for bread this way)
Homemade Caesar Salad
Caesar Dressing, recipe from At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach
1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
3/4 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
Put all ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Will keep in the fridge for at least a week.
To prepare salad: Toss romaine lettuce leaves with croutons, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and dressing –to taste. Grind some extra pepper on top.
Notes: I usually half the amount of garlic that the Blanchard’s recipe calls for because we don’t like the garlic to be too overwhelming. One of our favorite ways to eat this salad is as a great stand-alone dinner with grilled shrimp, chicken, or steak on top of it! We also love to make Caesar sandwich wraps with this salad (with or without shrimp/chicken/steak).
I never use a recipe when it comes to lasagna; just kind of wing it every time. This time I used Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles with the following fillings, layered in between— good quality tomato sauce; grated mozzarella cheese; grated parmesan; and a spinach-ricotta mixture. For the spinach-ricotta mixture: I loaded as much fresh dry spinach as I possibly could into my Cuisinart (tons and tons of tons of it jam-packed in there), and ran it until finely chopped. I mixed this spinach with a big tub of whole-milk-ricotta cheese, and a couple of eggs to bind it together. After layering the lasagna in baking dishes, and topping with parmesan, the lasagnas were ready for the Swap. Shalinee and I could then both bake our lasagnas at 375, covered with foil, until bubbly (about 45-60 minutes), then continue baking, uncovered, until the parmesan cheese on top was slightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
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We loved Shalinee’s dinner. Every time she makes Indian food for us is a special treat. The boys are especially crazy about “Shalinee’s Mango Lassi” (not just “mango lassi”… this is SHALINEE’S MANGO LASSI!). We drank so much of it Wednesday, but there was still just exactly enough left over for the boys to both have a thermos-full in their lunch at school the next day. I can only imagine them trying to explain The Swap to their teacher and classmates!!! Would love to have been a fly on the wall. Anyway, as always, thank you Shalinee!