A friend of mine once told me, “You have your way to make things look expensive, Anna!”. I’m not sure about it but if she’s accurate with the comment, maybe because I pay too much attention on details and how things look is always a big deal for me. OC that I am. I want things to always look clean and fresh and “mabango”. Specially when it comes to food. There’s nothing worse than a photo of a messy dinner on a plate. Or a skillet in a dirty kitchen. This “kaartehan” must have come from my Lolo Janggo who once told me, “The way you arrange you food has a big impact on your personality. The way you clean your kitchen reflects how you clean your private parts.” Hahaha. Because kitchen is seldom seen by our friends, it shouldn’t be the reason not to keep it clean, always.
So if I can give a piece of advice on people taking photos of their food, not that I am a pro, is to pay attention on the details of everything they want to include on the photo. Is the wall clean? Are there sinampay na undies at the background? LOL. Are there things included that don’t speak of the message you want to convey? Are the plates and utensils organized? In short, MINIMIZE THE CLUTTER. On the process, we get to learn to be attentive and be aware of our surroundings. It’s a win win!
Going back, I think if there’s a solid proof to tell how I can make things look expensive is my talent to recreate expensive dishes into cheaper ones without compromising the taste. I mean I know, it isn’t the same because cheddar isn’t ricotta but with the right blend of ingredients, we can have a decent dinner without spending a fortune. And this Lasagna is one of the many I have on my list. This will cost you Php500 or less and serves 6-8 people.
LASAGNA A LA POBRE RECIPE
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook 1/2 kg of ground beef with 1/2 cup water, 1 mediums sized chopped onion, pepper, spanish paprika and salt. Simmer for 5 to10 mins or till the water is reduced to half and you see the oil from beef coming out. There’s no need to saute the beef on oil because it’s already fatty.
- Add 2 tbsp Cheese Whiz and pour 1kg Del Monte Spag Sauce Italian Style. You can use Sweet style if you want a sweeter version or Creamy and Cheesy and you can skip Cheese whiz.
- Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 12 pcs lasagna noodles, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Lay noodles flat on towels, and blot dry.
5. In a small pan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat until it’s liquefied. With a wooden spoon, stir 1 tbsp flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter.
6. Using a whisk, add 3 boxes of Nestle All Purpose Cream, and a little pepper too. Add 1 tbsp of dried basil or Italian Seasoning, whisk vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps. When the sauce thickens, turn off the heat. Set aside.
7. Some put cheese on their béchamel but I advise not to because the sauce already have cheese in it. Save it instead for the top layer.
8. Layer the meat sauce, noodles alternately and on the last scoop of meat sauce, top with béchamel then sprinkle with Quickmelt cheese.
9.Cover the dish with aluminum foil making sure the foil doesn’t touch the cheese. Let it sit for 3-5 mins or till the cheese melts. You have to be sure the meat sauce and béchamel are still hot while assembling the pasta because the steam will help melt the cheese. Otherwise, bake it on a preheated oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) or till the cheese is golden brown.
10. Take a photo. Remember, make sure it’s clean so it will look appetizing.
Comment below if you’ve tried this and let me know about it! Happy Cooking!