I Order My Lasagna to Taste Like Stouffer’s (Or How to Make Stouffer’s Veggie Lasagna from Scratch)

Homemade Stouffer’s-Inspired Veggie Lasagna. The version featured here has an extra layer of Fontina on top, but it’s better with the breadcrumb topping. Trust Me.

I had some time on my hands, so I took the Myers Briggs test. It turns out I share personality traits with Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Darth Vader. No, really, that’s what the internet says. And the internet never lies.

So, apparently, I am an ENTJ, or a Fieldmarshal. Now before my friends and family die laughing at the absolute truth in this nomenclature (and clamor to remind me I was nicknamed Anakin in college), there are some redeeming aspects to being a bossy rebel like me. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Winston Churchill are/were also Fieldmarshals. According to the Myers Briggs Foundation, we only make up 1.8% of the population, which is probably a good thing considering when our personality goes wrong it leads to nation building through bloodshed and the occupation of the second moon of Endor. When it goes well, you get Microsoft and MacBooks. (I like MacBooks.)

Incidentally, the only personality type more rare than mine (in the US, anyway) is Ghandi’s: the INFJ, which makes up 1.5% of the population. (Curiously, some sites put Hitler and Osama Bin Laden in this classification as well. Other sites say Hitler was an ENTJ, but I say the INFJ’s can have him. I’d rather not add a perpetrator of horrific genocide to my already dubious personality classification.)

So, there you have it. I share a personality type with world leaders and titans of industry and I’m sitting on my couch watching The Empire Strikes Back and trying to figure out how to improve upon my veggie lasagna recipe. I am truly disappointing today.

See, I have attempted a few times to replicate Stouffer’s veggie lasagna in white sauce, and I have come pretty close, but I want to make it even better. Lord, I AM a bossy know-it-all perfectionist, and the only thing I have to boss around today is a bowl of chopped veggies. So Sad.

My version of the recipe is below. It still tastes good even if it isn’t perfect. If you have truly nailed it and want to weigh in, please share your recipe.

If you too want to be horrified by your personality type, you can take a version of the test here.

Stouffers-like Veggie Lasagna

2 C matchstick carrots
2 C broccoli florets
2 C frozen spinach, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion
5 C grated mozzarella (or Fontina)
1 C grated blend of parmesan and romano cheeses
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs

½ C flour
½ C butter
4 C whole milk
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg

1 C breadcrumbs
4-6 T butter (I like more butter, but this is a personal taste thing)

8-12 ounces lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until they are al dente. Drain and set aside. (I like to use Barilla wavy lasagne noodles because they don’t stick together as much as flat noodles.)

Place the frozen spinach in a colander and rinse with warm water to thaw it slightly. Squeeze the excess water from the spinach and pat dry with paper towels. Place the spinach, carrots, onions, and broccoli in a bowl. Add eggs, mozzarella, parmesan, and garlic.

In a medium saucepan, heat ½ C butter until melted. Add flour to create a roux. Do not let it burn. Add milk, salt, and nutmeg and stir until thick, about five minutes.

Melt butter in a separate saucepan and pour over breadcrumbs. Stir to coat. (You may not need all of the butter.)

Pour a layer of white sauce into a 9×13” pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles followed by the vegetable mixture. Repeat until you have used all of the ingredients. Pour breadcrumb/butter mixture over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Allow the lasagna to cool for 10-20 minutes before serving.

(It is also good if made a day ahead. Plus it freezes well.)

Too Weak to Chew (Or How to Make a Strawberry Banana Smoothie)

I basically look like this today.

Yesterday, I had this grand plan to make my blue cheese potato salad and go to three barbecues which were inconveniently strewn all over a city teeming with terrible traffic and DUI check points. I planned to celebrate the birth of America with a burger and a single beer and then return home in time to soothe the dogs as they cried over colorful explosions in the sky.

None of this happened. After an attempt to tire out the animals on a hike, I took a nap, woke up feeling worse, and never left the house. What I initially thought was a pulled muscle in my back has basically turned into excruciating pain absolutely everywhere.

Naturally, my body has decided to rebel against me at the most inopportune time possible, as my mother arrives tomorrow. Not only am I facing at least two hours of traffic to pick her up from LAX, but I have to wash three loads of laundry, bathe the dogs, dust, vacuum, AND go to the grocery store to buy pork butt for tomorrow’s carnitas.

So, what am I doing? Watching Star Wars in my jammies, drinking a strawberry banana smoothie, and fighting the urge to go back to bed at 2 in the afternoon.

Strawberry banana smoothies are one of my favorite comfort foods from childhood. Plus they’re easy to make, they don’t require the effort of chewing (which I honestly don’t know if I could manage right now), and they’re all filled with vitamin C, potassium, and whatnot.

The recipe is below.

Oh, and if any of my friends are reading this: please send pizza – the Pizza Bianca with sausage from Pizzeria Mozza, to be exact. I think only sausage, truffle cheese, and crispy sage will give me the will to carry on today.

Without pizza, I’m going to need to summon some serious Jedi strength to get out the Swiffer….

My strawberry banana smoothie pairs nicely with a viewing of Star Wars. What doesn’t, really?

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

¾ C frozen strawberries

1 ripe banana

1 ¼ C milk (I prefer whole milk)

2 T honey

Place strawberries and banana in blender. Pour in milk and blend until smooth. Add 2 T honey and blend.