Want to make your family's quarantine life more flavorful? Take your cue from Nikki Valdez.
The ABS-CBN actress-singer recently tried her hand at making beef lasagna using the available ingredients in her pantry.
It may have been her first time creating the dish, but it was an instant "hit in the house."
The 41-year-old star served the dish to her husband Luis Garcia and their family on the night of Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, and uploaded her recipe on Instagram the following day.
Her caption read: "First time for me to make lasagna, and my Mom made her turbo chicken na favorite naming magkakapatid noong mga bata pa kami.
"As for my lasagna, as usual, I had to make do of whatever ingredients I had in my pantry.
"Lahat ito stocks na namin from before."
Here is the recipe to Nikki Valdez's classic lasagna, which she hopes your family "would like as much as mine did."
WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS FOR LASAGNA?
- 1/2 kilo of ground beef
- Minced one small carrot, medium-sized red onion, and a knob of garlic
- Four tablespoons of butter
- One large pack of tomato sauce and one small can of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- Italian seasoning
- Salt, pepper, and sugar
- One can of all-purpose cream, to substitute the cottage cheese
- One bar of cheddar cheese, in place of mozzarella cheese
- Grated parmesan cheese
- One box of lasagna sheets (Nikki says you will use about 12 to 15 sheets.)
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC BEEF LASAGNA
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes or longer, depending on the capacity of your stove.
2. Melt the butter in your pan, then add garlic and onions. Sauté for about three minutes.
3. Add ground beef and cook until it turns completely brown.
4. Put the following ingredients in the pan one by one: carrots, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sugar, then water.
By the way, all the herbs she used are dried.
5. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. While waiting for the mixture to cook, cook pasta (lasagna sheets) al dente—meaning, not too crunchy nor too soft—in a separate pan with boiling water.
Nikki advises basing the duration on what's written on the pasta's packaging.
A tip: Precook the sheets in slightly-salted boiling water for one minute to soften them; a few oil drops in the boiling water can help prevent the sheets from sticking to each other.
Nikki also writes in her post, "I cooked mine for about eight minutes."
Once cooked, rinse then drain.
7. Coat your baking pan with olive oil. Nikki used one that's 9 by 13 inches in size.
8. Put the pasta at the bottom of the dish, then spread the all-purpose cream evenly on top of it.
9. Next, add the meat mixture. Make sure that it's evenly placed on top of the cream, too.
10. Do the same for the cheddar cheese, then with the grated parmesan cheese.
11. Create the next layers by repeating step numbers eight to ten until you reach the final layer.
12. You should end with the meat mixture and grated parmesan cheese on top.
12. Cover the pan with foil then bake it in your oven for about 40 minutes.
Take out the foil afterward, then bake it again for another 10 minutes.
"Enjoy!" Nikki concludes.
Aside from acting and taking care of her daughter Olivia Ysabelle, Nikki also bakes and manages her own cake business, Miss Buttercream.
Some of the actress' social-media followers egg her to venture into food delivery or restaurant business since she loves cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, but she is currently busy with her lunch-box project for the COVID-19 frontliners.
Nikki is on to her fifth wave of cooking and preparing food for the health workers.
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