Today I have had several reminders of my year in Brazil. Today happened to be the birthday of my first missionary companion in Brazil. I had been in Jose Walter, Ceara for a little over a month. I still remember the little apartment we stayed it, the hammocks we had hanging in the front room, the sound of the rain as if fell on the leaves outside our window, watching in fascination at inch long cockroaches.
Another memory popped up when a friend of mine posted this question on facebook:
If you were creating a dinner menu for New Year’s Eve and money was no object and you could have as many people at your party as you wanted, what amazing appetizers, stunning dinner buffet, beverages and desserts would you serve?
My mind immediately started thinking about my favorite meal that happened to be the last week of my mission. My entire mission I ate rice and beans, except for this meal. It was the most fantastic dish I ever had and I made sure I wrote down the recipe. I have continued to make it on special occasions for the last 17 years. We even had it for Thanksgiving several years instead of turkey, since Scott isn’t a huge fan.
- 1 Large tomato
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 Cup green peppers (I actually like to use a mixture of green, red, orange, and yellow to make the dish come alive with color).
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small onion
- 1 pound ground beef (or turkey, or chicken)
- 1 pound sliced ham (I like to get it sliced at the deli, paper thin)
- 1 pound sliced Provolone (you could use mozzarella, but NOT cheddar)
- small can tomato paste
- 14 ounce can tomato sauce
- Salt/pepper to taste (not even necessary, but some people like it)
- 1 liter of milk (the original was whole milk, but I have used all types and never really could taste the difference from whole milk to skim)
- Box of lasagna noodles (DON’T Cook them)
- Brown the ground beef with minced garlic and onions. Drain the grease and add tomato paste and tomato sauce. Chop the tomato, green pepper, and cilantro. Add to the meat sauce.
- Place a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles on the bottom of a large pan. Add a layer of meat sauce followed by a layer of ham, and finally a layer of cheese.
- Repeat step 2 one to two more times. Make sure you end with a layer of cheese.
- Pour liter of milk evenly over the lasagna. Cover lasagna with foil. Place in refrigerator for at least three hours (even better over night).
- Bake in oven preheated to 375 degrees for at least an hour. I always know that the lasagna is ready when I put a knife through the center and it comes out hot.
I wish I had pictures to show, but I don’t! It is juicy, flavorful, and each time I am eat it I am surprised that the lasagna noodles are perfect, since they soak up the milk and become softened. YUMMY!!!!!