Today’s post is brought to you by my mom.
You can call her Heffie.
Yep. Heffie. Like the female cow except with cutesy “-ie” sound on the end.
That really is her name. You can ask The Dude.
She has been visiting this week, which is so great because she lives about five hours away and I don’t really get to see her as often as I would like. We usually talk on the phone at least once a day (at least). But I am always so excited to have her physically in my house.
The best thing about her being here though is that she and The Dude have an absolutely amazing relationship.
I sincerely hope that all of you readers out there with kids can say that your little ones have a grandparent as amazing as my mom. She has an incredible ability to make The Dude laugh like no one else I have ever seen.
At one point I found them sitting underneath a tree, throwing acorns back up into the branches while screaming and laughing, “You can have it back, Tree! I don’t want it!”
Apparently, this was one of the funniest things my child had ever done in her entire three years of life. The Dude started doing that kind of laugh where no sound comes out, and I’m pretty sure she wet her pants a little (Mom was laughing pretty hard too, but since I don’t help her in the bathroom, I can’t quite say for sure what her pants situation was).
Heffie also always manages to find really fun things to do that would never in a million years occur to me. Here I will spend hours about to bang my head against the wall from boredom of the same ol’ games with the girls, and she thinks of things of things like this.
There they are, eating a snack in the car. Just chillin’. I’m pretty sure there were also some fairly elaborate games played in there prior to the snack, but I never quite understood the rules so I can’t really describe it to you.
Basically, things are super fun at this house when Heffie is in town.
But since this is a cooking blog and not a why-my-mom-is-the-coolest blog, why don’t we go back inside and see what was happening in my kitchen during these shenanigans? I’ve got a little leftover mashed potato recipe for ya.
I love mashed potatoes, but in all honesty, I don’t really enjoy them as much warmed over. So I figured I would give them a little makeover when we had some that needed to be eaten up.
This recipe is actually a major throwback for me and The Hubs. This was something that I started making when we were a newly married couple.
Yes, it is true that I have always been a freak about not wasting food.
Basically, it is just as the name suggests. A couple of layers of mashed potatoes, sauce, and cheese baked until bubbly and crispy around the edges. Easy peasy, friends. Easy peasy.
And as a bonus, I am going to give you my go-to tomato sauce recipe as well.
I saute up half of an onion in some olive oil until it starts to brown a little bit. Then I toss in some garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, water, wine, crushed red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning.
I let that come to a hard simmer for about 10 minutes then crush it with a potato masher, but if I need a smooth sauce, I will give it a quick whirl with the immersion blender. Here I give it a quick taste to see how much sugar needs to go in. Every can of tomatoes is different so you should always taste the sauce before adding in sugar. Then I let it continue at a hard simmer for another 10 minutes, until about half of the liquid has evaporated.
At this point, you can just let it simmer on low until you are ready to use it. If you would like it a little thinner though, just go ahead and add in a little more water. The Hubs really likes this chunky, thick, rich sauce so that is how I often serve it.
Now you are ready to assemble the lasagna.
This is one of those great meals, where you get to totally clean up the kitchen before you ever even eat, get some other chores done, or maybe if you are super lucky, get to pour a glass of wine and put your feet up for a minute.
OK. So probably not that last part. But a girl can dream, right?
P.S. My Mom loved this dinner.
It was the least I could do for the person who makes my kid pee her pants, Mom. Love you!
Mashed Potato Lasagna
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes
1 can water
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt, pepper, and sugar to taste
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
In a medium sauce pan, saute onion in olive oil until golden.
Add garlic, tomatoes, water, wine, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Let simmer on high about 10 minutes.
Crush tomatoes with a potato masher. Taste for salt, pepper, and sugar. Adjust as needed.
Continue on hard simmer for about 10 minutes more, until liquid is reduced by about half.
Preheat oven to 375.
Stir 1 egg into 2 cups mashed potatoes.
Spread half of potatoes into the bottom of a greased 8×8 casserole dish.
Top potatoes with half of tomato sauce.
Sprinkle with half of cheese.
Repeat with the remainder of ingredients.
Bake covered for 40 minutes.
Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.