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March 24th,
written by Loren

I’d like to introduce you to a friend named Tyler. I met Tyler roundabout 6 or 7 years ago through a friend of a friend, and we ended up living in a house together while I was in college. Tyler and I are the ultimate example of diametrically opposed forces in the

The Man with the Plan

My favorite pic of Tyler. He doesn't always look quite so deranged.

kitchen. Whereas I ususally know what I want a dish to look and taste like before I start cooking it, Tyler is very much a person who is enthralled with the process of cooking itself. He will start out with the ingredients at hand, but usuaully does not know what the food will look or taste like until its done. To the best of my knowledge, this only lead to inedible food on one occasion, when he added a tablespoon or two of cumin to a noodly-cream sauce dish… we shall not speak of that horror.

Since we were the biggest cooks in house, we invariably ended up collaborating on meals on some nights and our contrasting cooking styles always made for interesting meals. The entire process was a struggle between us; Tyler would make a suggestion and I would resist because I already knew what I wanted. I would make a suggestion and Tyler would resist because he wanted to see the outcome of what he was doing. We didn’t always listen to each other, but there was usually a shared commitment to accept some input, and typically the meals we created ended up better than either of us could have produced on our own. This night was no different. Tyler sent me a text saying he had spent all day roasting red peppers and was planning on making lasagna that night. How could I resist?

Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact ingredient list for you because Tyler bought most of the groceries and (of course) did not have a recipe while doing it. Here’s what I think we had though:

  • 2 boxes of lasagna noodles (one was regular pasta, the other was whole wheat. We preferred the latter.)
  • 2 jars of Bertolli alfredo sauce

    Tasty, tasty venison.


  • 2 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1lb of venison steak/cutlets
  • 1-2 lbs of mushrooms
  • 2 cups of roasted red peppers, cut into strips (if you have homemade, god bless you)
  • 20 oz. frozen spinach, thawed (I normally dont like frozen spinach, this turned out quite well.)
  • 2 logs of fresh mozzarella
  • 1 tub of ricotta cheese
  • Wedge of parmasean and/or asiago
  • Fresh basil
  • Red pepper flakes

We pre-prepared everything so we could just bake the lasagnas long enough to melt everything together and not have to worry about uncooked meat. The chicken breasts were boiled in a heavily seasoned (salt, pepper, garlic powder, sage, rosemary and thyme) pot of water, then diced into small peices. After that, we tossed them with the liquid left in the jar from the roasted peppers to add another layer of flavor. Note: while the boiling liquid smelled fantastic, I don’t think enough of the flavor trasnferred. You might be better off brining and roasting them. Alternately, you could use chicken thighs which usually have more flavor. The venison was already sliced into medallions, about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. We patted them dry, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic & herb, and chili powder, then seared them in a very hot pan with a teaspoon or two of canola oil. By the time they are well browned on both sides, they should be done. Then cut them into matchstick peices so they can be sprinkled throughout the layers. Lastly, the mushrooms were cooked with some butter, garlic and seasonings. Just make sure you get a good amount of the moisture out so it doesn’t come out in the lasagna itself. One thing we forgot to do: the recipe we were loosely consulting suggested mixing the ricotta with an egg, then mixing the spinach into that. I think that process would have helped hold the lasagna together a bit better when it came time to serve.

Put all the various ingredients into some bowls so you can put together the lasagna via assembly line. First layer was alfredo sauce and a small amount of spinach. Then noodles. The next layer was meat(one lasagna was chicken and the other was venison), spinach, mozz, roasted peppers, shrooms. Then noodles. Then sauce, ricotta, and spinach. Then noodles. Then meat, spinach, mozz, roasted peppers, shrooms. Maybe a littlle sauce too (this was hardly a scientific process). Then noodles. Then sauce, ricotta, spinach, red pepper flakes, and some chiffonaded basil, then some shredded parm/asiago. Then the last layer of noodles. Top layer is some sauce, spinach, peppers, and a larger amount of mozz than you had been using. I really tried to cover the top layer in mozz so it would broil up well, then topped with some more shredded parm. Spray some aluminum foil with cooking oil, then cover the lasagna with it. Throw the lasagna in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. After 15 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and let it go for another 25 minutes in the oven. Depending on how crusty and brown you like the cheese, you may have to finish it under the broiler, which is what we did. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then furiously devour it.


  1. Stuart

    I would like to note that I am offended that you and Tyler did not invite me over to eat your lasagna with you. Not one week earlier I had made lasagna and allowed Tyler to consume it with me – and now I find you you jerks cut me out of the cheesy goodness! If you had invited me I would have been too busy working on my Corporations assignment, but it is the principle of the matter that angers me. Poor form sirs – poor form 🙂

  2. Arthur

    Did it taste as good as it looks?

  3. Loren

    Oh yes, it was quite good. Also pretty good for lunch on the second day.

  4. […] is much better and I also moved in the with my buddy Tyler, whom our readers may remember from the Lasagna Files. I’m sure some of Tyler’s own cooking experiments will be featured at some point, as he has […]

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