All posts by meishayeb

Auntie’s Lasagna Supreme

I decided to pop in on my cousins and aunt who I have not seen in awhile. She happens to be my favorite aunt, simply because she gives good advice and has a gift for making awe-inspiring food.  When I arrive I am greeted by this olive green colored house that leans more to the right than the left. As I walked slowly up the loose steps, clutching the rail, making sure not to lose my balance I hear the music blaring from inside.

Finally, I make it to the front door and knock with my fist hoping it is loud enough to be heard. The music cuts off and a female voice asks who is at the door swings open and my favorite cousin pretty much runs into me to give me a hug. I returned the gesture and walked inside with her. I instantly start smiling due to the smell of cooking meat, sausages, and pepperoni. It was my aunt’s famous lasagna. My cousin started talking to me but I was not even listening. I walked into the kitchen and said hello to my aunt and asked what she was cooking to confirm it was lasagna. She said lasagna and a smile immediately plastered across my face.

I invited myself for dinner because I knew it was going to be worth it. I walked into the living room to watch a movie until dinner was ready. I shared a couch with my cousins Tots and Pook. My older cousin Tasia was on the single couch by herself. The family dog Polo was laying on the floor in front of me too. We all enjoyed the movie and checked on diner. “Not ready yet” she replied. I felt like my aunt was testing my patience because I was so ready to eat. Tots and Pook just huffed and puffed but continued to watch the movie. Tasia caught an attitude and started listening to music. Sometime during the movie my aunt joined us until the food finished.

Finally, we were all seated at the large glass table ready to get a taste of something amazing. I thanked my aunt and mentally thanked whoever created lasagna in the first place. After a little, watching as we devoured the portions served on our plates, she asked us how it tasted. My cousins said it tasted good but to me it made me feel loved because you could taste the love in every bit. I looked at my aunt with a mouth full of lasagna and asked what was in it. She said humbly, “A little bit of everything.” The first thing you taste when the lasagna touches your tongue is the pepperoni. It’s a spicy sensation that get’s replaced with the sweetness of the tomato sauce. As you bite a piece of sausage all the juices that have gathered inside of it explodes onto your tongue. The ground beef lightly carried the taste of salt, pepper and a culmination of other seasonings that make the dish burst in your mouth.

How She Did It 

Step 1: You preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2: Cook 3/4 ground beef and cut up Italian sausages.
Step 3:You mix ricotta, half of the shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, basil, and garlic in a bowl and set aside.
Step 4: Place all tomato sauce in a large bowl and mix together 1/2 cup of water, tablespoon of and pepper and a tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well then taste a small amount of it to make sure you taste the sweetness of the sugar to your liking then set aside as well.
Step 5: Spread 1 cup of sauce in a 13 by 9″ baking pan.
Step 6: Place 3 uncooked lasagna sheets at the bottom of the pan, add a layer of 1/4 of the cheese mixture, and then layer with 1 cup of sauce.
Step 7: Place pepperoni throughout the layers of the lasagna to your liking.
Step 8:Place 3 lasagna sheets and repeat layers until all of the cheese mixture is gone, with the last layer being sauce.
Step 9: Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Step 10: Remove the foil, top with the second half of the shredded mozzarella, and bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
Step 11: Finally remove the lasagna from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut and serve.

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Nana’s Collard Greens

greens-646810_1280by Meishaye Boyd

Have you ever eaten something so mouth-wateringly delicious that you think you can eat it for the rest of your life? That’s how I felt a couple of days ago at my Nana’s house. She makes the best Collard Greens my taste buds have ever touched. They’re my favorite food and Nana is my favorite chef simply  because my she is my heart.  She loves and supports me no matter what and she treats me like her own.  My Nana puts love into anything she says or does for me and I can feel it. We would bond over the history of our family owned estate over thanks giving sized feast.  Her southern style Collard Greens combined with ham hocks and our family secret seasonings, will make you risk hurting yourself, sneaking them out the boiling pot. Once your taste buds start stimulating and your mouth start watering from all the different seasonings you’re tasting at one time, you’ll never want to stop eating until your stomach is basically begging you to stop feeding it. Food really is the way to someone’s heart because my Nana’s homemade Collard Greens sure snuck into mine. Food is like having a lifelong friend that you can always depend on to make you happy at a time where you feel like everything is bad.

Best Because…

What makes my Nana’s Collard Greens the best to me is the time she takes to make them just right. Not too salty, not over or under done, not crunchy…just right, like it was made by a beautiful food goddess that makes everything turn to gold when she touches it. You can taste the crushed red peppers, sazon seasoning, and the juices from the smoked meat that was put into it, seasoned salt and tangy butter. It leaves you wanting more.

How She Do That?
Step 1 she starts off by rinsing off the freshly grown collard greens
Step 2 she cuts off the stems and rinse the greens again
Step 2.5 she cuts the greens up
Step 3 she moves to a large pot and add canola oil and let the pork cook until it’s a golden brown color
Step 4 she removes the pork and let it cool, go to the pot for the greens, set to medium temperature and add red chili pepper flakes, black pepper and the collard greens
Step 5 you stir for a few minutes until the greens have softened up some, add chicken stock, water, and cover with a lid
Step 6 you let it cook for about 30 to 45 minutes
Step 7 you increase the heat for the food from medium to high once you take the lid off, add a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of hot sauce
Step 8 you can either sprinkle some ham hock meat on top of your finished product or pour it in the pot and mix it up to even it out with the savoring flavor of the greens

Finally, step 9, set temperature to low just so the collard greens can stay warm. After all that hard work, it’s time for you to sit down and enjoy your hard earned meal!!!