I love lasagna. Actually, I love pasta in general which is funny given my upbringing. Mom is good with trying new things and she's a fan of traditional lasagna as well. Dad, not so much. He'll eat it. But then he'll complain about it.
What Dad does like is mac and cheese. Unfortunately, the cheese for him is Velveeta, which I think is pretty much glue. I'll use it to appease him, but I make a sauce with other dairy products and some spices to make is palatable.
So, that's the back story.
I make several different varieties of lasagna. What they all have in common is that they are quick and easy to prep, bake in the oven (so I can prep and walk away), and are anything but bland.
This one's no exception. But, it definitely does NOT have an Italian flavor.
large elbow macaroni noodles
shredded cheese, colby jack blend
BBQ pulled pork
maybe a little additional BBQ sauce
Notice that I did not specify amounts. I usually make a small lasagna so use about one cup of each of these. You adjust as needed.
Prep the macaroni as directed on the package then drain.
Thoroughly blend the ricotta cheese and the sour cream. I sometimes add seasoning even some onion and peppers to this, depending on who's going to be eating.
Warm the pulled pork on the stove top. This will speed the baking.
Thoroughly spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, bottom and sides. Then sprinkle shredded cheese on the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover. Add a layer of the macaroni, about half of what you've prepped. Again, distribute evenly. Add the pulled pork. (I find that it's best to put small dollops and pat them down rather than try to spread the pork. Another layer of macaroni noodles. Then dollop on the ricotta cheese mixture. Finish with the remaining shredded cheese.
Bake in a hot oven (400F) for 20 to 30 minutes.
Allow to cool about 10 minutes to facilitate cutting and serving. (I slice this like a meat loaf with a good metal spatula. I get 6 slices per loaf so my family gets 2 meal out of this.)
I usually serve with some fresh hot Italian bread.
As an afterward, Dad ate this for two meals with no complaints. AND, there's not a bit of Velveeta in it!
Cooking as Creativity
Cooking can be a creative act. At the very least, unless you merely heat something up, it is an act of MAKING and gratifying as such. I cook as often as I can. Sometimes, though seldom, I work directly from a recipe; this is MAKING. Sometimes, I work totally from "instinct" using what I have on hand, considering the likes and dislikes of my family, thinking about what I'm hungry for, and coming up with something totally unique; this is CREATING. More often, it's something in between working with memories of recipes and the restrictions of the pantry. This last is less creative, but still qualifies. At either end of the spectrum, cooking can and should be fun and gratifying. And you get to eat the results!