George's Birthday Dinner

Nana's Lasagna with Homemade Meatballs, Strawberry Salad, and Red Velvet Cake:

My husband is 1/4 Italian, and I am lucky enough to have inherited his grandmother's recipe for her famous lasagna. The recipe was not originally written down. One of my husband's aunts (his dad's, brother's wife) learned how to make it at his grandmother's side and wrote down the method. There is still no set "recipe," and I am sure that mine will never taste as delicious as Nana's did, but it is something that I try to make for my husband on special occasions. This past weekend, we celebrated his 35th birthday, so we had his grandmother's lasagna, meatballs, a salad, and a red velvet cake in keeping with tradition.

As I don't want to be the "outlaw" to spill family secrets, I will share this recipe from Food and Wine with you that looks similar to hers...some of the spices are slightly different and she used pork ribs as her meat base with meatballs served on the's the closest I could find:

Grandma's Lasagna

I had leftover sauce so I made these meatballs and cooked them in the crockpot on low for 8 hours in the sauce. I served them on the side just like his grandmother used to do:

Homemade Meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 eggs
3 oz Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 T parsley flakes
salt & pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)
3/4 tsp garlic powder.

Mix all ingredients together with hands in large bowl until thoroughly combined. Form into balls (makes about 12). Brown meatballs in batches and then simmer in sauce.

Red Velvet Cake:
The red velvet cake that I decided to make this year was out of a box (gasp!). I really didn't have the energy this past week to get it together to make a red velvet cake from scratch along with the lasagna and the meatballs. And you know what?!?! My husband declared that it was the most moist and delicious red velvet cake I'd ever made him. At first this made me so sad as I have tried many variations over our nine years of marriage, and then I decided that attitude was ridiculous because this means that I will be using boxed cake from now until forevermore.

I did make the cream cheese frosting from scratch...this ended up being my dessert for the evening. Here's the recipe I used from Food Network:

Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Cooking!

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