Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tales of an imposter cook. Plus, can you guess the celeb next to me?

I'm not sure if I've ever told you guys this but I am not big on cooking. I guess I could blame my mom, who was known to put cottage cheese and whole wheat bread on the table and consider it DIY dinner, but the truth is I'd rather spend my time doing other things with the kids. I do like baking, and on weekends I'll make the occasional stir fry, but I am not that mom who whips up dinner for the kids every single night. I am that mom who orders pizza or gets takeout or nukes frozen stuff. I am that mom who says, "Honey, wanna go out?"

So I got a little nervous when I was invited to a Ragu event in New York and they asked us to bring a recipe involving a Ragu product. Because my favorite recipe involving a Ragu product is boil pasta, dump on sauce. That didn't seem all that impressive, so I started searching the web and found an interesting turkey chili recipe from Cook's involving sauce but then I decided against plagiarism and instead begged our babysitter to come up with a recipe and she said, "How about pasta wheels with sauce?" at which point I gave up.

The afternoon was really fun and nobody made me hand over a recipe, phew. Any event where you get to eat lasagna for lunch is a good event, in my book. I learned that Ragu has a full serving of veggies in every half cup of sauce, which was heartening to hear because my kids down so much of Ragu Organic it probably runs in their veins.

Doesn't this column look cool? It might be a fun weekend project to make the kids redecorate our kitchen in pasta.

Then I got all nervous again because after lunch one activity was to cook with a Ragu test kitchen chef and I was all, "Uh-oh, they are for sure going to find out I can't cook and toss me out like a limp noodle." But here's the best part: We made No Boiling Lasagna. I know, it's not like lasagna is complicated but this one was ridiculously easy because you don't have to cook the noodles.

I partnered with the very sweet Nirasha from Mommy Niri. I mixed, she assembled. I am sure I impressed her with my mixing abilities. When the chef asked us to add the final layer sauce, I dumped almost the whole jar on and she said, "Oh, that's a lot of sauce!" but aside from that I think I pretty much convinced her that I just might be the next Rachael Ray.

The highlight of the day, aside from realizing I am amazingly talented at making lasagna for dummies, was getting to hear this celeb talk about feeding her kids healthy food. Can you guess who it is? I pretty much rendered her speechless with my culinary skills.

Word, Ragu is holding a Recipe for a Good Start contest now through March 31. Just submit an original, non-plagiarized recipe involving Ragu sauce and a little blurb with your tips for giving kids a good start in life; the grand prize winner gets a $5000 scholarship for his or her kid.

All in all, it was an interesting event and I loved that they donated the lasagnas we made to food pantries; hopefully mine and Niri's went to someone who likes extra sauce. I also enjoyed chatting with bona fide foodie Vanessa from Chefdruck Musings and the dynamic Colleen from Classy Mommy.

So, are you guys good cooks? And if so, do you deliver?

Requisite note: I received a bag from Ragu at the event with pasta, sauce and a cooking dish but no personal chef was in there, just so you know. All opinions here are my own. No pasta was harmed in the writing of this post.


  1. Sounds fun and you got to hang out with some of my favorite peeps. Now that you've mastered lasagna, try a passover version where you substitute matzvah boards for noodles. Rinse them lightly first to add moisture. Always a hit in my house; seriously, you cannot tell it's matzah!

  2. I love pasta and lasagne is my favourite meal. Sounds like it was a fun day:) Jen.

  3. OMG is that MOLLY!?!?!?!?! Why didn't you call me!?!?!?!?

  4. Not telling who it is till end of day. Keep those guesses coming! And, yes, it really was a fun event.

  5. Looks like you had a great time! The event sounded really fun and exciting. I am so happy you got to be a part of it. Oh, and send me a piece of lasagna!

  6. Oh -- there's our Molly! Didn't we all want to be her?! How cool! Fun fact to know and tell: I went to high school with one of her cousins (he was kind of a pothead, as I recall...). Have a great day! :)

  7. Based on the fact that you saved the photo as "with Molly R," I can only guess Molly Ringwald and hope I'm right! ;)

  8. I cannot for the life of me guess who that is!!!

    Looks like a fun day, have you tried the boilless lasagna at home yet?


  9. I clicked on the photo this time to enlarge it. Definitely Molly Ringwald. Definitely!

  10. "You see us as you want to see us,in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see: a star of John Hughes films and a non-cooking blogstar. Correct?" --quote from the Ragu Dinner Club.

  11. Molly Ringwald!! fun! I absolutely LOVE to cook, one of my favorite things to do..besides eat what I cook :P Unfortunately, I've been told I'm too 'fancy' family would rather just have chicken nuggets and fries!

    Looks like you had a great time :)

  12. OK, there goes my little guessing game that wasn't. Next: Can you guess which celebrity people always tell me I look like?

    a) Gisele
    b) Beyonce
    c) Scarlett Johansson
    d) All of the above

  13. Seriously whoever got that dish we made is the luckiest, all that yum sauce.

    I would partner with you anytime.

    @Kim I have to check that out!

  14. Let me put it this way, when I first started living in a community house we took turns making dinner, within a few weeks there was no "schedule" or "taking turns." It turned into "Sarah, I need help." "Sarah, can you manage this?" "Why don't WE make...."

    Now there are probably a few reasons why we gave up on the schedule, one of them being me.

    I would post about the time "I" made stir fry, but I'd look like an idiot.

    Microwaving = cooking. If it required effort, no matter the amount, it's cooking.

  15. Fantastic meeting you! Hope to see you at an event soon. And I am soooo not a cook. Working on it with babysteps. Half the time my idea of dinner is often PBJ for the kids so even Ragu and Pasta is a big deal for me. What a fun day.

  16. Ah, Sixteen Candles will always be one of my favorites. I can cook and actually enjoy it a little but I don't like messes so I don't cook much. The best easy lasagna recipe is on the back of the "Skinner" lasagna noodles box. It doesn't require you to cook the noodles either- it is the only way to go!

  17. Wow, you get to do the most fun things!

    I am NOT a good cook. I often wonder if I could be if I enjoyed cooking.

    BUT fact is I don't. I loathe it. It could partly be because my favourite meals are the most simple - a simple steak and a salad would win over any complicated dish for me.

    I am lucky that my boys have their Aunty J on hand to cook their meals. Luckily they love her Indonesian cooking.

  18. I had so much fun hanging out with you... walking all over the City on such a sunny day. I love your blog and your voice!

    Can't believe you were lucky enough to get a shot with the star of the lunch. All I have is a shot of her speaking. But I did get a shot of Marcella and because I'm such a foodie, that was just as exciting for me.

  19. Yay, Ellen pictures! I'm sorry, I don't know your celeb friend, but I'm sure she's very nice.

    I should ask my MIL for a recipe I can plagarise--I swear the woman can make food out of nothing.


Thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...