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.