Birthday Dinner for our 19 year old Granddaughter. Alfredo, Lazagna, French Bread, Cake, and more..

Emily asked me to make the these dishes for her birthday dinner last weekend for this "Sunday's Dinner" and I have it about wrapped up.  I made her and Infinity Scarf with a little bit of cash tucked into it and found a pretty box and made a silk bow for her gift.  Here is the link to make the scarf:

She wanted pasta with Alfredo sauce, salad and home made ranch dressing, home made bread, my 3 layer devils food cake and strawberries.  Since everyone does not like Alfredo I also made my version of Old School Lasagna.

To tell you the truth I got so caught up in getting this dinner for 10 on the table I didn't get half of the photos taken that I should have and it is basically all gone so there is not even enough to make up a pretty plate.  But it did turn out beautifully and I will share the recipes and just be a bit light on photos!

I will use these all again as my "standards" because they turned out perfectly!

Ingredients for 2 loaves French Bread:

5 1/2 t. instant yeast
5 T. sugar
2 C. warm water 110-115 degrees F.
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
5 C. bread flour
1/4 C. cornmeal
1 egg yolk+1 T. water beaten

Using an electric mixer and dough hook add the yeast. sugar, and warm water to the bowl and mix 2 minutes to dissolve.  Add the salt and flour turning the mixer to low until the dough starts to come together.  Turn the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough comes away from the bowl and crawls up the dough hook.

Take a large heavy glass bowl and fill with hot water. Dump the water, dry the bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of soft butter or olive oil and grease it entirely.  Place the ball of dough into the warm buttered bowl and turn once to coat all sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a quiet place until doubled in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

When doubled heavily flour the work surface.  Divide the dough in half.  Pat the first half into a 3/4" rectangle and roll tightly starting on the short side and tuck under the ends.  Spread half of the cornmeal on the baking sheet and place the formed loaf atop.  Repeat for the second portion of dough and place it 3" from the first loaf atop the bed of cornmeal.  Sprinkle the remaining cornmeal between and next to the loaves.  Cover the loaves with a clean cloth and set to raise until doubled, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a large flat oven proof pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and fill with water.  I use a cast iron skillet and 1 quart of water.

When the dough has risen cut slashes with a sharp knife and brush loaves with the egg and water mixture.

Bake 45 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven, cool, slice, and serve.  Yield 2 loaves.

I ALWAYS make my lasagna the night before and refrigerate covered with plastic wrap overnight.
Ingredients for Old School Lasagna:

1 chopped onion
2 T. olive oil
5 cloves diced garlic
1/2 C. chopped fresh basil
1 large jar prepared red sauce
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds ground round

salt pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound Parmesan cheese
1 pound lasagna noodles cooked and drained

Add  the olive oil to a large kettle and saute the onion until tender, add the garlic and ground round and brown.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the red sauce, diced tomatoes, and basil and simmer 20 minutes.

Cover the bottom of a 9" x13' deep baking dish with sauce.  Add a layer of 4 noodles overlapping.  Add a layer of sauce and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.  Sliced or shredded. Then a 1/3 of the Parmesan.  Repeat noodles, sauce, and cheese until you complete 3 layers ending with the cheese.  Refrigerate overnight covered with plastic wrap.

Remove plastic and tent with foil and bake 1 hour 15 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven .  Let rest 10-15 minutes before cutting.

Yield 12 servings.

Ingredients for Alfredo Sauce:

1 1//2 C. whole milk
1 1/2 C. heavy cream
1 C. shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese, (I like half and half.)
1/2 t. salt
5 egg yolks

Heat the milk and cream to a simmer but do not boil.  Turn off the heat.  Whisk in the cheese.  Beat the egg yolks with a fork until smooth and add 2-3 T. of the hot cream and mix well, add 2 more T. cream to temper the yolks then stir the yolk cream mixture back into the hot cream.  Turn the heat back on low and bring back to a simmer.  Season to taste and let cool a bit to thicken.  Pour over 1 pound of hot, drained, cooked pasta and serve.   Yield 4-6 servings.

The 3 layer cake is at this link:

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