Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Between last week and this week I have been all screwed up with my meals! Because of the short weeks, it's tough to figure out what I should make for the week to eat. I was craving pasta like crazy, but wanted to keep it healthy. So I decided to go for lots of veggies and less pasta. I took the help where I could get it and used canned marinara sauce from Trader Joes, it tastes really great and has no additives in it. I had some frozen spinach and some of Trader Joes roasted eggplant and zucchini left over in the freezer. I cleared out some veggies I had in the fridge and roasted them up in the oven. I used Sargento 6 Cheese Blend with Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano and Asiago. I did not have to use much and because of the Asiago and Parmesan it formed a beautiful crust on top.
It was actually very easy to eat this without feeling guilty! Typically I won't eat lasagna because it is loaded with fat and calories. But with this one, I did not put a thick coat of cheese on top and there was more veggies than pasta. I did use a lot of ricotta but that's a whey protein which is actually very good for you! It's also a really great way to get picky kids or a picky fiance', who doesn't like veggies, to eat plenty of vegetables, without them knowing it!
I gave it to him for lunch the next day and he called me up and said,
"Look babe, I expect a lot out of you with your cooking, but this was top notch! Restaurant quality! I don't even like lasagna! But this yum!"
To that I replied, "Well good, I'm glad that my $50,000 education didn't go to waste and I could still make restaurant quality lasagna!"
Roasted Veggie Lasagna
1 red onion, cut into large wedges
1 yellow pepper, cut into large chunks
1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
1/2 a package of Trader Joe's Grigliato Misto, or roast your own eggplant and zucchini
10 oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
1 jar of marinara, store bought or homemade
12 oz ricotta cheese
1 bag of shredded cheese, about 2 cups
1 table spoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place cut up onion and peppers onto a sheet pan coated with olive oil and seasoning. Roast at 450 degrees until lightly brown in color, about 20-25 minutes.
2. Take vegetables out of oven and place in the freezer to cool them quickly. You don't need them cold, just cool enough to handle with your hands.
3. Cut up the roasted veggies into small pieces, including zucchini and eggplant. This is no place to get exact with your knife skills, just run your knife quickly through all the veggies.
4. Toss all roasted veggies with garlic and basil and preheat your oven to 350-degrees.
5. Take a 9X9 pan and coat it with pan spray.
6. Coat the bottom with a layer of marinara sauce.
7. Put a layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom. *A lot of stores now carry the lasagna noodles that don't need to be precooked in water. They are much easier to handle when they are not cooked and make it a much faster process.*
8. Place a layer of ricotta on top of the noodles. It does not need to be perfect, just use your hands to crumble it up, it will melt in the oven anyhow.
9. Place a nice layer of roasted veggies and spinach on top of ricotta. Don't be shy with the veggies.
10. Sprinkle an even layer of shredded cheese on top.
11. Repeat this until you get to the top.
12. Place in the oven, until the top gets brown in color, about 45 minutes.
*This lasagna is unique because of the crust formed on top from the cheese combination. Most other lasagnas tend to be gooey on top. This one has a really great combination of both gooey in the middle and crispy on top*