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 lasagna noodles 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*
Years ago, I followed my dreams and went to culinary school. I went to culinary school to continue the dream that my mother and I always shared: to open up a deli or cafe somewhere and call it our own. Whether that cafe will ever open is still up in the air...but my cooking and my love for food I owe to my mother...and in a way this blog is dedicated to her...I only hope that I can inspire other women with this blog the way my mother inspired me...With her love for food passed onto me, I quickly became a food snob after culinary school. Today, a house, a husband' (and his stomach),and an up and coming business keeps me busy enough without all my gourmet concoctions! But, no matter how busy I am, I still go to my kitchen and cook to retain my sanity. Prehaps this is a way I connect to my mother...but cooking is the only thing that truely soothes my soul. My recent transformation has led me to belive that sometimes you just have to Keep It Simple Stupid...and Cook!
I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. ~Woody Allen
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~Mark Twain
Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want. ~Gael Greene
Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are. ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
And, of course, the funniest food of all, kumquats. ~George Carlin
Avoid fruit and nuts. You are what you eat. ~Jim Davis
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~George Miller
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~Harriet van Horne
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson
I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian. ~Anonymous
But those aren't the flavors. That'd make too much sense. Apple and pear, according to Dr. Phil, are body types the bars are made for. Hey, I've got some advice. If you look like an apple or a pear, eat an apple or a pear! [On Dr. Phil's energy bars. ~Lewis Black