Tag Archives: lasagna

Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Summertime throws my schedule so very out of whack. Up until the middle of last week, anytime we had Silas here, baseball practice ran until after 8, making dinner time somewhere around 8:30 or 9. Vincent’s lax summer schedule (as expected and predicted for any 16 year old) means half the time I don’t know if he’ll be here for meals, or  if I’m supposed to make sure there’s food on hand just in case, or if I don’t have to think about it at all.

We come and go, dependent on weather and shenanigans, last minute excursions, etc., and while I am all for unplanned/last minute trips or spontaneous decisions to be somewhere other that in the kitchen when I’d generally be cooking, it certainly makes any meal planning seem ridiculous.

Often I end up with the ingredients for dishes I’d planned on making, with half the people I intended on feeding. (Thankfully never ever the other way around, not enough food for the folks I need to feed!) I forget how this lasagna came into existence, but know it wasn’t what I initially planned on.

The thing about pastas in general, they’re satisfying all the way around here. They’re filling, plentiful, and often leave enough leftovers to get me off the hook for another meal or two the following day! (Hurray!)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Makes one very large lasagna.

Ingredients:
15 ounces whole fat ricotta cheese
4 ounces goat cheese,
6 ounces pesto (homemade or prepared)
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 large eggplant, peeled then sliced in 1/4-inch thick slabs
2 large red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced in large pieces
3 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
3/4 cup olive oil
juice and zest from one large lemon
1 tablespoon seasoning salt

24 ounces marinara sauce (of your preference)
4 cups low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound lasagna noodles (1 box, typically)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to boiling, then cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Work in batches if necessary. Lay the noodles in a single layer until needed, on a baking sheet drizzled with the two tablespoons of oil.

In a food processor or high power blender, combine the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, pesto, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper, until well combined. Fold in spinach and parmesan cheese. Set aside until needed.

Whisk together the 3/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and seasoning salt. Brush the eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini with the mixture on both sides. Using either an outdoor grill or indoor grill, work in batches to grill the vegetables until nicely browed/charred. Set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Bring a large pot of water to boiling, then cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Work in batches if necessary. Place the cooked noodles on a baking sheet.

To put the lasagna together, spread the remaining two tablespoons of oil along the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spoon a half cup of sauce all over the bottom of the pan. Arrange a layer of noodles over the sauce, overlapping the edges by about 1/4-inch. Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles, followed by the grilled peppers. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining marinara sauce over the peppers, followed by 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture, then a layer of zucchini, another 1/3 of the sauce, the eggplant, and another 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, followed by the remaining sauce, then the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of grated parmesan over the mozzarella.

Line a large baking sheet with foil, then place the lasagna dish on top, covering it tightly with foil another sheet of foil that has been brushed with oil. Bake the lasagna on the center rack in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Cut the lasagna and serve.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Creamy Pesto Chik’n Lasagna with Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomato Ricotta

Forbidden Rice Blog | Creamy Pesto Chik'n Lasagna with Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomato Ricotta

For as long as I can remember, my mom has always had an ever-growing collection of cookbooks. The extensive collection was (and probably still is) filled with local Hawai’i recipe books, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese cookbooks up the wa-zoo. There were books whose covers were aged, pages stained with various ingredients from when she cooked those particular recipes. When we went to the library, she almost immediately went to the cookbook section to scope out new books as well (a trait I have happily, apparently, inherited).

One of the cookbooks I lovingly recall is the original Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, first published in the 1970’s.  The book was a gift to my parents when they married, from my grandparents. The original book contains handwritten recipes, colorless, hand-drawn pictures. (There’s a newer version of this cookbook, where color has been added and many of the recipes have been slightly altered.)

My mom had a handful of staple recipes she’d use from the Moosewood Cookbook. The pasta al cavolfiore (or spaghetti with cauliflower) was probably my most frequent request. The broccoli mushroom noodle casserole was another go-to favorite around our house. However, my top favorite recipe — the one I’d get most excited about when I saw the marinara cooking on the stove, and the cookbook laid out on the kitchen counter, was the vegetable lasagna.

A good lasagna is no small feat.  I think every aspect needs to be flavorful, but not so much that one part of the lasagna overpowers another layer of flavor. The following lasagna isn’t one you’ll find in the beloved Moosewood, but it’s a good one! This pesto lasagna is creamy, very filling and most definitely doesn’t lack in flavor.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Creamy Pesto Chik'n Lasagna with Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomato Ricotta

Creamy Pesto Chik’n Lasagna with Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomato Ricotta

Yields 6-10 servings.

Ingredients:
1- 16 ounce box lasagna noodles
4 ounces butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces prepared basil pesto
1 1/2 cups No-Chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
18 ounces Quorn Chik’n Tenders
1- 19.75 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts
16 ounces whole milk ricotta
2 eggs, beaten
8 ounces sun dried tomatoes, julienned
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Forbidden Rice Blog | Creamy Pesto Chik'n Lasagna with Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomato Ricotta

Directions:
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Working batches, cook the lasagna noodles until they are soft and pliable but not limp, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the pasta from the boiling water and lay flat on a sheet tray to cool. Set aside until needed.

Prepare the sauce: In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until a slight paste forms. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the pesto, broth, milk and cream. Occasionally stir until the sauce thickens (6-8 minutes). Whisk in the one teaspoon of granulated garlic, teaspoon of salt, and half teaspoon of pepper. Reduce heat to low until the sauce is needed.

Prepare the Chik’n: In a medium pan, heat the 1/4-cup of olive oil over medium-high. Add in the shallots and minced garlic, then sauté until the shallots soften (3-4 minutes). Add the Quorn Chik’n Tenders and artichoke hearts. Sauté until the tenders are golden brown.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Creamy Pesto Chik'n Lasagna with Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomato Ricotta

Prepare the ricotta: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, sun dried tomatoes, teaspoon of salt, parmesan cheese, tablespoon of dried thyme and the tablespoon of granulated garlic. Stir until well combined.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Assemble the lasagna: In the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch deep-dish baking dish, add a couple ladlefuls of sauce and spread out in an even layer. Arrange a layer of the lasagna noodles to completely cover the sauce (4 noodles should work).

Next, add half of the tomato-ricotta mixture, spreading it over the layer of noodles. Add half of the Chik’n over the ricotta layer. Add 1/3 of the sauce over the Chik’n, followed by 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Repeat these layers again, then add one more layer of noodles, followed by the remaining sauce, then the remaining mozzarella.

Lightly oil a sheet of foil, then cover the lasagna, oil-side over the cheese. Place the whole pan on a baking sheet (in case of overflow). Bake the lasagna for 1 hour and 15 minutes, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking. Cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Quorn

 

 

Green Machine Vegetarian Lasagna

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Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with picky eaters. It isn’t because my cooking is usually, or has always been, good. When I first met my husband, he did the cooking for us. And there were some dang good meals in there, many times. The kids will warn you now, though, if a recipe is deemed “Papa’s Special _________” immediately pretend like you already have dinner plans. I cooked over-done oatmeal. Who does that, really? I made pancakes that were raw in the center and very crisp on the edges. Hows about some overly mashed mashed potatoes, where the consistency resembles glue rather than fluffy potatoes? I’m glad all these things are history, that I’ve learned some things in the last 6 years.

Although picky eaters isn’t an issue, sometimes simply stating certain vegetable names leaves one, if not both, of the kids hesitant about the meal to come. I’ve learned to come up with recipes where the questionable vegetables can be masked, but are still very present. I really enjoy lasagna. That probably goes  right alongside my overwhelming desire to eat pasta every single day. Lasagna is a super easy meal to throw a LOT of veggies into, deliciously. The thing is, lasagnas take a little bit of work, despite them being a good vehicle for transporting lots of veggies to your family. There are various elements: the sauce, the filling, the layering, the pasta-cooking, the baking… my favorite part: the eating. And a good, massively layered up lasagna, it can feed you for DAYS.

This lasagna began as an experiment. I had a ton of fresh-picked broccoli out of the garden and it needed to go somewhere quick. Silas  will flat out tell me, “I’m not hungry” if broccoli is at the forefront of dinner. So I threw it in the food processor, along with other greens and ricotta, and came up with a lasagna filling that was hearty and good tasting. And beautifully green.  The following recipe has a lot of steps, but they aren’t so terrible. I suggest reading through them all once before putting the lasagna together; it’ll make it easier to follow along as you cook.

greenmachinelasagna2

Green Machine Vegetarian Lasagna

Makes one large lasagna.

Ingredients:

15 oz. whole fat ricotta cheese
5 green onions
6 oz. raw spinach
1 poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed
2 heaping cups fresh, raw broccoli florets
1½ cups fresh basil, packed
5 cloves garlic
¼ cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

¼ cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green zucchini, halved lengthwise then cut in half-moons (about 1/8-inch thick)
1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise, cut into half-moons (also 1/8-inch thick)
1 tsp. dried oregano
¾ tsp. ground coriander
salt and pepper

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. red chili flakes
1 cup pesto (I used this sauce)
3 cups whole milk
pinch of fresh nutmeg
¼ cups grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

4 cups low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound lasagna noodles (1 box, typically)
2 tbsp. olive oil

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375° F. Bring a large pot of water to boiling, then cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Work in batches if necessary. Run the cooked noodles under cold water before transferring to a baking sheet, laying the noodles in a single layer until needed.

In a food processor or high power blender, combine the ricotta cheese, green onion, spinach, poblano pepper, broccoli, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed. Set the mixture aside.

In a frying pan, heat the ¼ cup of oil. Add the diced onion and garlic, cooking over medium-high heat until the onions are nearly translucent. Add the zucchini, squash, oregano, coriander. Saute until the zucchini is tender (10-15 minutes). Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Set the mixture aside until needed.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth, once the butter has completely melted. Stit in the oregano, chili flakes, and pesto, again until smooth. Gradually add in the milk, still over medium heat, whisking continuously (to prevent lumps from forming). Continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg and parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

To put the lasagna together, spread the remaining two tablespoons of oil along the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spoon a ½-cup of sauce all over the bottom of the pan. Arrange a layer of noodles over the sauce, overlapping the edges by about ¼-inch. Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles, followed by half of the zucchini. Spoon ⅓ of the pesto sauce over the zucchini, followed by ⅓ of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture, then the remaining zucchini, ⅓ of the pesto sauce, then ⅓ of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, followed by the remaining pesto sauce, then the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle the ¼ cup of grated parmesan over the mozzarella.

Line a large baking sheet with foil, then place the lasagna dish on top, covering it tightly with foil. Bake the lasagna on the center rack in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Cut the lasagna and serve.

greenmachinelasagna

greenmachinelasagna3

Cheesy Skillet Lasagna with Vegetarian “Sausage”

I’m learning to enjoy grocery shopping more, although I am still fully capable of running into the store, getting exactly what I need in both lightning speed and robot fashion. I apologize to folks I know and still blatantly walk past in this manner; it’s not out of rudeness or little desire to stop and chat, but rather my goal to spend no more than 5 minutes in the grocery store.

Meal planning is not exactly (okay, not at all) my area of expertise. These two things go hand in hand. See, once upon a time I would plan meals for the week, which meant one long shopping trip getting everything I’d need for all these meals. Most people would probably aim to do that. I prefer the day to day wing-it method. Plus being able to make quick stops for what I need means I get my ingredients fresh and as needed, rather than letting them hang out in the fridge for a few days.

However, I’m discovering that my lack of planning leaves more days where I don’t know what I’ll be making for dinner even as it approaches. I made a loaf of sourdough bread the other night and had no idea what I would make to go with it. So I did what any normal person in this high tech age would do: I solicited the advice of my Facebook friends. While there were some fabulous ideas (tortilla soup, cheese soufflé, cioppino, chili, stew…) each of these things required a trip to the grocery store. Yikes. I raided the pantry and fridge instead and made a lazy girl lasagna.

While I am a full believer in the beauty of a homemade lasagna (seriously), it takes time. Time making various components that all add flavor, then the time it takes to layer everything, not to mention the time spent baking the damn thing. Sometimes I don’t want dinner to take a few hours to prepare. This skillet lasagna is perfect for that. It took the same amount of time to prepare that it took a 6 year old boy to read two books and do some math homework. Fully doable on a busy mid-week night. Or simply because it tastes good. :)

While this lasagna was made as a vegetarian meal, using vegan “sausage” (I prefer Field Roast’s vegan grain sausage), real Italian sausage (or whatever variety you prefer) is entirely okay as a carnivorous substitution. Simply make sure it’s cooked all the way through before adding your artichoke hearts and tomatoes to the sauce. Lasagna has never been more simple or delicious.

 

Vegetarian Skillet Lasagna

Ingredients:

10 lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces, cooked according to the package directions

1 tbsp. olive oil
½ a medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. sea salt
¾ tsp. ground black pepper
3 tsp. sun-dried tomato pesto
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1- 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 ½ oz. fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups grated mozzarella
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 apple sage Field Roast sausages, cut in half lengthwise then in ¼” thick pieces

Directions:

In a large oven-proof skillet (I used a 12-inch stainless steel pan), heat the oil over medium-high. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add in the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and pesto. Stir to combine everything well, cooking for 1-2 minutes.

Add in the Field Roast sausages, cooking for 5-6 minutes until the sausage is lightly browned. While the sausage is cooking, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Add in the artichoke hearts and canned tomatoes, stirring well. Gently fold in the spinach in. Add the noodles in a few at a time, stirring to coat each additional noodle with some of the sauce. Stir in ½ a cup of the grated mozzarella and the parmesan cheese. Evenly arrange the noodles in your pan, then top with the remaining mozzarella.

Place the pan in your preheated oven until the top layer of mozzarella is melted to your liking. Serve hot.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

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My husband is the burrito king. I don’t know how, but he has burrito-truck/authentic taqueria radar. We can be driving down the freeway or through a town we’ve never been to, and somehow he manages to find the best burritos. We eat a lot of Mexican-influenced meals. I am not complaining, because the truth is I could happily eat a good burrito every day. In the moments I don’t want Mexican food, I’m usually craving Italian goodness, or sushi, or weird things like massive amounts of spinach cooked in garlic and tamari. If I could, without regret, eat a burrito for breakfast/lunch, then some kind of pasta for dinner every day, my stomach would thank me.

I’ve made this lasagna a couple times now and love the odd combination of sweet butternut squash and the savory taste of the basil white sauce, and cheese. Lasagna always takes a little bit of time to prepare, especially when you’re making everything from scratch, but it’s so worth it. The original recipe is from Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network. After making her recipe to a T, I decided I wanted more flavor in the sauce, as well as more ginger-bite in the squash (thus more cookies, and ginger ones, at that). The squash puree makes this lasagna pretty dense, but that also means it’s filling. It’s delicious as leftovers, too.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2½ lbs. butternut squash, peeled + cut into 1”cubes
¾ cup water
5 ginger cookies*
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. granulated garlic
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
3½ cups whole milk
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
1 cup fresh basil, loosely packed
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
15 lasagna noodles

* The original recipe calls for Italian amaretti cookies, which are hard, crispy cookies similar to a macaroon, made from ground almonds. I haven’t been able to find amaretti cookies, and while I’ve read you can replace them with graham crackers, almond biscotti, or macaroons, I prefer ginger cookies. Pamela’s Spicy Ginger Cookies with Crystallized Ginger, to be exact. 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan (or lasagna baking dish if you’ve got one). Combine the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses together in a bowl, then set aside. Boil the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, then set aside until you’re ready to put the lasagna together.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash, turning to coat in the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the water to your skillet. Cover the pan and simmer over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender. Allow the squash to cool slightly, then transfer to your food processor or high-power blender. Add the ginger cookies and blend until the mixture is smooth. Taste, then add more salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside.

Melt the butter over medium heat, in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk in the flour, granulated garlic, onion powder, dried basil, and dried oregano. Continue whisking for about 1 minute, then whisk in your milk. Allow the mixture to come to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to simmering until the sauce thickens (5 or so minutes). Whisk in the nutmeg. Pour half of the sauce into your blender or food processor along with the 1 cup of fresh basil. Blend until smooth, then pour the mixture back into your saucepan and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Spread about ½ a cup of the basil-white sauce in your baking dish. Arrange 5 of the lasagna noodles on the bottom of your pan, slightly overlapping them (by approximately a ½-inch). Spread one third of the squash puree over the noodles, then one third of the sauce, then one third of the mozzarella/parmesan cheese mixture. Layer 5 more noodles, then one third of the squash, a third of the cheese blend. Add 5 more noodles, the last of your squash puree, then the last of your sauce. Reserve the remaining cheese for later.

Tightly cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Uncover, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Continue baking the lasagna uncovered, until the top is golden brown (15-20 minutes). Let the lasagna stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!