Quinoa Lasagna

I’m on a mission to morph my beloved casserole-dish meals, which have supplied dinner on many consecutive weeknights, into healthier versions.

So tonight I borrowed techniques from two favorites: “hamburger sour cream” casserole and ground turkey lasagna with yogurt bechamel. Quinoa replaced lasagna noodles, which actually cuts down on quite a bit of cooking time beyond the obvious health benefits.

First, brown 1+ pound of ground turkey and then add a large can of diced or crushed tomatoes and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa according to the package. Then, mix 1-2 cups of goat/coconut milk yogurt with freshly minced basil or chopped green onions. Stir into the quinoa.

Layer meat sauce followed by quinoa mixture in a casserole dish, and repeat. Optional: sprinkle top layer with shredded Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and allow top layer to get that nice golden color. Remove and serve.

Embarrassingly Easy Meatball Lasagna

One of my favorite things about the Sopranos was how they didn’t mess around when it came to food. Feisty Carmella always served up hearty pasta dishes for the family, even when she and Tony were on limited speaking terms. But I digress.

Tonight I was looking for something similarly no nonsense. So I pulled meatballs out of the fridge, and found marinara sauce and lasagna noodles in the cupboard. Bada boom! Basic ingredients for an easy Italian dinner.

The only curve ball was that I had 6 lasagna noodles. Hardly enough for a typical layered lasagna. So here’s what I did:

-Butter the pan; add three lasagna noodles.
-Pour a layer of marinara sauce, followed by pre-cooked meatballs and spinach leaves. Cover with sauce and a layer of shredded cheese.
-Ideally, here’s where you repeat another layer or two.
-Top with final layer of noodles, sauce and shredded cheese.
-Bake covered at 375 for 45 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Finish by baking uncovered until cheese is adequately melted.

David ate a Tony-size portion, so I’d say it was a success.

Lazy Lasagna

I came home to chaos in the kitchen, and had to quickly make dinner while keeping an eye on my cone-headed puppy. It took me two minutes to throw get this into the oven, so I could get back to juggling all the other balls in the air.

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Throw a couple of lasagna noodles in a buttered square casserole dish, add a layer of diced tomatoes and some parmesan; repeat twice, and pour almond milk over the final noodle layer until it was soaking. Finish with parmesan, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until noodles are swollen and tender.

Ingredients:

  • Butter to grease casserole dish
  • No-bake lasagna noodles
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • Shredded parmesan
  • Almond milk

Cleaning out the Fridge: Turkey Lasagna with Yogurt Bechamel

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Lasagna noodles saved dinner, once again. Hidden in the bowels in the cupboard, they’ve come to the rescue many times before, paired with unexpected partners like beans, goat cheese and butternut squash.

This time around, I used ground turkey, spinach and crushed tomatoes for the bolognese; and yogurt and almond milk to make a bechamel sauce, inspired by this eHow recipe. The sleeper hit? Cinnamon…

Turkey Lasagna with Yogurt Bechamel

In a large pan, sauté 1 chopped onion in 4 tbsp butter. Add fresh spinach by handfuls, and simmer on low.

In a separate nonstick pan, brown ground turkey. Add 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon and pepper; and 2 cans crushed/diced tomatoes. Reduce heat and bring to simmer. Add 1 cup almond milk and 1 tsp salt.

Combine turkey with spinach, simmer on low.

Meanwhile prep yogurt béchamel sauce:

In a sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together 4 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp white flour. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to bubble and turn a light golden color. Turn off heat.

Mix in 2 cups cold almond milk and 1 cup of yogurt. Stir constantly and turn a medium-high heat until the mixture starts to boil.

Add 1/3 cup of grated Gruyere cheese and 1/3 cup of Parmesan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a sprinkling of nutmeg and black pepper. Mix together until melted and remove from heat.

For the layering, I used no-bake lasagna noodles, in the following order:

Bolognese
Parmesan
Béchamel
Noodles
Bolognese
Parmesan
Béchamel
Noodles
Bolognese
Parmesan
Béchamel
Noodles
Béchamel
Parmesan

Bake covered with foil at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy the smell of cinnamon throughout the house, and every time you heat up the leftovers!

Cleaning out the fridge: goat cheese lasagna

In this installment of making dinner from scraps, I whip up a simple yet flavorful lasagna with goat cheese, gruyere and butternut squash pasta sauce. I took inspiration for the goat cheese sauce from Fine Cooking, the layering from Keep it Luce, and I used about half a bottle of Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce (which is delicious and dairy-free; I highly recommend it on gnocchi).

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Instructions:

To make the goat cheese sauce, I whisked 1/4 cup of flour in a sauce pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil (butter would have been better, but of course I didn’t have any). Next, I whisked in 3 cups of unsweetened almond milk and let it thicken for about 10 minutes or so. From there, I stirred in 5 oz. of goat cheese, 1/2 cup shredded gruyere, 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and a couple clicks from the pepper mill.

Meanwhile, I toasted raw walnuts at 375 degrees in the oven, and then crushed them under foil with a rolling pin.

Then came the construction of the lasagna, using no-bake lasagna noodles. I used a 9×13 pan, but my lasagna came out very thin, so better to go with a smaller pan or double the recipe.

First, I layered 1/3 of the goat cheese sauce, followed by noodles, and 1/2 the butternut squash pasta sauce. Next, I added another layer of goat cheese sauce, noodles, and the pasta sauce. Then, I added a layer of toasted walnuts. (Note: I was also conservative with only one layer of toasted walnuts, but next time I would double it.)

After one final layer of noodles, goat cheese sauce, and pasta sauce, I sprinkled a healthy dose of grated gruyere on top. I baked it in the oven, covered with foil, at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until bubbly. I finished off a few extra minutes without foil at the end to melt the gruyere.

Delicious, easy and David-approved!

My Week in Food

Pappardelle with frozen veggies and melted butter (pasta from Saporito Pasta Co. in Redwood City)

Carrot Soup, Baked Clams and Petrale Sole at Local Mission Eatery

Carrot Soup @ Local: Mission Eatery
Clams @ Local: Mission Eatery
Petrale Sole @ Local: Mission Eatery

Lasagna for Christmas Eve (first attempted in October)

California Woodie Omelet at Rodz Grille (Angels Camp)
California Woodie @ Rodz Grill

Seaweed Salad at Sushi Express
Seaweed salad @ Sushi Express

Veggie Lasagna

Tis the season for homemade lasagna. I made my very first batch on one of those “clean out the fridge” nights before vacation. Using a recipe for “Roasted Vegetable Lasagna” from Everyday Food, I modified the types of cheese and vegetables, using ricotta, mozzarella, diced tomatoes, spinach, peas and no-bake lasagna noodles.

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Tonight I made David-style lasagna (i.e. heavy on the dairy products) from an Epicurious recipe adapted with homemade bechamel sauce, spinach, mozzarella, and three kinds of cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage – hey I was desperate). Because I used a larger pan, the layers weren’t as thick. I’d recommend sticking to a 9×13 or 9×9 pan for a thicker bite. Still delicious though!

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Turns out there are endless variations of vegetarian lasagna. You can swap out the veggies, cheese and red/white sauce to your liking. It’s not hard, it just takes time.