Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spinach Lasagna

I am sure you've heard the saying "She can't leave well enough alone."


Well, that statement was written about me. 

Take for example, my outfit choices.  I'll start off on the right foot with classic pieces like a good pair of jeans and a tailored oxford shirt, but then I'll pile on enough jewelry to make Mr. "T" feel inadequate, add in a pair of 5 inch neon stilettos (come on, they are so fun), grab my duffel bag of a purse and walk out the door looking like a hot mess.


Another case in point, the messy bun, which cannot for the life of me accomplish despite my 3,782 failed attempts.    The top knot is everywhere right now.  It's so effortlessly chic and glamorous - pretty much everything I'm not.  Every single time I try to create a perfect disheveled top knot, I pull and loosen and adjust the bun until its just a sad, unfortunate, lopsided, tangled mess. 

This statement also rings true with my cooking; although that's the one area in my life where not leaving well enough alone can actually be a good thing.  I never make a dish exactly the same.  I'm constantly adding or subtracting ingredients or adjusting quantities depending on my tastes or what I have available in the kitchen.

Which is exactly how this lasagna recipe came about.  Lasagna is one of my favorites; it's the ultimate comfort food.    I wanted to create a go-to, easy to make, lightened up version with vegetables.  So I started testing various brands of noodles and adding various cheese combinations.  I made it with zucchini ribbons and roasted vegetables in place of the spinach.  I even made it once without the noodles (news flash, that's not lasagna).  Finally, I came up with this recipe and I have not altered it since.



Spinach Lasagna:
Yield:  Serves 8 (either two dishes that each serve 4, or one dish that serves 8)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 c. of The Absolute Best Bolognese Sauce (recipe here)*
1 lb. ground beef (I used Kirkland Signature Ground Beef - I have a Costco obsession)
1 box whole wheat no-boil lasagna noodles (I used Delallo)
16 oz. fat free Ricotta cheese
2 10 oz. boxes of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze out excess liquid)
1 egg
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning (Costco)
1 tsp. garlic powder (Costco)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried basil (Fresh is not yet available at Nitty Gritty Nursery and Edible Garden)
1/2-1 tsp. of ground pepper.
1/4 c. Parmesan (Costco)
2-3 c. mozzarella (Costco)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add ground beef and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder.  Cook until no longer pink.  Add Bolognese and heat over medium heat until the Bolognese sauce is warm, reduce heat to low.  In the meantime add ricotta, egg, Italian seasoning and basil to a bowl and mix well.  To assemble lasagna, in either two greased 8x8 glass casserole dishes or one greased 9x12 casserole dish, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of the dish (if you are using two 8x8, about one-fourth of the meat sauce in each dish; if using one 9x12, one half of the meat sauce).  Cover meat sauce with one layer of the lasagna noodles (I do not overlap noodles, and I break noodles where necessary to just cover the surface area to reduce carbs).  Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture over top (again,  if you are using two 8x8, about a one-fourth of the ricotta mixture in each dish; if using  one 9x12, one half of the ricotta mixture).  Top ricotta mixture with spinach (again,  if you are using two 8x8, about a one-fourth of the spinach in each dish; if using  one 9x12, one half of the spinach).   Top spinach with mozzarella (again,  if you are using two 8x8, about a one-fourth of the mozzarella in each dish; if using  one 9x12, one half of the mozzarella).  Repeat layers one more time.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil an bake for 30 more minutes until brown and bubbly.  If you made two 8x8, you can cover one of them with plastic wrap and foil and freeze for a quick easy dinner another night. Just thaw lasagna in fridge the night before and cook according to instructions.  


* As I mentioned in the Bolognese post, I freeze the extra Bolognese I make in approximately 2 c. portions in quart Ziploc bags.  When I make the lasagna, I just pull a bag out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before to thaw.

On another note, can you tell I'm slightly infatuated with Costco??

2 comments:

  1. This looks great! Just featured this in my blogpost here: http://infinitelittlepleasures.blogspot.com/2013/04/springing-for-spinach.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Nicole! I can vouch that it's as good at it is easy.

      April

      Delete

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