Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh wait -- that's already vegetarian! Part 1

This weekend, we enjoyed some unnaturally cool weather. Eerily cool. So what's a girl to do? Well, I actually went to brunch at Melt again and tried a new dish (too bad I didn't bring my camera! I had the Hashville Plate, with tempeh hash and okra garnish!)

Correct answer: Turn on the oven!

We made two dishes that are normally reserved for wintertime when the hour-long bake doesn't turn the house into a furnace. Up first? Lasagna!

Mmm... doesn't that look tasty? This dish is so quick and easy to make that it feels almost silly to write out directions, but I'll tell you how I make mine.

I make lasagna quick and easy by using jarred sauce and no-bake noodles. I do cook the veggies on the stove and drain any excess liquid. I'll toss in whatever sounds good: eggplant, spinach, mushrooms, carrots, squash, you name it.

First: heat 2 cloves garlic in a teeny bit of olive oil. Add a bag of baby spinach and cook until wilted. Salt lightly and place in strainer; press out liquid.

Second: cook other veggies. Tonight I used eggplant, sliced lengthwise, and mushrooms. This is key: strain the veggies! If you don't, your lasagna will be watery.

Third: beat 1 egg in ricotta cheese. I also add salt, pepper, and dried oregano.

Now it's time to build a lasagna! I use a loaf pan. Start with a generous amount of sauce in the bottom, then layer a piece of pasta, the veggies, some of the ricotta mix, and mozzarella, then start over! I get 2 layers into my loaf pan, so it's easy to measure out using half the veggies at a time.

Bake at 375F for 50-60 minutes, or according to your package directions.

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