I finally bought a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan! It is now the one thing I own other than 2 cheap frying pans. So I set out to find a recipe that would use my brand-spankin'-new pan and incorporate some summer vegetables, before they become absurdly expensive. I remembered that I had just given a friend of mine a list of lasagnas, which contained a version packed with veggies. I figured I should do a pasta dish now since I have no less than 100 pasta recipes that I'm dying to try. I have to space them out so we all don't get bored (and chunky).
Lasagna is beyond easy to make. Especially when you use no bake noodles. This particular version was a little time consuming because of all the chopping and roasting of the veggies but definitely not difficult. It was well worth the effort! This dish so hearty and full of veggies that even meat lovers would be happy with it. I tried to make it healthier by using all fat free or low fat cheeses. But that probably didn't make a difference because I doubled the cheese from the original recipe, which is reflected in my recipe below so you don't need to double it (though if you did I wouldn't blame you since I don't think a recipe can ever have too much cheese). Bake this before the New York winter dooms all vegetables.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna (makes 9 servings)
- 3 packages of baby bellas, sliced (relatively thick)
- 3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced (relatively thick)
- 2 bell peppers, chopped into 1 inch cubes
- 1 onion, chopped
- olive oil
- black pepper, divided
- 1 (15-ounce) container fat-free ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg (1/4 cup of egg beaters)
- 1 3/4 cup bag grated Italian blend cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 9 no cook lasagna noodles, divided
- 1 (26-ounce) jar tomato spaghetti sauce, divided
- 1 3/4 cup bag shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup commercial pesto
1. Chop mushrooms, zucchini, and red pepper as indicated in the ingredients list. Put in a bowl and toss with olive oil and pepper. Roast in the oven on 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, mixing halfway through.
2. Chop onion and sautee with olive oil in a pan. Mix with the roasted vegetables when they are out of the oven.
3. Combine ricotta cheese, egg, 3/4 cup Italian blend, basil, parsley, and season with black pepper.
4. Preheat oven to 375°.
5. Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over tomato sauce. Top with half of vegetable mixture. Spread half of ricotta cheese mixture over vegetable mixture; sprinkle with 1/2 the bag of mozzarella cheese.
6. Arrange 3 noodles and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce over cheese; cover with the remaining vegetable mixture. Top with remaining ricotta mixture. Spread pesto over ricotta; sprinkle with ½ bag of mozzarella cheese. Cover with remaining 3 noodles.
7. Spoon 1 cup spaghetti sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup Italian blend.
8. Loosely cover with tinfoil and bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Remove tinfoil and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Now this post isn't just a lesson on lasagna. It's also a lesson on cooking for one because, slowly but surely, I am learning all the tricks. I'm used to cooking enough for a family of four plus left overs for the next night. Well, that amount of food for one person is just ridiculous. I found myself binge eating pounds of pasta for days just to avoid throwing anything away because I don't waste food. Ever. Please refer to BROKE in the title of this blog.
I think many single people (or even couples) shy away from cooking because they think it's a ton of effort for just one meal. I know the frustration of having half of a can or jar of all the ingredients left over. Then what do you do? Throw them out? Find more recipes to use the ingredient that will leave you with even more half used supplies? Seems like a never ending cycle. I HAVE THE SOLUTION!!! I have finally discovered the art and value of freezing food in small portions. This sounds really simple and obvious but I had never employed the technique until now due to lack of freezer space and excess of laziness. It takes a little extra time and effort but it will be worth it when you have healthy, delicious, home-cooked meals at your fingertips at all times! Because this is made in a 9 x 13 pan, it makes about 9 large slices. I left one out for myself for dinner and packed up the rest for the freezer. Look how organized and efficient I am!