6.09.2011

Drum roll please.... announcing Tuesday Treats on Thursday

I know I kept you waiting absolutely incredibly too long and I apologize for this week's Tuesday Treat but I am here to reveal what I spend most of my night and I would gladly do it again. Baking or cooking warms my heart, relaxes me and I definitely enjoy it. Why? Because when I cook or bake I do it for other people and I pour my love into it. That may sound cheesy and you may have heard it many times before, but it is true. This first Tuesday Treats of this week is inspired for my dear friends Ashley and Caleb. They were married a month before my Sean and I and they recently became parents and am beyond excited to visit their little girl, tonight! It is important to me to show people you care and what better way than with food and for a new mom having a frozen dinner that can easily be popped in the oven is my way of showing I care. So from this picture can you guess what I made?!


Ok there is a big giveaway in the photo so clearly this is lasagna but this isn't a meat laden cheese upon cheese lasagna but a more healthy version, vegetable lasagna.
As mentioned with yesterday's warning, the pictures will stop midway because to my camera battery needing a rejuicing. Anyways let's commence with the cooking. I am listing my ingredients to double the recipe so I have two frozen lasagnas on hand for those need to get dinner on the table but can't think of what the heck to cook for dinners night.

First gather all your ingredients: one box of lasagna noodles (not the no boil version), olive oil, salt, one medium onion, 16 oz of mushrooms, 4 medium zucchini, 2 bunches of spinach, 4 plum tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic. basil, parsley, black pepper, 2 containers of 15 oz ricotta cheese, 2 packages of 8 oz mozzarella cheese, milk, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, 1.5 cups of marinara sauce.

Next is all the prep work. In a large pot, fill it up with water and add salt and bring it up to a boil. Then add your lasagna noodles, I used all 18 noodles from the box for this double batch recipe. Check the cooking time for the noodles then drain them properly and set them aside to wait to be filled with layers of vegetables and mozzarella/ricotta cheese mixture yummy goodness between them.
While your noodles are cooking, chop up your onion and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your pan.



While the onions are sweating in the pan, slice up your mushrooms or do what I did and buy the mushrooms already pre-sliced. It may sound lazy but when I went to the store and the pre-sliced mushrooms were actually cheaper than whole mushrooms I decided to take the easy way out. Add the sliced mushrooms to your pan and allow them to cook down as I did below.


(happy sweating mushrooms)


As the mushrooms are cooking cut up all your zucchinis to 1/4 thick sliced as demonstrated below and add to the cooking mushrooms.

As the zucchinis and mushrooms begin to cook down add the spinach on top of all those gorgeous vegetables and if your vegetables begin to spill over like mine did even though I used a 12" nonstick skillet, put a lid on top of the spinach to help the reducing process. Let the vegetables continue to cook down, add the 4 cloves of chopped garlic, 4 tablespoons each of chopped fresh parsley and basil (or if you use dried parsley and basil reduce the amount to 2 tablespoons of each), 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper (gotta properly season your food).
Then step away from the vegetables for a little bit to mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and milk mixture. In a bowl, dump both containers of ricotta cheese, both packages of mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.



 Once the vegetables have cooked down enough you are ready to start the layering process. Take your 9X13 pan and spread 1 cup of vegetables on the bottom of the pan. On top of the vegetables lay three lasagna noodles side by side. Following that added the yummy cheesy goodness 1 1/2 cup of it on top of the noodles. Place three more lasagna noodles on top of the cheese mixture. Then add 2 1/2 cup of more veggies. Followed by three more noodles lying side by side. Spread the remaining cheese mixture on top of those noodles and to top it all of 3/4 cup for each lasagna dish you are making of marinara sauce. I like to add an extra layer of just shredded mozzarella on top of that but it is your preference.
Cook at a preheated oven on 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or if you are doing like me freezing yours for a later meal then an extra 10 minutes of cook time is required, make sure the lasagna is hot and bubbling when you pull it then. So as not to burn your mouth, let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes and then serve, enjoy and tell me later how much you loved the lasagna!

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