Thursday, August 25, 2005

It Can't Be the Lasagna's Fault

I am no longer angry with last night's dinner. I simply can't bear to blame food for my problems, so I will have to assume that it was the duty of going shopping that gave me heartburn yesterday. I usually go grocery shopping around 8am because the stores are so much more pleasant when there are only two other customers around. Things went off kilter yesterday though, with Fat Baby feeling sick all morning, and I ended up at the big box super grocery store in the mid-afternoon, along with about 200 other people. Now that the students are back in town, it has gotten harder and harder to wade through the sea of people in the stores. I will be sure to get back to my usual crack-of-dawn shopping schedule as soon as I can.

Since I was running so late with everything yesterday, I had to throw together a quick dinner. I have a great Spinach Lasagna recipe that I clipped from an issue of Parenting magazine a few months back. I have made a few changes, as always, to the original recipe, and its just right for those hurried evenings. Last night, I served the lasagna with garlic bread and a tossed salad.

  • 4 to 5 cups of tomato sauce (I prefer the Ragu Chunky Gardenstyle - its got extra veggies in it to give more oomph to the lasagna)
  • 2 tsps Italian seasoning
  • clove of garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Stir the Italian seasoning, the garlic and the black pepper into the tomato sauce.
  2. Pour just enough tomato sauce in a 8x11 glass baking dish to cover the bottom (1 to 2 cups).
  3. Lay 3 noodles on top of sauce.
  4. Spread half the Ricotta on top of the noodles.
  5. Spread 1/3 of the Mozzarella on top of the Ricotta
  6. Lay down 1/2 the spinach on top of the Mozzarella
  7. Pour about one more cup of tomato sauce on top
  8. Lay down 3 more noodles
  9. Spread the remaining Ricotta on top
  10. Spread 1/3 of the Mozzarella on top of the Ricotta
  11. Lay down the remaining spinach
  12. Pour about one more cup of tomato sauce over top
  13. Lay down the last 3 noodles
  14. Spread the remaining Mozzarella on top
  15. Pour about one more cup of tomato sauce over the top
  16. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
  17. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes
  18. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes

These no-boil noodles are great for getting dinner ready in a hurry, but I've found that they are very al-dente, almost to the point of needing to be cooked a little longer. This dish is always better on the second day, when the noodles have had a chance to soak up more of the sauce. If I ever get it together enough, I will assemble this dish in the morning so that the noodles can already be a little wet before I pop the lasagna in the oven. I haven't been able to find whole-wheat lasagna noodles anywhere around here, and I find it extraordinarily dissapointing to be using plain old white noodles in this recipe.

The Carnivore came home today with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which he always picks up at the mailbox in the mornings and takes to work with him (which means I rarely get to see it before dinnertime), and I heard him making yummy noises while he scanned the Food Section. Apparently, John Kessler, who will, God willing, one day be my mentor, printed the recipes for some of the dishes he tried during his Eat-My-Way-Across-Alabama-Week. There is a recipe for green tomato soup that The Carnivore is already requesting. Sounds yummy.

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