Sunday, February 24, 2008

Test Drive Creations

Ellie, Ina, Mollie, oh my! What will I do without your helpful instructions? Okay, I decided to abandon my beloved cookbooks (at least temporarily) and strike out on my own. It started two days ago when I had four different cheeses leftover from my squash mac & cheese recipe, as well as a bag of red peppers, organic carrots, zucchinis and onions. I knew the clock was ticking and I had to do something before they went to the dark side. Then it hit me...veggie lasagna! However, I didn't have my favorite jar of marinara sauce (Rao's) in the house. For me, lasagna is all about the sauce. So, I peeked in the pantry and saw a nice big 28 oz can of whole tomatoes and decided to just go for it. I wasn't quite brave enough to start winging it without checking with my Cooking Light friends ( I had a few great suggestions, including roasting the veggies first.

Before I post the recipe and results, I have to give a lot of credit to my husband. Not only is he Test Drive Kitchen's chief taster, but he does ALL the dishes. I do the meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking and he deals with my mess. He recently suggested that I rate the pileup I create per recipe. Without further ado, here is the star of the Dirty Dish rating system:

After each recipe, I'll give it a rating - 5 pictures of this guy in a row = colossal mess or 1 picture = nothing to complain about)

Here we go:

Karen's Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

28 oz can of whole tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping T of Sicilian Seasonings (Victoria Taylor is the brand)
Kosher salt

2 Zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch round slices
4 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch round slices
3 red peppers, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 oz grated Monterrey Jack cheese
3 oz grated Sharp Cheddar cheese
2 oz grated Mozzarella Cheese
¾ cup skim Ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F and place vegetables in a single layer in 9 X 13 casserole dish. Add 1 T of olive oil and generous pinch of kosher salt and few grinds of the pepper I used two casserole dishes and put them on different shelves. Set timer to 30 minutes. If vegetables are tender and slightly brown on edges, it’s done.

While veggies are roasting, prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions. Next, add 1 T of olive oil to medium sized pot and add onion when it is heated. Saute the onion for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add can of crushed tomatoes (I only had canned whole tomatoes, so I spent some time mashing them in the pot as they heated up.) Then, add 1 T of olive oil and heaping T of spices. Mix well. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and add salt to your liking.

Add cheeses along with one egg and mix well. Set aside.

When veggies are done, let them cool briefly, then add to the cheese mixture. Take a 9X13 casserole dish and spray with Pam. Start building the lasagna: Sauce, Noodles, Cheese mixture, Sauce, Noodles, Cheese mixture, Sauce, then finally the top layer of Noodles. You’ll want to add a bit more sauce – just a thin layer- to the top. If you’ve run out, use just a plain canned tomato sauce. You don’t need much.

Bake lasagna at 400 F (turn the oven down after the veggies are roasted) for 45 minutes. Cool for ten minutes and serve.
  • Big thumbs up from my hubby. I really enjoyed it, too. I think this is my "go to" lasagna recipe from now on.

  • It was pretty darn cheesy and wasn't as "light" as my usual fare. I may experiment in the future with this part of the dish.

  • My blogger buddies Josie and Joe suggested shredding the zucchini for texture. I'll definitely try this next time.

  • My Dirty Dish rating:

Medium size mess. 2 pots, three bowls, two casserole dishes, cutting board and knives!

For a much smaller mess and a quick and easy lunch, try my Moroccan inspired Orzo.

Karen's Orzo, Sweet, Orzo

1 cup of cooked orzo (made with chicken broth)

1/2 cup of chickpeas (slightly heated)

3 t of powdered sugar

1/2 T of cinnamon

1 T of sliced almonds

1 T golden raisins

Mix it all in a bowl and enjoy!

Teeny Tiny Dirty Dish rating:

1 small pot for orzo. Voila!


Denise said...

did you post the squash mac & cheese recipe and I'm just not seeing it???

Karen said...

Hi Denise,
The mac and cheese recipe is under this post:

Scroll down past the turkey meatloaf recipe and you'll see Ellie Krieger's Winter Squash Macaroni & Cheese. It is SO good.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Looks like your blog is packed with good information on tasty and healthy meals. Jill has mentioned your blog many times and I'm so glad I finally made it here! We should all get together sometime. Maybe a potluck:)