Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Lasagna

Spinach and Ricotta Skillet Lasagna

Lasagna is great, but it can be time-consuming. Which is why, when I was short on time the other day, I decided to scrap my plans for a traditional lasagna and take it to the stovetop.

skillet lasagna stovetop

After simmering some broken lasagna noodles in vegetable broth, I stirred in some fresh chopped spinach, tomato sauce, spices and ricotta cheese, and topped the whole thing off with a healthy layer of mozzarella and parmesan. Once it was nice and melty, it was dinnertime.

Spinach and ricotta skillet lasagna

The skillet lasagna was delicious, an the whole thing couldn’t have taken more than 30 minutes, start to finish. I had made make my own ricotta earlier in the day, but that hardly takes any effort, and it tastes so very much better than store-bought. Nora would have been satisfied just eating spoonful after spoonful of the warm fresh ricotta, but I cut her off so we’d have some left for dinner.

She gave the lasagna a good review (as did the hubby and I), although she was more interested in just the plain lasagna noodles than anything else.

skillet lasagna nora

Maybe some of those spinach nutrients got absorbed in there somehow… right? Right.

Spinach and Ricotta Skillet Lasagna
Author: 
Recipe type: Weeknight meals
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 10 lasagna noodles (preferably whole wheat)
  • one large bunch fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 3 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (about one batch homemade)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ½ shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large skillet. Add the lasagna noodles, breaking them into bite-size pieces, and cook then for 8 minutes (or until about 2 minutes before done).
  2. Add the spinach and lower the heat. Stir until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, spices and crushed tomatoes, stir well, and bring to a simmer once again. Simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Lower the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese and stir until warm. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan and heat, without stirring, until the cheese begins to melt. Remove from the heat and serve warm.

Easy Chard Lasagna

Lasagna has never been a weeknight meal around here. It just involves too many steps: preparing the filling(s), boiling the noodles, building it layer by layer and finally baking the whole thing. So when I saw Food Fetish’s post proclaiming “10-minute lasagna”, I was skeptical. However, after reading it through, it actually sounded do-able. In the interest of eating dinner together, we are all about make-ahead meals around here these days, so I decided to give it a shot.

Easy chard lasagna

Come and get it.

Did it take me only 10 minutes to put together? No. But I am also incapable of following a recipe without tweaking it to my own specifications, so I can hardly blame Food Fetish for that. I didn’t do the no-boil noodles, I made my own ricotta* and instead of spinach, I used chard from our garden. And I simply had to use the stems (how can you let those go to waste?), so I sautéed them up with some onions and wilted the chard leaves before layering the lasagna.

* It’s easier and quicker than you think, really!

Nonetheless, the lasagna was still quick to come together, easy to layer and, important for me, able to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and then pop in the oven closer to dinnertime. Of course, the most important part was that it was delicious.

Easy chard lasagna

Yum.

No longer will I discount lasagna as a weeknight meal — it just has to be simplified a little bit. If you’re a fan of saucier lasagna, this is probably not the one for you, but I’m fine with a few crispy edges, myself.

Easy Chard Lasagna
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 12 oz lasagna noodles
  • 1 bunch chard (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 batch (about 2 cups) homemade ricotta, or one 16 oz container store-bought
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly oil a lasagna pan or similar-sized baking dish.
  2. Boil the lasagna noodles according to package directions and set aside (lay out on plastic wrap to keep them from sticking).
  3. Separate the chard leaves from the tough steams. Chop the leaves roughly and the stems finely.
  4. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan and add the onions and chard stems. Stir until softened and the onions are translucent. Add the chard leaves and sauté briefly to wilt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in the chard mixture.
  6. Line the bottom of the prepared pan with lasagna noodles. Spread a layer of the ricotta and chard mixture over the noodles. Repeat until you have used all the filling, and top with a final layer of noodles.
  7. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

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Eggplant “lasagna”

In looking for a new use for the beautiful rainbow chard that showed up in our CSA box last week, I came across a couple of recipes that incorporated chopped chard in the ricotta mixture in lasagna. I also had a yen to use some eggplant, and, having found a couple of recipes for eggplant rolls that used chard in the stuffing, I decided to concoct my own crazy dish: a sort-of lasagna using chard in the ricotta mixture and eggplant slices as the “noodles.”

Voila.

Strange as it may sound, it turned out really well. My dad and his wife stopped by and ended up having dinner with us, and they like to keep it relatively low-carb, so this worked perfectly, paired with a salad of mixed greens and baby kale. Even the hubby, who is something of an eggplant skeptic, raved about it.

This recipe makes a small pan (4 servings). If you want enough to fill a regular lasagna pan, double it.

Eggplant “Lasagna” with Chard

1 large eggplant
1 small bunch of chard, or half a large bunch
1 container ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cups mozzerella
1/4 cup parmesan
1 jar of tomato sauce (preferably marinara or tomato and basil)*

Remove the stem and tail ends of the eggplant, cut it lengthwise in half, if it is large, and, using a mandoline or v-slicer, cut lengthwise into thin slices (like lasagna noodles). Lay the slices out on folded paper towels, and sprinkle them with kosher salt. Let them sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, separate the chard leaves from stems and finely chop the leaves. Very finely chop the stems. Mix together the ricotta, egg, chard leaves and stems, and a bit of salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350. Pat down the eggplant slices with paper towels to remove the moisture and salt. Brush or spray a little olive oil into the bottom of the pan. Lay down overlapping slices of eggplant to cover the bottom, and layer with a third of the ricotta mixture and a sprinkle of mozzerella. Repeat layers until all the ricotta mixture has been used, and top with an additional layer of eggplant slices. Pour about 3/4 of the sauce over the dish, and top with the remaining mozzerella and parmesan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is golden brown. Remove and cool slightly before cutting into slices.

* Or make your own. I was feeling lazy.

Gourmet cuisine on paper plates

In our first few days in the new house, before we got the dishes and cookware unpacked, my dad and his wife came over for a visit and to help us unpack. Thank goodness they also brought a meal for lunch, because it was takeout or starve otherwise! Besides, who doesn’t love a good vegetable lasagna?

Not me, that's who.

Paired with a salad, this made an excellent, hearty lunch — perfect for those of us who had worked up an appetite unpacking, breaking down boxes, and/or chasing after a toddler. Plus, we had plenty left over for dinner the next night, and I froze the rest in individual portions for a rainy day. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

Kim’s recipe is a great one, and pretty much infinitely adaptable to the vegetables you have on hand. Once our freezer stash is gone, I’ll definitely be making another version of this on my own!

Hearty Vegetable Lasagna
Original recipe from allrecipes.com, as modified by Kim Marshall and told to yours truly

1 16 oz package lasagna noodles
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 colored bell pepper, chopped
1 small eggplant, stemmed and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 bunch kale, rinsed, stemmed, and roughly chopped
2 26 oz jars pasta sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 15 oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain. Lay noodles out individually on sheets of plastic wrap to avoid sticking.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onion, and garlic, and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the kale and a splash of water, and cook until wilted and tender. Stir in pasta sauce*, basil, and Herbes de Provence, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Mix together the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, and the eggs.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan. Layer half of each of the lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce mix, and parmesan cheese. Repeat the layering, and top with the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

* If you are opening a bottle of wine to go with the lasagna (which you really should be), use a little of it to rinse out the jars of pasta sauce and add it all to the sauce.

Edit: I should also mention that this got the official Nora seal of approval. She gobbled it up, veggies and all!

Good eatin'.

Chard lasagna

I haven’t made a lasagna in ages, but I’m always looking for a new use for the beautiful bunches of chard that I find impossible to resist at the farmstand, so chard lasagna sounded like a great idea. Turns out, it was!

A work in progress.

The best thing about lasagna, in my humble opinion, is that it makes a TON. So, there’s plenty for leftovers the next day, and the rest can be frozen in slices and reheated for an easy meal later.

I love that this particular recipe doesn’t use a tomato sauce, so that the chard and mushrooms can really shine. Ricotta cheese packs a protein punch, too, so what’s not to love?

Chard and Mushroom Lasagna
Based on this recipe from Bon Appétit, January 2011

2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, divided
Pinch of ground cloves
1 lb chard
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/3 cups chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, minced, divided
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
9 7 x 3-inch lasagna noodles
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 15 oz container whole-milk ricotta cheese, divided
6 oz fontina cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups packed), divided
8 Tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese, divided

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk to blend. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking almost constantly (do not let roux brown). Gradually whisk the milk into the roux. Add the bay leaf, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and cloves and bring to simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon, whisking often, about 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.*

Remove the stems from the chard and chop into small pieces, setting the leaves aside. Blanch the stems in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 2 minutes, then add the leaves and blanch 1 minute more. Drain, pressing out all water, then chop coarsely.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, half of the garlic, and crushed red pepper. Sauté until the onion is tender, then mix in the chard leaves and stems and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and the remaining garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms are brown and tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Mix in 1/4 tsp nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the lasagna noodles in a medium pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain and arrange them in a single layer on a sheet of plastic wrap.
Brush a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with oil to coat.**

Spread 3 Tbsp of the béchamel sauce thinly over bottom of the dish. Arrange 3 noodles in the dish to cover the bottom. Spread half of the chard mixture over the noodles, then half of the mushrooms. Drop half of the ricotta over in dollops and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle with half of the fontina, then 4 Tbsp parmesan, and spread 3/4 cup béchamel over. Repeat the same layering with 3 noodles, the remaining chard, mushrooms, ricotta, fontina, parmesan, and 3/4 cup béchamel. Cover with 3 noodles and remaining béchamel.***

Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the lasagna covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until it is heated through**** and the top is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

* Béchamel sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface and chill. Remove plastic and rewarm sauce before using, whisking to smooth.

** Or use your Misto. I heart my Misto (as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before). In case you’re looking for a great inexpensive gift for the foodie in your life, this is it!

*** Can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Cover with foil and let stand at room temperature.

**** To test for doneness, insert the blade of a small knife deep into the center of the lasagna for 30 seconds. Remove the knife and feel the blade. If it’s hot, so is the lasagna.

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