Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Vegetable Lasagna

I love lasagna.  It's such a comforting and hearty meal.  You can pack it chock-full of veggies loading it up with colors and textures.  Sure, with the cheese it may not be a "health food", but it is a great meal that families can easily enjoy.  

I had been searching for a delicious vegetable lasagna for years, but they always seemed to fall short in my book.  After years of disappointment, I finally decided to create my own recipe.  I chose some of my favorite veggies in a rainbow of colors.  Also, instead of slicing them, I chopped them!  I always found the sliced veggies to be soggy in the finished product.  Chopping them gives the lasagna a more complex texture making it more appealing to meat eaters as well.

This recipe is so easy to make.  When you get down to it, you are basically making an especially chunky sauce layered with a cheese mixture and lasagna noodles.  What could be simpler?  

8oz lasagna noodles
8oz mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
10oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 26oz jars pasta sauce (or make your own)
1 tsp dried basil
15oz ricotta cheese
3 C shredded mozzarella, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, zucchini, carrot, and bell pepper.  Cook until just tender, about 10 mins.  Add the spinach and cook an additional 2 mins.  
  4. Stir in pasta sauce and basil, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  
  5. While the sauce is simmering, combine the ricotta, eggs, and 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.  
  6. In a 9x13 baking dish, pour 1 C sauce and evenly coat the bottom.  Layer the lasagna noodles.  Spread half the cheese mixture over the noodles and top with half the remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with half the parmesan cheese.  Repeat with a layer of noodles, followed by the remaining cheese, then sauce.  
  7. Top with the last cup of mozzarella and remaining parmesan.  
  8. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Southern-Style Veggie Sliders

Hamburgers are one of those foods that are so wonderful for a warm-weather dinner outside.  What's even better than hamburgers?  Sliders!  Sliders are so much fun for kids to eat because they are just the right size for little hands.  These southern-style sliders are a wonderful twist on an old favorite.  They have bright veggies right in the patty, and the Cajun mayo is so yummy!!

Given the fact that my husband is a meat-eater, I can't make just any veggie patty.  I try to find options that have a unique flavor and a hearty texture.  He has learned that vegetarian burgers are not going to taste like beef, so he knows not to expect that.  They are a new category of food with an entirely different flavor.  

The patty has a base of mashed black-eyed peas.  They give the patty a great texture and the kids will have a blast smashing the beans!  The black-eyed peas are a great way to get more legumes into your diet for lean protein since each serving contains no fat or cholesterol.   They are also a good source of potassium and iron.

When you add the veggies to the bean mixture, the colors really pop.  The selection of chopped vegetables really give the patty a nice texture.   Give these sliders a try for a healthier alternative to ground beef.  They are just delicious!!

2 (15 oz) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 C finely chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 C finely chopped celery
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 C fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil for cooking
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 Tbsp cajun seasoning
12-14 soft dinner rolls or mini hamburger buns

  1. In a large bowl, mash the black-eyed peas with a potato masher or meat tenderizer.  Add the egg, red pepper, celery, green onions, bread crumbs, and garlic salt.  Mix well.
  2. When ready to cook, shape the bean mixture into 1/2 inch thick patties that will fit the size of your rolls - they will not shrink during cooking.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the patties and cook about 4 minutes on each side until lightly browned and heated through.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and Cajun seasoning.  Serve with lettuce.

Adapted from BHG

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekly Menu

Our trip to the farm for this week gave us some beautiful red leaf lettuce, carrots, zucchini, baby sweet onions (I use them instead of green onions), celery, and strawberries.  This wonderful assortment has lead me to create this weeks menu.

  • Southern Style Veggie Sliders with Coleslaw
    • using the carrots, celery, green onions, and the remaining half of the cabbage from last week

  • Gardein Chicken Scaloppine with Tarragon-Mushroom Sauce and a Strawberry Tarragon Salad
    • using the strawberries and red leaf lettuce

  • My Hearty Vegetable Lasagna with Baked Zucchini Fries
    • using the onion, zucchini, and carrots

What wonderful food are you making this week?