Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Veggie Lasagna

I've always found a veggie lasagna to be a tricky thing.  I love lasagna, but I'm not so much a fan of egg plant or chunky tomatoes, and so many veggie lasagnas have that sort of thing.  I do love vegetables though, so I came up with my own variation.

I took an inventory of what I had: spinach, sweet potato, carrots and onion.  They all sounded good to me, so I threw all of it in a pan with a bit of olive oil to soften the mixture, and then I just assembled the lasagna as normal.  It was so good, and the best part of this recipe is that you can substitute whatever you want and add or subtract so easily.  Best of all, it was cheesy and it made a lot, so I was able to freeze it for a lazy day.

Here's what you need:

Veggie Lasagna
Easily Feeds 8-10

1 bag fresh spinach
2 carrots - peeled and shredded
1 large sweet potato - peeled and shredded
1 onion - finely chopped
3 garlic cloves - minced (originally I used garlic scapes, but those are really seasonal and found at farmer's markets.  If you're lucky enough to get some, you should totally add them!)
2 cans of tomato sauce
1/2 box or so of no boil lasagna noodles
1 bag of mozzarella cheese
1 bag of sliced provolone cheese
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
handful of fresh basil - sliced
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil


After your vegetables are prepped and ready to go, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauce pan.  Allow it to heat for a minute or so, then add onions, carrots and sweet potato.  Saute on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, then add garlic.  Saute another 2 minutes and finally add spinach until it is just beginning to wilt.  Remove from heat.

For your cheese mixture, add ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 1 egg, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to a medium sized bowl.  Mix until the ingredients come together.

Finally, to assemble, grease a 9x13" baking dish.  Pour enough sauce in the bottom to evenly cover up the bottom of the pan.  Set 3-4 lasagna noodles on the bottom - don't be afraid to break the sheets in half to get all the spots covered up!  Add more sauce to cover the noodles.  Add half of your vegetables, then add half of the ricotta mixture.  Make sure both are spread evenly across the noodles.  Sprinkle a little under half of the mozzarella on top, and give it another splash of sauce.

Repeat another layer beginning with the noodles and ending with the splash of the sauce.  Finally, top with one last layer of noodles.  You should have about half a jar of sauce left by this point, so go ahead and pour the rest on.  End by adding the slices of provolone cheese and fill in the "cheese gaps" by using the remainder of the mozzarella cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes... make sure to check the directions on the noodle box since each brand may be different.  Once it's bubbly, you can turn on the broiler for a minute or so to make the top nice and golden brown.

Serve this with a nice salad, and you're all set for a tasty dinner!  I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week Five Recipes & Apple Orchard

Oh, it is finally fall!  This is no doubt my favorite season.  I am lucky enough to have already made some wonderful friends here in Indy, and I was invited to go pick apples at Anderson Orchard.

I absolutely had a blast picking 13 pounds of apples!  When we arrived the air was crisp and we were able to take in all of the sites that you would expect to see at a family orchard.  There was row upon row of about 20-30 different types of apples.  Mums dotted the front porch of the little shop, and the smell of pumpkin bread mingled around in the air.  The playground was packed full of little ones that were on  a field trip, and all of it just brought joy to my heart!

Because I picked a lot of apples for just Scott and me, I'll be making lots of apple recipes.  I'll keep you posted on those, but for now, here's what's for dinner.

Monday: Vegetable Lasagna
  • I made this about a month and a half ago and had the remainder frozen.
  • I did buy some sourdough bread for $3, and we froze the other 2/3 of it.
  • We had this for dinner and again for lunch = $3.

Tuesday: Tacos!
  • I haven't made tacos in a while, but they sound tasty this week!
  • I bought 1 lb of ground beef  ($6), taco shells ($2), refried beans ($2) and cilantro ($2).
  • I had rice and I am going to make my own taco seasoning.
  • Total = $12... we will probably have some rice and beans leftover.

Wednesday: Community Group... I bought cheddar cheese to go with our chili ($2).

Thursday: Taco Baked Potato
  • I will use the 1/2 pound of ground beef that will be left over from Tuesday to go on top of our baked potatoes.
  • I bought 2 potatoes ($1) and an avocado ($1) to dice up on top. 
  • I will garnish it with our leftover cilantro, and I am going to make a pepper jack cheese sauce.
  • Our total = $2 and some guacamole as a snack with the half that didn't get used!

Friday: Roast Chicken with Spaghetti Squash and Mac and Cheese

This mac 'n cheese is the best stuff ever!  I used to make it from scratch, but this is just as good in a time crunch.

  • I bought my little chicken for $10.  He was pasture raised, and I'm sure he was very happy until the end. :)  We'll eat half tonight.
  • The spaghetti squash was $3, and the mac and cheese was from Trader Joes - $3. 
  • This meal is $16 and a lunch added in and half a leftover chicken for next Monday's dinner.

This weekend we are cheating.... friends and family are coming up, so we'll be eating out!

Our total this week is: $45

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week Four Recipes

Hello Again!  Sorry this post is late... I worked a lot last week, which is a great thing, but it leaves little time for blogging.  Here's what we had last week and I'm working to get this week's menu up too!

Monday: Slow Cooked Beef Brisket, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

  • Luckily, we were given quite a bit of produce this week.  I used the green beans tonight, and used the rest throughout the week.
  • I bought the brisket $13 and the potatoes $2.
  • Meal total = $15, but I had 1/2 the brisket left, and it is going to be used again on Thursday, and I had this for lunch the next day too.

Tuesday: Pizza with Cucumber Salad

  • We used up the meatballs that I made and had in the freezer.
  • I bought cheese $2, pizza crust $4 and pizza sauce $2.
  • I was given a pepper, a cucumber, had onions, and picked out some basil from our garden.
  • Meal total = $8, but I have one pizza crust left and some sauce, and they're hanging out in the freezer.

Wednesday: Community Group: Broccoli Slaw

  • We bought one package of broccoli slaw and two packs of Ramen noodles.
  • Meal total = $5

Thursday: Beef Brisket Quesadillas with Rice and Raspberries

  • I had the beef brisket, Ale-8-one BBQ sauce, taco shells, rice and lime juice.
  • I bought a small wedge of Brie $3, some Monterey Jack cheese $2 and the raspberries $2.
  • Dinner = $7, plus lunch the next day.

Friday: We made an impromptu trip to Louisville, so we were able to eat out tonight with family.

Saturday: We still stayed in Louisville, and we were able to try the Come Back Inn for the first time.  Scott promises it's the best spaghetti he's ever eaten in a restaurant.

Sunday: Grilled Cheese and Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper Soup

  • I keep the bread in our freezer, and continue to stock up whenever I go to Louisville.... I think it's $5 a loaf, but I kind of consider that a treat.
  • We used Pepper Jack Cheese that one of my husband's sweet co-workers bought for us.
  • Roaster Red Pepper Soup - $2
  • Meal = $2, and we'll continue to eat on this for lunch until it runs out.

Groceries = $37 this week, but we ate out on Friday and Saturday.