I know I know….it is such a clique – but when the weather finally turns a bit cool, the urge to spend time in the kitchen really hits me! This past week was no exception to that calling.
Nesting at home with friends was just the ticket for Sunday night, with lasagna calling out my name. Since spinach, mushrooms, and fresh fennel were just a’waiting for a new home, I obliged them by adding them as happy little friends in a veggie lasagna.
Here’s how it happened:
Boiled those noodles, sautéed the mushrooms, added sliced fennel, tossed in about 6 cloves of minced garlic, and some oregano, thyme, and pepper. Once that mixture was softened, off to a bowl it went to wait while it’s friend, the spinach, was wilted in the same pan with a little olive oil and pepper.
Mix together about 8 ounces of low-fat ricotta with 2 eggs, and add in some Italian seasoning along with a tiny bit of salt and lots of pepper. Stir until creamy and smooth. Add about 4-6 ounces of shredded Italian cheese blend. Stir to blend.
Noodles are done, veggies are ready, and now all we needed was a large dish with a little marinara spread across the bottom. In go the first layer of noodles, next comes the ricotta / egg / shredded Italian blend cheese mixture, then a layer of veggies and spinach, some marinara and shredded mozzarella on top….keep up the layers until you get to the tippy top.
Once you reach the top layer of noodles, spread on the remaining ricotta mixture, the rest of the marinara, and the final layer of shredded cheese.
Here is the secret ingredient: Cooking Spray on aluminum foil – sealed on top off the dish.
In the oven she goes at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes. Remove the foil (see, no cheese sticks, right? That secret ingredient is working!) and bake another 20 minutes at 350 degrees, until bubbly and calling out your name!
Remove from oven, and let that baby rest for 5 minutes (if you can resist temptation that long!….) and cut into yummy squares.
Add a salad, and some warm bread, and dinner is served.
Come on cool weather!!! Buon Appetito!
I agree cooler weather makes me want to cook more too! Your lasagna looks awesome. Can you believe I’ve never had fennel?! What does it taste like?
Fennel is one of my faves – it is a slight anise / licorice flavor (which I don’t like licorice!), but when you saute or roast it, the flavor is fabulous. The best way I’ve ever eaten it is to saute it with garlic in olive oil, add some cooked penne pasta, a little white wine, and top it with blue cheese…it all melts together like magic…think there is a post of the recipe on my blog somewhere…tasty!
Thank you! I will look for and try your recipe. I was hesitant to try fennel because I had heard it has a licorice flavor and I don’t like licorice either. But I’ll give it a try now and maybe I’ll have discovered a new favorite ingredient! 🙂
Let me know how it goes. I don’t like it uncooked at all…think the trick is to roast it or saute it.
Oh, absolutely perfect for the weather we’re having here. I almost can’t wait to have the kitchen back to get some real food in me. You know I’ve been trying to get some healthy options at the supermarket with pre-prepped meals ready to be microwaved but even the best just don’t taste quite right. I could get out there & do the grill but frankly the cleaning up in the bathroom sink or tub is just overwhelming with all of the issues that keep coming up on the remodeling. Last week was the worse so I can only hope it’s clear sailing from here on out… please?
Not a lot of healthy options at the grocery stores, for sure…Whole Foods has some nice items if you have one close by. Time for paperplates and disposable “silverware” and glasses for you, eh?!?!? Guess this is the Kitchen Remodel Diet Plan – you could get rich by writing a book about it!
Our Whole Foods is a bit of a drive but I think I’ll try Wegmans prepped food next week.
Sounds like a plan! Keeping fingers crossed for completed kitchen…