Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lasagna - It's what's for dinner!

A delicious hearty meal that you just can't get wrong! Trust me? You should on this one!

Lasagna is short for: anything you want, with cheese and herbs, wedged between slats of pasta, drenched in sauce, covered with more cheese and then baked.

The below ingredients will make two 13x9 lasagnas!!!!

*2 13x9" pans
*2 packages lasagna noodles
*2 lbs. part-skim ricotta cheese
*2 lbs. shredded mozzarella cheese
*14 oz silken tofu
*32 oz marinara sauce
(spaghetti sauce.. homemade is better. I promise not to look if
you use jarred.. but don't tell me either! Need a recipe for how to DIY?
Ask me!
*4 eggs (or equivalent in egg whites)
*5 Tbsn rough chopped parsley
*2 Tbsn garlic powder
*3 Tbsn rough chopped oregano
*30 leaves fresh basil
*1 red pepper
*12 oz meatless ground (Yves)or regular chopped meat (turkey or beef)
*2 Portabello mushrooms, sliced thinly
*3 small zucchini, grated

Mix together oregano, garlic salt, tofu, ricotta, egg whites, parsley, 1 lb. mozzarella.

Spread enough marinara sauce in the bottom of each 13x9" pan. Lay down 4 lasagna noodles. Three length-wise and one in horizontally across the bottom.. you'll have to break it. Don't squish them all together. The pasta will expand when you cook the lasagna and fill in the space.

"Wait!!!" you cry, "you haven't cooked the lasagna noodles! Are you insane? Did you forget?" You look around dismayed, looking for support from others who you think will help you with this argument.

Ye of little faith! Cook the pasta? Heck no! That's too much darn work and I refuse! And, no, you don't have to buy the no-cook ones either. Having cooked lasagna noodles in the past, I can tell you it's a road you should be thankful that I am going to save you from! (utter nightmare of ripping noodles and cursing!)

Let's start to layer now. Remember: there is no wrong way to put a lasagna together. And you can use any type of veggies or meat(less) products!

For the first lasagna I did (I did them at the same time, but varied the ingredients): First layer: cheese mixture (about 3/4 cup spread out) and a pretty arrangement of all of basil leaves. Then a layer of lasagna noodles, then sauce (about 1/4 cup spread all over noodles - we're gonna call this LLN&S from now on). Second layer: Yves meatless ground. LLN&S. Third layer: portabello mushrooms... LLN&S. Now... a little trick on the last layer. Incorporate the grated zucchini into the cheese mixture. Spread 1/2 of this mixture over noodles. LLN&S. Now cover the top of it with as much cheese as you want. Remember.. there's a pound left for two lasagnas... Bless ya if you can eat that much cheese in a topping!!!

For the second lasagna I did: Cheese mixture LLN&S. Red peppers LLN&S. Portabello mushrooms LLN&S. Zucchini cheese mixture LLN&S. Top with a pile o' cheese.

One final step: As we have omitted the 'cooking of the dastardly lasagna noodles' I like to slowly add, around the edge of the lasagna where there is space, about a 1/4 cup of water to each lasagna. This give the noodles the moisture they need to absorb.

Cover loosely with tin foil (you'd don't want it pressing on the cheese or you'll pull it all when you try to take it off.

Cook at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. You can put these behemoths on cookie sheets for easier lifting! For the last 1/2 hour, remove the tin foil so that the cheese can get all browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven, cut pieces, serve and eat!!!

Final notes: You do NOT have to use tofu.. just add another small container of ricotta instead. You can add meat in place of the meatless stuff. It's all about what makes your taste buds sing with delight. Add red pepper flakes for a nice kick!