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trying on more healthy ways of being, day by day


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Green Lotus Lasagna

SAM_0787

Another delicious variation of my Veggie Mix-Up Lasagna is here!

Ingredients:
Non-Negotiables

(unless you want to get really crazy..)
Olive Oil
1 package lasagna noodles (I use no-boil but I’ve heard it doesn’t matter)
42 oz (2 standard jars) Tomato Sauce – Any “flavor” you like
1 egg
16 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
10 oz fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced (1 cup of shredded stuff from a bag is OK if you can’t find it fresh)

Vegetables
1/3 head of Broccoli, cut into florets*
1/3 Eggplant, peeled and diced small*
3 Carrots, diced small*
4 small or 3 medium Zucchinis, cut into long thin slices – about 1/3 inch thick
5 oz Corn – frozen, canned (and drained), or fresh (and cooked)
10 oz Spinach, chopped – frozen or fresh (and cooked)

*Since you’re going to be roasting the Broccoli, Eggplant and Carrots, I recommend tripling the amounts for each and then you’ll have some delicious roasted veggies for another meal.  You can even do this part a day or so beforehand to make less work for you on Lasagna Day.
>>If you want to skip the roasting altogether:
 Double the corn, lose the eggplant, and use 1.5 cups frozen chopped broccoli and frozen diced carrots and continue with the recipe. You may want to add some herbs to these for a little flavor boost and you may also want to thaw these and squeeze some moisture out.  (I haven’t tried this with only frozen veggies yet but the concern is that too much water can make your lasagna a bit runny.)

 

Instructions:
Prepare the Layers
1. If you’re using frozen spinach, set it out to thaw
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (TAKE NOTE: you’ll change the temp to 375 after roasting the eggplant, carrots, and broccoli)
3. Put a large stockpot of salted water on high to boil for the Zucchini. (If it gets ready before you do, you can just turn it off for a bit and it will heat up again much more quickly when you need it to.)

4. Wash, peel, and dice the eggplant. Toss with a bit of salt and put in a  bowl with a few layers of paper towel to draw out some extra moisture.
5. Wash and cut up the carrots (diced) and broccoli (small florets)
6. Toss each of the vegetables with some herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, or whatever) and about 1 or 2 tsp olive oil and place into three small baking dishes (broccoli will do well on a baking sheet too).
7. Cook all 3 vegetables for ten minute increments (I stagger them to make things run more smoothly). Stir each after their first 10 minutes and, unless they are already well-done, cook 10 minutes more. I cooked all three of mine for 20 minutes but I like mine to maintain a little texture.  If you want everything to be really soft and mushy once they’ve gone through the oven inside the lasagna, try cooking the broccoli and carrots for 30 mins.

8. Wash and slice the zucchini into long thin slices, about 1/3 inch thick.
9. Add the zucchini strips to the boiling stockpot and once the water returns to a full boil, cook and stir frequently for 3 or 4 minutes.  The zucchini should be more bendy now and more yellow than white on the insides, nearing translucence in the centers.  Carefully remove the strips from the water and lay out on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

10. Once it is cool enough to handle, chop the broccoli so that the largest pieces are about the same size as the carrot/eggplant bits.

11. Mix 1 cup carrots, 1 cup broccoli, and 1 cup eggplant together in a small bowl.

12. Once the spinach is thawed, give it a really good squeeze to drain out as much of the water as you can. You can also smush it against the side of a colander.
13. In a medium bowl, beat the egg slightly and then stir in the ricotta cheese.  Then add in half of the Parmesan cheese, drained spinach, corn, and some salt and pepper. (I threw in some red pepper flakes here too.)

If you build it, they will come
13. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
14. In the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan, spread 1 cup of your tomato sauce.
15. Cover the sauce with a layer of noodles and spread 1/3 of your ricotta mixture onto the tops of the noodles. Spread 1/3 of your zucchini strips out next and fill in the gaps with 1/3 of your vegetables mixture.
16. Repeat this 2 more times: layering 1 cup sauce, noodles, 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1/3 zucchini, and 1/3 veggies.
17. Add a final layer of noodles and cover them well with all of the remaining tomato sauce and finally, your mozzarella cheese.

18. Cover with parchment paper and then aluminum foil and bake covered for 30 minutes.
19. Remove from oven and uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 of your Parmesan cheese and return it to the oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes more.
20. Remove from oven, lay the parchment/foil over the top and let stand for 15 minutes before digging in. (Sorry!)

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions!

SAM_0788

 

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Recycled Vegetable Soup

Here’s one of what I call my Make-Do Recipes

The basic principles of these recipes are to make do with what you’ve got in the house.  As long as you put love into your cooking it will always come out delicious and full of nourishing goodness.

food love

Right now I live part time in two different places and I’ve always wanted to start a compost pile but based on where I’m living its just not really possible for me.  I always feel so bad throwing away all of my food scraps though, especially when I’m cutting up vegetables and their nutritious skins and ends are all just going to waste.

Instead of throwing them away, I’ve started putting them into quart-sized ziplock bags and sticking them in the freezer.  Once I’ve collected two full baggies of frozen veggies, I dump them into my biggest pot and fill with water just to cover them.  I bring the water to a boil on high and then reduce it to a nice low setting so that it can simmer for anywhere from one to three hours.

veggie scraps

Once I’m ready to move on, I pour the veggie scraps through a large strainer into a big bowl and i smush them in the strainer to make sure I get all of those delicious juices out.  At this point I have made a delicious vegetable broth for soup.   Now I can either freeze this broth and save it for later or get started right away.

I make the soup the same way I make the broth, I just use whatever vegetables I have!  I usually start by sauteing a bunch of onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil with some spices added.  Then maybe adding some (canned, frozen, or fresh) corn to the mix.  I love to roast vegetables beforehand for a nice stew flavor, you can roast things like carrots, parsnips, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, green beans, eggplant, zuccini, or any other types of squash.  Its all good!!

veggies roasted

If you’ve already roasted some veggies like I do, you can pour the broth over the sauteed onions/garlic/corn mixture and add the vegetables to the soup.  Raise the heat to a low-medium setting, you don’t want it to cook much more you just want everything to get acquainted in there.  Add a Bay Leaf and a few other spices and voila!  SOUP!!!  sooo good.  Make some rice and serve them together for a delicious hearty meal.

spices