Veggie Loaded Lasagna Casserole one for now, one for later

How many declarations of my love of a specific food can I make before it is officially declared as sad? Oh, I get a couple more? Okay then, I LOVE LASAGNA!!!

I am fond of any pasta with cheese on it. (And then they solved the mystery of Lydia's giant rear end.)

Last week I wanted to make vegeterian lasagna. Once a week we go meatless for dinner. No fish. No meat. Nothing. I figure if I put enough cheese on it my carnivore husband won't notice. ;)

So I was busy preparing my veggie loaded lasagna when I realized I didn't have any lasagna noodles. But I had seen a recipe for lasagna casserole so I decided to just make that. Only later when moving some things around in my cabinet I found an unopened box of lasagna noodles! For real! I need some sort of pantry inventory system. Suggestions?

At any rate. The casserole turned out fantastic and I had enough to make two pans, one for now and one to freeze.

So here it is folks. YOU will be amazed. (Well, maybe not.)

I made this with several left over ingredients, including some cucumber I blended into the sauce to make it thicker (I have left this part out of the recipe. It is super optional). I also had some leftover kale from making a kale, apple and quinoa salad so I threw that in their too. 

What you'll need: (Note, this makes two pans)

16 ounce box of rotini (or ziti)

1 jar of pasta sauce

2 tomatoes that you pealed or a 12 oz. can of tomatoes

container frozen spinach

1 onion

4 carrots, grated

2 cups Kale

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 container part skim ricotta cheese (some people use cottage cheese. It turns out really good actually.)

2 cups grated mozzarella

1 egg

dried basil or oregano

Preheat your oven to 350.

Cook your pasta pretty al dente. I would say cook it for only about 6 minutes, then drain but don't rinse.


In a greased skillet cook your onions and mushrooms over a low heat. Sprinkle with some basil.

Get a sauce pan warmed up and put your sauce, tomatoes and carrots in there. Let simmer for about 10 minutes to cook the carrots slightly. You don't want them mushy, but you probably don't want them overly crunchy either.

Once your onions and mushrooms have cooked down a little bit, put the spinach and kale into the same skillet and cover.

In a bowl combine your ricotta cheese, egg and one cup mozzarella. Stir together.

Grease your casserole dish and place a smidgen of sauce in the bottom. Then place some noodles in the pan, cover with the spinach/mushroom/onion/kale mix from your skillet. Add a your ricotta cheese mixture and then stir together. Cover in sauce and cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

If you are making a pan for the freezer, skip the baking part. To bake your frozen pan later, let thaw overnight in the fridge and then bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Stretching Ingredients Part II: Beefy(ish) Cheesy Cornbread

Yesterday we talked about stretching our ingredients out to make a package of ground beef last and last.

One of my husband's favorite meals is cheesy cornbread with some sort of meat in it. The problem is it's usually very unhealthy. So I cut way back on the meat, used far less oil and only used half the cheese. And guess what? He didn't know the difference. (Note, he probably did know the difference, he is just nicer than I am.)

Also, like yesterday you can make 2 and freeze them.

What you'll need:

1/3 pound ground beef

2 cups self rising corn meal mix

2 eggs

1 tbsp vinegar

3 tbs conolia oil

1 cup milk - maybe more

1 -16 oz can of tomatoes or 2 stewed tomatoes diced

1/2 onion

1/2 cup cheese

I used a cast iron Dutch oven. It's the best way to make cornbread, if you don't have one then you will need to grease a pan and preheat your oven to 350. I am assuming you don't have a Dutch oven, so I am going to give you instructions based on that assumption.

Heat a skillet over a medium heat and brown your beef. Then add your onion and tomatoes. Let it all cook for a few minutes, you want well cooked onions.


Next, in a bowl combine your cornmeal, milk, eggs, vinegar and oil. Mix well. You made need more milk to thin out the mix, it should be the consistency of pancake batter.

Add your beef mixture and stir well. Add in your cheese and miz.

Transfer all of the contents to your grease pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

My husband likes to top this with salsa and sour cream. But, it's good on its own. If you feel guilty about all the carbs, serve with a salad. Or, don't feel guilty. ;)

For freezing, make sure the pan is tightly covered in aluminum foil. When ready to thaw let sit in fridge over night and bake for 45 minutes at 350.


Stretching ingredients: Mushroom baked ziti

I love pasta. And mushrooms. And cheese. Why not put them all together!?


What you'll need:

1/3 Pound Ground Beef 

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes, or 2 stewed and chopped tomatoes 

half jar tomato sauce 

4 cloves garlic

4 cups cooked penne pasta (I used a mix of regular and whole wheat)

1 cup shredded cheese  

1/2 onion

Olive oil or cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350 and get a greased pan ready. 


In a skillet heat your garlic and your onions. 

Once your onions have cooked for a few minutes add your ground beef, brown.  Then add your mushrooms. 

Once all that has cooked down a bit add your sauce and tomatoes. You won't want to overcook your tomatoes since you will bake all of this in the oven. 


Dump your noodles in your greased pan and add your beef mixture. Stir it all together so that the sauce coats the noodles. Sprinkle with cheese. 

You will bake for about 10 -15 minutes. Just enough to make the cheese melt. 

If you are freezing skip the baking part and just sprinkle with cheese, cover and let cool. Then freeze. 

When you are ready to cook let it thaw for a few hours and bake for 30 minutes at 350.