Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Edgy Tips to Fresh Mt. Lasagna You'll Applaud

By Cal Orey,
The Writing Gourmet

"The original lasagna recipe contained about 36 grams of fat. We cut that back to 11...primarily by removing the meat from the meat sauce and making a cream sauce with low-fat milk and just a little bit of olive oil." -- Patsy Jamieson

Yesterday I went to a matinee and watched the doomsday film 2012. When you look at your watch five times, think about your latch-key pooches, and fantasize about warming up your homemade veggie lasagna--it's obvious--the movie isn't earth moving nor did it make the Earth move for me. I gave it a 3.2 on a 10.9 Richter scale. (Woody Harrelson's character amused me.) Although watching California drop into the Pacific Ocean did move me to go get popcorn (no butter since the world probably will continue after December 21, 2012) to take the edge off... More good news. My Mt. Veggie Lasagna, a comfort food, was the solution to make me feel safe, satisfied and cozy once back home with my four-legged companions. True, I live just a few blocks away from the Lake, which is deep and cold and could create a tsunami, claim scientists. So, I needed to warm up and tune out "the end is near" stuff in my head. And I put leftover lasagna in the microwave and savored the Italian dish (I tried to forget the demise of Italy in the disaster flick). In real life, my almost homemade Mt. Lasagna is one way to chill out when you're on edge...

Here, take a peek at 10 Edgy Tips to Fresh Mt. Lasagna...

1. Use Different Cheese(s). I used ricotta, mozzarella, Monterey Jack and mild cheddar. You can go for low-fat. Or not.

2. Hold the Meat, Do Chunky Fresh Veggies. I used fresh pieces of cruciferous veggies cauliflower, broccoli), zucchini and tomatoes. No need for beef here.

3. Try Semolina. This is an Italian lasagne enriched made with 100% semolina. It's got lots of good for you essential nutrients. (Google it.) Nice texture. Cooked it al dente (about 10 minutes) before layering the casserole dish.

4. Go for All-Natural Ready Made Marinara Sauce (with olive oil). I like this a lot because it tastes good and saves time. It works. Use one with less than more sodium.

5. Add Spices. I used nutmeg and fresh ground pepper. If you like a spicy dish, add fresh garlic and onion.

6. Use an Italian Casserole Dish. I love my rustic red Italian baking dish. It gives the lasagna an European look.

7. Make Two Dishes; Forget freezing one. Too watery from the water-dense veggies. Put in fridge. Makes healthy leftovers for a few days. Or, don't use half the pasta and make one dish.

8. Cover for 15 Minutes When Baking. This technique works to help the edges of pasta from burning or getting too crispy.

9. Don't Use Generic Ingredients. Call me a snob. But I do like my gourmet brands and it seems to taste better when you go for the best. Read: Ditch no name ingredients in this dish.

10. Let Cool Before Slicing. If you want a picture perfect lasagna do wait before cutting it up.

Callie's Fresh Mt. Lasagna

1 package lasagna
1 container of ricotta
1 package mozzarella, shredded
1 package low-fat Monterey Jack/cheddar, shredded
2 jars of marinara sauce (with olive oil and mushrooms)
2 cups fresh vegetables
(cruciferous, zucchini, tomatoes), chopped
Boil pasta for about 10 minutes. Drain. In a mixing bowl combine cheeses. Add pepper and nutmeg. Mix well. In casserole dishes layer ingredients: sauce, pasta, veggies, cheese. The top layer will be sauce topped with mozzarella. Bake at 350 for about an hour- 10-15 minutes longer if you live in high altitude. (Use foil for the first 20 minutes to prevent burning the pasta.) Let cool before cutting picture perfect slices. Serve with hot garlic bread made with whole grain French bread, butter, fresh garlic and parsley. And a spinach salad drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar is optional.

So there you go. It's easy. It's fast. It's a dish that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside and out. And if you see a film that portrays the end of the world it will make you forget all about it. Sort of. The tsunami scenes are a bit over the top. Note to self: Swim 5 times per week.

1 comment:

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