Easy Lasagna

My mom is the one who introduced us to this easy version of lasagna. The layers are beautiful and it is such a¬†delicious dish. I like it for company, providing a meal for someone, Sunday dinner, or even as a non-traditional holiday main dish – this is probably how I most remember having it growing up. I gave my husband a choice of things to serve for a dinner we were hosting recently and I didn’t get past the lasagna suggestion ūüôā –¬†I don’t make it often but it is definitely a family favorite.

Lasagna can be involved with bechamel sauce, meat sauce and more but this version will achieve the levels of flavor and takes a fraction of the time. I always use sausage because I think it adds incredible flavor! Also, the spinach is optional but I like the color it provides and, of course, the nutrients. Serve this with garlic bread or homemade breadsticks, and a lettuce salad. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

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1 – 16 oz. pkg. lasagna noodles
1 qt. spaghetti sauce (jarred or make your favorite homemade!)
1 lb. sausage or ground beef
1 c. water
1 – 15 oz. carton ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten
8 oz. shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend
6-8 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1 Tb. parsley flakes
dash nutmeg
salt, pepper to taste
1/2 c. parmesan cheese

Brown meat, add spaghetti sauce and 1 c. water, bring to a boil.  In mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, mozzeralla, spinach 1/3 c. water, 1/4 x. parmesan, parsley flakes, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE: Use uncooked lasagna strips bu rinse in hot water before layering in a 9×13 pan (about 4 lasagna strips fit in a single layer – 3 lengthwise, 1 crosswise). Layers: 1 2/3 c. sauce, lasagna strips, 1/2 cheese mixture, 1 2/3 c. sauce, lasagna strips, remaining cheese mixture, 1 2/3 c. sauce, lasagna strips, remaining sauce, top w/1/4 c. parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375 degress covered w/foil for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.

The Salad Bowl: Marinated Mushroom Pasta Salad

Not long ago I woke up on a Wednesday morning and had no idea what I’d be bringing for my lunch that day. I picked a few ingredients from my pantry and voila, this pasta salad was born! I enjoyed my lunch and made another batch of this salad for the weekend.

This “recipe” is not so much specific quantities, but rather the ingredients, so tailor the seasonings to your tastes and pantry supplies. Feel free to add chopped onions or tomatoes. Make sure to add plenty of olive oil.

This is perfect for a summer picnic. To make this gluten-free, be sure to use brown rice pasta.

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Cooked corkscrew pasta
Jar of marinated Portobello mushrooms and red peppers
Can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Garlic and herb goat cheese, crumbled (feta cheese would be another good  option)
Olive oil
Splash or two of balsamic vinegar
Italian seasoning
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and toss to combine. Cool for an hour or two to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.