Jeff and I are still adjusting to our new hectic schedules, so we’ve probably been eating out much more than I’d like to admit (Why are there so many good places to eat in this town?) So this week, I was trying to think of an easy meal that I could make ahead and freeze single portions for an easy “take-out” lunch and dinner. The answer? Spinach Lasagna!
For Christmas last year, my mom gave me a really nice cookbook called “Get Cooking” by Mollie Katzen with “150 simple recipes to get you started in the kitchen,” perfect for beginning cooks or just anyone with limited time needing quick and easy recipes. Katzen’s lasagna recipe was just what I was looking for:
“Nothing needs to be precooked in this easy vegetarian lasagna. So it’s more like a DIY project, quickly assembled by stacking uncooked lasagna noodles, store-bought sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and fresh baby spinach. Magically, all this raw stuff bakes itself into good, honest lasagna.”
Now that’s my kind of recipe! Truth be told, I followed exactly zero of the measurements in this recipe in true “DIY” style, and it was pretty easy to eyeball. I used an 8×8 baking pan and when all was said and done, it made about 6 good sized servings of lasagna. After letting it cool, I placed each lasagna slice into a freezer baggie and froze to eat another time.
Here’s what you need:
1 jar tomato sauce
1 package lasagna noodles (I ended up using about a 1/3 of the package)
1 small container ricotta cheese
A few good handfuls of fresh baby spinach
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.
And here’s the steps:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spread a generous amount of tomato sauce into the bottom of the baking pan and spread it around. Cover the sauce with a single layer of noodles, edges touching (you can break some, if necessary).
3. Drop sp0onfuls of ricotta cheese (about 1.2 the container) over the noodles. Spoon, and lightly spread, more tomato sauce over the cheese. Layer a handful or two of spinach, pressing it into the sauce. Finally, sprinkle half of the mozzarella on top of the spinach.
4. Place another single layer of noodles on top of the mozzarella then cover with the rest of the ricotta. Spoon more sauce over the cheese, spreading it around. Layer on another handful or two of spinach, pressing it down, and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top.
5. Make a final layer of noodles on top of the spinach, and spread more tomato sauce on top.
6. Cover your pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
7. Remove (but save) the foil and then sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the parmesan, and return pan to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 15-29 minutes, or until golden brown.
8. Remove the pan from the oven and cover it with the foil again. Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving (or freezing).
What dishes do you make ahead to stop you from eating out?