Thursday, 21 October 2010

Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

It's been a busy week here in Bookworm land. We celebrated "Cub's" 11th birthday as well as my "3-th" birthday. I think his birthday hit me much harder than my own did. How on earth can I be old enough to have a child who is 11? I remember when he was first born, first walking, used to let me dress him up in clothes I picked out, used to walk beside me in a mall ... (this would be when he'd roll his eyes playfully and say "Mom!"). But I digress ...

I'm not all that into celebrating my fete. It's just not that big of a deal anymore. I think it lost it's wow factor when "Cub" was born (a mere 2 days before my birthday). Yes, I'm growing closer to the "Big 40" but it doesn't seem all that big anymore. Is that due to my old eyes becoming more myopic as I age? Perhaps. 40 is the new 60, right? If you see my parents zipping all over God's creation on their numerous vacations in their 60's you'd agree with me.

Don't get me wrong - I do enjoy getting presents (who doesn't!) and being special for the day. I think I may have enjoyed it more if, the day before my birthday, I didn't get major hip pain. Nothing like hobbling around the house the day before your birthday to make you feel old.

Before I dose myself up on ibuprofen and shuffle off to get things done around here I thought I'd share a great lasagna recipe that I made last night. It got 2 thumbs up from Brad. Our kids, who are in the "food shall not touch" camp, were less enthusiastic but did enjoy the fact that this lasagna had sausage in it instead of traditional ground beef. I did take advantage of using my rarely used food processor. It's an ingenious tool moms can use to hide nutrients (like those from spinach) and pass it off as spices. Bwah ha ha!

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1lb honey garlic or Italian sausage, casings removed (see Tip below)
1 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried, crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (650mL) jar tomato sauce

1 pkg frozen spinach - thawed and excess water squeezed out
1 (454g) container ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella or marble cheese, grated
3/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
12 no-bake lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups mozzarella or marble cheese, grated

non-stick spray

Preheat oven to 375F.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and onion; cook until sausage is cooked through and onion is transparent. Add garlic, oregano and basil. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add red pepper flakes, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Heat thoroughly and simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavours.

Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a food processor, blend together spinach and ricotta. Add 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper until mixed well.

Spread 1 1/2 cups of the sauce into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles over the sauce (break some noodles if needed to ensure that there are noodles over the whole surface). Drop half of the filling mixture by spoonfuls over the noodle layer. Repeat layers of sauce, noodles and filling ending with a sauce layer on top. Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese over the top.

Grease a piece of foil with non-stick spray. Cover lasagna with foil, greased side down. Transfer 9x13 pan onto a cookie sheet to catch any overflow while cooking (or you'll have to clean your oven like I did). Bake for 1 hour. Uncover carefully. Increase temperature to 400F and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Tip: For this recipe I used 1lb of honey garlic sausage that we had left over from the previous night. This recipe is a good way of not only using leftovers but taking advantage of buying in bulk. Buy the large 'club pack' of sausages. You can have BBQ'd sausages one night then a couple of nights later (or the next night, like us) make this lasagna to eat right away or freeze it for later use. Win, win!

If you're using leftover sausage, just add them at the same time as the spices. Don't worry about taking off the casing either. Just chop them up into bite-sized pieces.


Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

This is a delicious looking (and relatively healthy too!) recipe.

My baby is 21 and still resides in the "food shall not touch" camp. Thankfully, she rarely eats here anymore so I can combine all kinds of things in recipes and let them touch themselves all over my plate...LOL

Laurie said...

Mags - Oh no! They don't grow out of it?!? ;) Well, I've decided that I'm done catering to "those who shall not have food touch". She who holds the spatula rules the kitchen! My way of the highway people! 11 year old Cub is starting to come around to the idea of food touching but I think I'll have some continued whining with the other two if their foods touch. Can't all the foods just get alone on one plate? ;)

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