Vegetarian Lasagna

This one is pretty simple.  You only need sauce, noodles and filling.  It takes about an hour to make and is so good.  Sometimes I substitute regular pasta (shells, elbows, whatever you want) instead of lasagna noodles.  Use your imagination.

Sauce ingredients:

4 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion (diced)

2 carrots or 1 carrot and 1 small beet  (shredded or diced)

5 garlic cloves (diced. if you’re not a fan of garlic, use 2 cloves…if you use jars of minced garlic, use 2 spoonfuls.)

1/2 cup wine

1 tbsp basil (fresh or dried)

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp dried thyme

salt to taste

three 16oz cans tomato sauce or 2 cans tomato sauce and 1 can diced.  You can also just cut up 2 fresh tomatoes instead of diced.

1/2 cup veggie broth or water

Preparing sauce:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add carrots and/or beet, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes to bring out the sugars in the vegetables.

Add garlic and onion and simmer another 5 minutes

Add wine and spices and cook another 5 minutes

Add tomato sauce and veggie broth; cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Taste and add spices and/or salt if necessary

At this point, put on a pot of water and boil whichever pasta or lasagna noodle you are going to use.

Lasagna filling:

1-2 cups ricotta cheese.  If you love ricotta, use 2 cups.  If it’s not your favorite, use 1.  You can also mix other cheeses at this point if you like.  You could add shredded mozzarella, parmesan or cheddar.  At any rate, 2 cups of cheese no matter which you use.

1 cup chopped spinach (fresh or frozen.  If frozen, thaw before mixing)

1-2 cups of any vegetables you want…you can use eggplant, zucchini, carrots, broccoli.  I usually use eggplant or zucchini or carrot.

Preparing the lasagna: 

Use a 9×11 2″ deep pan and spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the pan.  Lay down a layer of noodles.  Spread a layer of filling.  Add sauce.  Repeat process until you are out of filling.  For the top layer, spread noodles evenly across surface and cover with sauce.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Take out of oven and add a layer of cheese of your choice (cheddar, mozzarella.)  Put back in oven and cook another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Remove from oven, cool and enjoy.

Simple Chocolate chip cookies

1 1/8 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter (softened)

6tbsp sugar

6tbsp brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts

 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) in a small bowl and set aside for later

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar until well mixed. 

Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth

Add flour mixture gradually until combined.  

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.

Drop spoonfuls onto an un-greased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes 

Brown Spanish Rice

1-2tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1-2 peppers, chopped.  Select your pepper based on spice tolerance.  Bell if you don’t have much…jalapeño if you like it spicier.

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 can diced tomatoes or dice 2 tomatoes of your own if you want more of a fresh taste

1 1/2 cups brown rice

3 cups water

In a large pan with a tight-sealing lid, heat olive oil over low heat

Add onion, pepper and garlic and sauté over low heat for about 5 minutes until onion begins to soften.

Add cumin, oregano, paprika and cayenne and stir with vegetable mixture for about 2 minutes until fully integrated and fragrant

Add rice and stir until covered in spice mixture

Add water, bring mixture to a boil over low heat.

Cover and cook for 30 minutes on low heat.  Do not stir.

Add tomatoes, do not stir them in but let them sit on top of rice mixture, spread out.

Cook an additional 15 minutes or until most of the water has cooked off.

Remove from heat and keep covered for 10 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and this will fluff the rice at the same time.

Salt if needed and serve.

Link

Smashed Potatoes

Another one that isn’t mine but is very good.  It’s easy to make but also easy to screw up if you cook them too long.  If done the right way, they are exactly as the recipe explains…crispy on the outside and like a mashed potato in the middle.

Vegetable Minestrone

Needed:

1 large pot or dutch oven

3 tbsp olive oil

1-2 carrots, sliced however you like

1-2 celery stalks sliced

1 small onion chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeño or pablano pepper, something with a little kick.  (You can leave this out if you’re sensitive to spicy food)

2 small tomatoes, chopped

1-2 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

6 cups water or veggie stock

1 16oz can tomato sauce

16 or more oz kidney beans

salt/pepper to taste

1 cup pasta

Directions:  Heat large pan or dutch oven over med/low heat.  Add 3 tbsp olive oil and allow to heat for a couple minutes.  Add carrot, onion and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, add tomatoes and pepper and sauté for another 5 min or so.

Add oregano, basil, salt and pepper and stir for about 2 min.

Add water or veggie broth and simmer on low heat.  (I like to mix 3 cups water and 3 cups veggie broth in an attempt to not make it so salty.)  Add tomato sauce, cover and cook for about 45 min.

Add kidney beans, cover and cook about another 15 min.

After you have cooked on low heat for an hour, check the carrots for tenderness.  (If they are somewhat soft, you’re ready for the next step.  If not, cook covered another 15 or so minutes and check again.  You can also turn up the heat a little if you want to speed the process.)  Taste the soup at this point and decide if you need to add more salt and pepper.

Assuming the veggies are tender and the flavor is to your liking, add pasta and cook another 10 min or so.  Let cool a bit and serve.

Quick rice or pasta blend

When I’m in a hurry or don’t feel like cooking for hours, I usually use a recipe like this one…

Cook rice or pasta

(meat if you’re a meat eater)

Stir-Fry:

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

1/2-1 onion

1 bell pepper or jalepeno depending on desired spice

1 zucchini

Add a couple tbsp olive oil, carrot, onion and celery in medium fry pan on low-med heat. Cook for about 5-7 min until veggies are slightly tender (I’ve read that it’s not good to eat completely softened vegetables because they lose their nutritional value. As a general rule, I cook until they’re about 1/2 soft.)  Add zucchini and carrot and cook another 3-5 min until zucchini and pepper are softened.  Add salt/pepper to taste.  Add any sauce.  I usually use a chili sauce or teriyaki sauce.  Mix rice/pasta and veggies together and cook another minute or so to absorb the flavor of the sauce.  You can also add the sauce earlier to speed up the softening process of the veggies.  Serve immediately or cool and package for a quick lunch (like I usually have to do)