Monday, July 8, 2013

No Noodle Lasagna

Life is about finding balance. Discovering that perfect place between moving fast and moving slow, juggling work life and home life, declaring "to-do list time" and "play time", deciding when to drink water and when to drink wine. Too much play and you're a glutton, too much serious and you're a stick in the mud. 

With that being said, I'm currently leaning more towards the "glutton" after a FABULOUS wedding weekend in Asheville, NC. Joshua and I were there for three whole days, and had some seriously great food and beer, while hanging out with amazing friends and watching one of my very best friends marry the love of her life. Here are a few of our favorite places in the "beer capital of the USA":

  -  Zambra's tapas
  -  Jerusalem Garden Cafe
  -  The Wicked Weed
  -  Asheville Brewing Company (possibly the best pizza in Asheville)
  -  Broadway (walked into a crazy fun 80s party on a Wed night)

The trip was wonderful, and we ended the weekend by ordering midnight pizza (who does that!) while sharing stories with friends.

Now we are back to our normal lives. This week we will again find the balance towards our more health conscious selves by eating less in general, more greens, and much less booze. C'est la vie. I learned long ago that healthy food can taste really good, and this recipe is just what I was in search of. Hearty yet light, flavorful, and low on carbs. 

Healthy "No Noodle" Lasagna
adapted from allrecipes

2 large zucchini
1 Tbsp salt
1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 cup tomato paste (I like Muir Glen)
1 can (16 ounce) tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 egg
1 (15 ounce) container low-fat ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
1 (16 ounce) package frozen spinach
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
8 ounces grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into very thin sloes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside in a colander to drain

3. Prepare the meat sauce: stir ground beef and black pepper in a large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the green bell pepper and onion; cook until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer sauce for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Meanwhile, stir ricotta, egg, and parsley together in a bowl until well combined.

5. To assemble lasagne: spread half of the meat sauce into the bottom of prepared pan, then layer half the zucchini slices, half the ricotta mixture, all the spinach and mushrooms, then half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat by layering the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella. Spread parmesan cheese evenly over top, and cover with foil. 

6. Bake covered for 45 minutes, then increase head to 350 degrees, remove foil, and bake for additional 15 minutues. Allow to stand 5 minutes prior to serving. 

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