Category Archives: lasagna

Crock Pot Lasagna-no kidding

I’m always looking for a way to save time while cooking without losing flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the kitchen chopping, stirring, and tasting. But some days there just isn’t time for that. For those days, there is the crock pot. Now, being a vegetarian means it’s not always as easy as just dropping a roast in there like some folks do.

Veggie, GF, Crockpot Lasagna

Veggie, GF,  Crock Pot Lasagna

Most ideas on the Web are not gluten-free, or vegetarian, or both. So, I decided to modify some of the recipes I found to make my own version of crock pot lasagna. My family was willing to give it a shot. The end result? I will never make lasagna in the oven again, seriously. This was just as good, if not a little better, than any other lasagna I’ve made. No pre-cooking noodles, no mess, minor clean up. Beat that! Give this a try and let me know what you think.

 Crock Pot Vegetarian, Gluten-free Lasagna

1 box gluten-free lasagna noodles (I used DeBole’s)

1 12 oz. container ricotta cheese (light or regular)

2 eggs

1 tsp each of garlic powder, dried parsley and salt

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

2 cups shredded mozzarella

3 cups Marinara sauce (your own or your favorite brand)

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

2 TBS chopped fresh basil

1. Turn on a 6-quart crock pot to high (I use an oval). Spray with cooking spray or oil.

2. Mix Ricotta, eggs, spices and 1/4 cup Parmesan.

3. Pour about 3/4 cup Marinara on the bottom of the pot and spread it out to cover.

4. Layer with rice noodles so you have one even layer. Don’t worry about breaking them up to make a layer. It’s like a puzzle.

5. Cover noodles with 1/2 of the Ricotta mixture.

6. Next layer is 1/2 the spinach and 1 TBS basil.

7. Cover with another cup of Marinara and then repeat the next layer.

8. Top layer is another layer of noodles. Break it up to cover as well as possible.

9. Cover top layer of noodles with last of the Marinara, making sure to cover all of the noodles so they don’t dry out.

10. Cover the top with a layer of cheese and a few bits of fresh basil.

11. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 4-5 on medium/low. Check it after 3 hours to make sure it’s not cooking too fast. It should be bubbly on the sides and cooked well, and if you stick a knife into it there is very little resistance.

Note: I had planned to cook for four hours but stopped at 3 and it was perfect. Let it sit for a few minutes to firm up and serve with extra Marinara sauce if you have it.

This was so easy, even the kids can do it. There is no cooking involved, as long as you’ve already got the Marinara on hand. All it takes is layering and putting the top on. And if you mess up a layer and forget, who will know? I think Daughter switched the spinach and cheese layer in there somewhere, but it tastes great and that’s all that matter. Next up, try this with GF penne or spaghetti, just like my last version here, only easier.

Enjoy!

 

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Filed under dinner parties, gluten free, lasagna, mozzarella, noodles, spinach, vegetarian

Is it Spagana or Laghetti? You decide


We spent the weekend in Payson with my very, very best friend in the whole world, and her husband and young son. We had such a great time, and getting out of the heat was magnificent. It rained most of the time, but a chilly rain that was a welcome relief. My daughter took this photo on a walk one afternoon. I have no idea what it is, but it was so beautiful and elegant. I just wanted to take it home with me. Perhaps I can plant one if I find out what it is. Anybody know?

When I got home, I was in the mood to cook. I’ve been craving lasagna for a long time. I used to eat it just once a year, usually when the bug hit me around Christmas time when comfort food hits the spot. But lately, since I haven’t had it for years, the bug has hit me extra hard…which means I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of tasty, and not-so-tasty, ways to prepare it gluten free.

One attempt was found in a cookbook and I thought it sounded great. Instead of using pasta, you just use a thin layer of potatoes instead. Sounds great, right? Well…I did something wrong and after cooking it for more than two hours, the potatoes were still raw inside. I now know that the potatoes should be pre-cooked, but at the time, I figured they would cook with all that moisture in there, wouldn’t you think? Well, I’m here to tell you–they don’t. But, I knew I was on to something because my daughter and her friends stood in the kitchen with forks, picking away at the pan to eat the cheese and sauce. They loved it, except of course for the uncooked spuds inside.

My latest experiment is a big success. I decided today to give this another try, but I realized that pasta is my best bet. But since I don’t have gf lasagna noodles, I decided to use my favorite gf pasta from Trader Joe’s. I still believe that TJ’s brown rice pasta is the best I’ve tried. And I’ve tried many kinds, even the more expensive versions, and they don’t taste too great and they get too mushy too fast.

Anyway, it turned out fabulous! Layering the creamy ricotta cheese and tomato sauce with cooked spaghetti noodles. I suppose it’s baked spaghetti, but to me, it’s heaven. And to my daughter, and to my ultimate surprise–my husband–it was the lasagna that we’ve been missing. My daughter and I had two helpings, and my husband, who never eats my GF creations on principle, ate a huge piece for dinner. Now that’s a compliment. Since I eat GF and vegetarian, and he doesn’t like veggies and prefers a burger, this was a surprise.

It’s actually a little less heavy than traditional lasagna since the spaghetti gets a little more air in it. And I used just two layers of pasta. Yum… Try it yourself and let me know. I’m going to try and make a vegetable lasagna next time. I’ll let you know how that turns out.


Spagana/Laghette using Trader Joe’s brown rice spaghetti

Baked Laghetti

1 package TJ’s brown rice spaghetti
2 cups spaghetti sauce (use your own, or store-bought gf sauce)
2 8 oz packages gf ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degree. Spray a lasagna pan and set aside.

1. Cook pasta as directed on package. Remove from water just a minute or two before they are done since they’ll cook more in the oven. Very al dente…

2. Rinse pasta with cold water for a second.

3. Mix ricotta cheese with Romano cheese, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.

4. Assemble the lasagna as follows:
* Put a little tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan to keep it from sticking.
* Next place a layer of spaghetting (about 1/2) in the pan.
* Place a little less than 1/2 of the ricotta in the pan over the spaghetti.
* Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella over the top.
* Place more sauce over the cheese to cover.
* Place the rest of the pasta on top and spread evenly to cover.
* Place the rest of the ricotta dotted on top of the sauce.
* Place the rest of the sauce over the top and spread evenly, making sure no spaghetti is uncovered.
* Cover the top with the rest of the mozzarella.

5. Bake for 35 minutes with a foil tent to keep the cheese from burning.

6. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to set.

Enjoy!

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Filed under dinner parties, gluten free, lasagna, vegetarian