Saturday, January 22, 2011

Easy No Bake Lasagna

Once again, my husband came home looking for dinner, and I had NO CLUE what I was going to make...oops!  Frantically, I began raiding my pantry, fridge, and freezer for whatever I could think of that might be thrown together (quickly) to make a decent meal...time was sensitive, because I knew that if I didn't do something would be ordered!  Not that I don't LOVE pizza...but it's too easy of a fall-back, and I really wanted my family to have a healthy, home-cooked meal!  Then it dawned on me...I had a few boxes of partially used up lasagna noodles...and a few veggies, along with spaghetti sauce...this just might work!  But wait...lasagna takes FOREVER to bake...what if...could it be done?  Can you really do a lasagna without baking it?  The answer is, YES!  The only time this little beauty touched the oven, was to broil the "cheese" on top...which took less than 5 minutes!  This lasagna, my husband described as, "your best tasting lasagna yet" well as "the most traditional in taste"!  So that's what you can expect by making, most traditional tasting, easy lasagna ever!

Let's break this into steps:

Get your noodle water boiling in a large pot

The "Ricotta Cheese" (Just so you know, I only had 1 package of the silken tofu, but if I had to do it all over again, I'd use 2 packages):

1 package of silken tofu, gently squeezed dry in a paper towel
1 T. dried basil
1 T. dried oregano
1 T. nutritional yeast (really high in B vitamins and minerals, this gives things a "cheese" flavor...You'll more than likely have to go to a health food store for this, but it's so worth it and I use it a lot in my recipes)
1 T. garlic powder
1 t.sea salt

-With a fork, mix all of this together, mashing it to a ricotta cheese texture (remember, if you use the 2 packages of silken tofu, double the spices)
-Set aside

The Veggies:

In a saute pan over medium heat combine:

1/2 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried basil
2 t. nutritional yeast
2 small Zucchini, shredded
1/3 bag of matchstick carrots
2 c. frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped
2 c. chopped, frozen broccoli, thawed and squeezed dry (so just to clarify for this one, take frozen broccoli, thaw it, squeeze it dry, chop it, and THEN measure out 2 cups!)

-Mix all of this together, and basically what you're looking to do is heat everything through, and give it the flavor it would normally have if you were to bake it.

-Heat the remaining 1 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce up

-While the sauce is heating and the veggies are cooking, let's make the "Cheese" topping

The "Parmesan Cheese" Topping:

1 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs (yes, you should use the panko, because their texture holds up the best)
3 T. nutritional yeast
1 T. garlic powder
1 t. sea salt
3 T. extra virgin olive oil

-Mix all together until the crumbs are evenly coated with the oil and seasonings, and let's get ready to assemble.  (I'm hoping that you realized that you need to pull your noodles out of the water once they were done cooking!)

The Assembly:

1 c. of heated spaghetti sauce goes into the bottom of a 9x13 pan...this will prevent the annoying "sticking noodles" to the bottom of the pan

4-5 lasagna noodles (I prefer to use the gluten free ones, but whole wheat works well too)

1/2 of the "ricotta" mixture (which I just now remembered that I didn't preheat before putting it into my might want to microwave it first)

1/2 of the veggie mixture...with the back of a spoon, kind of press and smooth these layers to pack them together...nothing too intense, but this will help your lasagna to hold together better.

1 c. spaghetti sauce, spread over the veggies




remaining sauce

Finish off by sprinkling nearly all (or all if you want) of the panko bread crumbs over the top.  This give a nice texture to the lasagna (as well as flavor!)

-Broil on low until the bread crumbs have browned.  Cut and serve...make sure you cut the pieces extra big, because you're never going to want to stop eating this!!

-This makes a full 9x13 pan, which is a LOT of lasagna, so you can either make it on a night when you're having guests, eat it for about a week, or do what I did, and portion it out and freeze it, so you can have it whenever you feel like it!!  Either way, this is a winner of a meal and you're going to LOVE it!  (Even my 4 yr old asked for a second helping!  Little did she know she was getting a good dose of broccoli and spinach with every bite!!)

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