Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lasagna For A Week

I purchased a crock pot over the weekend, I hope to start making large batches of soup/chili on Sunday nights to turn on Monday mornings, so when I get home from work I'll have a nice, warm dinner waiting for me. I want to make large batches so I can freeze the leftovers (unless I want to eat it that same week).

This post doesn't have anything to do with the crock pot though.

I am writing this while I wait for my giant batch of "lasagna" to bake, and I thought I'd share my recipe. I sort of made it up as I went along, using recipes for various lasagnas to estimate baking time/temp. ya go:

Kim's Healthy Lasagna
  • 1 pkg (mine was 1.25 lbs) ground turkey (I chose 99% fat free ground turkey from Trader Joe's, but you can really use whatever ground meat you like best. Ground sirloin is mighty tasty)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (whatever you have on hand; I used two 1/2 empty jars of Classico, different "flavors" but it doesn't matter at all)
  • 4 zucchini, sliced thin
  • various spices, I'll list as I go
  • lots of cheese; I used shredded mozzarella, jack and cheddar, with some grated parmesan just for good measure.
  • 1/2 spaghetti squash (I had 1/2 leftover from some I made the other night)
  • spinach, if desired
Cook spaghetti squash: if you have 1/2, you've already sliced it lengthwise. If you only have a whole squash, you can certainly use all of it -- I kinda wished I had more to go around, actually. Anyway, take your 1/2 squash, and put it in a microwave-safe dish with a bit (1/4 cup-ish) of water. Cover it with saran wrap and microwave for approx. 10 minutes. Let it stand and cool for about 5 minutes or so before you scrape a fork along the inside to separate it into spaghetti-like strands. The scraping is my favorite part; I still think it's pretty rad.

While squash is cooking: start on your meat. Empty the package into a pan that is big enough to hold the meat. It cooks faster/better if you sort of mash/crumble it as you go. Otherwise, you have to spend some time crumbling it up with a spatula while it's cooking. Which is totally fine, and I always end up doing that anyway. Season the meat with whatever spices you have on hand. I used oregano, lemon pepper, chili powder, paprika, and some steak/chop grill seasoning. I like to add the grill seasoning to my meat sauces because it gives things a little bit of a smoky meaty flavor. Let the meat do its thing in the pan until it's cooked -- it won't be pink/red anymore; you'll be able to tell. Every once in a while, stir it around and use up a spatula to break up the bits that have clumped together.

While meat is cooking: make the sauce. Pour whatever sauce you have into a pot that is big enough to hold sauce and meat (the sauce alone should fill the pot about halfway, I've found). I added some frozen basil cubes (I love Trader Joe's) and a little dash of the grill seasoning, just for fun. Once the meat is done and the sauce is warm, add the meat to the sauce.

You can slice the zucchini while the sauce/meat is heating/cooking up; I forgot to mention that.

By this time, the squash should be done. The meaty sauce should be done. The zucchini should be sliced. Tonight, that all happened wonderfully at the same time, but I think it always happens like that. And I think that's because the meat/sauce/slicing stuff takes about 15 minutes. Magic.

Get out your big ole lasagna pan (any baking dish will do; I have a deep-ish 13x9" pan, but I've also made smaller batches in square pans). Layer like so: light layer of sauce; squash; zucchini; cheese; sauce; squash; zucchini; cheese; more cheese. I love a thick-crispy-gooey layer of cheese on top of my lasagna. Mmmmm.

Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes at approx 350 degrees. I think. I'm waiting for it to come out of the oven now. I will post a follow-up with details on how it came out. Perhaps I will take pictures.


update: my apartment smells amazing, and I just stuck a loaf of TJ's Organic White Cheddar Roasted Garlic Filone (fancy word for bread?) in with it for the next few minutes. Heating up bread (baguette, batard, ciabatta, filone, whatever) for about 5 minutes in the oven really makes a difference. The crust gets crusty and the inside is warm and squishy. It really makes it all bread-wonderful.


  1. I am so impressed. I can't "cook" anything that doesn't go from box to microwave.

  2. I bet you could! And this "recipe" is so easy! I mean, come on, I made it up as I went along! How hard can THAT be? Especially with my silly instructions to guide you :-)

  3. thanks for the recipe! I am 100% going to try it at some point in 2008.

  4. i'd replace the meat with something more my scene, but otherwise wowee! i'm inspired.

    i'm the same way Shonelle, except with me instead of box to microwave, its fridge to stir-fry pan.