"Mom, just because you make vegetarian lasagna, it doesn't mean you have to add in all those vegetables."
Said my daughter on Monday as we embarked on our second week of Meatless Mondays.
"Ummm. Yes it does," I thought to myself. Thought being the operative word because had I dared uttered them to my little ball of hormones, I would've been subjected to an hour's worth of "YOU'RE SO MEAN!!!!" tears.
Instead, I smiled and served the lasagna.
She turned her nose up at the first slice and asked if there was anything else. I told her she was welcome to make herself a bowl of cereal. Scowling, she took a bite.
"Why are you taking pictures of it?" She asked in between forkfuls. "It's not that good. It's not your best work. Can I have another piece?"
So I gave her another slice. Then she asked if she could take the leftovers to school for lunch the next day. She NEVER takes leftovers for lunch.
And then last night, as the rest of the family ate chicken wings while I ate the last of the lasagna, she asked if she could forego the wings-her favourite meal-and have some of mine.
I declare this one a winner.
Meatless Mondays Lasagna
This dish may seem complicated but I'm not even kidding when I say I got the whole thing done & in the oven in 20 minutes. It would you take you longer than that to drive to the grocery store to get a frozen one!
1 tub of low-fat cottage cheese
1 box of lasagna noodles (the ones you boil;I'm not a fan of the oven-ready style)
1 cup grated Mozzarella
½ cup Parmesan, divided
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 can/jar crushed tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 large carrot, grated
1 tbsp each olive oil & butter
3 cups chopped fresh spinach/kale/any other leafy greens you've got around
1 tsp salt & a couple turns of the pepper grinder.
Start your noodles: Boil a giant pot of salty water & cook your noodles al dente ( a bit of a bite when you try it). While this is all happening...
2. Make the sauce: in a large frying pan, melt the butter & olive oil over medium heat. Add in the sliced mushrooms, grated carrot & a pinch of salt. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once in a while.
3. Add in the chopped garlic & stir for another minute or so. Add in the crushed tomatoes. When it starts to bubble, turn the heat down & simmer for about 5-10 min. After that, you'll turn off the heat & let it cool a bit. While its simmering...
4. Make the filling: in a large bowl, mix the cottage cheese, egg, ¾ of the Mozzarella, ¼ cup Parmesan, greens, and s & p. Now you're ready to...
5. Assemble: spread a ladleful of sauce on the bottom of an 8 x 8 square baking dish (or the equivalent). Cover with noodles. Spread on another ladle of sauce and then half the cheese mixture. Cover with more noodles, and more sauce, and the rest of the cheese mixture. Then cover with one more layer of noodles, sauce, and the reserved cheese.
6. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until its brown & bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving so that you don't burn your mouth like crazy. Also, it'll be easier to cut & not look like a saucy, cheesy, noodle-y mess.
So that's it. The dish that got my steak-loving, chicken-wing obsessed daughter to embrace the veg.