The Veggie Mother-load: Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

As I noted in an earlier post, we are trying to eat less meat in our house. Which is fine with me, I love veggies, all kinds. However, I am finding that a lot of the vegetarian dishes just aren’t as filling as the good old meat and potato dinners. I also don’t want to just add a ton of other fats or bread just to compensate. So I was looking for some new ideas and a friend let me borrow her Forks Over Knives Cookbook. I loved it so much, I bought my own. The recipes in the book are no fat, vegan strict, uber healthy which is great and all but I feel like our baby steps are at least in the right direction and I know me (and my family) and there is no way I could stay on that strict of a diet. However, I love the ideas in the Forks Over Knives cookbook so I have been using their recipes and then tweaking them a little to fit my families needs and tastes. I am a sucker for cream sauces so when I saw their recipe for the much healthier Cauliflower Béchamel I was sold. I made a filling and delicious Vegetable Lasagna with it. Ok I may have cheated a little with some cheese on top but like I said baby steps.

Cauliflower Bechamel ( adapted from Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe)

3c Cauliflower florets

Unsweetened plain almond milk

1 med yellow onion chopped

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 t minced thyme

1/4c chopped fresh basil

1/4 t nutmeg

salt and pepper

Add Cauliflower to a large sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until super tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile sauté the chopped onion in a small pan until soft with a little olive oil, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. 

Add cauliflower, onion mixture, thyme, basil, nutmeg and salt and pepper to a food processor or blender. Pulse until Cauliflower is broken up, add Almond milk about 1-2 T at a time, pureeing in between until it has a smooth and creamy texture, about that same as a ricotta mixture. Taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed.

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

 

Use this sauce for stuffed shells, lasagna, or even as a base for macaroni and cheese. 

To make the Lasagna, start with a layer of the Cauliflower Bechamel sauce, then layer cooked Lasagna Noodles, Sauce, Vegetables ( I used thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, shredded carrots, spinach and halved grape tomatoes), and continue finishing with the sauce on top, and here is where I also added some shredded cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes and then serve.

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

 

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Leftover Avocados ?… Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Sometimes I am terrible at judging how much produce to buy, I usually err on the side of too much. This has happened to me several times with avocados. Avocados have such a short window of perfect ripeness so I am sometimes forced to make something on the fly with my extras. This is how this recipe happened today at lunch. Now I may purposely buy too many avocados so that I can treat myself to this decadent creamy dish more often. Also depending on what type of pasta you use this dish is vegan friendly, and if your not vegan and/or don’t have almond milk in the house you can easily substitute cow’s milk.

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

1 avocado peeled, and chopped, pit removed

3 T almond or cow’s milk

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/3 c grape tomatoes halved

2 c cooked pasta of your choice

more salt and pepper to taste

Place the avocado, milk, garlic, and salt in pepper in a bowl and blend into a puree with a hand held blender, or toss those ingredients into a regular blender until smooth. Toss with warm drained pasta and tomatoes, season with desired amount of salt and pepper and serve.

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

 

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

2lbs Beef Stew Meat

1/2 onion cut into chunks

1 T olive oil

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

2 T Sweet Hungarian Paprika

2 T flour

2 garlic cloves chopped

2 T tomato paste

10-12 oz beef broth

3 bell peppers sliced

1/2 t caraway seeds

2 T balsamic vinegar

Add  1 T paprika, flour, salt and pepper to a large bowl or plastic bag. add meat and toss or shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a large pan add beef and onion and cook until browned. add garlic and caraway seeds and cook 1 minute more. add beef broth (enough to cover meat), remaining paprika, tomato paste and vinegar, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes-1 hr, sauce with thicken and meat will become tender. Add peppers and cook 20 minutes more over low heat or until peppers are soft. Serve over buttered noodles or mashed potatoes.

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

 

Greek Pasta Casserole

Greek Pasta

 

Think of this as a Greek Bolognese Sauce, it is a hearty and comforting dish. I served it with a salad of lettuce, radishes and beets and toasted pita with garlic.

Greek Pasta Casserole

16 oz of cooked pasta ( I used rigatoni)

1 lb ground Turkey (you could use lamb, beef or chicken)

1 can diced tomatoes (Undrained)

2 c chopped fresh spinach

2 T greek seasoning

2 cloves garlic chopped

2 T red wine vinegar

1 c cream

1 c crumbled feta

1 c mozzarella cheese

in a large skillet saute ground turkey until no longer pink, add 1 T greek seasoning, garlic, and spinach, cook over med until spinach is wilted and add tomatoes and vinegar.

Greek Pasta

Mix together with drained pasta and add to a large 9×12 baking dish. Add cream and feta and mozzarella cheese and remaining Greek Seasoning.

Greek Pasta

 

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so pasta on top doesn’t get dry. Sauce will thicken and cheese will melt.

Greek Pasta

Greek Pasta

 

 

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

I love pumpkin ravioli but who has time or energy to make that, get all the flavor with none of the work with this baked ziti dish.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

1 16 0z package of ziti or other pasta cooked and drained

2 c pumpkin puree

2 c ricotta cheese

1/4 c  shredded parmesan cheese

1 T honey

1 egg

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1 T chopped fresh sage

1 T butter

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

While pasta is cooking, mix pumpkin, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, honey, egg, nutmeg and sage in a bowl. When pasta is done drain and return to pot, add butter and stir over low heat until melted. Add pumpkin/cheese mixture and stir until evenly mixed. Stir in salt and pepper. Add to a large baking pan and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 min at 325 or until cheese is melted.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives and Peppers

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives and Peppers

 

This is a fairly light dinner made in the crock pot with lots of deep flavors.

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives and Peppers

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 large can crushed tomatoes

2 green bell peppers sliced thinly

1 onion sliced thinly

3.5 oz large green olives about 1/2 c ( I used Sicilian spiced)

2 T brine from olives

1/4 t red pepper flakes

1 t Italian seasoning

1/4 c white wine (optional)

1 T lemon juice

Add all ingredients to a crock pot, cook on low for 6 hours, serve over noodles or rice.

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives and Peppers

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives and Peppers

Greek Chicken with Tomatoes and Feta with Lemon Orzo

Greek Chicken with Tomatoes and Feta

This is a pretty simple dish but it has a lot of flavor. I use a pre made greek dressing for my marinade but you could easily make your own. I also served it with a simple salad of romaine and pickled beets.

Greek Chicken with Tomatoes and Feta

3-4 chicken breasts

1/4 c greek vinaigrette or salad dressing ( I used a local favorite called Farmer Boy Greek Dressing)

3 small ripe tomatoes chopped

1/3 c feta cheese chopped

1 T fresh oregano chopped  ( or 1/2 t dried)

salt and pepper to taste

Add chicken breasts to a large ziplock bag and add dressing. Mix to coat chicken and place in the refrigerator 2-12 hours. Pre heat oven to 350.

Add chicken to a baking dish and cook for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is done and no longer pink. Add chopped tomato, feta, oregano and salt and pepper to the top of chicken and bake 10 more minutes.

Greek Chicken with Tomatoes and Feta

Lemon and Feta Orzo

12 oz  orzo cooked according to package directions and drained.

1 T lemon juice

1/4 t lemon zest

2 T feta cheese

1 T chopped fresh parsley

2 t olive oil

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl add salt and pepper to taste.

Lemon Feta Orzo

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Cool off this Summer with this refreshing, easy and tasty pasta salad.

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

8 oz pasta cooked, drained and rinsed

2 cucumbers peeled, quartered and cut into 1 ” pieces

1 T chopped fresh mint

1 T chopped fresh parsley

1 T chopped ginger ( I used the refrigerated pre-minced found in the produce section of my supermarket)

1/2 c sour cream

3 T rice wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste.

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to incorperate. Chill and serve.

 

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Fresh is best. I hate to use canned or jarred soups and sauces unless I have to. The good news is tomatoes are coming into season here in Florida, which means better quality and cheaper prices. This sauce is so easy and so much better than jarred, try it once and you may never go back. Pour it on your favorite pasta or over chicken or pork.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce (serves 2, can be doubled)

1 T olive oil

2 ripe tomatoes chopped

salt and pepper

1/4 c chopped onion

2 t garlic chopped

3 T heavy cream

1 T fresh chopped basil

Sprinkle chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper. Heat oil over med/high in a large skillet, add tomato, onion and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Turn heat to low and add cream, cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil. Serve.

Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Lasagna Supreme : Just Like the Pizza but Better

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

All the flavors of a supreme pizza in a lasagna.

Supreme Lasagna

1 package no cook lasagna noodles

1 lb ricotta cheese

1 T  chopped fresh oregano

1 T chopped fresh basil

2 eggs

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

4 hot italian sausage links (I used Turkey sausage)

1 green pepper sliced

1 c sliced onion

1 c sliced mushrooms

1 large jar marinara sauce

2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400. in a large bowl mix ricotta, oregano, basil, eggs, salt and pepper and 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese.  Cut open casing of sausage and squeeze meat into a large saute pan, cook over med high heat until no longer pink. Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is translucent, add mushroom and cook until slightly soft. Drain any liquid from pan.

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Using a large spoon, put approx 1/4 c of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add one layer of noodles, then 1/3 ricotta mixture, a layer of sauce about 1 c and then 1/2 of the sausage mixture. Add another layer of noodles, 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1 c sauce, then noodles. The 1/3 ricotta mixture,  1 c sauce , 1/2 sausage mixture, and then noodles. Cover noodles with sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese and cover with foil. (The middle layer will be just cheese)

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Bake for 30 minutes with foil on, then remove and cook 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted and golden. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better