No-Noodle Lasagna

No-Noodle Lasagna

The first lasagna recipe I published on this blog called for twenty ingredients. TWENTY! That is not a typo. (I'm embarrassed to even link to that recipe, oh how much I've learned since 2015!)

Lasagna is one of those things that just has a lot of components, but I was on a mission with this one: Simplify. Because some weeks, even just having twenty ingredients on your shopping list is stressful. Right??

This version has less than half that number of ingredients. That said, it still needs to bake for 50 minutes, so if you are trying to serve this on a weeknight, doing all the prep ahead of time will help you out.

No-Noodle Lasagna
No-Noodle Lasagna

This one is about the essentials:

  • A good marinara sauce. I used store bought, but you can also use this 20-minute recipe. I'm all for homemade but some times you have to cut yourself a break! 
  • Ricotta cheese. Any excuse to use ricotta cheese is welcome, if you ask me. But it's also the creamy layer in lasagna, and arguably the best part. 
  • Mozzarella! You might be thinking, two different kinds of cheese? Yes! (And a third, if you keep reading). Mozzarella adds the gooey, stringy cheese texture to the top of the casserole. And that third cheese? Parmesan, which I mostly added for good measure, and also it's flavor.
  • Meat. In this case, Italian Sausage. I love the flavor of hot Italian sausage, but you could easily use ground beef if you prefer. Many chefs choose to mix the two, in fact, but again simple was the name of the game here.
  • Noodles -- but in this case, actually eggplant sliced thin and used in place of noodles. Eggplant goes so well with lasagna flavors. Bring on the veggies!

What is not essential to lasagna is the spinach layer, but I added it in because if I'm going to be cooking a lasagna, I may as well cover all of my bases instead of also making a side salad. 

No-Noodle Lasagna
No-Noodle Lasagna

No-Noodle Lasagna

Published July 12, 2018 by
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Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 90 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce (choose one that has basil or garlic, or make your own )
  • 1-2 eggplants (1 large or 2 medium)
  • 16 ounces ricotta
  • 16 ounces hot Italian sausage, ground
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Optional: minced parsley for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F, and slice eggplants in thin, long strips — about 1/4-inch thick. Spread slices out in a single layer on a sheet pan, and brush with olive oil. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes, until eggplant begins to soften.
    2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Once cooked, set aside.
    3. Place thawed spinach in a strainer, and squeeze out as much extra water as possible.
    4. Make the lasagna: spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x16-inch baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant strips as “noodles” in a single layer. Spread ricotta cheese over eggplant, and then top with sausage crumbles. Next, spread the spinach in a layer. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over top, and then layer the remaining eggplant in a second layer. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce, and then top with shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan.
    5. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F, and bake lasagna covered for 25 minutes, and then uncovered for 25 minutes.
    6. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then top with minced parsley. Slice and serve. Top with parmesan if desired.

    Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

    Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

    On a cold and misty day, my mom and I meandered down a paved path in the bay area. My mom stopped on the side of the path and held a tree's leaves between her fingers. "Laurel trees," she explained, and when I still didn't quite get it she said, "Bay Leaves."

    I've never given bay leaves their dues: they are easy to skip, as a whole pot of soup usually only calls for one or two leaves. They are subtle, so skipping them is never the end of the world. But delicate flavors have always ranked high in my mom's book: florals, herbals, and creams. 

    In the winter she'd make soups with leeks and kielbasa, and stir in cream or (and) shredded provolone at the last minute before turning off the heat. She never skipped the bay leaves. 

    Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup
    Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

    This soup is an ode to that day, when I discovered how beautiful laurel trees are and remembered why bay leaves are so important. It is nothing fancy: onions, potatoes, sausage, and spinach in a creamy broth. But simplicity is key here, as you can throw it all in the pot (along with two bay leaves), and let it simmer while you change into slippers, pour a glass of wine, or nibble on a cheese plate. 

    Winter officially "arrives" this week, which makes it the perfect time to make a simple cozy soup. Bites of spicy sausage and slurps of flavorful broth will warm you to the bone.

    Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

    Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

    Published December 19, 2017 by
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    Serves: 8   |    Total Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced small
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil 
    • 4 sausages (about 1/2 pound); I used Teton Waters Ranch Hot Links (available at Costco) but you can experiment here. Try kielbasa or spicy Italian to mix it up!
    • 2 cups new potatoes, quartered 
    • 2 large carrots, diced small
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
    • Dash cayenne 
    • 1 cup heavy cream 
    • 4 cups baby spinach 

    Directions:

      Instant Pot Instructions:
    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of your Instant Pot (affiliate link) on the sauté setting. Add diced onion, minced garlic, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
    2. Slice sausages into bite sized pieces, and add to pot, browning for 3-5 minutes. Then, add potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, broth, pepper, salt and dash of cayenne.
    3. Turn Instant Pot to Soup setting, seal lid, and set timer for 10 minutes.
    4. When the timer goes off, release pressure and open pot. Stir in spinach and cream. The spinach will wilt from the heat of the soup. Add additional salt & pepper to taste, and serve hot.

      Stove Top Instructions:
    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add diced onion, minced garlic, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
    2. Slice sausages into bite sized pieces, and add to pot, browning for 3-5 minutes. Then, add potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, broth, pepper, salt and dash of cayenne.
    3. Bring soup to a simmer, and place lid on pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
    4. Turn off heat and, stir in spinach and cream. The spinach will wilt from the heat of the soup. Add additional salt & pepper to taste, and serve hot.

    Winter Squash Sheet Pan Breakfast

    Winter Squash Sheet Pan Breakfast

    When it comes to squash, I am a fiend. My favorite of all winter squashes? Delicata, which I eat sliced into thin crescents and roasted until golden, with just a touch of salt and pepper. I could eat just roasted delicata squash for an entire meal and be perfectly content. More than content. 

    The first delicata squash I laid eyes on this season ended up in my shopping cart without a bat of an eye. I didn't think about it for more than a second: delicata, yes and yes. It was late July, so some would argue I was jumping the gun on fall crops. Committing a seasonal produce sin. But when you love delicata squash the way I do, there is no such thing as jumping the gun. Especially when the delicata squash plant in your yard remains the runtiest of runts, and you can expect no yield from it. 

    Winter Squash Sheet Pan Breakfast

    I rarely mess with my delicata squash formula in the kitchen. Even in this kale salad, I cooked the squash just the way I always do, and then combined it with seasonal ingredients to make a bright bowl of greens. And in this sheet pan breakfast, I don't stray far: roasted delicata squash is baked alongside a serving of bacon and two eggs cooked to perfection. 

    There a lot of ways to make your breakfast feel like fall, all of them yummy. But this one you just can't skip. 

    Winter Squash Sheet Pan Breakfast

    Winter Squash Sheet Pan Breakfast

    Published August 31, 2017 by
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    An autumn breakfast to fill you up and keep you warm.

    Serves: 2   |    Total Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 delicata squash
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more for serving
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper, plus more for serving
    • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
    • 2 slices bacon
    • 2 eggs

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fit a sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silicone Baking Mat.
    2. Slice squash in half, the long way. Scoop out seed and discard. Then, cut squash into crescents, about 1/4 of an inch thick (the skin on delicata squash is quite thin, and can be eaten). Place crescents in a bowl and toss with melted coconut oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan. Arrange 2 slices of bacon on the pan as well.
    3. Bake squash and bacon for 20 minutes. Pull sheet pan from oven, and crack both eggs onto pan. Return pan to oven and bake until eggs reach desired doneness. I prefer my yolks runny, and cook them for 6-7 more minutes. Note that eggs will continue to set after they are removed from oven.
    4. Serve warm with salt and pepper to taste.