Dreary Day: Good for Lasagna

Yesterday was Saturday and I was home alone. Don went to stay with his mother for the weekend while his sister and brother-in-law have a weekend off. I wasn’t able to go because I had to work on Friday, but I was happy to be home alone. I don’t get a lot of time to just veg out. Roni worked “a double” yesterday at the deli so she wasn’t here for supper either. Nevertheless, I had great fun making FOOD. Making delicious food is one of my favorite things to do. I like it better if I have people to share it, though–even if it’s later in the week.

I promised to bring food to a young Harrisonburg Quaker family who just welcomed a new baby, so I made Chilean Bean and Corn Stew  and had that for supper yesterday. I’ll take it to John and Anita sometime on Monday. Of course, I made enough so I can also eat it for a few meals in the coming week. Yum!

I had hoped to be able to work in my garden yesterday, but surprisingly, the weatherperson was CORRECT and it rained the entire day. Actually, it poured! Luckily, it was beautiful today and I was able to get out and play in the dirt.

Tonight I made lasagna using a recipe from one of the Moosewood cookbooks. I have tried a couple of their other recipes for lasagna, and every one of them has been amazing. This one has two sauces and less cheese, making it lower in fat than other recipes. of course, I made a few changes (because that’s what I do when I cook). It was very good.

Vegetable Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna Bechamel
Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups 1% milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 asparagus spears
1 pound sliced button mushrooms
3 chopped leeks (white & tender green parts only)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced carrots
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups baby spinach leaves
3 cups undrained canned tomatoes (28-ounce can)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
8-10 uncooked lasagna noodles
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
1/3 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

Warm the oil in a small saucepan and then stir in the flour. Whisk in the milk a little at a time. Continue to cook, stirring often until the sauce thickens somewhat. It won’t be very thick. Add the nutmeg, mustard and salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a nonstick skillet warm the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, asparagus, garlic, thyme and fennel and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the wine, carrots and broccoli. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and spinach and cook for a couple more minutes. Set aside.

Pour the canned tomatoes and juice into a bowl. Add the fresh basil, stir and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray a light coating of cooking oil in a lasagna pan or a deep 8 x 12-inch pan. Assemble the lasagna. Layer half  the tomato-basil mixture in the bottom of the dish, top with a single layer of noodles, half the vegetables, one cup of the bechamel sauce, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and 2 tablespoons of the grated mozzarella. Top with the rest of the vegetables, the remaining bechamel sauce, a third layer of noodles, the rest of the tomato basil mixture, and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheeses.

Cover and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow the lasagna to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


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About Lois

My husband, Don Crawford, and I love to cook. For me, it's more about eating delicious food than the actual cooking. I like to cook mostly because I like to eat, and I like the proud sense of accomplishment when the food I make is appreciated by others. For Don, it's all about presentation. So we make a good team. I'm too impatient to create beautiful presentations (usually), but he sweeps in and takes over so it all turns out great. All our recipes are tried and true!
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