“Almost” Lasagna

As part of my revamp of this blog, I am going to occasionally add recipes of new dishes that I try to make.

Beginning this week, I decided to start creating a weekly dinner menu. I have found that when I have a lot on my mind, I have a hard time coming up with ideas for what to cook. If it were just me, I wouldn’t sweat it so much – the freezer is loaded with frozen food that I can pop in the microwave on a minute’s notice. But since I am also cooking for my daughter, I want to make a concerted effort to ensure she’s getting the nutrition she needs. So last Sunday I searched the Internet for recipes and made a menu. (By the way, I should add that this makes grocery shopping a lot easier.) On Monday we had chicken tacos (which I really should have documented with photos because they turned out really good). Yesterday we had something called “Almost” Lasagna. It’s “almost” because the recipe calls for elbow macaroni instead of the traditional lasagna pasta.

I started by slicing up two small carrots and dicing a zucchini (tip: cut the zucchini into smaller pieces than you see in this photo):

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After preparing the vegetables, I boiled water with a small amount of olive oil, then added the elbow macaroni. Boil for 7-8 minutes.

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While the pasta’s cooking, start frying about a pound of ground turkey. You could use any kind of meat, but this recipe called for turkey and I quite liked it.

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Next was the ricotta cheese mixture, which was a 15 oz. container of ricotta, a handful of Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Set it to the side when finished.

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When the turkey and pasta are finished cooking, drain the oil and water, then mix both together with the vegetables and a pasta sauce. Any kind will do, but I prefer Classico because a) I like the taste; and b) they make for cool mason jars afterwards.

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Add the ricotta mix to the pasta, meat, and sauce and stir thoroughly, then add a layer of the whole mix to the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

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Sprinkle a cup of mozzarella cheese and then a healthy amount of Parmesan on top of the first layer.

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Then add the remainder of the pasta mix and add another cup of mozzarella and more Parmesan.

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Wrap in aluminum foil and cook in the oven for twenty minutes at 350 degrees, the remove the foil and cook for another 10-20 minutes until the cheese on top is browned. (To be honest, I cooked it for another 15 minutes and the cheese didn’t show the slightest hint of browning, so I turned on the broiler for three or four minutes and that did the trick.)

And “voila” – here is the finished product:

"Almost" Lasagna

“Almost” Lasagna

There you have it, a nice high-carb, hidden-vegetable dinner. Personally, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars on the Scott scale because I cut the zucchini into too large of pieces – leaving them oh-so-slightly under-cooked – and I prefer traditional lasagna noodles. I think Maia gave it a 3 out of 5 on the Maia scale as well because of the zucchini … and she’s not a fan of carrots. Not bad, considering she did get her vegetables.

Thanks to Anne Coleman (aka “Short Order Mom”) and Disney’s family.com for this recipe.

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