Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weekly Menus & Lasagna- Two Ways

Well, I've completely filled up my notebook with recipe ideas and Grocery Lists so I thought I would show you how I plan my Weekly Menus.
I bring this notebook around with me everywhere.  On the train, to work, around the house, upstairs, downstairs... in the kitchen, everywhere.  I never know when I'm going to get inspiration for meals!  On the train, I read a lot of cooking magazines and jot down recipes I want to try out. When I'm on the web, and looking at blogs, I often get inspired by the amazing blog community and jot down names of dishes and ingredients.  By the end of the week, I usually have a decent amount of recipes to try for the following week so I then make my grocery list.
And plan my Weekly Menus-
I plan this out before I go grocery shopping but I know during a busy week things don't always go as planned.  (For instance, I still haven't made that Swiss Chard Pie!)

This week, because of the bbq on Sunday, I haven't been as organized.  When looking around for recipe ideas yesterday for dinner I came across two amazing dinner ideas: one healthy and one not so much.  Then I decided to make them both on the same night so I don't have to cook tonight.  (Hello, WE love leftovers!)

*I cooked my face off last night and didn't take the time to make my pictures look great- I was hungry!*

The first recipe I saw was from Peas and Thank You.  (Only the best vegan blog ever!!!). I love vegetables and I love turning veggies into something different and interesting.   I don't always have time to read blogs everyday so I often read several posts at once and when I saw a recipe for Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna, I knew I had to try it.  PS- I always spell zuchinni wrong.  Are we sure it has two c's and one n?

So I looked at this recipe and I thought about how I had tons of leftovers from my Quinoa Veggie Salad I made on Sunday.  Why not take the recipe and just use my leftovers mixed with tomato sauce and the cream cheese?  (Obviously, mine is not vegan).  Simple and easy. (Have I mentioned how much I love quinoa?  If you haven't tried it- you should.  It's just like cous cous only sooo much better!)
Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna
2 large zucchini, cut into 12 thin, 1/4 in. thick slices (I didn't use the end slices with skin- just the middle)
1 and 1/2 cups of Quinoa Veggie Salad, (which was 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups of water, cooked, mixed with sliced cooked portobellas, eggplant, scallions, corn and black beans and lime juice)
1/8 cup of veggie light cream cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 Jar Tomato Sauce (I used Classico, my favorite)
3/4 cup of Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
Preheat oven to 400. Thinly slice zucchini into about 12 pieces. Place noodles on papertowels, layered and sprinkle with salt. Let this sit for 15 minutes to absorb the liquid.  Next you can either cook the quinoa with veggie broth and tomato sauce and herbs like Sarah says, or you can take your precooked quinoa salad and mix a 1/2 jar of sauce with the cream cheese and put it over heat to blend everything together.  Then pour 1/8 cup of  tomato sauce on the bottom of an 8X8 pan.  Next layer the zucchini, then the quinoa mixture, 
Then add more tomato sauce, some cheese, then repeat. Bake for twenty minutes and then dive in.
Yeah, mine didn't stay together quite as pretty as Mama Peas, but I tried. It still tasted delicious though!

And since I'm all about the multi-tasking, I also made another recipe I saw on one of the many blogs I read (not using google reader).

I found a recipe for... are you ready.... Zucchini & Bacon Lasagna.  I told you one recipe was healthy and the other was not.  But this is Lasagna Two Ways! I found this recipe on Kevin and Amanda's blog who I found through PickyPalate.  I love the blog world, seriously.  One click and you get tons of amazing, delicious, intriguing recipes! Anyway, Amanda posted this recipe a little over a month ago and it fascinated me.  Bacon in a lasagna? Bechemel and Tomato Sauce? Sauting your veggies in Bacon Fat? Umm, sign me up. Oh wait that last part was my addition. I added some Lizzy touches to this- used different cheeses and sauteed zucchini, corn and onions but for the most part, I followed Amanda's recipe.
I wish my pictures looked as good as hers so you can truly understand the deliciousness of this recipe.  But it was late, I was STARVING and I just wanted to eat.

Zucchini & Bacon Lasagna

Béchamel Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk (I used 1/4 cup skim, 1/4 cup heavy cream)
Pinch of salt, pepper, & freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 zucchini, diced (I used the outside pieces of the zucchini from the recipe above)

2 ears of corn, cut off cob
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt & pepper

3 ounces Mexican blend Cheese cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 slices bacon, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt & pepper

1 cup of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce (I used Classico)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
4 oven ready (no boil) lasagna noodles

First thing, cook your bacon in a pan over medium high heat.  Once cooked, remove to a plate with paper towels.  Remove all but 1 teaspoon of bacon fat and add your diced zucchini, corn, garlic, onion and salt and pepper to the hot skillet.  Cook until the veggies start to get soft, about 7 minutes.

Combine the zucchini mixture, Parmesan, Mexican blend cheese, egg, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Add crumbled bacon.
To make the béchamel sauce: Melt 1 tbsp butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cream. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk a pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the béchamel sauce. Add the cheese and do figure eights with your whisk until smooth and creamy.
Pour the béchamel sauce into the bottom of the 8×8 dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles, the zucchini mixture, tomato sauce, cheese, 3 more lasagna noodles, bechemel sauce, another layer of the zucchini mixture, tomato sauce, cheese, 3 more noodles, the rest of the bechemel sauce and parmesan cheese to top and salt and pepper.
 Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 400 until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes.
 Mmm. I can't wait to get home and eat these lasagnas again tonight!

Oh, Dave (my husband) always jokes that I use every pan/pot we have in the house when I cook.  He may be on to something...
Good thing I'm the cook and he's the dishwasher!


  1. Wow! You are super organized. I like the notebook idea.

    That recipe looks great.

  2. Wow. And I thought I was a planner! Both of those lasagnas look really, really good. I'm sitting here looking at takeout menus and wishing I had some of that lasagna.

  3. YUMMM!! I could totally do that lasagna. I am not a regular lasagna fan because I don't love pasta or tomato sauce. But this sounds delicious!

  4. I swear by meal plans! It how I roll! Your food look delish!

  5. Mmmm Bacon Lasagna looks so delicious! :D *drools

  6. Oh my god you are organized! I'm very jealous. I try to plan out my meals in advance but fail miserably every time. Might give your notebook idea a try!

  7. Both lasagnas sound delicious. I love that you can pretty much throw any veggies in there, and it will be crazy delicious. I made lasagna rollups early this week... gotta blog about this! :)
    PS - my husband is a "dish washer" in our house too and he literally begs me to go out sometimes just so he can catch on dishes. :D

  8. Wow, I can't get over how organized you are!! I wish I was like that, but meal planning never seems to work for me since my life is so random!

    The lasagna looks delicious... And I, too, use all my dishes every time I cook :x


  9. I immediately saved Mama Pea's recipe for quinoa and zucchini lasagna too. Can't wait to try it!