Sunday, October 17, 2021

best vegetarian lasagna


This lasagna used so many pans and bowls and I was crossing my fingers that the effort would be worth it.  You see, we had dinner company coming from out out-of-state and one of our guests was a vegetarian so I wanted to find the very best vegetarian lasagna.  Well, despite a kitchen full of dirty dishes to be done, I managed to get them all clean and put away before our guests arrived AND the lasagna was SO GOOD!
Next time I will read the recipe through before I decide on one. :)  Three parts of this recipe had to be blended.  It was some work but worth it.

best vegetarian lasagna (cookie+kate)
veggies and spinach
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large carrots,, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
5-6 ounces baby spinach

tomato sauce (or substitute 2 cups prepared marinara sauce- don't do it!)
1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I omitted)
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

remaining ingredients
2 cups (16 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
8 ounces (2 cups) freshly grated low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
To prepare the veggies:  In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil.  Add the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, yellow onion, and salt.  Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the veggies are golden on the edges, about 8-12 minutes.
Add a few large handfuls of spinach.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted.  Repeat with remaining spinach and cook until all of the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, to prepare the tomato sauce:
Pour the tomatoes into a colander and drain off the excess juice for a minute.  Then transfer the drained tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor.  Add the basil, oil, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes.
Pulse the mixture about 10 times until the tomatoes have broken down to an easily spreadable consistency.  Pour the mixture into a bowl for later.  Rinse out he food processor and return it to the machine.
Pour half of the cottage cheese (1 cup) into the processor and blend it until smooth, about 1 minute.  Transfer the mixture to large mixing bowl.  No need to rinse out the bowl of the food processor this time; just put it back onto the machine because you'll need it later.
Transfer the cooked veggies and spinach mixture to the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse until they are more finely chopped but not pureed, about 5 to 7 times, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of whipped cottage cheese.  Top with the remaining cottage cheese, then add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  Stir to combine.
Time to assemble:
Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9x9" baking dish.  Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top.  Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.  Top with 3/4 cup tomato sauce, then sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheese on top.
Top with 3 more noodles, followed by the remaining cottage cheese mixture (we're skipping the tomato sauce in this layer).  Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheese on top.
Top with 3 more noodles, then spread 3/4 cup tomato sauce over the top to evenly cover the noodles.  Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese.
Wrap a sheet of parchment paper or foil around the top of the lasagna (don't let it touch the cheese).  Bake, covered, for 18 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180 degrees and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 more minutes, until the top is turning spotty brown.
Remove from oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so it has time to set and cool down to a reasonable temperature.  Sprinkle additional basil over the top then slice and serve.

Friday, October 15, 2021

chewy chocolate ginger molasses cookies


This recipe is the perfect combination for my family, especially my husband.  He loves chocolate the most but really loves a good ginger molasses cookie.  This morning my kids were nibbling at the leftovers from last night.

chewy chocolate ginger molasses cookies (Costco Connection magazine, October 2021)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
1/3 cup molasses
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Whisk melted butter, sugars and molasses in a large bowl.  Whisk in fresh ginger, egg and vanilla.  Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and stir until combined (dough will be soft).  Stir in chocolate chips.  Chill dough for at least 2 ours of overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 baking trays or line with parchment paper.
Portion 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a ball.  Roll each cookie in granulated sugar to coat and place on the baking trays, 2 inches apart.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until they crinkle and feel set at the edges when gently pressed.  Cool cookies on the trays for 10 minutes before removing.  Makes about 30 cookies.

baked sweet potato fries


I tore this out of my Costco Connection magazine.  Great recipe!

baked sweet potato fries (Costco Connection magazine, October 2021)
1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried (peeling is optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
coarse salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large baking pan with parchment paper or foil.  
Slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-to 1/2-inch thick wedges.  Whisk the oil, chili, onion and garlic powders; add salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add the potato wedges.  Toss evenly to coat.
Spread the potato slices and any lingering oil onto the baking pan in a single layer.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning the fries over midway through cooking until the sweet potatoes are tender inside and slightly brown around the edges.  Sprinkle with extra salt if desired.  Serve warm.  Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

easy pumpkin snickerdoodle bars


I love pumpkin.  Everything pumpkin just makes me feel happy.  I love when I start seeing the in the stores and on front porches.  These pumpkin snickerdoodle bars are great!

easy pumpkin snickerdoodle bars (mel's kitchen cafe)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a metal 9x13 inch pan with foil or parchment and lightly grease with cooking spray.  
Cream butter and sugars and mix until light and fluffy.
Add the pumpkin, water and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
Add the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice and mix until combined.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping and sprinkle evenly across the top of the bars.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until set around the edges and still soft (but now raw in the center).  Let cool completely before cutting into squares.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Friday, September 17, 2021

spinach zucchini bites


These bites are scrumptious!  They are easy to make and so, so good.  We enjoyed them with grilled chicken and pasta salad full of veggies.

spinach zucchini bites (adapted from
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained (I cooked some fresh spinach and diced it to equal 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/2" rounds (I had 13 rounds)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, garlic and crushed red pepper.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread about a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on top of each zucchini coin.
Bake until zucchini is tender and cheese is melty, 15 minutes.  For more color, broil on high 1-2 minutes.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

cinnamon sugar candied nuts


We had a big container of deluxe mixed nuts that weren't getting eaten because they were unsalted so I put them to good use in this recipe.  My family approves.

cinnamon sugar candied nuts (damn delicious)
1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups mixed nuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon water until frothy, 2 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine sugars and cinnamon; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine nuts and egg white mixture.  Stir in sugar mixture until evenly coated.  
Bake 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Let cool before serving.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

cauliflower tacos


These tacos were recommended to me by a dear friend of mine who knows that half my family is vegetarian.  They are GREAT!  Great tacos.  We lived by a really cool taco joint in Oregon.  Haven't found a really cool taco place here in Utah but if we can make cauliflower tacos at home, maybe we're set for now.

cauliflower tacos (my friend Erin found the recipe at (
1 medium head cauliflower chopped into florets
1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
flour or corn tortillas for serving
toppings:  avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, shredded cabbage, sour cream, jalapenos....

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
Place the cauliflower, chickpeas, and red onion in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with seasonings.  Toss evenly to coat then spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring twice until the chickpeas are crispy and the cauliflower is just tender.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
To serve, warm the tortillas.  Pile high with the cauliflower and chickpea mixture.  Add desired toppings.