The cooler weather has definitely arrived in New England – and it is probably here to stay for a few months. One of the great things about late fall and winter is the return of comfort food! I just love making soups, stews, and other comfort foods – it is something I look forward to during the last weeks of summer. I love winter vegetables, Thanksgiving, rotisserie chicken just to name a few things.
On Monday I decided to make a comfort food dinner that would last us for a few days during the work week, too. A lasagna! I love making the my lasagna with a some extra vegetables – so I decided to add spinach to the mixture. I started with a pound of ground turkey, a pound of frozen chopped spinach, some part skim ricotta, part skim mozzarella, fresh parsley & basil, and cans of flavorful tomatoes. I was hoping I could get this all put together in an hour, so I could say this was a quick dinner for a week night. However, it took a little longer than an hour (almost two!) because I had decided to make my sauce from scratch. (You could save a lot of time by using a canned sauce – but I had the time so I went for it! You would also save a lot of time if you have more than one burner that works on your stove.)
The end result was pretty delicious if not overly healthy. My healthy options were adding the spinach, having the tomatoes (lots of vitamins in both vegetables!) subbing out full fat cheese with part skim mozzarella and ricotta and cooking ground turkey instead of beef. It was a hit.
I cooked my turkey with half a chopped onion and three cloves of grated garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil. I added the other half of my onion to a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the onion was turning translucent, I added the 28 ounce can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes and 14 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes and a handful of freshly chopped parsley and basil. Once the sauce started cooking I added one cup of water to the sauce. After the spinach was cooked (seven minutes in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl) I drained it of excess water and let it cool. Once it was at room temperature, I added 1/2 a cup of ricotta cheese and one egg. Season with freshly ground pepper.
Once all of the aspects of the lasagna were together, I got out a 9 x 13 pan and started my layers. I wish I could say there was a method – but I just did what seemed right! As long as each layer of noodles is met with sauce on one side, you are good to go. (I used no boil lasagna noodles from Wegman’s because… why wouldn’t you?) I topped the lasagna with my remaining sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh chopped parsley and torn basil and about two tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
I covered the lasagna with foil, let it cook for 38 minutes at 375 degrees – after I uncovered the lasagna and let it cook for 15 more minutes so it could brown up. The end result was comfort food at its best!
Our finished product was pretty great and when it first came out of the oven it was hard for the sous chef to wait ten minutes to dig in. I can’t blame him!
Who wouldn’t want to eat something like this right away? But thankfully we waited ten minutes to let the lasagna set up (it’s really an important thing to do!) and at the end of our wait we were rewarded with some great plates of lasagna. I garnished mine with some more fresh herbs:
I was really happy to be able to make a dinner like this on a Monday night – and I will be more happy tonight for the leftovers a meal like this always provides.
What are your favorite comfort foods? Happy cooking blog readers!!