Monday, October 25, 2010

Zucchini Mushroom Lasagna

Recipe conversion #1: Hilarie's Lasagna

I don't even know if I can call this a conversion, because although it's still lasagna, it's not using the same ingredients. But since one of my goals is to make her recipes not only gluten-free, but healthier, I guess this one counts. Eric also doesn't really like tomato sauce or food that is thick and heavy. I replaced the ground beef with zucchini and mushrooms, which made it a lot lighter, and reduced the cheese by about half.

We can't ever wait for lasagna to cool, especially after smelling it cooking for over two hours (if you count the sauce). We lasted 5 minutes before digging in, and although it was a little runny because it hadn't set, it was still good.  Eric went back for seconds, which is always a good sign.

Zucchini Mushroom Lasagna

1- 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (see below)
6 GF lasagna noodles
4 medium zucchini
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried chives
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles according to directions on package. While noodles are cooking, pour just enough spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Chop zucchini and mushrooms into thin slices (I used a food processor) and put in separate bowls. Mix mushrooms with ricotta cheese, garlic powder, chopped olives and chives.

When pasta done, arrange 4 pieces on top of the sauce. Then add 3/4 of the zucchini, making sure none of the slices stick together. Top that with the rest of the sauce. Add another layer of of pasta and then smooth the ricotta-mushroom mixture over that. Top the ricotta with zucchini, then use a brush to add a little bit of olive oil to the top layer. Sprinkle the mozarella cheese on the top until it is mostly covered.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheese is browned. Let it cool for 15-20 minutes.

Spaghetti Sauce 
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can peeled, chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
3 tbsp Italian seasing
Olive oil

Brown the onions and garlic with a little bit of olive oil. Combine the can of chopped tomatoes, the tomato paste, the tomato sauce and the spices in a large pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour (2 is better, but I never have the patience).

Note: You can put the leftover sauce in a ziploc bag and freeze it for later use.


Here's Hilarie's original recipe:


1 quart or more of spaghetti sauce.  Use homemade or a jar of prepared sauce or marina sauce that is fresh.
1 package of lasagna noodles
1 pound of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pound of shredded, fresh parmesan cheese
1/2 pound or more of shredded cheddar cheese (medium variety).
1 16 oz. size of Ricotta cheese


1.  Cook the lasagna noodles in a large, 6 quart pot, filled with boiling water, and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook for around 7 minutes or until the noodles are soft, not mushy.  See the package for the exact cooking time. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.
2.  In a 9 by 13 size casserole, coat the bottom of the dish with a thin coating of the spaghetti sauce.
3.  Line the bottom of the pan with the cooked lasagna noodles, laying them length wise. Overlap a bit so the bottom is covered completely.
4.  Cover the noodles with a layer of the meat sauce.
5.  Spread the ricotta cheese over the meat sauce.
6.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheeses, which have been mixed together, over this.
7.  Cover this with another layer of noodles.
8.  Spread any remaining sauce over the noodles.
9.  Add another layer of noodles.
10.  Cover with the remaining cheese.
Bake at 350˚ for around 45 minutes to an hour.  If you like the top cheese soft, do not add until the final 15 or 20 minutes.

 Spaghetti Sauce
(Combined recipe of Goldie and Hilarie)


2 1/2  to 3 pounds of ground meat (hamburger or turkey)
2 onions, diced
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large can of peeled and chopped tomatoes
1 or 2 cans of tomato paste (use 1 can first-more if needed)
2 cans of tomato sauce
2  or 3 packages of Lawry’s spaghetti sauce dry mix-
                         (1pkg. of Lawry’s mix per lb. meat)
Add the water amount on the package plus 2 cups more.  If the sauce seems thin, you can always add another can of tomato paste.
1 tsp. of chili powder
3 T. of Italian seasons or use 1 Tbsp. of oregano plus 1Tbsp. marjoram plus 1 Tbsp. of rosemary
Olive Oil

1.  Brown the hamburger with the onions and chopped garlic in a fry pan that is slightly coated with olive oil.  Do this in small batches.  Set aside each batch as you cook it.  It is best to do 1 pound of the meat at a time.
2.  In a very large pot (6 to 8 quarts) pour in the canned, chopped tomatoes, the cans of tomato paste and tomato sauce.  Add the packages of the Lawry’s dry spaghetti sauce mix.  Use a whisk to smooth the dry mix into the sauces.
3.  Add the chili powder and Italian spices.  You can always add more spices later if the sauce seems bland.
4.  Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes and then add the cooked, ground meat to it.  Cover the pot, and simmer on a Very Low Heat for 2 hours, stirring the mixture frequently (around every 15 min.)  Be careful that the sauce doesn’t stick. (Hint...I actually purchased a round metal, disk with holes in it to put in the bottom of the pot to help prevent sticking.  Ask at a kitchen ware shop.)  The sauce will thicken as it cooks.  Watch for burning and sticking!!
5.  Serve over spaghetti noodles with parmesan cheese.

Storing the Sauce
When the sauce is cool, I like to line pint or quart size plastic containers with a Ziplock type bag.  I pour the sauce in, and then zip it. With this method, the plastic container doesn’t get stained.  Mark the date on the plastic bag with a sharpie pen.  Cover the container and freeze for later use.  Once frozen, you can always remove the plastic bag from the container and put it back in the freezer if you don’t want the container taking up freezer space.

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