Spinach Lasagna

I feel like I should preface this post by saying Zack and I do not like cooked spinach.  Give it to us raw in a salad?  That sounds delicious.  Cook it into any food, especially one of our favorite Italian dishes, lasagna?  NO WAY, no how.

BUT – one day Demeter (see Birthday Cake) and I went to the dining hall on our college’s campus for dinner.  They had spinach ravioli.  Demeter was getting some, so I decided to be brave and get a little, too.  It was incredible.  Not goopy and gross like all other cooked spinach that I’ve ever had.  The flavor actually complimented the Italian flavors really well.

As fate would have it, the next day I saw a recipe for spinach lasagna.  After some gentle coaxing, I got Zack to agree to try it if I made it (I promised him I would make him a grilled ham and cheese sandwich if he didn’t like it).  It was even better than the ravioli! Even Zack liked it! Although, he did say that he would like it even more if I used slightly less spinach next time.  10 ounces is kind of a lot for such a small thing of lasagna.

It should also be cooked a bit longer than 30 minutes, because the cheese wasn’t completely melted after 30 minutes.

I wish I had written down the name of the sauce that I used, because it was amazing.  It only had 4 ingredients and was completely natural.  I got it at TJ Maxx, a type of discount store, so I may never see it again.  😦 Since it only had 4 ingredients, the garlic was kind of overpowering, but not going to lie, I kind of loved it.

Looking at these pictures really makes me want another big plate of this right now.  I like it as much as regular lasagna which is saying a whole heck of a lot!

Today I am taking a cooking class with my mom called “Edible Christmas Gifts” and I cannot wait!  I will let everyone know how it goes.

Spinach Lasagna

– 4 oz cream cheese

– 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

– 1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, divided

– 2 c spaghetti sauce

– ~10 lasagna noodles, cooked

– 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.  Set aside.  Make a layer of noodles on the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish.  Spread spinach mixture on top of noodles.  Layer another layer of noodles on top and cover with spaghetti sauce and 1/2 c mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Homemade Lasagna with Homemade Marinara Sauce

For my 20th birthday this past August, Mom said she would make me whatever food I wanted.  I thought for a while and decided on homemade lasagna.  My mom is an amazing cook and it turned out incredible.  She gave me the recipe, but I had not gotten around to trying it out until last night.

I have also had a recipe for homemade marinara sauce since I first got into cooking.  It seemed pretty labor intensive and I doubted my abilities to make sauce like a true Italian, so I had been putting it off.

Yesterday, Zack and I did not have any plans, so we decided to try out these recipes.  It’s a good thing we didn’t have plans, because it took all evening to make this.  We didn’t get to eat dinner until 7:30 which is extremely late for us.  We eat really early, because Zack goes to bed around 8 so he can get up for work.

The recipe that Mom gave me included a recipe for homemade sauce, so I sort of combined the one that I already had and the one included in what she gave me.  In the recipe I include, I will just give the one that I used, because I know it works well.

Allow yourself a lot of time to make this, once again.  It takes FOREVER to cut up all the ingredients for the sauce (and then the sauce has to cook for 2 hours and the actual lasagna cooks for about an hour).

In the sauce we used whole tomatoes that we peeled and seeded ourselves.  Zack helped in chopping up everything.  He declared that he will not be peeling and seeding tomatoes ever again.  It was definitely a HUGE pain and I don’t know if I will do it again either.  I asked Mom and she said she used entirely canned tomato sauce in her homemade sauce recipe, so in the future I think that’s what I will do, too.

I also made some Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread to go with the lasagna, but I will talk about that in a different entry.

World’s Best Lasagna

For the lasagna:

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

12 oven ready lasagna noodles

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg

¾ lb mozzarella cheese, sliced

homemade marinara sauce:

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced

2 tablespoon olive oil

5-6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon basil

½ tablespoon oregano

½ tablespoon fennel seeds

½ cup red wine

18-19  smallish fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded

28 oz can tomato sauce

6 oz can tomato paste

1 lb sweet turkey sausage

¾ lb ground turkey

salt and pepper to taste

Make the sauce:

Brown turkey sausage and ground turkey in a skillet. Drain and set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and cook slowly on medium heat until they start to carmalize. They should be evenly brown and soft. Cooking them this way brings out the natural sweetness in the onions.

Add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the ½ cup of red wine and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, their juice, canned sauce, tomato paste, sausage, and ground turkey and stir to combine.

Bring to a simmer and cook on low, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make the lasagna:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

To assemble, spread 1½ cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of the mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1½ cups meat sauce over mozzarella and sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layers and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil; to prevent sticking, spray foil with cooking spray.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

The title of the recipe is correct.  It is SO good!

I hope you enjoy 🙂