Katie's Musings

A blog about cooking, knitting, books, and parenting

Spinach Lasagna

Last night I made veggie lasagna, and it was amazing!! Definitely the best lasagna I’ve ever made. I’ve always preferred veggie lasagna to meat lasagna (perhaps as a result of growing up vegetarian), and this one was wonderful– loaded with spinach, mushrooms, and red pepper, with lots of delicious cheese. I used this recipe for veggie lasagna from Allrecipes, but I adapted it a bit (using some of the suggestions in the comments on the recipe). Here’s my version:

Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • about 12 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large bunch spinach
  • about 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans basil-garlic flavored diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 of an 8-oz. box of lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese
  • about 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • about 1/2 cup fresh grated mozzarella cheese

To make the sauce: saute the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and red pepper in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning. When the vegetables are tender, add the 2 cans of diced tomatoes (undrained), and the brown sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes.

To prepare the spinach: steam the spinach over boiling water until it’s lightly cooked (but not overcooked).

To prepare the cheese: In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the parmesan cheese, and add 1 tsp. Italian seasoning.

To prepare the lasagna noodles: bring a pot of salted water to boiling, and add the noodles. Cook only for a few minutes, until the noodles are starting to become soft and pliable, but aren’t yet fully cooked. Drain.

In a 9×6 casserole dish, layer the sauce, noodles, spinach, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese, until it’s all used up, ending with a layer of sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, and then let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.


October 22, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , , | Leave a comment

BBQ Tofu

On weekends, I like to try to use up any leftovers in our fridge, and any staple items we have in the pantry, before I go grocery shopping for the next week. Last night’s dinner was delicious– and it used up several leftovers! I was proud of myself! I had some leftover firm tofu in the fridge, from some mushroom-tofu wontons I made last week, and I also had some kale and rapini from last week’s CSA box that had to be used up. I also had half a bottle of BBQ sauce left over from a BBQ chicken dish I made a week ago. So, I threw it all together and it turned out quite well! We had BBQ tofu, kale and rapini sauteed in toasted sesame oil and olive oil, and rice. An easy (and incidentally vegan) weekend evening dinner! (The BBQ sauce contained no anchovies, and was completely vegan.) The tofu was delicious, and it was the easiest thing to make: just cover with the BBQ sauce, and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Surprisingly, Emmett (who normally eats his greens before touching anything else on his plate!) went wild over the tofu, and couldn’t get enough of it! That was really cute; I guess I’ll be making BBQ tofu again sometime soon!

October 18, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , | Leave a comment

Easy Italian Dinner

Tonight I threw together an easy, quick dinner involving leftover spaghetti. I made a vegetable dish of sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, and summer squash, with olive oil, sesame oil, dried oregano, and fresh sage. I also made a really easy eggplant side dish. I sliced the eggplant, dipped it in milk, and then dipped it in a cornmeal coating (actually, it was a fish fry cornmeal packet!). I baked it at 450 for about 30 minutes, then lowered it to 350 and baked for another 30 minutes. About 20 minutes from the end, I added sliced tomato and shredded Italian 3-cheese blend on top of the eggplant. It was such an easy throw-together weeknight dinner!

July 13, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Bean Burgers

I’ve been pretty busy recently– classes have started for the spring semester, and I’ve had some gigs recently, so between school, music, and taking care of Emmett, I am staying really busy! Our suppers recently have been mostly easy, quick-to-put-together meals. One of my favorite easy vegetarian recipes is bean burgers. My favorite actual bean burger recipe is the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero). I’ve made that recipe so many times, and have adapted it freely to suit my tastes. First, I’ve found that canned chickpeas are too hard to mash up with a potato masher, so I usually use either black beans or cannellini beans instead. Also, I like to add other things– usually onion, some kind of veggies, and seasonings. I’ve never made these burgers the same way twice– I like to have fun with adding new things every time. My bean burgers now only vaguely resemble that original recipe– the only main resemblance is the liberal use of vital wheat gluten to hold it all together. Here’s how I made them tonight:

Black Bean Burgers

  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • about 1/2 cup (or slightly more) vital wheat gluten
  • about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or to taste)
  • about 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • a dash of tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • about 1/3 cup Italian-flavored breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • generous dashes of garlic powder and paprika
  • sliced avocado and mozzarella cheese
  • sesame oil (or olive oil) for greasing the pans

Preheat the oven to 400. Mash up the beans with a potato masher, and then mix in the nutritional yeast, salt, mushrooms, leeks, breadcrumbs, cottage cheese, and seasonings. Finally, mix in the vital wheat gluten; it should all start to cling together. Add tomato juice if you need more liquid. Shape into patties, and put in a greased pan (I used sesame oil). Coat both sides of the patties with the oil. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the patties are starting to look crisp on the outside. Put the sliced avocado and mozzarella cheese on top of the patties, and leave in the oven until the cheese is melted.

And, there’s an exciting new development in our household: Emmett now is extremely interested in food!! It happened almost overnight. As I’ve mentioned before, he was having a really hard time getting used to the taste and texture of pureed foods. Finally we decided to just move on from pureed foods, and instantly he has been a wonderful eater! He likes being able to pick the food up with his fingers, and put it in his mouth. First, he got used to eating the little “puff” baby cereal, which melts on your tongue. Once he got used to that, he quickly moved on to other foods! He still can’t really chew pieces of food yet, so I’m mashing up his food or giving him only really tiny pieces of mushy foods, but he is doing great!! It is so exciting. Tonight he ate mostly the same food as we did: mashed black beans, avocado, green beans, and brown rice. He loved the black beans!! (He really only ate the black beans, ignoring everything else on his plate, even when I tried turning the plate around so he would notice the other things.) And today at lunch, I gave him some very tiny pieces of strawberry, and he completely devoured them! I think that was his favorite food yet!

February 10, 2010 Posted by | baby food, food, parenting, recipes | , , , | Leave a comment

Shiitake and Butternut Squash Pizza


Yesterday I made some pizza dough in my new bread machine! It turned out fabulous. I’ll never go back to store-bought pizza dough again! I just used a basic pizza dough recipe that came with my bread machine. For the toppings, I used leftover roasted butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated/cooked in a mixture of water and cabernet sauvignon), black olives, and caramelized onions (cooked in olive oil and sesame seed oil). I used a store-bought garlic marinara sauce, and a mixture of ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. This pizza was fabulous!! I’m still working on my photography skills (I need to get a new camera…), so the picture doesn’t do it justice, but Scott and I ate this entire pizza by ourselves for supper!

February 3, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Butternut Squash & Cheddar Bread Pudding

butternut squash bread pudding

We’ve been getting butternut squash in our veggie box for the last several weeks, so I’ve been trying to find lots of different butternut squash recipes to try. I have to say– I actually haven’t gotten tired of butternut squash (yet)! It is such a versatile squash, with a really sweet, delicate taste. I love it! I’ve made soups, butternut squash souffle, butternut squash maple-ginger pancakes, butternut squash-spinach gratin, and probably some other things that I can’t remember. Tonight I made a butternut squash-chedder bread pudding, based on this recipe on Epicurious. I adapted the recipe based on what I had on hand: I cut the recipe in half, used soy milk instead of half and half, omitted the white wine, added 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast, used regular onion instead of shallots, and used collard greens instead of the kale. Also, instead of the baguette, I used a mixture of 2-day old 7-grain bread, and seasoned croutons (since that was what I had on hand). It turned out delicious!!

February 1, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Easy Creamy Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce

As a mom, I’ve found that my eating schedule has changed somewhat: I eat breakfast super quickly , while watching Emmett play in his room or his playpen. Then, I eat an early lunch, while Emmett takes his morning nap– usually around 10:30 or 11am. I eat a snack while he naps in the afternoon (2 or 3pm), and then by dinnertime, Scott is home to help out with Emmett. I’ve gotten used to eating around Emmett’s naptimes– when he’s awake, he takes all my attention!

Lunch today was mostly leftovers: leftover gnocchi from the other night (which I didn’t blog about), potatoes from last night, and some spinach that I lightly steamed for lunch today. The gnocchi was just the packaged, store-bought kind, but it was great for a quick weeknight meal (and subsequent leftovers). I made the sauce myself, though, and it was really quick and easy:

Easy Creamy Tomato Sauce

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • a dash of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion in olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and garlic powder on it. When the onions are becoming translucent, add the tomatoes. Cook until it’s just about boiling, and then add the red wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then add the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , | Leave a comment

Butternut Squash and Spinach Gratin


This week’s veggie box included lots of goodies, including new potatoes, butternut squash, collard greens, and spinach. I just love all these winter vegetables! Butternut squash has become one of my new favorites, which is good since we’ve been getting it in our veggie box every week for the last couple of weeks! I’ve made butternut squash soup several times recently, so I wanted to find something different to make tonight. I decided on a butternut squash and spinach gratin, adapted from this recipe.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Gratin

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • a large bunch of baby spinach
  • about 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • parmesan cheese
  • Italian flavored bread crumbs
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

Peel the butternut squash, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and then slice it thinly. Put it into a pot of boiling water with a bouillon cube. (Note: to make this recipe completely vegetarian, either use a vegetable bouillon cube or omit the bouillon altogether.) Put the spinach in a separate pan and steam until just cooked. Drain the squash and the spinach.

To make the white sauce, melt butter over medium heat, stir in the flour, and then stir in the milk and cream and cook until it thickens, stirring frequently.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly rub the inside of a casserole dish with olive oil. Fill the casserole dish with layers of squash, spinach, white sauce, parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Bake for about 25 minutes.

January 27, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , | Leave a comment

Maple-Ginger Butternut Squash Pancakes

butternut squash pancakes

Scott and I have been craving pancakes the last few days, and tonight definitely felt like a breakfast-for-dinner kind of night. Then, when I saw this recipe for maple-ginger butternut squash, inspiration struck!

Maple-Ginger Butternut Squash Pancakes

(butternut squash puree recipe adapted from Epicurious)

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3-4 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 egg

Preheat a 400-degree oven. Cut the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, and put in a shallow dish. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes (it may need more or less time, depending on the size of the squash). Let the squash cool, and then scoop out the flesh. Mash it up with a fork, and stir in the maple syrup, ginger, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Then stir in 1 cup of the butternut squash puree, the egg, and the water.

Cook the pancakes as desired (I used an electric griddle at about 350 degrees). Top with some of the maple-ginger butternut squash puree and pure maple syrup.


January 20, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Savoy Cabbage & Stewed Tomatoes

tomatoes and cabbage

Looking for a quick and easy lunch today, I remembered this recipe that I saw recently for a tomato, shrimp and egg stir-fry. I wanted to make something similar, but I didn’t have any shrimp on hand, so I decided to make a vegetarian version. I chose to substitute savoy cabbage instead of the shrimp, since I love the combination of cabbage with tomatoes. It turned out really well; it was a great lunch for a cold and rainy day!

Savoy Cabbage and Stewed Tomatoes

  • about 1/4 of a savoy cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • 1 can of Italian herb stewed Roma tomatoes
  • olive oil and margarine (or sesame oil, peanut oil, etc.)
  • 2 eggs
  • rice

Cook rice as desired.

In a cast-iron skillet, heat the oil and margarine. I used olive oil and margarine, but you could really use anything– I think that sesame oil or peanut oil would be delicious (I’ll try that next time). Saute the leeks and cabbage for a few minutes, and then add the undrained can of tomatoes. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Put the cabbage and tomato mixture into a serving bowl, and fry the eggs in the same skillet. Fill a plate with rice, and top with several spoonfuls of the tomato-cabbage mixture and the eggs. Season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

January 20, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment