First of all…HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!
Do you have a fun costume planned for this year? The above is me as one of the three little pigs (the other two were my neighborhood friends) and baby bro as Superman in 1994.
You’ll notice the many layers under his costume and warm sweatshirt material of mine. Halloween in Minnesota almost always meant snow, which in turn meant trick-or-treating for as long as possible in your (layered) costume before having to throw on the full winter coat.
This year’s Halloween in Arizona promises to look a whole lot different with a high of 74 degrees and nighttime temperatures in the 50s. Still, I’m not really one to go for a ‘sexy’ costume with minimal fabric. Instead, I’m opting to be one of my favorite redheads. Any guesses?
Don’t let the facial expression influence your guess. I just can’t pull off serious.
While I’m excited about my costume (and the party that will go with it this weekend!), the thing I’m most looking forward to about Halloween this year is the chance to hand out candy in my neighborhood. I’ve heard we go all out – and if the spooky decor around here is any indication, the rumors are definitely true – so Bobby and I stocked up on way more candy than necessary, just in case. We’ll see how much remains by the end of the night!
Speaking of spooky…it turns out lasagna is anything but.
I have a habit of trying new recipes for book club, and I have to admit I was a little intimidated by lasagna – especially those noodles. I thought for sure that all of them would break apart as they cooked. Thankfully, it only happened to a few.
The rest were ready for layering with a delicious vegetable sauce made from chopped mushrooms, zucchini, onions, red peppers and basil, plus a can of whole tomatoes.
Not to mention a wonderfully cheesy blend of ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan.
In fact, the layering was my favorite part. Guess it was all those years of practice with Halloween costumes. (Okay, not really, but it was cool to build it piece by piece).
Once the prep work was done, it baked for a total of 30 minutes, then cooled for another 10 to ensure the ingredients solidified. Though it’s difficult not to have veggie lasagna that’s a little runny, this held together pretty well and was a hit both for book club and for my family later that night.
I am excited to have yet another Italian dish in my repertoire and hope you’ll give it a try!
Not-So-Spooky Veggie Lasagna (adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)
Ingredients (serves 12):
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium white onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups portabella mushrooms, chopped
- 1 whole zucchini, diced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 30 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and lay flat on aluminum foil.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and red peppers and cook for a minute. Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook for two more minutes. Pour in white wine, then add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper (to taste) and red pepper flakes. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
- Pour in whole tomatoes, using your hands to crush them into pulp. Stir to combine and let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in chopped basil.
- Now preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper (to taste).
- To assemble the lasagna, spread a little of the vegetable sauce in a casserole pan. Layer four cooked noodles in the pan, slightly overlapping them if necessary. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture onto the noodles. Sprinkle the ricotta mixture with shredded mozzarella. Spoon a little less than 1/3 of the vegetable sauce over the mozzarella.
- Repeat the layering process two more times, ending with a big scoop of vegetable sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
- Bake at 350 degrees, covered in foil, for 20 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
I hope you enjoy this lasagna as much as I did!
What are your Halloween plans this year?