Whenever September rolls around, I always think of school, crappy parking (on any campus), Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and chilly evenings. Oh, how I wish for that last one! This entire summer has been fairly mild in weather until this past week! WHAM! BAM! It is miserably hot. It still is right now--who says it is normal for it to be 78 degrees Fahrenheit at midnight in Orange County?!?! I think this heat is making me cranky.
Anyway, I currently have chocolate cheesecakes in the oven. Earlier I had told my Facebook friends that my oven died. Well, I guess it was in a coma. Whatever happened, it started working again and I am now finished with the baking I've got to do for a birthday party on Monday.
Besides cakes, cookies, and cheesecakes, I recently whipped up this turkey and spinach lasagna and it is super-duper delicious! The flavors are brilliant and it is chock full of wonderful ingredients; most of them are my favorites. It is incredibly easy to put together and even better--use the no-boil lasagna noodles! I get mine from Trader Joe's. It's a one-pound box for $2.29 or so and I can make two lasagnas from one box. Whoo-hoo! I just find them so much easier to use than the noodles where you have to parboil first.
Try this recipe out. Everyone who has eaten this lasagna has always been satisfied. It's fairly simple to make. Once all the ingredients are prepped, it is all downhill from there. I feel that this recipe can be customized to suit your own tastes. For instance, I added mushrooms but those who aren't keen on them can simply omit them. Other vegetables could be added--red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (green are too bitter), squash, eggplant, etc. Whatever you decide to add, I am sure it'll be delicious! This will definitely feed a lot of people... unless you are really hungry. Regardless, happy cooking and eating!
Turkey and Spinach Lasagna
- 20 ounces ground turkey
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 1 head of garlic, minced
- 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 12-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
- 2 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded Pecorino cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
- red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
1. In a large pot, add a few swirls of olive oil and turn on the heat to medium. Add the onions along with some salt and pepper and cook until translucent. Next, add the garlic.
2. Add the ground turkey to the pot, add some more salt and pepper, and cook the meat, breaking it apart as it is cooking.
3. Next, add all the tomato ingredients (crushed, sauce, and paste), the water, bay leaves, and chopped basil. Now is when the pepper flakes or cayenne would be added, if using. Bring the mixture to a gentle bubble and then simmer until it is slightly reduced.
4. In a large pan, saute your spinach until fairly soft. Drain in strainer and let cool. When cool, squeeze excess water out of the spinach. If adding mushrooms, after the spinach is out of the pan, add a little olive oil and the mushrooms and cook until barely softened.
5. In a bowl, create the ricotta cheese mixture. If using mascarpone cheese, use only 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese. If not, use 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese. Add salt and pepper, the egg, and nutmeg and mix well. Set aside till needed.
6. In a bowl, combine the mozzarella, Parmesan, Asiago, and Pecorino cheeses and set aside.
7. Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large casserole dish, add an even layer of sauce to the bottom. Lay four dry lasagna noodles on top. Spread some of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles.
8. Next, add the spinach and mushrooms, if using. This point is where you would add any other vegetables you are using.
9. Spread an even layer of the shredded cheese mix and then repeat. The last layer will be sauce. Between 12 and 16 lasagna noodles will be used.
10. Place casserole on top of a foil-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and then sprinkle the top with more of the shredded cheese mix. Return to the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese becomes golden brown.
11. Once cheesy top is browned, remove the lasagna from the oven and cool on a wire rack. IMPORTANT: LET THE LASAGNA REST AND COOL FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES! Otherwise, your lasagna slices will fall apart instead of being one.
|I love onions and garlic.|
|I especially love onions and garlic when they're mixed in with ground turkey!|
|Oh my gosh, this is so good. I like to make this sauce a little more liquidy because the noodles need to absorb some of it to cook.|
|See what I mean? OOH! Remember to remove the bay leaves!|
|I had two boxes of spinach as well as a bag of spinach, as well as fresh spinach. Popeye would be so proud but two boxes is plenty!|
|You know how I love mushrooms!|
|And so it begins. First, sauce.|
|Next, the dry noodles. It's okay to overlap them a little. It's lasagna... not an airplane!|
|So much for my even layer, huh? However, do not skip the nutmeg! It adds such a wonderful, surprising flavor to the lasagna!|
|This is starting to look really good! Other veggies used would be added in this layer.|
|Right then, even more cheese!|
|After it has been in the oven, it looks wonderful! I recommend putting it on a lined baking sheet so that it doesn't spill onto your oven floor! Now, time to add some cheese and back in the oven it goes.|
|Mmm, mmm, mmm! Is this a sight or what?!?! Remember: LET THE LASAGNA COOL!!! At least 30 minutes! If you dig in sooner, it'll be too runny! Trust me :-)|