Friday, June 11, 2010

Wedded Bliss is a Piece of Cake

Yesterday, the hubs and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. Here is a glimpse at the celebratory spread...




I made a creamy spinach, mushroom and pepper lasagna, we opened up a delicious bottle of red wine that had been a gift from some family friends, and I splurged just a bit on a Gateau Basque (cream filled cake) from a lovely place in Olympia called The Bread Peddler.

Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves with all of these delicious things.

Here's to plenty more anniversary feasts to come!

Recipe for creamy spinach mushroom and pepper lasagna:

3 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded blend of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, and romano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( I love pepper so I used a bit more)
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup ricotta ( I used a low fat version)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 onion sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (I used cremini)
1 cup pre-browned TVP/vegetarian "meat" crumbles (optional)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ( use less if you want it less spicy)
approx. 8 lasagna noodles

1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until steaming. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with the flour. Whisk into the hot milk; cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens. Continue to cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from the heat; whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and the black pepper.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together spinach and ricotta. Set aside.

3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic, stirring for about a minute. Add the bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook, stirring as needed until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the TVP if using, fennel seeds, pepper flakes and 2 Tablespoons of water. Cook until heated through, approx. 3 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or use olive oil to coat the bottom. Spread 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce on the bottom of the dish. Line the bottom with noodles. Spread with half the spinach mixture, then another 1/4 cup of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles. Top with all of the sauteed vegetables, add a 1/4 cup of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles and the remaining spinach mixture. Finish with another layer of noodles and the rest of the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese on top.

5. Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray, and use it to cover the dish tightly. Bake about 30 minutes; uncover and bake until lightly browned and bubbling, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

- Note - I did not pre-cook the lasagna noodles and the cooked just fine in the oven.

This makes super tasty leftovers, too, since the flavors really get to mingle together.

I hope you enjoy.

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