Meatless Monday: Broccoli Lasagna

We’ve hit the part of winter when I just want deep, heavy, rich comfort food all the time. Chicago has this terrible sweet spot at this point in the season when it’s just grey all the time. Like, grey-grey. And indulgent comfort food seems like the only proper response. Except that, sigh, it’s not (isn’t it?).

This lasagna kind of turned out to be the best of both worlds. It’s lasagna, and if that’s not comforting, I don’t know what is. But it’s fresh and much lighter than a traditional lasagna, so you can feel better about the third and fourth helpings you’re definitely going to want. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 15oz package part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1 egg
* 1t salt
* 1/2t ground black pepper
* 1T oregano
* 1 small head broccoli, broken down into tiny florets
* precooked lasagna noodles
* 1 jar your favorite marinara sauce
* 1 8oz package shredded cheese (mozzarella or an Italian blend)
* garlic powder

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, salt, pepper, oregano, and broccoli florets.

Spoon a bit of the marinara sauce into the bottom of an 8X11 to just cover the bottom.

Place a layer of noodles over the sauce. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture into a layer over the noodles. Pour half the marinara sauce over the mixture. Sprinkle garlic powder generously over the sauce, and then add half of the cheese on top. Repeat.

Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, until the cheese melts and begins to brown, 30-49 minutes or so. Allow to sit/cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

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Meatless Monday: Spaghetti Squash and Veggie Skillet

One pan, 30 minutes, totally comforting and warm and delicious. And healthy! This one started with this recipe, and then I did a little adjusting here and there (you know, amping up the garlic, etc.). The end dish was perfection. It’s lovely as-is for a simple weeknight vegetarian dinner, but would also be amazing with shrimp or sausage, or a fried egg (ooh!). Basically, it wins. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large spaghetti squash (~3-3.5lb.)
* olive oil
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
* 4-6t minced garlic
* 1t (heaping) dried oregano
* 1/2t black pepper
* 1/4t salt
* 1 1/2C marinara sauce
* 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
* 1/4C ΒΌ flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
* 1/3C grated Parmesan cheese

WHAT TO DO
Pierce the spaghetti squash several times with a sharp knife, and the place it into the microwave in a glass baking dish. Cook for 15 minutes on high. Of course, if you have time to properly roast it, go right ahead!

While thats cooking, chop the onion, slice the mushrooms, chop the parsely, and prep the remaining ingredients.

Let the squash stand for 10 minutes, and then cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Use a fork and twist out/scrape strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place them into a bowl.

Heat some olive oil in a large nonstick, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften and brown.

Add the garlic, oregano, pepper and salt, and cook for 1 minute more. Then add the spaghetti squash, marinara sauce, chickpeas, and parsley. Mix well, then spread the mixture out evenly in the pan. Top with the Parmesan cheese.

Place the skillet under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately with some warm crusty bread.

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Farro Bake

I’ve been collecting farro recipe ideas since I discovered this wonderful ancient grain. It’s got loads of heath benefits, it’s hearty and filling, and it’s got a lovely nuttiness that makes it great on its own or with other ingredients. I found this lovely idea over on the wonderful Smells Like Home blog, and her recipe was adapted from another fan favorite blogger, Smitten Kitchen‘s pasta version. I’ve been cooking a lot of mushrooms lately, so I adapted it myself, using the basic recipe as a jumping off point. And if ONE PAN MAGIC + Kid-FRIENDLY + NO LEFTOVERS isn’t a selling point, I don’t know what to tell ya! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* Β½ cup dry farro
* olive oil
* 1 small cauliflower, broken down into small florets
* 1 small sweet onion, chopped
* 2t minced garlic
* salt
* freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4C cooking sherry
* 2T unsalted butter
* 3T flour
* 1 1/2C vegetable broth (chicken broth us fine, too)
* a few sprigs fresh rosemary
* 1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
* 4 oz mozzarella, cubed small
* handful thinly sliced fresh basil
* crushed red pepper flakes, optional

WHAT TO DO
Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat a few glugs of oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until the florets begin to soften amd brown. Add the onions an garlic, and season to taste with salt and pepper, then cook until the onions soften and become somewhat translucent.

Add in the sherry to the pan and stir to scrape any bits up from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 minute. Add the butter, and when it’s melted, sprinkle the flour over the pan and stir it in so everything gets a little coat. Add the broth slowly, stirring as you go, then add in the rosemary.

Simmer 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the farro and cheeses.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges are bubbly. Remove the rosemary sprigs and sprinkle with the fresh-cut basil. serve immediately with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Best and Easiest Roasted Red Potatoes

I’m not much for formal New Year’s resolutions, but I’m going to go ahead and say that this year I’d like to host more Sunday brunches. Kiddo’s had classes on Sundays for the past couple years and suddenly she doesn’t and it’s like a whole new world! And my brunch game could use a boost, so there’s my non-resolution!

I made these stupidly simple and delicious roasted potatoes for brunch last weekend. But they’re not brunch-specific and work beautifully alongside any meal. Try them with steak, or chicken, or on your holiday table. They’re easy, and too yummy not to try–if I do say so myself! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 6-8 red potatoes
* 1/4-1/3C olive oil
* 2t salt
* 1t garlic powder
* 1/4t ground black pepper
* 1/4t onion powder
* 1t dried rosemary

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.

Clean and cut the potatoes into 1/2″-1″ cubes. Add them to a large bowl, and then add in the oil and spices.

Spread the potatoes into one later on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 450 for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. After about 15 minutes, flip them so they can brown on all sides.

Serve immediately. Crispy on the outside, warm and tender on the inside. the spices are simple but blend to a bold combination. Try to remember to share!