Monday, January 21, 2013

Meatless Monday - Microwave Spinach Lasagna

We are not vegetarians but we are all for eating more delicious vegetarian food. It's a great way to eat well for less since meat is a fairly expensive way to get your protein.

This is a recipe for microwave spinach lasagne that I have been making for many years. It has a lot of ingredients, all easy to get, and the dish comes together easily. The toughest part is the assembly. You can do this. A tip on the noodles, after cooking and draining them, lay them out flat in one layer. Then they won't stick together, making assembly easier.

This is a great one-dish meal, good enough for company but so easy to make.

Microwave Spinach Lasagna
(serves 6, costs $11.00)

6 lasagne noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil + some more to oil dish
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
¾ cup water
1 Tablespoon vegetable stock concentrate or dry vegetable soup mix
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces frozen spinach
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese, a 16 ounce container
2 eggs
12 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (3 cups)
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, about 1 ounce

Thaw spinach by microwaving for 3 minutes in a 1 ½ quart microwaveable bowl or dish. Put spinach in a colander to cool while you cook the sauce.

Combine oil, onion, and garlic in the same dish you cooked the spinach in. Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring once. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, vegetable stock concentrate, sugar, basil, oregano, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and microwave for 4 minutes. Stir and microwave for 4 more minutes. Stir again and set aside.

Squeeze most of the liquid out of the cooked spinach and coarsely chop. Put in a medium bowl. Add cottage cheese and eggs. Stir to combine.

Spray a 12"x8" microwaveable glass dish (this size will fit in most microwave ovens) with nonstick cooking spray or lightly oil to prevent sticking. To assemble, lay 3 noodles in dish  Ladle on ½ of the sauce, all the spinach mixture, then sprinkle on 2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Put on remaining 3 noodles, and the rest of the sauce. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Then microwave at 70% for another 12 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Microwave on high, uncovered, for 3 minutes until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Microwave Cooking Lite, Contemporary, 1985. I've changed the cooking times a lot because microwave ovens in 2013 are a lot more powerful than microwave ovens in 1985.

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