Since my very first day of blogging, I had vision for this site. It’s taken quite a bit of time to all unfold, yet slowly but surely many of my original plans have come to fruition. It was no secret that a blog titled The Spatularettes with a tag line like join us on our journey through love and the kitchen would be geared towards the female reader. That being said, I knew that I wanted to write (and more importantly, cook!) for the guys as well.
It’s taken me awhile to tackle it, but after some recent positive feedback from a few (unexpected but oh-so-appreciated!) male readers and a culinary cry for help from my older brother, I knew it was time. So today I couldn’t be more excited to officially launch THE SPATULAR PAD: a little corner of this site specifically for and from the guys! We’ll share lots of dude food; we’ll talk about boy things like throwing superbowl parties and tailgates; we’ll learn how to cook in a kitchen that may not be as well stocked as mine; we’ll feature recipes that any new cook can feel confident tackling; and since I’m definitely still learning, we’ll let the guys teach me a thing or two as well!
With that, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to my very first featured spatular, me friend Allan! Allan lives in the ultimate spatular pad, a house with four other twenty-something guys. I met his roommates at our neighborhood pool last summer but somehow it wasn’t until an End Of The World party in December that I finally met Allan (where I quickly discovered that he is terrible at playing quarters). We became fast friends and it didn’t take long after finding out about my blog, that he started bragging to me about his Famous Veggie Lasagna. I jokingly asked him if he’d like a feature on my blog, he jokingly said yes, and next thing you know I’m showing up at his house with my DSLR camera and an apron, asking him to cook for me.
When he’s not whipping up casseroles in the kitchen, Allan works full time for a company that coordinates medical assistance for folks who are working abroad. He speaks Spanish fluently, loves to travel, and is a pro at Thursday night quizzo at our neighborhood bar. Allan is truly one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and if that isn’t enough turns out to know a thing or two about cooking as well!
And ladies, did I mention he’s single?
Now that you’ve gotten to know our spatular a little bit, let’s talk about the lasagna. I think this is a great recipe for any new cook because, although there are a lot of ingredients, the steps themselves are pretty fool proof. I also like that the mix of fresh and packaged ingredients makes this an easy weeknight dinner, without turning all processed on you. The flavor is super kicked up by the creamy alfredo sauce, but no need to feel too guilty because this baby is packed with vegetables. Even if you’re a meat lover, this dish is so hearty, you won’t miss it one bit!
While we were slicing the veggies, I asked Allan if we should start boiling the water for the lasagna noodles, and he informed me that in this recipe, we skip that step. I was feeling a little bit suspect, but I decided to go along with his plan. It turns out he was right, because the noodles absorb so much of that delicious alfredo sauce while cooking that they definitely don’t need any pre-boiling. They stay a little more al dente than the noodles in a typical lasagna which keeps things from getting messy when it’s time to cut and serve. Definitely a trick I’ll be using in the future!
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced and quartered (about 2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 7 oz jar sliced mushrooms, drained
- 10 oz block frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
- 15 oz container ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
- 1 egg
- 15 oz jar alfredo sauce
- 3/4 cup milk
- 8 oz bag shredded mozzarella cheese
- 10 sheets dry lasagna noodles
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pan on the stove top, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute the carrots, zucchini, garlic, thyme, and pepper for about 7 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften and become very fragrant. Turn off the heat and mix in the tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the egg, ricotta cheese, and parmesean cheese until combined. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the milk and alfredo sauce until very smooth.
To assemble the lasagna, start by spreading 3/4 cup of the alfredo sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Top the sauce with 5 uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread the noodles with half of the ricotta cheese mixture, top the ricotta with half of the prepared vegetables, then finally sprinkles with half of the shredded mozzarella. Repeat each of the layers again starting with the alfredo and ending with the shredded mozzarella. Finally, drizzle the casserole with any remaining alfredo sauce and bake, uncovered, in the oven for 1 hour. If you notice it getting too browned on top, cover with foil part way through the baking process. Allow lasagna to cool in the baking dish for about 10 minutes before serving.
Our very first featured spatular, Allan.
From a dude’s kitchen to yours!