Making lasagna need not be a long, drawn-out task. Recruit the kids for help and have them layer their own personalized miniature lasagnas.
Cricket Azima author of Everybody Eats Lunch
|1 small eggplant||two 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained|
|2 medium zucchini||2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish|
|2 medium yellow squash||2 large eggs, beaten|
|Olive oil||1 pound shredded mozzarella|
|1 pound mushrooms (or buy pre-sliced to save a few minutes)||1 pound lasagna noodles, oven-ready style (for ease) or traditional noodles, cooked and drained|
|Salt to taste, plus teaspoon salt for ricotta mixture||two 24-ounce jars pasta sauce|
|two 15-ounce containers ricotta cheese|
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set aside 5 3x5-inch pans and 2 8x4-inch pans.
Slice the eggplant into 1/8-inch pieces and lay on paper towels. Sprinkle salt over them to help draw water out.
Slice the zucchini and squash and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle lightly with oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
If needed, slice the mushrooms and set aside.
Place eggplant pieces on another cookie sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place both cookie sheets in the oven and set timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the zucchini and squash from the sheet and put into a bowl, draining any liquid.
Use the same cookie sheet for the mushrooms. Spread the mushroom slices on the sheet, lightly drizzle the oil and add salt to taste before putting back into oven. Flip the eggplant and put back into oven. Set timer for an additional 15 minutes. Once finished, remove both sheets from oven, draining any liquid, and place each vegetable into a separate bowl.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, eggs and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Place the shredded mozzarella and the pasta sauce each into separate bowls.
Call in the kids and have a layering party. Layer the ingredients into each lasagna pan, starting with a thin layer of pasta sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Spread 1/4 cup ricotta mixture into the small pans and 1/2 cup into the large pans. Add a layer of vegetables (eggplant and mushrooms, for example). Sprinkle a thin layer of mozzarella cheese. Next, spread another layer of sauce, then add another layer of noodles, spread a thin layer of ricotta, vegetable and mozzarella. Add the final layer of noodles, spread some pasta sauce and more mozzarella cheese, and lastly sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.
Cover the lasagnas with foil. If desired, place some of the pans in the freezer for another night (simply defrost the lasagnas by placing them in the refrigerator in the morning and then cook that night for dinner).
Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, then remove foil and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned on top. Let the lasagna set for 5 minutes before serving.
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