Sunday, May 8, 2011

Make and Take


Mother's Day is today, and in my mind it kicks off a season of celebrations, fun in the sun and barbecues. Least of all we want to worry about are vomiting and crippling stomach pains the next day. In previous blog entries (click on this link), I've given some tips for successfully navigating celebrations. They all take planning and effort on your part, such as speaking with the host to verify what can be eaten and bringing a dish that everyone can share. But, to quote Robert Burn's, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry". Such as the hostess believing what she made is gluten free, or the delicious gluten free casserole you brought being "contaminated" by a serving spoon from the macaroni salad. You get the picture. In fact, I recently read a gluten free blogger's child was "gluttened" for the first time in 11 years at a party that was supposed to be entirely gluten free!

So, the only 100% safest route is to bring your own meal. You don't have to lose out on any of the fun of the party, nor do you have to lose out on taste. Bringing your own food doesn't have to be a bologna sandwich in a Hello Kitty lunchbox. I recently developed a loaf pan lasagna that makes 2 servings. And the best part is, it's lower in fat and calories than most lasagnas. You can certainly "plump it up" with full fat cheeses and more of them, but it's delicious as is too! It's easily transported in the loaf pan in which it's made (disposable may be used), freezes well, and can be heated up easily in a microwave (out of the metal pan) or an oven. You can even make a few of these at once, using up the entire box of lasagna noodles, and freeze so you are ready to go at a moments notice. You can even use some fresh herbs which are starting to come up at this time of year. This particular recipe struck me as perfect to take to a Mother's Day brunch.

For added convenience, the lasagna may be assembled up to 8 hours in advance. Pour in the water before baking. If you aren't counting calories, add 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese to the spinach mixture. For a vegan version of this dish, substitute soft tofu for the ricotta cheese, soy cheese for the mozzarella, and omit the egg.

Skinny and Single Vegetarian Lasagna

1-10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 egg white
1/2 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 Tablespoon fresh, chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup marinara sauce
3 gluten free lasagna noodles (such as Tinkyada), uncooked
1/4 c. low fat mozzarella cheese*
1/4 cup water

Pre-heat the oven to 350F degrees.

Squeeze spinach between hands to remove as much liquid as possible. Place in medium sized mixing bowl. Add egg white, ricotta cheese and spices. Stir until well combined.

Spray a 1-lb. loaf pan (8.5x4.5inches) with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 2 Tbs. of marinara sauce on bottom of pan. Layer 1 noodle, 1/2 of spinach mixture and 1/3 of sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining noodle and sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Pour water around around edges of pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serves: 2 (or 1 person who has seconds)

*You may use more mozzarella cheese and sprinkle over each layer.

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