Monday, April 23, 2012

Pesto Spinach Lasagna


Pesto spinach lasagna is so mouthwatering that I can’t cook it without snitching fingerfuls of sauce and breadcrumbs before they make it into the finished product. My husband also loves this recipe—it makes tasty leftovers!

      The key is GOOD PESTO. Jar pesto with an acidic taste will ruin it. Fresh pesto is great! If that’s not available, I read online that pestos imported from the “Liguria” region of Italy are best. I looked at Walmart and found “DeLallo’s” which doesn’t contain vinegar or any other acids! This was a life-altering discovery for me, as I previously fasted from pesto during winter months (except on pizza, where acidic pesto tastes fine). Now my food-storage shelf has a pesto section! J

     Anyway, I first saw this Rachael-Ray-inspired recipe on Kitchen Meets Girl blog many months ago and pinned it. Subsequently, my friend Natalie (who’s on Pinterest) brought it to a playgroup I hosted! I’ve made it several times myself now, and changed a couple of ingredients, and added more sauce and breadcrumbs. Okay, it’s not a diet dinner. Or simple. But you’ll enjoy it!!! (And it contains mucho calcium.)


Fave “jar” pesto, shallots, spinach…
Ingredients:


1-1 ½ c. shallots, diced
   (2 small packages from Walmart)
3 cloves garlic, minced
9 Tbsp. margarine, divided
1/3 c. flour
3 c. milk
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese (from green can is fine)
1 ½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 Tbsp. fresh or very good pesto
   (my favorite is DeLallo’s—sold at my Walmart)
6 slices bread, toasted
8 oz. lasagna (about 10 noodles)
20 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
½ tsp. salt, divided
¼ tsp. pepper, divided


Lasagna Noodles:
1. Break 10 noodles in half so you have 20 shorter noodles.

2. Boil according to package instructions (al dente).


Pesto White Sauce:
1. In large frying pan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbsp. margarine and sauté shallots until softened and translucent.

2. Add flour and stir.

3. Gradually add milk ½ cup at a time while whisking (to avoid flour lumps).

4. Continue heating sauce while occasionally whisking until it becomes thickened and bubbly. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes before removing from heat.

5. Add Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and ¼ c. pesto.


Spinach:
1. In medium frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp. margarine and sauté garlic for a few minutes.

2. Add spinach, ¼ tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Stir while cooking for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat.


Breadcrumbs:
1. Render toast into crumbs using food processor or some other method.


The kiddos reminded me that they couldn’t hear
  their t.v. show while I did this.
2. In medium frying pan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbsp. margarine.

3. Add breadcrumbs and 2 Tbsp. pesto.

4. Stir for a couple minutes until totally combined, then remove from heat.









Assembly!

1. Preheat oven
     to 400° F.

2. Spray 8 x 8” or 9 x 9” baking dish with cooking spray.
(You can use a small rectangular pan
like 9 x 13 and then you don't need to cut the lasagna noodles in half. Also, bake for only 30 minutes.)

3. Spread ½ c. sauce in bottom of pan.

4. Lay following layers in baking dish…

          1/3 total noodles (~7),
          dipped in pesto white sauce

          ¼ total crumbs (~ ½ c.)

          ½ total spinach

          ¼ c. pesto white sauce

          ½ c. shredded mozzarella

Repeat…

          1/3 total noodles (~7),
          dipped in pesto white sauce

          ¼ total crumbs (~ ½ c.)

          ½ total spinach

          ¼ c. pesto white sauce

          ½ c. shredded mozzarella


Final layers…

          6 noodles, dipped in pesto white sauce

          Remaining pesto white sauce

          Remaining shredded mozzarella (1 c.)

          Remaining crumbs (~ 1 c.)

5. Bake 35 minutes at 400 °F. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.


Out of the oven!
*Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
1 c. diced shallots
112
0
0
0
0
9 Tbsp. margarine
630
45
0
0
0
1/3 c. flour
147
0
0
4
0
3 c. fat-free milk
270
15
0
24
90
6 Tbsp. pesto
540
30
0
12
12
6 slices bread
300
24
15
15
105
20 oz. frozen spinach
210
35
7
14
56
8 oz. lasagna noodles
840
0
8
28
0
1 ½ c. park-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
480
54
0
36
120
Total:
3529 kcal
203 %
30 g
133 g
383 %
1/9 pan:
392 kcal
23 %
3 g
15 g
43 %

*Calculated from food packaging and the following website: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts

I used “Blue Bonnet” margarine, “Bakers & Chefs” (Sams Club) flour and “Stella’s” part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, “Great Value” (Walmart) brand fat free milk and lasagna noodles, “Kraft” brand grated Parmesan cheese, “DeLallo’s” brand pesto, “Wonder” brand “SmartWhite” bread, and “Bird’s Eye” brand frozen spinach.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Veggie Pot Pie Pockets


     Here is a family pleaser I found on Budget Gourmet Mom’s blog! I changed a couple ingredients and took her suggestion to add cheese. Also, I used a surefire bread dough mix instead of making it from scratch. (This is a trick I learned in 1,001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes by Sue Spitler.)

     Veggie Pot Pie Pockets are a tasty & filling vegetarian meal! Also, they are not too shabby in the calorie department J (See nutrition estimate below.) My husband said they were great to pack in his lunch for work this week because they were easy to pick up and eat without utensils.

     This recipe makes enough for my family of 7. You may want to make a half-recipe for a smaller group.
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. margarine
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
16 oz. frozen broccoli & cauliflower (thawed)
10.75 oz. can condensed cream of potato soup
½ c. sour cream
8 oz. sharp white cheddar, shredded
3 Tbsp. milk (+ more for brushing)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 x 16 oz. box “Hot Roll Mix”
2 ½ c. water
Cooking spray, ~2 c. flour for assembling pockets

Make Filling:
1. Melt margarine and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in large frying pan over medium heat.

2. Sauté onion, celery, and carrots until onions are softened and translucent.

3. Add broccoli & cauliflower. Sauté a minute or two then remove from heat.

4. In separate bowl, combine potato soup, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 3 Tbsp. milk.
Mix it up in a bowl…
5. Add sour cream mixture to veggies and mix thoroughly. There’s your filling!

Make Dough:
(Ignore instructions on Hot Roll Mix box)

1. Heat 2 ½ c. water to 120° F (I use microwave).

2. Add 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil and yeast packets from hot roll mix boxes.

3. Next add hot roll mix and stir/knead 5 minutes. You may need extra flour so dough will achieve right consistency (not too sticky; not too dry). Add ¼ cup as/if needed but no more than about 1 cup total.

4. Let dough rest in bowl, covered, about 5 minutes. (You may want to spray bowl with cooking spray.)

Assemble Pockets:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Sprinkle flour on work surface.

3. Divide dough evenly into 16 balls (or 32 smaller balls—“kid-size”). Actually, I used half the dough to form 8 large balls and the other half I divided into 16 small balls.


Large…and small.


4. Roll each dough ball into a circle (about 8” for large ball; 5-6” for small).

5. Place 1/16 of filling (~ ¼ c.) on large dough circle or 1/32 of filling (~ 2 Tbsp.) on small circle.

6. Brush edge of dough circle with milk, then fold dough in half to form semicircle.

7. Fold up edges of dough and crimp with fork.

8. Place on greased baking sheet. (I put foil on baking sheet and spray foil with cooking spray.)

9. Brush all pot pie pockets with milk.

10. Bake 15-20 minutes until browned.


All done!
*Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
1 Tbsp. margarine
70
5
0
0
0
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
360
0
0
0
0
1 medium onion
44
0
2
1
3
3 stalks celery
30
6
3
0
9
2 medium carrots
50
4
4
2
4
16 oz. frozen broccoli & cauliflower
125
5
10
5
10
10.75 oz. can condensed cream of potato soup
225
82.5
2.5
5
25
½ c. sour cream
240
4
0
4
8
½ tsp. salt
0
50
0
0
0
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
880
64
0
56
160
3 Tbsp. fat free milk
17
1
0
1.5
6
2 x 16 oz. “Hot Roll Mix”
3300
270
15
120
0
Total:
(16 large/32 small)
5341 kcal
492 %
36.5 g
195 g
225 %
1 large pocket:
1 small pocket:
334 kcal
167 kcal
31 %
15 %
2 g
1 g
12 g
6 g
14 %
7 %

*Calculated from food packaging and the following website: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts
 I used “Blue Bonnet” brand margarine, “Wesson” brand canola oil, “Great Value” (Walmart) brand potato soup, “Daisy” brand sour cream, “Morton” brand salt, “Cabot” brand “Seriously Sharp” white cheddar cheese, “Shopper’s Value” fat free milk, and “Pillsbury” brand “Hot Roll Mix”.

This recipe is shared at:
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