Friday, February 24, 2012

Deconstructed Lasagna

I have birthday brain.

Today is my Gram's birthday. Last month was Dad's birthday. Next month is my birthday. It's birthday madness I tell you!

My family has a fun tradition for birthdays. The birthday boy or girl gets to choose what to have dinner and  dessert. Growing up, my brother always had the same thing- Chili dogs, velvetta shells and cheese, and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Every June 26th we knew that was the plan.

For my birthday it was always the same thing as well- Daddy's Lasagna and angel food cake with vanilla frosting (the color of the frosting changed every year. The year I went with blue sorta freaked my aunts out...)

We never really figured out we could have requested to go to a restaurant to eat. But really, it didn't matter. It was our one day of the year to have a choice all to ourselves. And there was always something special about mom cooking your meal and dad baking your cake.

I still have the Pyrex mixing bowl set and hand mixer that was always used for birthday cakes. Even though I have a beautiful stand mixer, I still mix every birthday cake batter I make in the largest orange Pyrex bowl using that same hand mixer.

As we've gotten older, we have expanded the birthday supper to include an activity for the day. Last year I chose to go to The Okefenokee Swamp to see the gators. This year, we are going to Cumberland Island to see the wild horses and spend the day on the beach. My supper choice has yet to be determined, but I think I may just attempt to make a gluten free angel food cake or gluten free chocolate root beer cake. (Both of these recipes are from a pair of gluten free sisters who always make rockin' recipes.)

It's not my birthday, but I have had a hankering for some lasagna. The recipe I am sharing today is super easy. It's loaded with veggies and it's oh so delicious!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Deconstructed Lasagna
Serves 5

8 oz gluten free pasta shells
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb lean ground beef
garlic salt, onion powder, pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dry Italian herbs
8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
1/4 cup beef stock
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, DO NOT DRAIN
1-2 TBS tomato paste
5 cups baby spinach
3/4 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1/8 cup shredded mozzarella

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Set aside.

While the pasta is cooking- spray a large deep skillet with cooking spray. Saute onion, garlic, and beef. Once browned, add mushrooms. Add beef stock. Cover and simmer until mushrooms are tender- about 7-8 minutes.

Add tomatoes(with juice), tomato paste, and seasonings. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta. Stir in spinach.

Dollop cottage or ricotta cheese over all. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Place lid on the pot and let warm through OR broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

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