Monday MmmMmmMmm: Vegetable Lasagna

Today was an unusual Monday.  Jeff and I both had off on the same weekday.  To celebrate, we cleaned the basement – or at least part of it!  I know, it’s not a very romantic way to spend the day together; but we both felt good – and HUNGRY – when we got done.

Fortunately, I had some recipes to try.  I’m teaching two private classes in early December and some of the recipes the groups selected are new to me.  So I used my time today to not only familiarize myself with the recipes, but also to make a nice dinner for Jeff and I.

We stopped our work in the basement at approximately 1:00 p.m. and I started cooking.  The first recipe I tackled was for Vegetable Lasagna with Fontina & Parmesan Sauce.  I put a pot of water on to boil (to cook the lasagna noodles) and then started slicing mushrooms, zucchini and artichoke hearts.  While the pasta cooked and the veggies sautéed, I gathered the ingredients for the parmesan sauce.


I removed the cooked lasagna noodles from the boiling water onto a sheet tray covered in plastic wrap.  When the tray was full, I added another layer of plastic wrap and repeated the process until all the noodles were on the sheet tray.  I find this is a great way to let the noodles cool without sticking together.  I set the tray aside, turned off the flame under the veggies and made the parmesan sauce.

Sauteed Mushrooms, Zucchini & Artichoke Hearts

Parmesan Sauce

Finally, I buttered the lasagna pan and then began assembly.  Sauce, noodles, sauce, veggies, cheese, noodles, sauce, veggies, cheese, noodles, sauce, veggies, cheese, noodles, sauce, and finally cheese.  It becomes kind of like meditating….I get lost in the process!

Buttered Lasagna Dish

Lasagna Layer 1

I slipped the lasagna into the oven to bake for 30 minutes.  Then I cleaned up the mess from the lasagna and turned my attention to the salad – Field Green Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette.  Before I began making the salad, Jeff left to take Miss Kissy to the vet.

I’ve previously written posts about cooking more of something than you need for one meal so that you have leftovers for another meal – for example Two Birds, One Stone – One Chicken, Three Meals. Fortunately, I follow my own advice and had roasted beets in the refrigerator, which made prep for tonight’s salad a piece of cake!  I simply cut some Romaine hearts, crumbled some goat cheese, cut the roasted beets, toasted some sliced almonds, and made the vinaigrette.  Since Jeff wasn’t home yet, I left all the salad components in separate containers to assemble just before sitting down for dinner.

Salad Bowl

Salad Toppings

Finally, I picked up the recipe for the Chocolate Lava Cakes with Caramel Sauce.   I prepped the ramekins in which the cakes will be baked and then made the thick, “chocolatey” batter. I spooned the batter into the prepared ramekins – although not as carefully as I probably should have because I ended up with a little batter on the rims.  If I were cooking for company or for class, I would have used a damp dish towel to clean them up, but I decided to leave them with the rustic, homemade look!

Messy Chocolate Lava Ramekins

The recipe calls to let the batter rest in the ramekins for at least 30 minutes, which gave me time to make a simple caramel sauce with unsalted butter, light brown sugar and heavy cream.

Just as I was finishing the caramel, my iPad “rang” with a message from Jeff letting me know he and Kissy were on their way home.  Perfect timing!  I turned the oven to broil, took the foil off the lasagna and slid it into the oven so the top would get brown and bubbly.  When the top looked beautifully golden, I took the pan out of the oven and covered it to rest.

Brown & Bubbling Veggie Lasagna

I heard the garage door open while I was cutting the lasagna, dressing the lettuce and plating the food.  I love it when a plan comes together!  I had just enough time to snap some pics of the food before Jeff and Kissy made their way into the kitchen.

Veggie Lasagna & Salad

As Jeff and I ate dinner, we critiqued the recipes…..the lasagna was wonderful – a great meatless meal in my opinion.  Jeff, not surprisingly, said he’d like the lasagna better with some meat in it!  We both enjoyed the salad, but thought the dressing was missing a little something.  I’ll have to give the recipe another try or two and see if I can tweak it a bit.

No, you didn’t miss anything…..I haven’t said anything about the lava cakes yet.  In fact, as I write this post, they are still sitting on the counter unbaked.

After dinner Jeff had a meeting at church, so I am waiting to bake them until he’s on his way home so the lava is still flowing when we eat them.  I hope they’re as good as I am imagining them to be!

All in all, today was a great day.  We accomplished some basement cleaning, we have a new health plan for Kissy, and we had a Monday MmmMmmMmm.  Not only that, but we still have a tasty dessert to look forward to!

What did you have for dinner tonight?