Monday, May 11, 2009

Noodle-Free Lasagna

I tried a new Weight Watchers recipe last night, called Beef and Vegetable Cheese Casserole. Basically, this worked out to be a noodle-less lasagna. Yummy overall, and a nice variation on the lasagna that I love but which I was getting a little bored with.

I did make the "Italian variation," so I used fat free ricotta instead of cottage cheese (which I just find repulsive anyway) and an Italian cheese blend instead of cheddar.

Here are the tomatoes and zucchini getting all roasty:

I think I used too big a pan, cuz there wasn't enough of the beef mixture to cover the bottom thoroughly. Here's the ricotta mixed with the egg beaters (instead of an egg yolk), as well.

Baked - that top layer wasn't quite a crust, cuz it was still pretty soft. It was just like a cheese layer in a lasagna.

Messy on the plate, but pretty hearty. Since I was using dried herbs and not fresh, I should have used a lot more. This was a bit bland, but I'm hoping the flavors marry over the next few days as I eat it for lunch all week.


ScottE. said...

Good job with all the cooking lately! It's totally satisfying, you can save money and in the end, cook things that are exactly to your liking!!!

A note on the dried herbs vs. fresh. Technically speaking, when you use fresh herbs, you use more of them then you would when you use dried versions of the same. The dry herbs have a more concentrated, intensified flavor, when they are relatively new*. That being said, the recipe probably didn't have you use enough in the first place.

Most books and chefs will say the herbs & spices in your pantry have a shelf life of 6 months, give or take. I would stretch that to about a year, give or take. Don't store them in a cabinet over your stove, or on an open shelf that gets sunlight. The heat and sun will erode the flavors. If you keep your herbs and spices in a cooler, dry, dark space, they will last longer.

Stef said...

Scotte, thanks for the advice! I had heard about that shelf life of dried herbs, and I keep mine in a cool, dark cabinet away from the oven. But I have a whole bunch of them that I've had for years and years, and those are the ones I don't use as often. The ones that I use all the time (oregano, basil, parsley, garlic and onion powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, cinammon, ginger, nutmeg) do get replaced fairly often and I can tell a major difference on the flavor of a new bottle. I just can't bring myself to get rid of all the old ones cuz I can still smell that they have *some* flavor...

DC Food Blog said...

I'm totally making this. It sounds delish.