Monday, March 06, 2006


When you're looking for a fairly quick meal that's nutritious and delicious, what do you reach for?

On most nights, I hope for some good broccoli in the fridge so that I can throw together my all-time favorite comfort food of whole wheat pasta, steamed broccoli, toasted walnuts, garlic and pepper, a bit of cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.

But when I have time on the weekends, I like to prepare a few things that will carry me well into the week, like soup and bread.

Sometimes, though, I'll feel a little more ambitious. And this weekend, I managed to think well in advance, pick up a few extra items at the local co-op, and assemble a small pan of lasagna to be baked off tonight.

(There's a nifty little trick there: if you assemble the lasagna one day, cover it and put in the fridge, then bake it slowly.... one hour with the foil on, about half an hour with the foil off.... the sheets of lasagna will cook themselves so that you don't have to fuss with boiling them. Isn't that great?)

This lasagna... just enough to fill a loaf pan... combined the best of winter and spring: snowy white cottage cheese and plenty of mozzarella for the comfort of cold weather, and steamed asparagus and a hint of dill from last year's garden for that fresh breath of spring warmth.

I could hardly wait to get home tonight and fire up the oven.

And why not, when the results are so tempting?

So easy to make, so easy to bake, so fragrant and tasty to enjoy for dinner, with a light salad on the side.

It makes me so happy to have such an easy and healthy meal, I could almost sing!

Winter-Spring Asparagus Lasagna

I don't bother with recipes for lasagna any more; I just throw things together. Use this as a blank slate for your own creations!

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2" or so pieces
16-oz container lowfat cottage cheese
2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
whole wheat lasagna ribbons
shredded mozzarella

Steam asparagus until tender. Drain.

Mix cottage cheese with herbs until well blended.

In lightly greased loaf pan, arrange one layer of whole wheat lasagna. Spread 1/4 of the cottage cheese mixture on top, and sprinkle 1/3 of the asparagus on top. Top with more lasagna. Repeat twice more. Spread the remaining cottage cheese mixture on top, sprinkle with mozzarella, cover with foil, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, set the loaf pan on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven. Turn oven on to 350 F and bake for one hour. Remove pan from oven, remove foil, and return pan to oven to bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

Makes 3-4 servings and happy stomachs!


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