And speaking of exciting news, I have some for BLWB today! I wrote a guest post for Attune Foods, a company that focuses on real food and healthy eating. I wrote about my transition to real food, and I hope you'll check it out (give them some comment love!). Here is the link; enjoy!
Even though I slept plenty last night, it wasn't enough to keep me energized throughout the day. We had open house last night, and it completely drained my energy for today's classes. Luckily, we had some fun learning about different rooms (living room, dining room, etc.). (I teach English Language Development in high school, so my students have little to no English background.) I am always so grateful to teach such eager learners, and it makes my job that much more fun, even on days I'm exhausted.
Once I got home, I knew I needed a workout to wake me up for the evening, so I hopped on the treadmill for an incline walking workout. I followed this workout from Julie's blog, except I omitted the running and repeated the 8-15 incline sequence a third time. I also changed the speeds throughout the workout, so they ranged from 4.0 to 4.5 depending on how I was feeling that minute. It was a terrific workout, and I highly recommend it for anyone (you can certainly decrease the inclines or increase the speeds to accommodate).
Then I got straight to work on dinner, and it was a doozy. I used this recipe to figure out the layers and ricotta mixture and then just added eggplant. I truly love cooking and feel completely blissful (most of the time) in my kitchen, so I don't usually mind such a long preparation process, but two hours was kinda pushing it today. You can easily cut this process in half if you a) use pre-made or store bought marinara sauce (<--my recipe), or b) go with tomato puree instead of pureeing it yourself. Either way, the end result was fantastic, and I can't wait to enjoy leftovers for the next few days!
|Look at those layers!|
- 4+ cups marinara sauce or meat sauce
- 10 whole wheat lasagna noodles
- 2 eggplants, sliced thinly crosswise
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- One egg
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
- 9x13 baking dish
If you're making your own marinara sauce, get that going first. Once it's simmering, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Then soak your noodles in very warm water for 20 minutes (I just use the baking dish I'm going to use for the lasagna to avoid having another dish for Terry to wash).
Spread the eggplant slices on a greased baking sheet (or two, if needed). Then lightly brush (I used my Misto sprayer) each slice with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or just until tender. Set aside to cool slightly, and change the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Mix the ricotta, egg, and parsley in a small bowl. Set aside.
After 20 minutes soaking (they don't need to be particularly tender; they will continue to cook in the oven), set aside your noodles (lay them on a dish towel or plate until ready to use), and empty and dry the baking dish. Spray the dish with cooking spray.
To assemble: Spread 1 cup of your marinara/meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. *Tip: Use a rubber spatula to easily spread your sauces.* Next, layer 1/2 of the eggplant slices, then about 1/2 cup more of the marinara (just enough to cover most of the eggplant). Then layer half of the lasagna noodles. Next up, spread half the ricotta cheese mixture on the noodles. Then layer half the mozzarella and sprinkle half the Parmesan cheese (I also added some goat cheese on this layer, which boosted the flavor even more!).
Repeat the first 5 layers: sauce, eggplant, little more sauce, noodles, ricotta. Then spread one more cup of marinara and finish up with the last of the mozzarella slices and more Parmesan cheese.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
|Bubbly, gooey, healthy|
This lasagna tasted incredible! I love sneaking vegetables into meals I love, because then the whole dish feels better. The pasta kept an al dente texture, which contrasted nicely with the gooey cheeses. And oh, goodness, the cheese!!! So much, but not too much. The four types of cheese I used (adding goat cheese was a last minute game time decision that I do not regret) blended perfectly together and complemented the eggplant.
To add even more vegetable goodness to this meal, I also used the food processor to finely chop two zucchini and two yellow squash (okay, it may have ended up more like a puree, which looked like something the Ghostbusters would be summoned to investigate, but still). Then I threw the green-yellow mixture in a pan to cook up before adding it all to the marinara sauce. We couldn't taste these extra vegetables at all, but it was good to know they were there. :-)
Tomorrow's Friday! I'm especially excited that Easter weekend is here, because we can go back to watching TV during the week (we gave up TV Monday through Thursday for Lent). It's been super tough not to have my weeknight wind-down, and I'm looking forward to getting back to our usual routine soon.
Hope you have a fantastic day! Any plans for the weekend? Get thinkin' about how you'll incorporate healthy foods and exercise into your days!