Saturday, November 27, 2010

Crockpot Pesto Lasagna

{photo and recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking}

1 (26-ounce) jar prepared pasta sauce
1 (10-ounce) box lasagna noodles
1 (11-ounce) container pesto
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (12-ounce) bag baby spinach
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 cup water

Put a spoonful of pasta sauce (about 1/4 cup) into the bottom of your slow cooker and swirl it around. Add a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (you're going to have to break them to make a layer). Smear ricotta cheese and pesto onto the noodles. Add a handful or two of baby spinach, and top with a layer of Parmesan and slice mozzarella cheeses. Repeat layers until you've run out of ingredients. The spinach is fluffy, so you're going to have to squish it down to make it all fit.

Before closing the pot, put 1/4 cup of water into the empty pasta sauce jar and close and shake. Pour this saucy water over the top of everything.

Now cover up and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for about 3 to 4. You'll know it's done when the top layer begins to brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly. It will also pull a bit away from the sides. Taste-test a noodle to check texture.

Uncover, and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

I love how fast and easy this is! Last Sunday I had Max assemble it right before we left for church, and it was ready to eat when we got home. I whipped up some super-fast breadsticks and we had a delicious dinner.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"My Favorite Salad" Panini

a.k.a. My New Favorite Sandwich

{recipe from Tasty Kitchen}
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cups pecans
  • ½ cups dried cranberries
  • ½ cups blue cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cups reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 8 slices focaccia bread (I used 12 grain hazelnut bread from Kneaders–swoon!)
  • 2 whole seasoned and grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole apple, cored and thinly sliced

Process the spinach, pecans, dried cranberries, blue cheese and mayonnaise in a food processor until uniformly smooth. (I tried my blender, and it didn't work at all. I had to transfer it to my little food processor. Worked like a dream.)

Spread mixture on each slice of bread.

Top one slice of bread (per sandwich) with grilled chicken slices and apple slices. Place sandwich halves together.

Grill on a panini press or grill pan until bread is toasted. (I used my George Foreman grill. No butter on the bread necessary.)

**In the picture above, I was having leftovers for lunch the next day. I was out of apples, so I had it without. I was also too lazy to get out the grill. It was still delicious, but better with the apple and grilled.