Cooking With Calamity

As a burlesque performer and producer in NYC who also have a full-time day job in the world of advertising, making food that is delicious and time-efficient is a huge priority in managing my busy life. The recipes I try all have one thing in common: they are designed for busy women running busy lives! You won't see convoluted, hoity-toity NYTimes-style recipes here. But you will see delicious meal prep recipes, Air Fryer shortcuts, slow cooker cheats, and other kitchen hacks that I employee so I have more time to travel all over the world to perform! Thanks for visiting!

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Lazy Lasagna Saturday


It's lasagna time! Jen Gapay came over tonight to catch up and discuss our 2020 plans for the 8th Annual Asian Burlesque Extravaganza (n Saturday, May 16, 2020 at Le Poisson Rouge), and I made us dinner and dessert. I'm thrilled to have a slower November & December since holiday travels are coming up so I used tonight to try out this Creamy Tomato Spinach Lasagna Florentine recipe I found on Pinch of Yum.


This recipe appeals to me because it's easyAF and uses oven-ready lasagna. As usual, I modified the recipe to fit my cravings and honestly whatever is available in my cupboard. I added ground chicken cause PROTEIN LIFE. Also proud to use basic AF tomato sauce from a can from my local Foodtown. Kraft shredded "shelf-stable" parmesan cheese. And you know what? It tasted damn good. For a side dish I made an air fryer balsamic brussels sprouts! So good! Dessert was a pear tart on flake pastry, I've made this a dozen times before, it's easy and a crowd pleaser!


The most "difficult" part of the recipe which wasn't even difficult but just an extra thing to clean was blending the cottage cheese! I've never heard of blending cottage cheese but it was a transformative experience—it turns it into a smooth, creamy texture that blended perfectly with lasagna!


Here's the OG recipe for the lasagna with my modifications in red italics:


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound of ground chicken (you can use ground turkey or pork too)

2–3 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic paste in equal measure)

4–5 cups fresh spinach

2 cups 4% cottage cheese

2 eggs

1/4 cup ground flaxmeal (I skipped this but it adds a nice texture to the dish, but its basically flax seed grounded to a powder)

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

A very tiny dusting of nutmeg

A squeeze of lemon juice

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

4 cups tomato sauce

12 no-boil or oven-ready lasagna noodles

2 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (I used more like 4 cups)


INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat.

Saute ground chicken until half-cooked, then drain half the fat away

Add the garlic to the meat mixture and saute for 1-2 minutes

Add the spinach to the mixture and stir around until just barely wilted

Remove from heat and set aside

Blend the cottage cheese in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth and creamy. (this part was so fun!)

Transfer to a bowl and mix with eggs, flaxmeal (I skipped flaxmeal), oregano, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese.

Stir in the spinach & meat mixture and set aside.

To assemble lasagna, spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray and spread a few spoonfuls of sauce around in the bottom of the pan. Arrange 3 noodles, top with about 1 cup sauce, 1 cup creamy spinach mixture, and 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese. Repeat for three complete layers. Top it all off with the last three lasagna noodles, 1 cup sauce, and 1 cup Mozzarella cheese. Cover with greased foil so the cheese doesn’t stick and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for another 10 to brown the cheese.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Jen showing off my mini pear tart dessert



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© 2020 by Calamity Chang