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
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)
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.