Last month I did the 30 day smoothie challenge using my little blender. My kids love smoothies. They are old enough now that they love to invent their own flavors. We have been a little limited because while they are not picky about produce they are picky about texture. The little blender can’t handle things like celery, apples, kale. So we were always using baby spinach as the green unless I am drinking alone. I that case I would drink down the chunky “smoothie” and try to think happy thoughts. *chuckle* It wasn’t a perfect scenario, but it got the job done. Kind of like the second lasagna recipe below. We have often talked about getting a high powered blender for these kinds of things. In fact I have wanted one for over ten years since learning about the benefits of raw organic food with my holistic doctor friend in California. I have looked online, looked in the store, but then I never end up buying. I had always thought it was kind of a “me” thing to get and I really prefer to spend on the kids and others, which truly gives me more joy. I am also a bit of a minimalist and hate collecting equipment or gadgets for fear they will lay around cluttering up our space.
This weekend we were blown away by a surprise gift. My sweet friend drove up and gave us a Vita Mix high power blender. My kids didn’t know what was going on until they had left. What happened next was beautiful. My oldest son ran over and hugged the box while shouting “yes! finally!” My second son is naturally bouncy was bouncing with joy. He had the biggest grin on his face. My third son (yes we really have this many, which explains his comment) started shouting “what day is it my turn?” My daughter didn’t know what was going on because she is three, but when it came out of the box she clapped her hands with a huge grin. My baby said nothing, but I am pretty sure he will love everything that comes out of this blender because when you have only two teeth you really appreciate a good blender. My biggest surprise was my husband. He instantly had his need list ready for his favorite smoothie, which isn’t something he normally cares about. Everyone was SO excited and happy.
This weekend I learned that when it comes to things that help make good food it isn’t about me. I may be the main food preparer in the kitchen, but my whole family is who benefits from good food. Now that my children are growing older they are also very active in the kitchen so good food making tools are something they will also benefit from. This tool will help us make all kinds of great real food recipes that we can enjoy and share. I am so very thankful!
The seasons of life keep changing. I don’t know which one you might be in, but I hope one of these recipes will hit the spot for you. The first recipe is one that I made for the first six years we were married. I made all kinds of variations and loved them all. Then came the season with little children. My children are not picky with most food, but they can be texture sensitive. The second recipe below was born out of a need to find a smoother recipe that used less expensive ingredients. I still use organic tomato sauce and grass fed beef, but when you have multiply the recipe to feed everyone it can add up so this recipe uses less cheese and replaces the more expensive ricotta with cottage cheese. Enjoy!
This is a great veggie filled layered pasta dish. You can make it grain free by substituting zucchini squash slices in place of the cooked lasagna noodles. I love to add other veggies and sprinkle the top with fresh herbs.
1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (26 ounce) jars pasta sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
2. In a large saucepan, cook and stir mushrooms, green peppers, onion, and garlic in oil. Stir in pasta sauce and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer 1/2 each, lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering, and top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Easy Family Style Lasagna
This is such an easy recipe to throw together. I have made it often in double or triple quantities and frozen to bake later (freezer meal). Add the green salad and home made wheat quick French bread (recipe coming soon!) and you have a great no fuss meal. This is something that is also a nice portable dish for pot luck or gifting. People with the picky palate seem to like it!
16 oz. cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 package Lasagna Noodles, uncooked
1 lb. grass fed beef, browned
1 jar favorite pasta sauce
1 can 15 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup water
4-6 oz. mozzarella shredded
1. In a bowl combined the first four ingredients. Mix well. In a 9 x 18 inch baking dish layer the following:
One cup of sauce and half cup water.
Next place one layer of noodles.
Half ricotta mixture.
Layer of noodles.
Half of ground beef and ¾ jar pasta sauce.
Layer of noodles.
Remaining ricotta mixture.
Layer of noodles.
Remaining ground beef, sauce and half cup of water.
Top with mozzarella cheese.
2. Cover and bake for one hour at 375 degrees. Piece center with a fork to test for doneness. Fork should easily slide through pasta when done.