Make-Ahead Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Before I jump right into the recipe, I have to tell you that these next several weeks are going to be pretty busy for me. If you’ve been checking out my posts, you know that I’m heading over to Stockholm and London in July. Yay! I’ve been writing lists and getting organized for the trip. I am seriously neurotic when it comes to packing luggage, and I am a total carry-on-only warrior. Anyway, since I’ve been planning everything right down to the smallest of details, I realized I’d forgotten one of the most important things to consider. After returning home from a long trip, the last thing you want to think about is grocery shopping and cooking. I needed to come up with a meal that I can take straight from the freezer and pop in the oven as soon as I set down my bags.

Because farmer’s markets and summer CSAs are in full swing, and because I have more summer squash than I know what to do with, I decided to make a Summer vegetable lasagna. Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, y’all, and this recipe is nothing short of amazing. The Béchamel sauce really makes every bite a cosmic experience. The best part is that you can make this ahead of time and then freeze portions for a quick, healthy, and oh so tasty meal. You must try this!!!

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

For the vegetable filling:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 3 jarred roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh basil leaves, minced
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel sauce

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
  • 3 cups (24 oz./750 g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 3/4 lb. (12 oz./375 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. To make the filling, in a 5-quart (5-l) Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Clean the pot.

3. To make the béchamel sauce, in the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer half of the sauce to a bowl. Spread the remaining sauce evenly on the bottom of the pot. In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.

4. Cover the sauce in the pot with a single layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them if needed to fit. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture evenly on top, then one-third of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the mozzarella. Repeat the layering 2 more times, starting with the noodles. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes longer. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.

***To freeze, cut it into individual portions. Wrap the portions in aluminum foil and when you’re ready to reheat, just pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375°F.

Source: Williams Sonoma

Vintage Style 4th of July Barbecue

So I’ve been binge watching the Wonder Years on Netflix and it’s totally gotten me into this nostalgic kinda mood. The show takes place in the late 60s, but somehow manages to make you feel like you’re remembering your own childhood. Anyway, I guess I’m mad impressionable because now I seriously want to host a vintage style get together. With the 4th of July right around the corner, I decided to go with a vintage Americana theme for this year’s barbecue. Thank goodness for Lia Griffith, y’all! She absolutely nailed the vision I had in my head and even has some handy printables and DIY tutorials to make this dream a reality. Check out the pics and get inspired!

How gorgeous is this?!! Every little detail, right down to the matchboxes!Just beautiful. I’m super excited to host this year’s celebration! Check out more of this amazing design here and here. You’ll find links to all of the cool tutorials and printables.

Also, if you’re in need of a perfectly grillable veggie burger recipe to appease your hungry vegetarian friends (note: I am one of your hungry vegetarian friends), check out my favorite recipe here.

Homemade Granola With Extra Clusters

I have a love/hate relationship with granola. I love the taste. Real talk, I can eat granola on top of yogurt or fruit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I’m being completely honest, I really have done just that. But I absolutely do not love the price of store bought granola. It’s super expensive considering the price of the individual ingredients and how much granola those ingredients yield coupled with how easy it is to make. Most of all I ‘m not in love with the fact that as you make your way through a box or a bag of granola, all of the delicious granola clusters disappear and you’re left with half a bag of granola crumbs. Because I eat so much granola, I had to find a homemade recipe that didn’t skimp on the flavor, or the clusters. If you love granola clusters as much as I do, you must try this!

Homemade Granola

Makes 3 to 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (1/2 pound) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) whole, raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) whole, raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup (2 ounces) light brown (or unrefined) sugar
  • zest of 1 small orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons / 3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a second rimmed baking sheet and piece of parchment ready.
  • Combine the oats, nuts, sugar, orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, maple syrup and salt, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour over the oat mixture, tossing to combine thoroughly.
  • Dump the mixture onto the lined baking sheet, and spread it into a thin sheet no thicker than an almond. Ideally, the edges will be slightly thicker than the center as they will bake faster. Lay the second piece of parchment over the granola, and place the second sheet pan on top, right-side up, making a little granola sandwich.
  • Slide the whole thing into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate and continue baking another 10 to 20 minutes, peeking under the parchment to make sure the edges aren’t burning, until the granola is a rich golden brown. It will still be soft, but will crisp up as it cools.
  • Let the granola cool completely in the sheet pan sandwich, then break up and store in an airtight container for up to a month (or possibly more). Enjoy over fruit and yogurt for breakfast, alone for a crunchy snack, or over ice cream for a decadent dessert.

I use this double baking sheet trick for a variety of granola flavor combinations like maple brown butter, rum-kissed coconut, or cardamom honey! The clusters do not disappoint!

Source: Food52

Try This— Vegetarian Mexican Casserole

This is a delicious vegetarian recipe to add to your Cinco de Mayo celebration menu. It is truly cheesy goodness at it’s finest, y’all! Best part? Every single time I’ve made this casserole, I freeze the leftovers for an easy weeknight microwave dinner. You must try this!

Mexican Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) can refried beans, warmed
  • 1 (10-ounce) can mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and bell peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in black beans, corn, chili powder and cumin until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in green chiles and cilantro; set aside.
  • Place tortillas evenly on the bottom of the baking dish. Spread refried beans evenly over the tortillas, followed by the onion mixture and enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Place into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly.
  • Serve garnished with cilantro, if desired.

Image and Recipe: Damn Delicious