It is a cool fall morning In Wisconsin. Patches of frost melt into dew on fallen orange maple leaves. Sunlight captured by the droplets warms the leaf skin in an attempt to reanimate the once lustrous green of the leaf. The reflection off the many droplets cause the leaves to shimmer in the morning sun. On this morning I take solace in my warm home. I am nursing a sore foot. Plantar Fasciitis was the diagnosis. I am staying at home for the week and doing the stretches. But one cannot just sit on the couch all day and stretch ones heal. So off to the kitchen to whip up some goodies for the week.
I do have an update on my health status. I am maintaining this diet and the numbers are showing progress. My Cholesterol is at 168. My glucose levels have fallen from 110 to 98. I have dropped 20 lbs. After two months I feel this is good progress. I plan to maintain my diet. I like the emphasis on eating good. It is good for my body and good for my mental health too. Yippie for me.
Enough talk about me. Let’s start cooking.
Yesterday I roasted some peppers. The peppers are brilliant red and ripe; they were the last of the peppers harvested. I roasted many varieties. Anaheim, Cherry, Bell, Cubanelle, Habanero, Jalepeno, Serano, Banana, Hungarian. The roasted peppers have the smokey sweet flavor that I love and use the roasted peppers in a variety recipes. They are best on the grill but can be roasted in the oven also if you wish. Cut the peppers in half and deseed them. Drizzle with olive oil and place on a hot grill. Cook until the skins are blackened. Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool. Later the skins will peel off easily. I save them for cooking in later recipes.
I was thinking of making Spanakopita today but changed my mind as I had a craving for some pasta. So I am combining the best of both.
One box lasagna noodles
1 large bag of spinach
8 cloves garlic minced
2 large onions chopped
1 lb mushrooms sliced
1 eggplant skinned and cubed
1 cup red wine
2 cups chopped tomatoes no seeds or skins
6 cups of homemade marinara sauce (you can use jars of sauce if you prefer)
I can black olives
4 tablespoons pesto
roasted peppers chopped
8 oz feta cheese
12 oz mozzarella cheese grated
In a large sauce pan pour in marinara, chipped roasted peppers and tomatoes. Add two cloves chopped garlic and 1/2 cup of red wine. Let simmer.
In a saute pan drizzle with olive oil and saute the onions until they start to become translucent, Add mushrooms eggplant, 1/2 cup red wine and black olives. Cook until tender. Set aside.
In a food processor process spinach, six cloves of garlic, pesto and feta cheese.
Cook noodles for the lasagna 4 to 6 at a time and layer the lasagna. Oil the pan, lay noddles on the bottom of the pan and ladle over some red sauce, ad another layer of noodles, Spread the spinach mixture, add another layer of noodles, ladle red sauce over the noodles. Spread mushroom mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle 4 oz of mozzarella over the mushrooms. And two more layers of noodles with red sauce in between the layers. Top with red sauce and mozzarella. Top with red sauce. Cook in a preheated oven 350F for one hour. Top with red sauce and 8 oz mozzarella. Put underneath the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and browning. Let rest for 20 minutes before slicing. I usually retain some extra sauce to pour over the lasagna.
There is a trick if you would like to save time. Do not cook the noodles. Layer the lasagna with hard uncooked noodles and add extra red sauce between the layers. Cook with foil over the top of the pan for one hour. Remove the foil and add the 8 oz mozzarella cheese to the top of the lasagna and put underneath the broiler until it is bubbly and browning. After I remove the foil I usually test the lasagna by inserting a knife into the center. If the noodles are cooked it will insert easily.
I have also added Breaded and fried eggplant medallions to this recipe. Be careful the breaded eggplant is addicting. I usually eat it before it I can get it into the oven.