It’s a weeknight, and you need dinner on the table. One solution: planning. One option is doing your preparation ahead of time, such as making your mirepoix and freezing it for dishes you can make throughout the week. Here, we use the prepared mirepoix to put the dish together on Sunday evening. Come home on Monday, and all one has to do is pop the skillet into the oven.
2 celery stalks
Dice each ingredient then toss together. Make more or less of the mixture in the same ration (2 onions to 1 celery to 1 carrot). Use immediately or place in a plastic bag and freeze to use as needed.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 cups mirepoix
10 fingerling potatoes, halved
Juice of one lemon
3 chicken quarters
Directions – The Night Before:
In a cast iron skillet, coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. Add the mirepox and spread evenly.
Toss the potatoes with salt and paprika, then place on top of the mirepoix.
Season the chicken with salt and sumac (approximately 2 tbsp over all three chicken quarters). Squeeze the lemon over the entire mxiture.
Place the chicken on top of the potatoes. Cover the skillet with foil then refrigerate.
Directions – Day of Cooking:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and let oven stand at 20 minutes at temperature. While preheating the oven, remove the skillet from the fridge to come to temperature.
Place skillet in oven and cook for approximately 55-60 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
I love lasagna. By far, it is my favorite Italian dish with its rows of hearty pasta, pools of tomato and bechamel sauces, with bursts of meaty goodness. Growing up, it was the one dish I would demand not be altered in any way, shape or form because, to me, it was the perfect dish as imagined. It required no modernizing or changes.
This is all to say that sometimes we all must eat our words, and this time deliciously so. Lasagna is not exactly a diabetic friendly recipe, so we found a way to lighten up the dish and make it slightly more healthy at least. Extra perk? It would be easy to turn this into a vegan dish – just omit the first steps featuring the meat. There’s so many vegetables in this hearty dish that you won’t miss it if you do.
So while traditions are good, moving forward into the future of better awareness of our health, and with no further adieu, we give you or vegetable boosted lasagna! Buon appetito!
6 lasagna noodles, cooked per box directions to al dente
1 pound of ground beef (choose leaner if you want to lighten this up even further)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup diced bell peppers
2 pints mushrooms, cleaned and cut into slices (we used white button mushrooms)
28 oz favorite marinara sauce (use homemade if you can but it’s perfectly okay to use your favorite jarred sauce).
1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed (discard), and leaves chopped
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella
In a large pot, heat up approximately 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat.
Add the ground beef, and cook most of the way through, approximately 8 minutes depending on stove top and stirring frequently. With a slotted spoon, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside. Drain some of the liquid on top of the beef but leave enough in the pan to begin the vegetables.
Add the onions, carrots, and celery with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the bell peppers. Cook down another 3-4 minutes. During this time, add the Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper.
Add the mushrooms. Continuing to stir occasionally, cook them down until they are approximately half in size from when you started.
Add the sauce along with the meat and juices. Incorporate everything thoroughly. Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer. We are going to stay here the rest of the way.
After about 10 minutes, add the kale, once again incorporating it well and stirring frequently. This will cook down significantly. Cook another 10 minutes on simmer.
Adjust seasonings then allow to cool before assembling the lasagna.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, put some of the tomato liquid on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and spread along the bottom.
Add 2 lasagna noodles. Spoon some of the filling onto the noodles, flattening it with a spatula. Sprinkle Parmesan and mozzarella.
Add the next 2 noodles and repeat step 2.
For the top layer, once again, spoon some of the liquid from the sauce mixture onto the noodles. Top with more Parmesan and mozzarella.
Bake for 40 minutes, covered with foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking oil. At 40 minutes, remove foil, boost temperature to 400, and cook another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes so that it will not fall apart when you cut the lasagna into slices. Serve and enjoy!