Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Birthday party in one casserole dish—thankful for this veggie lasagna . . . and another year of life

It’s my birthday and I can cook what I want to. That’s my maxim on this day as I celebrate another year of life. Hubby asked what kind of birthday celebration I wanted. I replied that this was no big milestone year—just thankfulness for being able to rejoice in another year lived.

But I did specify these three things: that we would get up and run the Two-Mile Bridge (over Lake Ray Hubbard) as we had on his 65th, months back (we’ll do this as soon as I get this blog posted) and that I would make myself a birthday casserole and a birthday pie. Seems like a fairly easy wish-list to achieve.

The birthday casserole I spotted was for Zucchini-and-Spinach Lasagna. The recipe appeared in the August 2011 issue of Southern Living magazine and was featured as being one way to use farmers' market finds, which were plentiful during the summer.

I love any kind of lasagna but hate all the fuss. Compared to preparing the meat-and-tomato sauce traditional version, this was a snap. To make lasagna you'll always have to contend with the layers and with stirring up the various elements in separate pans, so you’ll always have some degree of complex cleanup. But the wonderful, healthy ingredients that blend together so delightfully represent a reward for all that.

Even though today’s the official day, Hubby and I sneaked in a few bites of Zucchini-and-Spinach Lasagna last night. After all, how can I post something about this dish on my blog if I don’t first sample it?

Ahhh—smooth, well-blended, flavorful, filling, nutritious. Loved this menu item! Truly a birthday party in one casserole dish! A happy birthday present indeed.

Zucchini-and-Spinach Lasagna

1 (8-ounce) container whipped chive-and-onion cream cheese
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
5 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach
2 garlic cloves, pressed
6 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package instructions (the recipe specified no-boil lasagna noodles, but I subbed the regular variety I had on hand)
1 (7-ounce)package shredded mozzarella cheese
Garnish: fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Sauté zucchini in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add spinach; gently toss until wilted. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Spoon one-third of vegetables into a lightly greased, 9-inch square baking dish; top with 2 cooked and drained noodles and one-third of the ricotta mixture. Repeat twice. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake, covered with aluminum foil that you have lightly sprayed with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to lasagna, at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and noodles are tender. Uncover and bake 5 to 10 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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