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.
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.