Monday, August 6, 2012

Gluten Free Lasagna Made With Zucchini - Fantastic!

Greetings friends!  Yes, I have been absent for a week due to a little hiatus.  We had to make a trip to the old home town to help  my sister after she had some surgery.  Then, we were without internet and television for a few days due to some unknown reason that AT&T had trouble figuring out.  Do you know what it's like to have no television during the Olympics?  Holy gymnastics, Batman, it is NOT fun.  After 5 days, many phone calls and several repairmen later, they finally got everything working.  Hallelujah!  I did get to see that sweet Gabby Douglas win her gold medal.  Awesome.

Our oldest daughter and her family have been on vacation for the last 10 days and just returned this afternoon.  I knew she would not feel like cooking after spending all day in airports with 3 young sons, so I offered to fix dinner.   Dan took them to the airport for their departure so their van had lived at our house during their trip.  He went to pick them up at 4:30 and I fixed dinner so they could literally eat and run.  The boys were F R I E D!  They got up at 5 am eastern time to get to Boston in time to catch their flight home.  They are very brave people.  During dinner, the two year old melted down and then the 5 year old was right behind him.  Mom and dad looked like they might cry.  Grandma and Pawpaw just laughed - been there, done that.

Our son in love has Celiac so I always fix something that is gluten free.  I was in the mood for lasagna (and who doesn't love lasagna?), but decided to make it with zucchini instead of pasta noodles.  Let me tell you, it's absolutely fantastic and I may like it this was better than with noodles.   This would be great for a meatless dish also.  Just leave the meat out of the sauce.  Easy peasy.

Here is what you need:

3-4 zucchini about 8 inches long, sliced longways in 1/4 inch slices
1 pound ground beef, turkey or sausage (I used beef)
2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Trader Joe's tomato basil - it's gluten free and delicious)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 cremini mushrooms (baby bellas)
1.5 containers fresh ricotta (15 ounce each)
3 eggs
1 16 ounce package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 fresh mozzarella ball

First, slice the zucchini longways in 1/4 inch slices, salt on both sides and let drain in a colander.   Zucchini has a lot of water in it and you don't want it in your lasagna.

Brown the ground beef (turkey or sausage) with the chopped onion and garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Throw in the sliced mushrooms and the two jars of pasta sauce.  Heat until it bubbles, remove from heat.

Mix 1.5 containers of fresh ricotta cheese in a bowl with 3 eggs.  Set aside.

Spray a 9x13 casserole with cooking spray.  Press the zucchini slices between paper towels to remove any excess moisture.  Line the bottom of the casserole with a layer of zucchini.  See, it works just like noodles.
  Cover the zucchini with 1/2 of the meat sauce.
Put 1/2 the ricotta mixture over the meat sauce in large dollops and then spread with a spoon.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the 16 ounce package of shredded mozzarella over the ricotta mixture.
Add another layer of zucchini over the mozzarella layer and repeat the layers - meat sauce, ricotta and shredded mozzarella.  Cover the last layer of shredded mozzarella with slices from the fresh mozzarella ball.
Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and put it in a preheated 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil and increase the temperature to 350 degrees for another 15 minutes until all the cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  Serve.  Super D-licious.

I would recommend putting your casserole on a baking sheet while baking, because now I get to clean my oven since the ooey gooey cheese and sauce dripped all over the bottom.  Ugh.   Oh well, it was time to do that anyway.

We had a lovely green salad and crusty bread with this lasagna.  I have to say, I think I may be a zucchini lasagna convert at this point.  It's also a great way to use bounty from your summer garden!  One more delicious way to use up that zucchini!

If you are gluten sensitive or allergic, this is a great way to enjoy lasagna without having to find gluten free noodles.  It is so worth the effort to slice those zucchini and you get the extra nutrition from that delicious squash.  Give it a try and see what you think.  You may become a convert too!

Everyday donna

Things to Remember:

“Once again, my life has been saved by the miracle of lasagna.”
'Garfield' (Jim Davis)