Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spinach Lasagna x 8
As I've said before, my behavior falls well within nerd parameters and what I'm about to type only goes to support that statement. Having not much else to do this holiday season, I decided to print up a full year calendar by months and do my meal planning. For the whole year. I've tried the 6 and 8 week plans, tried doing it week by week and eventually, they all break down. Now, I'm not saying that this will be any different but I'm giving it a try. So, I spent the better part of 3 evenings slotting in our favourite meals and some new ones to fill up 12 months of dinners. And then I started on grocery lists because wouldn't that be sweet? Having your meals planned and a grocery list ready to go? On that task, I've made it through January and will try to work through the remaining months in the near future. While putting together the first week of groceries, I realized that my favourite spinach lasagna was scheduled for Saturday night. Thinking ahead, I realized that I had scheduled the same lasagna 5 more times in the next year so why not mass produce all my lasagnas at once? I actually like to do this because I find lasagna is a tedious creation but one that easily converts to quick assembly line production. And this afternoon, I whipped up 8 such lovelies, and gifted one to next door as Dr. Leanna has a hellish 12 days ahead of her, starting on Monday. I figured she could used a spare meal in the freezer.
The recipe is Do-Re-Mi La-sagna from Crazy Plates but I've modified it so that it's uniquely my own. To make 8, you need a lot of space and big bowls and a stock pot to cook that many noodles, although I did find this time (I've done this once before) that the noodles near the bottom really took a beating. If you care about the shape of the noodles, you can cook them in a couple of batches. Personally, I don't care that much, no one really sees them once it's cooked. The total cost to make 8 mostly organic spinach lasagnas (each serves a healthy 4) was $119.56. Each one cost $14.95.
And here's what you need to do:
72 whole wheat lasagna noodles or 4 boxes (cost $10.68)
3 tubs of ricotta cheese (500 g each - cost $14.04)
1/3 small carton of egg whites (cost $2.26)
1 big and 1 medium tub cottage cheese (cost $8.28)
1.5 bags frozen spinach (cost $5.38)
3 tsp oregano (costs $.50)
8 jars of pasta sauce (cost $35.12)
1 kg feta cheese (cost $13.99)
12 cups of grated mozzarella cheese (cost $19.23)
Reusable pans (cost $10.58)

The production line can get messy but goes like this:
Spray with olive oil
1 cup Sauce
4 noodles (3 lengthwise, 1 diagonal to hold it together)
1/3 cup feta
1/3 cup mozza (I confess to using a bit more of this)
4 noodles
1 cup sauce
2 cups spinach mix, spread out to edges of pan
1/3 cup feta
1/3 cup mozza
4 noodles
1 cup sauce
sprinkling of mozza

Done! And to cook, cover loosely and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove foil for last 5 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes after removing from oven to set. Serve with tasty bread and a green salad.

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