Sunday, May 11, 2008

Amy's Bake Swap and Spinach-Artichoke Lasagna

My co-worker Amy had a Bake Swap at her place this weekend. The idea was for all the guests to bring one baked dish, either sweet or savory, along with the recipe, and make enough quantity for us to eat over there and bring it back home with us (ie swap) There were about 10 guests and the party was great fun! Most of the guests decided on sweet items, so there were cookies, cakes, cupcakes and other goodies. I decided to make a lasagna and it was a big hit!

Here are some pics of the goodies- I have the recipes and will be trying them out myself when the fancy strikes.

Low fat Lemon pound cake (the only :low fat" item on the menu!)

Top-to-bottom crumbly cupcakes and apple struesel cupcakes

orange glazed cranberry spiced teacakes

chocolate chunk oatmeal-pecan cookies with cherries

Blondies (brownies with butterscotch instead of chocolate)

And here's my Spinach-artichoke-mushroom lasagna

(This recipe makes one 8”x 8” lasagna, which serves 4)

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups baby spinach
1 bottle marinated artichokes
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
Ricotta cheese
Pasta sauce (approx 3 cups)
Barilla “No Boil” lasagna noodles
Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes
Italian seasoning to taste
EVOO for sautéing
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese, grated

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté till it becomes translucent. Toss in the mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
2. Take the marinated artichokes and roughly chop them up. Drain out most of the liquid, reserving about 2-3 tbsp for flavoring.
3. Add the artichokes to the skillet, followed by the baby spinach leaves. Cook for another 2 minutes and season with salt, red pepper flakes and the Italian seasoning. Taste and add the artichoke marinade, if needed. Set aside.
4. Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Spray a 8 X 8 lasagna pan with oil and then spread some pasta sauce at the base.
5. Put a layer of lasagna noodles.
6. Make a layer of the ricotta cheese on the noodles, followed by a layer of the spinach/artichoke filling, followed by a layer of the pasta sauce. Continue to make the alternate layers till you reach the top of the pan and then put in one last layer of the noodles.
7. Spread some pasta sauce on the last layer and then put the parmesan cheese, pepper jack and the cheddar cheeses.
8. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly, and the cheese is browning!

Here's what it looks like during assembly:

Just before baking:

After baking, when the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly:

1. The “No boil” noodles do not need to be precooked, but do need extra moisture, so if assembling the lasagna the same day, just before baking, soak the noodles in warm water for about 5 minutes before assembling and add some extra sauce.

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