We had a fantastic and enjoyable Christmas Eve Dinner. I looked for a simple, almost one-dish meal because my goal for the entire two days was to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible and to focus on family. When I was growing up, the kitchen was very busy and sometimes stressful with different people having different ideas. This way, even clean-up was simple. I made sure that the dishwasher had finished running an hour before the meal was scheduled. This way, the sink was clean of the cooking dishes and the dishwasher could be quickly refilled with dining dishes for a no-fuss clean-up.
Kathleen's mom used to always have toasted pecans at Christmas. She brought some from Mississippi and toasted them in a small skillet with melted butter and salt. This was a great appetizer and topping for the salad and tart. Most of us just ate them by themselves, though.
Recipe for Vegetable Lasagna
- 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
- 1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
- 29 ounces canned tomatoes
- 1 small yellow/summer squash, sliced
- one small zucchini, sliced
- 1/2-1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 3/4 Tablespoon salt
Cook noodles according to package directions. Cool noodles so you can handle them. Blend tomatoes and salt in a blender so tomatoes aren't chunky, about 30 seconds. Mix ricotta and seasonings in a bowl with a spatula. Pour one spatula of tomatoes on bottom of 9x13 Corningware dish. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.
For people challenged at dividing vegetables evenly, I recommend dividing the vegetables into four sections on a cutting board orj in individual bowls. Layer alternating squash and zucchini over ricotta. Sprinkle onion, carrots, and spinach over top. Pour another spatula of sauce over the vegetables, place mozzarella evenly, but not thickly over the sauce. Put another layer of noodles over the cheese and start another round. The last layer will be noodles and will get the remainder of the sauce topped with cheese as the top layer. Bake according to lasagna package directions. My experience has been that covering the lasagna with foil to bake for a time is unnecessary.
Note: I do use the pre-cook noodles. I like their size and shape. No-cook noodles may require extra sauce or water, but often cost the same amount to purchase.
Cost to Make Lasagna
- $0.50 Lasagna Noodles (Publix, buy one, get one free; note: only 1/2 box is used in the recipe)
- $0.70 Tomatoes (Publix,buy one, get one free; note: some of the tomatoes are pre-seasoned; that can add nice flavor)
- $0.33 Zucchini (Maitland Farmer's Market)
- $0.33 Squash (Maitland Farmer's Market)
- $0.38 Carrot (Maitland Farmer's Market)
- $1.00 Spinach (Walmart)
- $0.15 Onion (Costco)
- $1.75 Mozzarella Cheese (Costco)
- $2.25 Ricotta Cheese (Publix)
- $1.50 Seasonings and Salt (Italian Seasoning and Salt from Publix, Onion Powder from Costco, Garlic Powder from Sam's Club)
- $8.89 Total for Ingredients
This recipe served 7 people and left enough for another 4-5 servings. So, if I estimate 10 servings for this recipe, the cost is only $0.89 per person. This is an exceptionally frugal and tasty investment of time and money.