Jan 20 2011

Transforming Leftovers: Lasagna

Published by at 6:00 am under Main Course,Transforming Leftovers


Have you ever had an MRI? If not, I recommend avoiding it, if possible. I’ve had my head scanned, my foot scanned…doesn’t matter which end of me they look at, frankly, it sucks.

wilting the spinach

Let’s talk about the foot MRI, first. I had that done a few months ago, when my foot hurt so much I wasn’t able to sleep more than an hour or two each night.

ingredients for the filling

I tried ibuprofen. Didn’t work. I tried gelatin. May have helped *a little,* but not enough to make much of a difference. Finally, one weekend at my parents’, I tried some of my dad’s acetaminophen for arthritis. That allowed me to almost sleep through the night.

ricotta & spinach

But overall, the problem persisted. It was nearly half a year after I rolled my ankle, and now, my foot hurt so much that sleep eluded me most nights. It was time to go back to the doctor.

layering noodles

My clinic referred me to a podiatrist. He immediately put me in a walking boot, which helped immensely, even the first day. He also ordered an MRI. Up to that point, I’d had multiple sets of X-rays and a CT scan of my foot. All were pretty much inconclusive, so he ordered the MRI. I was positioned kind of strangely, since they were looking at the outside of my foot. During the scans, my opposite leg started twitching; apparently, it decided to revolt against being still.

some parmesan

The results indicated that I did in fact have a broken bone in my foot (that now appeared as an “old break” because it had been trying to heal since June), as well as arthritis (perhaps that’s why my dad’s medicine helped?) in the middle of the foot, right where most of the pain was.

topped with mozzarella

Last week, when I made this lasagna, they were looking at my head (long story). If you’ve never had your head examined in this way, let me tell you, it’s no picnic. First, if you’re one of the unlucky ones, you get an IV with a contrast solution. Now, I hate needles, always have, so this is torment for me. (When I was a little kid, the sight of a needle was all it took to start me screaming.) Then they give you ear plugs and position you, then put this large mask-like contraption over your head. (If you’re claustrophobic, I would imagine this is where it gets tough.) Finally, they send you into the machine, where you have to hold completely still during each “picture.”

And if you move even slightly, that multi-minute picture has to be redone. Some pictures last only 2 or 3 minutes, some take upwards of 6. Doesn’t sound like a long time, but have you ever tried lying on your back for 6 minutes, without so much as a twitch, while listening to a child bang on a pot with a spoon, right behind your head?

baked lasagna

It’s not fun, and though I was happy with the results, I was worn out for the rest of the day. Mentally drained. Physically exhausted. So I made this lasagna; it’s easy, and for me, relaxing. I love to cook dinner when I don’t need a recipe – it’s just something I’ve made so many times that I throw it together.

Of course, now a recipe does exist, since I took the time to document what I did for this blog.

pan of lasagna

Print Recipe

1 batch Meat Sauce
6 ounce bag baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 ounce container ricotta
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 egg
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
2 ounces shredded parmesan
no boil lasagna sheets
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 375.

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic to infuse the oil. Add the spinach to the pan, a handful at a time, to start the wilting process. When the spinach has wilted and most of the water has cooked off, turn off the heat.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, grated parmesan, egg, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.

In a 13×9 glass or ceramic baking dish, layer in this order: lasagna sheets (enough to cover the bottom), half the ricotta, half the meat sauce, lasagna sheets, ricotta, meat sauce. Sprinkle the shredded parmesan over the sauce, then top with the mozzarella.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Bake uncovered until the mozzarella is melted and the sauce is bubbling at the edges of the pan. Rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Transforming Leftovers: Lasagna”

  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic)on 20 Jan 2011 at 6:46 am

    Oh dear, MRIs are no fun, especially with the iodine contrast. Doesn’t it feel just awful going in? Like ice or something. **Shudder** – hope this lasagna made things better.

  2. Saraon 20 Jan 2011 at 9:43 am

    I guess I’m lucky in that regard – I don’t feel the whoosh of the contrast going through my veins, just the “pinch” of the needle/catheter.

    The lasagna did help. :)

  3. Julianaon 20 Jan 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I remember when I had to have MRI…not a fun thing to go through :-( On the other side your lasagna looks fabulous, love it with spinach…yummie!

  4. Michelleon 20 Jan 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Very glad you had good results from your tests. It’s a little weird to keep seeing these drool-worthy photos while you describe MRIs and tests. :) You’re a good multi-tasker!

  5. Saraon 22 Jan 2011 at 9:06 am

    Juliana – thank you! I love adding spinach to lasagna, because first and foremost, I love the flavor…but I also love how easy it is to add some extra nutrition.

    Michelle – my aim was to balance out the tone of the post with the photos :)

  6. Rosaon 22 Jan 2011 at 7:08 pm

    That is such a yummy lasagna! i love the addition of spinach. Mouthwatering!



  7. Saraon 24 Jan 2011 at 9:38 am

    Thanks, Rosa. Most of it is packed away in the freezer as my own little microwaveable meals.

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