It’s time for another Surprise Recipe Swap! What is that, you ask? Each month participants are assigned another blog to choose a recipe from. It’s a secret, so we can’t say ahead of time which blog we have been assigned. Then, everyone posts their chosen recipes on the same day! Jutta, from Hungry Little Girl does a wonderful job with heading up this adventurous group…Thanks Jutta!
This month, I was assigned Anne’s blog: Domesblissity. Anne has a fun blog full of recipes (like this 3 minute microwave chocolate slice), crafts (like these cute stuffed bat toys), tips on reusing/recycling items, and detailed informative posts (like: 16 ways to use quinoa). I chose to make her Beef and Eggplant Lasagna. I am trying to eat more vegetables and this looked like a great way to do so. Also, I always make lasagna with ricotta cheese, so using a bechamel sauce was a little different- but delicious! I made some small changes to the recipe by using gluten-free noodles (which I had to cook ahead of time- Anne’s recipe calls for instant lasagna noodles). I also used cornstarch instead of flour in the bechamel sauce. The changes were equal changes, meaning, I didn’t have to adjust the quantities from the original recipe. So, if you are not concerned with gluten-free*, use the instant lasagna noodles that Anne’s recipe calls for, and use flour in the bechamel.
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 medium-sized eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups grated mozzarella, divided
Gluten-free lasagna noodles (I used Tinkyada noodles)
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onions with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until the onions are softened. Add in the ground beef and brown, then add in the garlic. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium-low and add in the basil, oregano, diced tomatoes, beef stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the eggplant slices into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, turn the slices around until they all have a light coating of oil on them (the centers may still look dry- that’s ok). Place the slices evenly onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.
In a large stockpot, cook the lasagna noodles (if you aren’t using instant lasagna noodles) according to the directions.
Make the bechamel sauce:
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the cornstarch. Continue whisking for 2 minutes. Slowly add in the milk, whisking continuously to avoid any lumps. Once all the milk has been added, bring to a boil, then boil for 10 minutes, all while whisking continuously. Remove from the heat and add in the salt and nutmeg.
To assemble the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add 1/4 of the meat sauce to the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Top with with 1/3rd of the pasta and eggplant, and 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the meat sauce. Top with the bechamel sauce. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Return the lasagna to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set for 8-10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!
*Disclaimer: I am not gluten-free, as you can tell by the dessert recipes that I post. However, I do find that I feel better if I reduce the amount of gluten that I eat. So I have started experimenting with some gluten-free noodles for our meals. If you are interested in gluten-free or grain-free recipes, please let me know and I can give you a list of blogs that have wonderful recipes!
Made with love, not calories!