Recipe swap - Variations for new tastes in lasagna

Wednesday, April 24, 2002


Spring has sprung and our children and I have been very busy planting all of our favorite flowers in our flower beds. Several days in a row we went to our favorite nursery and purchased bedding plants, thinking each day we had enough, but still found ourselves going back for more. If they all survive and bloom it should be very pretty, but time will tell.

Last week I mentioned we had several different lasagna recipes shared over the past few years of Recipe Swap. So now we have two more variations to let you try. The following two recipes are layered main dish entrees using a wide variety of ingredients. I hope you enjoy them.

Pat Baldwin of McClure, Ill., sent in this recipe to share with you. For those of you who don't know, Pat is my sister (my oldest sister) who made this recipe for her friend, Ruby Von Hostel. They both enjoyed it very much and had a great time together.

Portabella Mushroom Lasagna

2 pounds portabella mushrooms, roasted

5 pounds ricotta cheese

1 pound goat cheese

3 large eggs

36 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente

1 quart pesto

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

Roast mushrooms in oven with olive oil. Cut into strips. Mix ricotta cheese, goat cheese and Parmesan cheese with eggs and pesto. In a very large baking pan, layer pasta, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes and pine nuts. Repeat approximately 4 times. Cover and bake until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Yields 12 very generous sized servings.

Amber Larson of Cape Girardeau shares this next recipe. In keeping with her southwestern heritage coming from New Mexico, she thought you might enjoy a different twist on lasagna.

Southwestern Veggie Lasagna

1 pound zucchini, sliced

1 pound yellow summer squash, sliced

4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 3/4 teaspoons Cavender's Greek Seasoning, divided, or the brand of your choice

3 large onions, quartered and sliced

1 pound frozen corn or corn cut from 3 ears of fresh corn

2 (8 ounce) packages shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 (16 ounce) jars chunky salsa, or 4 cups, divided

10 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut in half

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, well drained

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss zucchini and squash slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning; spread out on a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan. Toss onions with 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil and 3/4 teaspoon Greek seasoning; spread in one end of a second pan.

Toss corn with remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil and remaining 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning; spread on remaining portion of pan with onions.

Roast until vegetables begin to brown, 17 to 22 minutes. Remove vegetables from oven; reduce heat to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, toss together cheeses, garlic, cumin and cilantro. To assemble: Spread 1 1/2 cups salsa in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Arrange 7 tortilla halves over salsa, then half the vegetables and half the beans, followed by 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Arrange remaining tortilla halves on top. Dot tortillas with remaining salsa and remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly and heated through, about 45 minutes. Yields about 12 servings.

Growing up I recall going to the Shakey's Pizza Parlor on Broadway and ordering the Mojo Potatoes. They were always so good. Then in later years the famous Mojo Potatoes could be ordered at Dino's Pizza on Broadway. Now both pizza parlors are closed and no more Mojo Potatoes. While having a conversation with a friend recently, he mentioned he had a recipe that was very similar to the old Shakey's Mojo Potatoes. After sharing it with me, I realized there must be other long-time Cape Girardeau residents who might enjoy this recipe, too.

Mojo Potatoes

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon garlic salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

4 medium potatoes, unpeeled but scrubbed

1 egg, beaten

Vegetable oil for frying

Mix flour and spices in a shallow dish. Cut potatoes into 1/4- to 1/2- inch slices. Dip potato slices into the beaten egg, then into flour mixture. Deep fry in hot oil, about 375 degrees, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve with Ranch dressing or sour cream on the side, if desired.

A Cape Girardeau reader sent in two recipes and commented that she definitely thinks salad weather has arrived. She has two recipes to share with you today. Her first recipe is a delicious version of tuna salad.

Chow Mein Tuna Salad

3 cans (12 ounces) tuna, drained and flaked

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups chopped cashews

3/4 cup finely chopped green onions

3 jars (2 ounce each) diced pimientos, drained and finely chopped

3 tablespoons finely chopped green pepper

3 tablespoons sour cream

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups chow mein noodles

Combine the first 9 ingredients. When ready to serve, spoon over chow mein noodles. Serves 6.

Cherry Tomato Salad

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons red wine or tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard together. Add tomatoes and onion. Toss well. Season to taste, Yields 4 servings.

This is a fun way to make meatloaf. These little muffin-shaped loaves are served topped with a mushroom/cucumber/tomato sauce.

Jodi Thompson of Jackson, Mo., loves to try new recipes and includes many of her recipes in her online newsletter. The next recipe is one she sent me to try. The mini loaves are cute and just the right size for a single serving.

Saucy Mini-Loaves

1 pound extra lean ground beef

1/3 cup cracker crumbs

1 can (10 3/4 oz. ) condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup )

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup chopped unpared cucumber

3 tablespoons milk

1/3 cup chopped tomato

1/2 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meat, cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of the soup, 1/4 cup milk, the egg, onion and seasonings. Press mixture in 12 ungreased muffin cups. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until no pink remains. In small saucepan, heat remaining soup, the cucumber and 3 tablespoons milk to boiling, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; stir in tomato and sour cream and heat just to boiling, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over mini-loaves.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Jodi also sent me this recipe for caramel pie. You will have extra crackers left over, but will take at least two envelopes of crackers out of the box, if not more. It sounds great.

Mexican Caramel Pie

1 stick butter

1/2 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 can coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 (12 ounce) carton whipped topping

1 box graham crackers (inside there are 3 separate packages), crush one package use another to line the bottom of a 9-by-13 glass dish. Save leftover crackers.

Line bottom of 9-by-13 glass dish with whole graham crackers. In large saucepan on stove melt butter, sugar and milk; stir until sugar is melted. Remove from heat and add coconut, nuts, and one package crushed crackers. Stir until well mixed. Spread over graham crackers in dish. Let cool. Top with one 12 ounce whipped topping. Garnish with leftover crushed crackers. Keep refrigerated until served.

That will do it for this week. I hope you enjoy the nice variety of recipes today. It makes for a great column when there are several recipes shared by you, the readers.

Have a wonderful week and happy cooking.

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