Archive | March, 2012

Crock pot lasagne

11 Mar

This isn’t so much a recipe as a life changing concept. OK, your life may not totally change. No one’s going to come do your laundry for you, and you’re still going to have go to the grocery store from time to time. But making lasagna in the crock pot is so very much easier than making it the normal way (even if you normally use the no-boil noodles, which I don’t like very well) that you will make it more often and like it better. I promise!

Basically you can use any lasagna recipe. The only things to remember are to have a layer of sauce on the very bottom so the noodles don’t get stuck, and to cook it on low at least 2 1/2 hours. That’s it. One day I even made the entire thing, including from-scratch sauce, in ten minutes! And the flavor and texture are really good, clean up is easy… I just can’t say enough about it!

So here’s the one I made yesterday once I had it assembled (the basic recipe is below, but honestly, use the same one you’ve always loved and see how great it is in the slow cooker! And no, I’m not a paid crock pot spokesperson!).

Here it is fully cooked. See all that bubbly yummy deliciousness??

For this recipe I used ground bison and mushrooms and fresh mozzarella, because I had ground bison and mushrooms and fresh mozzarella. The last few times I’ve just made a basic tomato sauce. Nothing really changes except you sauté in the meat and mushrooms when you sauté the onions and garlic. Don’t have time to sauté veggies and such and still get it in on time? Just make the sauce in a bowl using garlic powder and no onions. It will still taste great, trust me! (Or use jarred sauce – I won’t tell!)

LASAGNA:

1 box lasagna noodles – they DON’T have to be no boil! I use regular Barilla noodles

2 16 oz containers low fat cottage cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1 tbsp olive oil

8 oz sliced mushrooms

1 lb ground bison/beef

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4-6 garlic cloves (to taste) minced or smashed

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp dried organo

1 tsp dried basil

kosher salt and pepper

1 pkg shredded mozzarella

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella (if desired)

 

In a large bowl, mix the cottage cheese, eggs, grated parmesan, and stir until well combined. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, bison/beef, onion and garlic until vegetables are soft. Turn off  heat.Drain. Add tomatoes and spices and stir until combined. Adjust seasoning. Set aside.

Spray a large crockpot with cooking spray. Put a couple of spoonfuls of sauce in the bottom of the crockpot. Use tomato-y parts only, try to avoid chunky stuff for this. It’s just a very thin wet layer to lay your noodles on.

Lay the noodles in, breaking them and fitting them into a single layer. Top with 1/2 of the cottage cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of the tomato sauce mixture. Top with shredded mozzarella.

Repeat another layer.

Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining 1/3 of the sauce. Add shredded mozzarella, and dot the fresh mozzarella around if using.

Cook on low 2 1/2 to 3 hours – not longer, it’ll get mushy! Delicious, and great the next day!

 

 

Is my iron rusty or what?

5 Mar

A couple of weeks ago (Feb 17, but who’s keeping track) I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia (you can see my post here). This was actually a great thing, as it allowed me to start taking supplements and I feel ever so much better. But I am finding it somewhat more like recovering from a concussion, than, say, a broken bone or stitches. (As I have had all of these more than once, I am somewhat of an expert!)

When you have a broken bone or stitches, your body heals in a linear fashion. Anatomically speaking, cells begin to form, knit together, get stronger. The bone goes from broken, to having soft bone, to hardened bone. It progresses, and unless you do something unfortunate to it, at the end of six weeks or so it’s as good as new. Same with a cut, whether intentional or unintentional.

What I found with a concussion is that you will feel better one day, and then feel as if you’re back at square one the next three. Since you aren’t declared recovered until you’ve had a certain number of days symptom free, it is a very frustrating process of one step forward, one or two backwards, and so on. (And to be honest, I am seven years past my last concussion and I still mix up words sometimes…)

With this anemia, the first week I felt really good on Wednesday, and got a whole project done with energy, with my brain working… Then was absolutely worn out Thursday and Friday. I learned my lesson and have tried to really pay attention to how I feel and not overdo on the days I feel good, but even still, today I’m really dragging and feel quite tired. I didn’t do much at all this weekend, but I don’t think you have to with this. I think it’s just… how you recover. Two steps forward, one step back. My brain isn’t nearly as foggy, though, so I am definitely still heading in the right direction.

It is hard to find any exact recovery times on anemia. Maybe everyone experiences it differently. Most sites agree that it takes 6-8 weeks to be fully recovered, but that you have to take iron supplements for 6 months to a year to completely resupply your iron stores. What that means is that today, at two weeks in, I can’t really (ok, shouldn’t really) complain about being tired.

I’m learning a lot about expectations lately. How my own unrealistic ones of other people or situations cause problems, and how those of myself need to be kinder. I am blessed to be able to live my priorities. And I think it is a blessing, because when we have what seems like limitless energy and time we fill it. Like the bigger your house, the more junk. Time is like that house… we seem to have an aversion to “empty” in any form. But I’m learning that realizing I will feel much better tomorrow if I relax today is not something to feel guilty for. It just is. And that spending the energy I have on my family and writing is enough.