Greeting from the South Loop! The move is finally over! We moved into our new place over Labor Day weekend and over the past week have been working diligently to unpack boxes, paint walls, install lighting fixtures, and get the internet up and running! There is still much to be done, but I cannot wait to show you all pictures of our new place once everything is in it’s place. I couldn’t locate my Canon Rebel from the move and my digital camera was out of batteries, so I had to opt for my phone as a camera this time around!
While moving can be stressful, one of my favorite things about starting fresh is that you are forced to empty out your fridge, freezer and pantry. It’s truly an adventure finding all of those miscellaneous items that have gotten lost in the kitchen over the previous months. Not only did I get started off on the right foot this week restocking my fridge, freezer, and pantry, but I also got to unpack all of our new wedding gifts and put them to use! We had been waiting to open all of our kitchen appliances, dishes, etc. until after the move since most of them were already in boxes when they arrived on our doorstep a couple months ago.
I finally took a trip to Whole Foods to stock up on goodies to cook throughout the week! However, with Soldier Field located right down the block from our new place, traffic was unforgiving with the first Bear’s game of the season starting this afternoon. So in celebration of the game , I cooked up a a veggie lasagna!
Sweet Potato Veggie Lasagna
vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, seed-free, sugar-free, shellfish-oil, fish-free, bean & legume-free
Adapted from The Engine 2 Diet
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 whole head of garlic, all cloves minced
- 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
- 1 head broccoli, stem removed and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 package silkened tofu
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp dry basil
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 2 jars pasta sauce
- 2 boxes lasagna noodles
- 16oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 can sweet potato puree
- 5-6 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup raw cashews, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400*F. Sauté onions and garlic and mushrooms on high heat for 5-10 minutes in a large skillet until soft and mushrooms have given up most of their liquid.
- Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.
- Deglaze pan with water or vegetable broth if needed. Sauté broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl.
- Sauté the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl.
- Drain the tofu by wrapping it in paper towels to absorb most of the liquid. Break it up in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl.
- Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.
- To assemble lasagna: Cover a 9×13” casserole pan with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover noodles with sauce. Spread vegetable mixture over sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce. Add spinach to second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes and sprinkle with cashews.
- Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
I chopped all of my veggies using one of my new wooden cutting boards! I love the way these look and they are dishwasher safe!
I sautéed my veggies using my beautiful new Caribbean colored Le Creuset skillet from my mother-in-law! Cast iron is amazing to cook with and the color of this pan makes it the perfect display piece for our stovetop. No oil is needed to sauté these veggies – you can simply add water or vegetable broth to keep the food from sticking!
As I was chopping up all of these veggies in the kitchen Will of course asked if there was going to be any meat in the lasagna. In light of being more budget-friendly with my grocery shopping, I told him no, but if he wanted to go buy some grass-fed ground beef I would gladly add it. I was surprised when he actually took off for Jewel a minute later – what is it with men and their beef? I also learned that our Jewel carries local grass-fed beef from Wisconsin – very cool! So if you want to add 1lb of ground beef or turkey to this recipe, I won’t stop you.
I love how many veggies are in this lasagna – look at all that color!
New collapsible colander – perfect for small city kitchen storage.
I store all my spices in these little jars from World Market. They fit perfectly in a drawer next to my stove. Yes, you heard me right, I store my spices in a drawer. After years of climbing up and down on step stools to reach my spices high above the sink I started storing my spices in a drawer. They are within easy reach this way and right where I need them while cooking.
I used De Boles rice noodles and 365 Whole Foods Tomato Sauce. I like this tomato sauce because it is one of the few pasta sauces that doesn’t have added sugar – be sure to check the ingredient list! The original recipe for this lasagna called for whole sweet potatoes boiled and mashed, but I find that using a can of Sweet Potato Puree saves on both time and labor. And then we have cashews from the bulk department of Whole Foods. I am so addicted to shopping in bulk. You can buy exactly what you need for a recipe and save on money because you aren’t paying for the packaging.
After minutes of waving towels and cursing at the smoke alarm in our new apartment, dinner was ready. While nothing was burning or remotely wrong with the lasagna when I cooked it, our smoke alarms seem to be overly sensitive to the slightest amount of heat and steam coming from the oven. We clearly will need to fix this if I hope to continue cooking here for the next couple years!
YUM. Check out our beautiful new white plates! After years of owning red dishes (terrible for photographing food), we received a gorgeous set of plain white dishes for the wedding. I can’t wait to display all my new recipes on these guys. Dinner of course was paired with a bottle of Apothic Red red wine blend. It was a gift from a couple of my bridesmaids and was enjoyed in our new extra large red wine glasses. No one loves a giant fish bowl wine glass more than me!
Off to clean up the kitchen and then to bed. Maybe I’ll read a few pages of Fifty Shades of Grey before the end of the night. Has anyone read this? Scandalous.