My mission was to create a meal for my family that would increase our vegetable intake without decreasing our taste factor. We eat a lot of meat around here….a LOT of meat. And though it may be lean and all, there is something to be said about a meatless meal, especially if it is filling and tasty. Enter Mariano’s health key system……
So Mariano’s has an AWESOME system to help you shop for specific items based on your health needs. And being is a house FULL of lactose intolerant people, this peaked my interest. Mariano’s offers a health key to aid you in finding very specific items to meet your special dietary needs, whether it be heart healthy foods, gluten free, low sodium – or in my case, lactose free.
So I went on my adventure to get the ingredients for a veggie lasagna recipe I had found on Inspired Taste. This recipe called for all of your basic lasagna ingredients, but I wanted to find some lactose free cheese to limit my um, gastrointestinal distresses. So as I shopped for all my veggies and the like, I went to get cheese from the deli case, because you know, its tastes better lol. Well wouldn’t you know….there it was….lactose free cheese.
It was like I had gone to ooey gooey heaven. This was going to be the BEST lasagna ever!!!!
But I am getting a little ahead of myself. Mariano’s was a new shopping experience for me. It is similar to another grocery chain, but better for my wallet…….and my digestive track. The health key system is UBER helpful in assisting you in shopping better, healthier, type specific for your family. With so many people suffering from allergies and becoming more and more health conscience, this is a FANTASTIC way to help you help them….or yourself.
Aside from shopping for this dish, visiting #MyMarianos was an AMAZING experience. Never before have I felt like I was in a garden in the produce section of a store. The placement of the veggies, the colors, the numerous types, it was breath taking. My mom spent easily 40 minutes just checking out all of the produce options.
The Clones fell in love in the bakery. Items were placed at their eye level and the staff spoke to them directly, while making eye contact with me. I love when my children are treated like people and not minions lol. Me, my favorite part was the liquor section. I mean I am a mom so I like a nice glass of wine every now and again and they had a great selection. They even had people there offering tastes of several different spirits. Let’s just say I got some new favorites *wink wink*.
OMG, I almost forgot the other best part! So like other stores, Mariano’s offers a reward card. And it is an awesome one at that. Right now, earn 1% cash back with your Mariano’s Rewards Card for every $50 you spend between November 7, 2013 thru February 8, 2014! Rewards start once you reach $650. For more be sure and check out Mariano’s on Twitter and Facebook and their Community page.
All in all, I am very excited about this new place to shop. I felt at home in the store and that can be good and bad lol. And when the new location opens up near me, I plan to be a regular there.
Which leads me back to the lasagna……
Here is the recipe I used, linked above. I made some slight modifications to fit me, but you can make this work best for you!
- 14 lasagna noodles (2 extra for filling in holes) <— I used no boil noodles and it came out great!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (140 grams) chopped onion (1/2 large onion)
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 medium zucchinis, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (500 grams or 4 cups)
- 2 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (500 grams or 4 cups)
- 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 heaping cup or 215 grams)
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- Generous handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
- One 15-ounce (425 grams) container whole-milk ricotta cheese <—–mine was LACTOSE FREE!!!!!!!
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ounces (57 grams) parmesan cheese , grated (1 cup)
- 8 ounces (227 grams) low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese , shredded
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat Oven and Prepare Baking Dish
Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Lightly oil or spray 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. (We add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to the water so the noodles do not stick together). Drain then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.
Prepare Vegetables (This is done while pasta cooks)
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan with sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent; 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash and a pinch of salt then cook, stirring occasionally until softened but still with some crunch and edges just start to brown; 5 to 8 minutes.
Next, add roasted red peppers and crushed tomatoes. Stir then bring to a low simmer. Simmer until liquid has thickened and reduced by half; 5 to 8 minutes. Add basil then season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Prepare Cheese Filling
Add ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese), eggs and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a medium bowl then stir until well combined.
Spoon just enough vegetable mixture into the baking dish to lightly cover bottom (about 1 cup). Arrange four noodles lengthwise and side by side to cover the bottom. (If the noodles are short on one end, you may need to cut an extra noodle and place into dish to cover where the other noodles have not).
Spread about half of the ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese ) mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the parmesan cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Then, top with about a third of the vegetable mixture. Add another layer of four noodles then repeat with remaining cheese and vegetables.
Finish with a final layer of noodles, vegetables, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
*p.s. I am SOOO sorry for not having prettier pictures. I wanted to, honest. But we were hungry, and it looked so good and, well you see what happened. Please forgive me, I promise to do better next time 🙂