Gluten-Free Lasagna

Yes you heard it here first! I am jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon. Not only is gluten the most evil food of all time, it also makes you the fattest! What?! You haven’t heard it yet? Well get out from under that rock, gluten is the devil! Not only is the fattest cut of meat better for you than gluten, BUT JUNK FOOD TOO!!!

Okay, sorry, I had to for a minute, it is just too much fun being on a bandwagon. So the real story of why it is gluten-free is that we are currently living with Colleen’s sister who is celiac (gluten intolerant). I’ll have to give you the back story in a future post, but we have stayed at her house for a couple of weeks and for a couple more until we can move into a new apartment. Since you always want a meal, or at least the main dish, to be some thing everyone can eat, I had to go gluten-free. I got the idea for this gluten-free lasagna from my mom. She goes through times where she can only have limited or no carb intake. So during one of those times she needed to bake a lasagna, but couldn’t eat noodles. So she replaced the noodles for sliced zucchini. And everybody loved it.

To make the noodle free lasagna, you start with your favorite lasagna recipe. The only alteration you have to make is to cross out noodles and replace with thinly sliced zucchini. Since this isn’t my first rodeo I deviated from the recipe just a little. We have created lasagna from this recipe before, and even wrote about it!(Don’t Walk into the Light, Stop at the Lasagna and Zucchini and Pork Lasagna Take II) It appears that we never did tell any of you the recipe. I could go for it is a secret recipe deal, but it isn’t. It’s just some recipe I got off-line.

Gluten Free Lasagna

The mandolin and zucchini post slicing.

When thinking about making the lasagna I knew I had to start with the zucchini. I needed thin strips to act like a noodle, and zucchini has moisture in it so I needed to try to get some out if I could, so there was going to be some time waiting for it to dry (I probably could have shortened this for reasons I’ll explain later; I didn’t know it yet). Now you could do the slicing by hand, but that would be hard, and very time-consuming. Luckily I have a mandolin that was given to me by my mom. Colleen is still scared of it to this day, with good reason. I have cut my finger a little bit when I was younger, and my mom sliced her finger tip-off on one before. BE VERY CAREFUL. They are very nice, but very sharp. I started with 4 zucchini and sliced them on the thinnest setting my mandolin slicer had. I then took the slices and spread them out and covered with salt, to pull the moisture out, and paper towels. I did this a couple of times once the paper towel was wet and repeated. After it is all said and done, they were pretty dry.

Gluten Free Lasagna

This was my first step of trying to dry out the zucchini.

Gluten Free Lasagna
Second round of trying to dry out the zucchini.
Gluten Free Lasagna

The final round of drying the zucchini. Also have the meat mixture ready to go into the skillet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Lasagna

Meat mixture is ready for the lasagna. Mushrooms, onions, garlic, and pork sausage.

Now that my “noodles” were ready, it was time to start on the meat and cheese portion of the lasagna. I decided to start with the meat because it’ll take longer than the cheese portion. The recipe I use called for pork sausage, 1 lb. Just the regular tube breakfast sausage. So I tossed that into a pan and started browning it. Our recipe then calls for zucchini to be cut and cooked with the meat. Since there was already plenty of zucchini in the lasagna I decided to add in some onion some garlic and mushrooms. I never had added mushrooms to lasagna before, and it sounded delicious. I proceeded to add everything in the pan and stirred occasionally so I wouldn’t have any burnt parts. After everything was heated and cooked I covered it and set it aside.

Then it’s time for the cheese mixture. Our recipe calls for:

8 oz of mozzarella cheese

16 oz of ricotta cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg white

Gluten Free Lasagna

My cheese mixture and pan are ready to start layering.

Then you mix it all together in a bowl. I did change it slightly. The small tubs of ricotta come in 15 oz so I just used that. I also eyeballed the parmesan cheese so who knows how close I was. And instead of an egg white, I just used a whole egg. That mixed quickly so now it is time to put everything together.

You start from the bottom up (duh). Before you lay down the first noodles, zucchini, you want to put a little sauce on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. I just used whatever pasta sauce was cheapest from Jewel at the time. I believe it was Jewel brand and just plane marinara sauce is just fine. After shaking the pan to spread a thin layer of sauce I put down my first layer of zucchini noodles. I then put about half the meat mixture and spread it out and then half the cheese layer. After making that it is time for sauce. I believe the recipe calls for 1 cup. Once again I eyeballed the amount of sauce and try to spread it all over. Then you repeat; zucchini noodles, meat mix, cheese mix, and sauce. Since I had lots of zucchini, I put another layer of them on top and covered with the rest of the sauce I had. Then top with a liberal amount of grated parmesan cheese and we are ready for the oven.

Gluten Free Lasagna

The lasagna is layered, and ready for the oven.

Gluten Free Lasagna

Before the lasagna went into the oven, so many layers.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for around 45 mins, until the parmesan cheese is starting to turn golden, and it is nice and bubbly.

Gluten Free Lasagna

Lasagna, ready to eat. So tasty.

So over all it went great. Everybody loved it, even Eric who doesn’t like zucchini. The flavors were really good, and I think the garlic and onions rounded everything out. It was still really wet and watery though. I spent a while drying the zucchini and I remember my mom had the same problem even though she didn’t dry her zucchini. After the fact I realized that I cooked a bunch of mushrooms and put them in it. Which were delicious. It was my first time doing that, and will not be my last. But I believe that was the reason why it was so watery. The mushrooms. So if you are going to try this with the mushrooms (you should), I wouldn’t worry too much about drying the zucchini. Hell use noodles if you want to. Just boil them to al dente and you are good to go. Also since I’m not used to cooking in this kitchen the size pan was too big. I usually bake with a 9” x 13” pan which is what the recipe is for. I only had a 11” x 15” pan. It worked out fine, and tasted delicious. But I ran low on sauce, and the meat/cheese mixture was not very evenly layered throughout. So that was my notes on this dish. I highly recommend giving it a try, especially if you know or have someone in your family who is celiac or not eating gluten/carbs, it is a great dish for them that they may not have been able to have for a while.

-RJ

Where Do We Go From Here?

So now that I am actually looking at our blog again; I can’t help but think what to do next. It has been a while since I was actively looking at out website, if you couldn’t tell already. Do I keep it in the same format? Do I change everything? Do I not even talk about food anymore?!?!?! Who knows? Not I.

This is a new journey for this website and I guess we will just see how it goes. Maybe this will be a place to get random thoughts out about living and life. Maybe it is a place where you get quick glimpses at my food before it enters my mouth. Who knows. All I know is whatever we were doing last time did not work for us. Don’t get me wrong, we really enjoyed it, but oh man there were those days where we didn’t. I think we tried posting too much too fast and it was always a game of catch-up. Oh well.

So we will begin this together, me and you (if you’re out there). We will see what happens. I don’t want to try to make promises to myself about how often I post, what I post, or how much ad revenue/views I receive. This (I hope) is the start of this actually being fun. I’m going to try to view it as a diary to some extent just to share experiences (which are mainly food) with everyone. Maybe this will be my new facebook, who knows.

-RJ

I Know. Lets Pretend Like It Never Happened

I know what you all are thinking. And I’m thinking the same thing. It has been way too long. Well let me catch you up on our life, or at least try. I believe we left off when we were in the process of moving back home to Chicago. Long story short; we made it! It was a very stressful move with lots of ups and downs. Once we made the three-day, or maybe close to four-day trip back home, we breathed a big sigh of relief.

The hard times were not over yet, nowhere close. We unloaded all of our things in my dads garage, which some are still straggling there. And thank god my dad had some extra room to be able to help us out, because there really isn’t many other places we could have, other than a storage unit. Which we couldn’t afford. Colleen had a nanny job for the summer, but it took a couple of weeks for the kids to get out of school. I on the other hand started to look.

Now of course it didn’t go so well at first. I worked for my grandma doing yard work and gardening, which helped me make it through the summer. And finally started working at Banfield Pet Hospital a month or so ago. Still might be looking for a second job soon, but waiting till my schedule is a little more steady.

We both started school at CLC a couple of weeks ago and are enjoying it so far, and can’t wait to actually get some degrees.

We are now living in Libertyville, IL, where we found a really nice one bedroom in the heart of downtown Libertyville. It is above a business and we have a view of main street, which Luna loves. It has been a lot of fun, and the there are plenty of fun things to do in Libertyville, especially our favorite, a ton of good food, and beer.

So yeah, to make a long story semi short that’s whats been happening lately. I hope to start getting some posts up once a week, or at least every other week like always. I’m sorry if it doesn’t stay like that. I will try.

I Know. Lets Pretend Like It Never Happened

Just enjoying Lake Michigan.

-RJ

Pack Pack Pack

Pack Pack Pack

 This is what life has looked like lately for us. Luna is in heaven with all the paper, tape, bubbles, and boxes. She’s been playing musical boxes for a good week or so now. Tests them all out. Tomorrow we pick our moms up in Spokane, WA and stay the night visiting with our good friends Shannon and Phil! The rest of the week is busy with last minute details. In one week we will be ready to roll and headin to Chicago! We cannot wait!

Colleen & RJ

Pack Pack Pack

This Year We are Sponsored!

Wow! So today is the year anniversary of our blog. It definitely does not feel like we’ve owned this website for a whole year. Looking back it’s crazy to see how far we’ve come. Even just looking at the first post it’s funny to see how different our post layout was. We learned a lot working on the website, and still are. There is just so much to do for two people to do, especially when you keep finding out new things that need to be done. Including search engine optimization, changing post layout, our first ad, and even just getting a facebook page!

With this new year we are trying to get our posts more regular. At least once a week. Now of course some weeks, like when we are moving, it probably won’t happen. But we shall see. We also hope to keep growing our traffic by getting more readers. It is a lot of hard work, but very rewarding when we hear all the feedback from family and friends.

This year we are sponsored by Monkey Business, Etc… We thank Rich Lulik (dad) very much for all of his constant support. And can’t wait to be looking back in a year to see how far we will have come from today. Thanks for everyone’s support. And we love hearing everyone’s feedback.

And don’t forget to tell your friends!!!!

-RJ

This Year We are Sponsored!