Spinach Alfredo Lasagna: Recipe Sunday

Over the past few months, my grocery spending has been drifting upward and I wanted to check that by getting back to basics. One trick I’m implementing is shaking up some of my favorite recipes, like spinach lasagna, to utilize ingredients I already had on hand instead of buying exactly what the recipe card required. I guess I did a good job. By actually menu planning instead of buying staples for meal ideas, and changing a recipe or two, our grocery bill was 33% lower than on our last shopping trip.

Spinach alfredo lasagna

After nearly three years as a food blogger, I still don’t always remember to take a photo before I eat half of it.

In this case, my bi-weekly menu consisted of three pasta dishes including lasagna. We had enough spaghetti sauce in the refrigerator for two of those. Now I could have just bought more of the store-brand spaghetti sauce that I use for my semi-homemade sauce. It costs me less than a dollar; it wouldn’t have had a huge impact on the grocery budget. But instead, my wife had the idea of making up some of the Wildtree alfredo sauce that we have. And instead of having alfredo with a regular spaghetti dish, we thought we would experiment a little and use it for the lasagna instead.

This dish required just 4 ingredients.

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1 c. fresh spinach, washed
  • 1 c. alfredo sauce
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook noodles according to directions on package. Drain.
  3. Place 3 noodles side by side in glass baking dish. Evenly spoon ½ cup spinach, half cup alfredo, and one cup mozzarella over noodles.
  4. Cover with 3 more lasagna noodles. Add remaining spinach, alfredo, and cheese. Top with remaining noodles.
  5. Bake in oven for 30 minutes until cheese begins to brown.

Once you get comfortable with a dish, you can experiment with different variations to create brand new recipes.  By combining two flavors or cooking styles into one dish, you can create some incredible fusion dishes that will get people’s mouth watering from just the name. The Philly cheesesteak burger, Italian stir-fry, and flat-bread tuna melt are just a few of examples of this that I have shared on this blog.

What is your favorite fusion of two dishes?

Pita Pizzas: Recipe Sunday

After reading my Food of the Week post on pitas, my mother reminded me of another frequent visitor of out dinner table: pita pizzas.

Pita pizzas are basically pizza fillings stuffed inside a pita. They are part of a line of mini-pizzas using common breadstuffs, such as English Muffin pizzas or the mini-bagel pizzas famously mentioned in Men in Black II.

Pita pizzas

This recipe is for basic cheese pita pizzas. But there is absolutely nothing stopping you from adding your favorite pizza toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, dice tomatoes, peppers, or even *ugh* mushrooms.

Pita Pizzas
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 pitas
  • 4 Tbsp pizza sauce
  • ¼ c. shredded mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Cut pita in half. In each half, spread 1 Tbsp pizza sauce and 1 Tbsp cheese.
  3. Wrap pita in foil. Bake for 20 min

 

Stuffed Peppers: Recipe Sunday

Stuffed peppers were what I was going to make a couple weeks ago, had the beef thawed out and the peppers purchased. Instead, I had my gallbladder removed and was put on a low fat diet for the following week. Ground beef isn’t exactly low-fat, so the ground beef was cooked and refrozen. And I had slices of bell pepper without dip that weekend.

But now, I’m ready to make stuffed peppers again. Got some new peppers and thawed the beef back out. Actually, I went ahead and cooked the rice and mixed the beef and tomato sauce in, so all I have to do it blanche the peppers and cook them. That’s dinner tonight.

Stuffed Peppers
 
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Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¼ c. rice
  • ½ c. water
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 c. tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Bring rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, & cook 20 minutes.
  3. Cook ground beef in skillet over medium heat until no longer pink.
  4. Cut peppers lengthwise, remove stem, seeds, & membranes.
  5. In pot, bring ~ 1 qt water to boil. Place peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes, then remove. Place cut side down on paper towel to drain.
  6. In medium bowl, mix together ground beef, rice, sauce, & seasonings.
  7. Place peppers cut side up in baking dish. Spoon mixture into each pepper.
  8. Bake 45 minutes.

To make stuffed cabbage, substitute two cabbage leaves for the peppers. Blanche as with the peppers,  fill each leaf with half of mixture and roll like a burrito. Cook as above.