During this crazy time of pandemic, I have been sharing lots of images of cooking and creative ways to stay sane on Instagram (@lauranewt). Many of you have asked for recipes and suggestions, so I thought this would be a great time to create a newsletter!
So, here we go… Laura Likes begins…
This week has been strange for all of us, but we are trying to keep things as “normal” as possible for James, but also for the adults in the house. For us, that means a lot of cooking at home.
The roster this week:
I used this NY Times Cooking recipe as the basic idea. I also tossed in radicchio and endive. I made about half of the dressing and parmesan, and that was plenty. It was delicious, and we ate the whole bowl!
Mark Bittmans’s Thousand Layer Green Lasagna
Confession: The original recipe calls for homemade pasta sheets. I never make homemade pasta. I have little patience for things that take much more time to make than to consume. I use a box of lasagna noodles cooked just a little less than the package directions.
Also, this recipe calls for arugula, but I have also subbed in spinach. Both are divine.
Note: you can layer this lasagna in a greased springform pan to make an impressive lasagna “cake,” or you can just use a standard lasagna pan. Delicious either way.
1 pound baby arugula and/or spinach, chopped (the food processor makes this way easier)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter
1/2 cup of flour
4-6 cups of milk
salt + pepper
2 cups grated parmesan
olive oil for greasing pan
Preheat oven to 350.
Boil a large pot of salted water and cook lasagna noodles a little less time than the package says.
Meanwhile, put the butter in a large pot over medium low heat. When the butter melts, use a wire whisk to incorporate the flour. Turn the heat to low and stir constantly until the mixture turns tan in color, about 3 minutes. Stir in the milk a bit at a time, whisking constantly. When about 4 cups of milk have been added, the mixture will be fairly thick. Add a little more milk until the mixture is a little thinner than your desired end result. Voila, you just made a béchamel!
Stir in the arugula/ spinach and 1 1/2 cups of the grated parm. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss in some red pepper flakes if you like a little heat.
Take your greased pan and add a layer of lasagna noodles. If using the springform pan, you are going to have to trim the noodles so they don’t go too far up the side of the pan. (Save the scraps) Spread a thin layer of sauce on top. Repeat until you have used all of the pasta and finish with a layer of sauce on top and the rest of the parm sprinkled on top.
If using the springform, place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the edges begin to brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and then release from springform, or directly serve from dish. Cut into wedges, and enjoy!
Refried Bean Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
This was a made up recipe, so feel free to add or subtract ingredients as you like. We are on a vegetarian kick here, but you could totally add shredded rotisserie chicken.
6-8 corn or flour tortillas
1 can refried beans (I used WF 365 brand)
1/2 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
1 cup shredded mozzerella/ jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 thinly sliced red onion, soak in red wine vinegar
Toss into a food processor
12 -14 tomatillos, quartered
2 scallions, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
Handful of cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper
Pulse ingredients together until somewhere between chunky and pureed. Voila.
Heat oven to 350. On a cutting board, place one tortilla and spread 1/6 of the refried beans, a smear of sour cream, and shredded chicken (if using). Roll up and place in lightly greased casserole pan seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour about half of the salsa verde over the tortillas. (Save the rest of the salsa for another time.) Cover enchiladas with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes until heated through, and the cheese is good and melty. You can always zap under the broiler if you like your cheese more bubbly.
Top with red onion slices, and dig in…
Diane Morrisey (@dianemorrisey) is an extremely prolific home cook from CT who posts lots of amazing recipes on Instagram. I tag a lot of her ideas, and sometimes tweak them to make them a little healthier.
I am not usually a huge fan of tofu, but I gave this one a try, and it was delicious! I added a kale slaw from Whole Foods to make this a complete meal. I’m making it again this week!
In other news…
Home schooling is proving to be a huge challenge, especially since I am trying to work from home. Keeping a business going during this time is beyond scary. So, I’m learning to be kind to myself if the days aren’t perfect. iPad, I’m looking at you.
I feel like reading is the most important thing I can do to keep James’s little mind activated, but also he has shown a real love for drawing lately which thrills me! My mother was a painter, and I think she would be so pleased to see James coloring with gusto.
The children’s book author and illustrator, Mo Willems, is hosting daily “Lunch Doodles” on the Kennedy Center website. Older episodes are stored here.
We are really enjoying our daily doodle together!
Lastly, getting outside has proven to be the best mood lifter. I am so thankful for my running shoes, and some sunny days. Logging many miles has helped to keep me sane.
We have found a few beaches that are not closed, which are great for skipping rocks and curious little
people. James came home with pockets full of rocks that we intend on painting at some point this week.
Hang in there.