15 July 2010

use those tomatoes!!!

This year, my parents thought it would be nice to have a TON of tomatoes, so they put 121 plants in our garden. Zuben and I also have 6 plants of our own, as part of my experimental area, since I want to know how to grow everything I like to eat. Yesterday I had to bring in about 20 tomatoes, because the plants were too heavy, and 3/6 fell over!!! Lesson learned: Don't put tomatoes in a raised bed, because the roots will be too shallow. I chopped most of them up, so that I can can pints of salsa. Also, rather than can silly stewed tomatoes, I'm trying to use them in dishes that I can make now, then freeze for a day when I can't cook. Here's a super yummy cheesy-veggie lasagna that I made, with all the leftovers heading to the freezer.

Cheesy-Veggie Lasagna

Insanely Easy Tomato Sauce
1lb 12oz tomatoes, skins removed, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon basil, finely

Put the garlic and salt into a mortar, and grind to a paste with the pestle.
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic paste, stir twice, then add tomatoes, juice and all.
Simmer about 5 minutes, then do what you want to get it to the chunk-level you prefer.(I kept mine chunky)

6 lasagna noodles, cooked
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 zucchini, diced
4 button mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, bite-sized
10 ounces chard, stems removed and chopped

12 ounces cottage cheese, drained
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
10 ounces shredded cheese (I used Jarlsburg, because I was out of mozzarella)

In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion until soft and slightly golden. Then add the garlic, continuing to saute for a couple more minutes. Throw in the zucchini, and cook another 3 or 4 minutes, until the zucchini is just slightly softened. Add the mushroom and broccoli, sauteing for 2 more minutes with quite a bit of stirring. Turn off the heat, add the tomato sauce, and set aside.

In a separate saucepan, steam the chopped chard in just a bit of water until wilted, about 4 minutes. Let it cool enough so you can squeeze out all the water. In a mixing bowl, and using your hands, mix the drained cottage cheese, eggs, chard and parmesan until uniform.

In a casserole dish, put a bit of the tomato/veggie mixture to line the bottom. Place three lasagna noodles, sides touching, on top. Next layer the lasagna with half the cottage cheese mixture, then half of the remaining tomato mixture, three more noodles, then the rest of the cottage cheese, the rest of the tomato mix, then top with shredded cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 1 hour. When the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling, remove it from the oven, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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