In every family there are some favourite dishes, the ones they still come back home for on special occasions or just for dinner.
Lasagne is high on most lists as one of those magnetic dinners that draws friends, family and neighbours, and it’s an easy dish to make in large quantities for a big group to share.
While it is a bit of a nuisance to make, re-heating it is a breeze and it does freeze well.
Now that spring is really here, more of our family gatherings can be outside, even if sweaters are still important.
The days are noticeably longer now and there’s actually daylight left after dinner for some outside time, whether that’s just a game of catch in the yard, a little gardening or a bike ride or walk.
It feels like the chains of winter have been loosened and we’ve been released to have a little more fun.
In fact, the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market has moved back outdoors again, to its location at the corner of Springfield and Dilworth where it’s open Saturdays and Wednesdays, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. As soon as fresh produce is available in local farmers’ fields and greenhouses you’ll find it there, inspiration for your meal planning.
In the coming months, before it gets too hot, take the opportunity to gather the family for a picnic, a camping trip, a ball game or an afternoon of riding a trail like the greenway.
Prepare a simple (assuming you put the lasagne together earlier) meal like this to enjoy afterwards, when fresh air has sharpened everyone’s appetites.
A scone or fresh baked rolls and perhaps a salad, and dinner’s on the table.
If you’ve enjoyed this food column over the years, drop by and pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, to be launched Thursday, April 28 at the Wine Museum on Ellis Street, 4-6 p.m. Reserve your spot by going to my website: www.judiesteeves.com
Scones with Chives & Parmesan Cheese
Fresh chives should be up in your garden now, so go out and snip some off to pepper these yummy scones with a boost of spring flavour.
1 c. (250 ml) flour
1/2 c. (125 ml) whole wheat flour
1/2 c. (125 ml) chopped chives
1/4 c. (60 ml) parmesan cheese
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) salt
1/2 c. (125 ml) frozen butter
1/4 c. (60 ml) milk
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Whisk together the dry ingredients and add the fresh, chopped chives and grated parmesan cheese.
Grate frozen butter into the dry ingredients and add milk and beaten egg, stirring the mixture until it begins to stick together.
Turn out onto a floured board and pat or roll out about a half-inch thick. Cut into wedges or use a cookie cutter to make circular scones.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne
With the added nutritional boost of spinach, this lasagne needs little more to make it a complete meal. Such meals in one dish are great to take to family get-togethers, even if those are at a campground, because all you need to do is pop this into the oven to reheat it, and dishes are minimal. Make it in a foil pan, and use paper plates (firm ones) and you’re all set.
We enjoyed a glass of the Haynes Barn Merlot Cabernet from Ganton and Larsen Prospect Winery with this and it paired excellently. It’s even very quaffable alone, with its berry aromas and bright flavours.
1 1/2 lb. (600 g) frozen spinach
drizzle of oil
1 1/2 lb. (680 g) lean ground beef
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. (15 ml) oregano
1/2 tsp. (3 ml) dried chili flakes
1/2 tsp. (3 ml) salt
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) cayenne pepper
1 lb. (454 g) mushrooms
14 oz. (398 ml) tomato sauce
14 oz. (398 ml) diced tomatoes
5.5 oz. (162 ml) tomato paste
9 cooked lasagne noodles
1 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. (494 g) ricotta cheese
10 oz. (300 g) feta cheese
1 lb. (454 g) mozzarella
Thaw spinach and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Chop onions and saute until soft.
Push to the side and add ground beef (I used half ground venison and half beef), sauteing until no longer red, breaking up the meat and turning it.
Add minced garlic and spices while browning the meat, and mix in the onions.
Slice mushrooms and add to the pot, pushing aside the meat mixture so they can brown a little.
Smear a little of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan so the noodles don’t stick.
Once the mushrooms have softened and browned, add the remaining tomato sauce, the diced tomatoes and tomato paste to the mixture and stir everything together, bringing it to a simmer.
(If you have fresh basil or parsley available, it’s delicious added to this.)
Cook lasagne noodles.
Once the noodles are cooked turn off the tomato-mushroom sauce and arrange the first three noodles in the pan. Top with half the meat sauce, a third of the parmesan cheese and 1/2 the mozzarella cheese.
Top with another layer of three noodles, then the spinach, the ricotta cheese, the feta cheese and another third of the parmesan cheese, and the rest of the meat sauce.
Top with the other three noodles and the remaining parmesan and then mozzarella cheeses.
Cook at 325 F for about an hour and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Serves about 9.