I was supposed to be teaching a class tonight.  I taught last night.  I have an event tomorrow night.  I am leaving Friday on a 3-day weekend.  Guess what’s in my refrigerator?  That’s right.  Nuttin’.  And it’s snowing REALLY hard.  Ain’t “nuttin” open tonight either to grab dinner. What to do? What to do?

Don’t tell anyone, especially my husband, but there is RARELY a real reason to say “We need to go out/order in/eat cereal because there is nothing in the house to eat”.  If you keep a reasonably stocked pantry (and why shouldn’t you?), have cheese on hand and some basics in the freezer, you can always put it together with pasta and have a great, hearty meal.

In the refrigerator, I found a random piece of green pepper(I can’t remember what I used the rest for), a red pepper, a cherry pepper, a few black olives, a small packet of oregano, 4 mushrooms, a kind of sad-ish zucchini, some fresh mozzarella, a ½ package of shredded mozzarella, some Parmesan cheese, about 1 cup of milk and some butter.  My husband’s going to freak when he finds out I used the last of his precious milk-yes the old man drinks milk every day.  Weird.  In the freezer was a ½ lb. of ground beef left over from one of those huge Costco packages-I had sausage too, so I could have used that or I could have gone completely veg.  In the pantry I had some onions(always), a jar of Rao Marinara Sauce(also always), a box of no-cook lasagna noodles(yep, always) and, of course, flour.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I sliced the mushrooms fairly thin, cleaned and sliced the peppers into strips, peeled the zucchini, cut it in ½ and cut it into 1/4 “ planks, sliced ½ of a large onion, tossed all the vegetables lightly in a bit of olive oil, spread them out on a sheet pan and roasted them at 350° for 30 minutes.
  2. I chopped up the fresh oregano and the olives and mixed them together.
  3. I sliced the fresh mozzarella
  4. I put the ground beef in a fry pan and cooked it until all the red was gone and drained any fat from the pan.
  5. I made a béchamel (https://www.kieffers.com/kieffers-cooking-blog/lasagna-bolognese-like-an-italian) from the butter, milk and flour and added Parmesan cheese.

Now everything was ready for the pan-a 9X9 square non-stick baking pan.

  1. First grease the pan, if it is not non-stick-be sure to get the sides.
  2. Lay down a film of Marinara Sauce
  3. Lay some pasta sheets over to cover
  4. Layer, the béchamel, veggies, meat, olives, cheeses and some sauce. Repeat.  Top with a final layer of pasta and a nice layer of sauce.  Top with more cheese, if you have it.  I didn’t.
  5. 5. Bake for about 1 hour at 350° until nice and bubbly.

Presto!  Snow Day Lasagna.

Note: I could have used well-drained frozen spinach, sun dried or fresh tomatoes, any kind of fresh or frozen greens-escarole, broccoli or broccoli rabe, finely cut salami or pepperoni, canned tomatoes cooked with some aromatics and red wine in place of my jarred pasta sauce or thin sliced par cooked potatoes in place of the noodles.  Be Creative.  Just be careful not to “kitchen sink” the ingredients-stick with what actually goes together (forget that bok choy in the vegetable bin).  But, hey it’s a SNOW DAY.  Anything goes!!