Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Smoky Chipotle Lasagna

The Lowdown:

Dear diary, I have found a new love. Not the kind you leave your significant other for, but maybe the kind that you start to pay a bit more attention to. The kind you get to know it a bit better before you jump to any rash decisions. I recently found real chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos), not the crumby canned ones, in my secret grocery store. Well, maybe it's not a secret store, but regardless, I found these delightful little morsels of awesomeness there. You'll know they are the real deal because they look like a fourteen week old dog turd and smell like a campfire. On a daily basis these are two things that should never be combined. However, in this specific instance, the jury and I will allow it. No further questioning your Honour; defence rests. Another great thing about them is that they don't go bad. Smoky and invincible -- how glorious (as a sunbeam shoots down from the heavens to land squarely on the chipotle pepper, illuminating it with a holy aura). Since I've found these awesome flavour bombs I've been having a bit of fun. Chipotle soups, chipotle rice, chipotle lasagna, chipotle everything! Well... NO CHIPOTLE AIOLI! I hate hate hate aioli. So please, lets just get over this stupid aioli fad. Great, now I need to listen to some calming music.

I've never made a lasagna before. I have definately eaten them though. Oh have I ever eaten them. Scrumptious devils. So this is my first attempt at a lasagna. The zuchinni was purely for health reasons and the corn was to make it a bit more southern. I used cream cheese because I recall really disliking the "normal" cheese that goes in lasagna (ricatta I think). Also, I'm lactose intollerant, so wish me (and my girlfriend) luck after eating this one. 

The Playlist:

2-3 Chipotle peppers, finely ground
1 lb Ground beef
1 lb Spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 can Crushed tomatoes
1 can Diced tomatoes
1 can Tomato paste
1 Red onion, chopped
5 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano), finely chopped
8 oz Cream cheese
1 lb Frozen spinach, thawed
Salt & Pepper, to taste
9-12 Lasagna noodles, el dante
Cheese of your choice to top (jalapeno havarti and smoked gouda work well)

1 Zuchinni, sliced
1 ear of Corn, kernels removed (or 1 can of corn kernels).

The Skinny:

  1. Brown the beef and Italian sausage in a large pot
  2. Add onions, garlic, and chipotle pepper and cook until onions start to become translucent.
  3. Add all tomato products, cover, and cook for 30 minutes on medium-low heat.
  4. Add herbs and cook for another 15 minutes.
  5. Mix spinach (or corn, or both) and cream cheese in a bowl.
  6. Cook pasta noodles (read instructions on package for optimum cooking time).
  7. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  8. Layer as desired starting with lasagna noodles (I did noodles, tomato mixture, noodles, tomato mixture, zuchinni, cream cheese/corn, noodles, tomato mixture, noodles, cheese).
  9. Cover with aluminum foil and let sit (over night preferably).
  10. Preheat oven to 400*.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes with the aluminum foil on, then remove aluminum foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is browned.

Featured on: Blessed with Grace, Naptime Creations, Mandy's Recipe Box, Shine Your Light, Things that Make you say "Mmmm", Jam Hands

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