Small cocktail parties

I did an event this past week for a small group of business women at an old warehouse in Midtown Atlanta. I absolutely love going into places that bring out a feeling of wonder and creativity where the food really takes “center stage.”

My food is innovative, yet simple and warming and always…always tells a story.

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Quinoa in Lasagna…..really…..YES

Quinoa is all the rage right now. Its everywhere. 

While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley.  Quinoa is my favorite whole grain because it takes less time to cook than other whole grains – just 10 to 15 minutes.  So for a busy Mom like me, it’s become a staple in my pantry.

Quinoa takes on the flavor of what you pair it with. It has no saturated fat, no trans fat and its low in sodium and cholesterol. It’s also a great source for Magnesium and Phosphorus.

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You’ve got to try this recipe……..it is amazing, simple and healthy!

Ingredients: (serving 8)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onions

1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups pasta sauce ( I make my own, but jar sauce will work as well)

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 cups zucchini, sliced into thin strips

2 cups packed fresh spinach (washed)

1 & 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Equipment:

9 x 13 baking dish

cooking spray

medium saucepan

mandoline (for slicing zucchini)

aluminum foil

large bowl

chef’s knife and two large spoons

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (line your middle rack with aluminum foil to catch the drips!)

  • Coat your baking dish with cooking spray. Bring 2 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Add 1 cup quinoa, stir to incorporate, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes ( the seeds will “pop” open) until the liquid is fully absorbed. 
  • Chop onions and garlic. Add olive oil to a saucepan. Add onions and cook over medium heat, stirring until they start to become translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are softened. Add garlic and stir constantly, when you smell the aroma of the garlic (only a minute or two) then Add the sauce. Image
  • Stir in the sauce and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes and remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl combine the ricotta and egg, mix well. Image

Stir in Parmesan cheese, chopped basil, and oregano

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  • Evenly spread quinoa in the bottom of the baking dish

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  • Spread 1/3 of sauce mixture over the quinoa. Make a layer of all the zucchini, then spread a layer of all the  cheese mixture.

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Spread half of the remaining tomato sauce on top of the cheese mixture, then layer the spinach

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Add the remaining sauce and shredded mozarella

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  • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes covered with foil, removing the foil in the last ten minutes of baking.Bon Appetit!