26 August 2013

Eats: lasagna grilled cheese

Today’s the last recipe for All-Vegetarian August, dear readers! Although it was only all-vegetarian entrées for Eats here on the blog (as in, I was eating meat in real life), this self-imposed challenge did encourage me to prepare more meatless meals than usual. And as a bonus, my vegetarian readers didn’t feel as left out for once! So while this is officially the last recipe in the all-meatless month, I do hope to continue sharing vegetarian recipes more frequently.

Now! Today’s final meatless recipe was adapted from a favorite food blogger, Joy the Baker. Joy is an absolute inspiration when it comes to turning anything into a daggum amazing sandwich. Remember when I was all worried about how to make a sandwich for dinner? Well, now, I’m not only making great sandwiches for dinner, I’m making vegetarian sandwiches for dinner. This feels like some sort of cooking level-up.

New Achievement: Lasagna Grilled Cheese. Italian food and a grilled cheese, mashed into one sandwich! Oh man, this is even better than all those macaroni & cheese burgers I can’t resist.

Let’s start with some delicious bread. I got loaf of Italian bread at my Schnucks. You only need enough for however many sandwiches you want to make, but although I was making just two sandwiches, I bought an enormous loaf. Here, let my disembodied hand try to convey just how giant it was:

PS: I do have a pinky finger on my left hand.

I sliced it up in the middle, for nice big slices for the two sandwiches.

And buttered it. Just the one side will do.

Then I mixed up some ricotta filling. I just scooped out the ricotta (no measuring, thanks) and sprinkled on some salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, dried basil, and Italian seasoning.

Really, you can just eyeball the amount and the seasoning. Do what you like! If you decide to add more ricotta, though, and you add more seasoning to compensate, make sure you open the “sprinkle” side, and not the “pour” side, of the red pepper flakes.


Oh man. Oh man. Yes, THIS COULD ALL BE PREVENTED IF I USED MEASURING SPOONS. I know. But hey, I was able to scrape away most of the extra flakes... and even if the end product was pretty spicy, I convinced myself it was tasty that way!

Let’s move on from my mistakes. Smear the ricotta mixture on the un-buttered side of one piece of bread. The other piece gets shredded mozzarella and shaved parmesan.

Don’t hold back! It is a grilled cheese, after all.

Now to lasagna-ify this sandwich a bit further: tomato sauce. Joy used canned cherry tomatoes, which intrigue me but also sound a little disgusting? In any case, my grocery didn’t have them. I stuck with store-bought marinara. It worked just fine.

Then smoosh it together, and it’s grilling time! It just needs a few minutes on each side over medium heat, until the bread is a beautiful toasty brown color and the cheese is mostly melty.

Yes, I grill my buttered bread on a non-stick griddle coated with cooking spray. I am a little obsessive about not burning the bread.

Speaking of not burning.... and toasty brown bread and melty cheese...

Yup. So basic, especially compared to prepping real lasagna. Yet... you can totally count it as fusion cuisine. And EVERYONE will like this sandwich! Your spouse will. Your kids will. Your vegetarian friend who may or may not eat shrimp definitely will. I served it with roasted zucchini, to balance the fried-cheesy-goodness. And since I can justify this creation by serving it with a green vegetable? Golden. Into the regular rotation you go, lasagna grilled cheese!

And now for this week’s meal plan. You should know I put this together while driving down the interstate during a six-hour road trip yesterday. Creative, I was not.

Sunday: Take & Bake pizza and salad. I told you, ROAD TRIP.

Monday: grilled Italian sandwiches, asparagus on the side

Tuesday: A lemon-chicken-asparagus salad situation that, if it goes well, I’ll share with you!

Wednesday: School night for Mr. P. Leftovers night for me!

Thursday: Taco salad

Friday: Pasta carbonara

Saturday: Mr. P may be traveling again, so more leftovers. Or as I may think of it: solo date night?

If you’re feeling even less creative than me, maybe this will help! Have a tasty week, dear readers!


Janice said...

I am definitely going to give this a try. Wow, whoda thunk to combine such simple ingredients into such an awesome sammy! Lovin' this! Thanks for sharing.
As for your increased repertoire of meatless meals, just think, you'll be rocking Fridays in Lent like nobody else! :)