Submitted by The Sneaky Chef, Missy Chaise Lapine
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 c.)
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1-lb. lean ground beef or turkey
3/4 c. Green Purée (see Make-Ahead Recipe below) or 3/4 c. baby food spring vegetable purée
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1/4 c. dry oat bran
1/2 tsp. each dried basil and oregano
9-oz. box uncooked lasagna noodles, roughly broken into strips
1 jar (24 to 26 oz.) marinara sauce
This has become one of my family's favorite Sneaky Chef dish. I'm thrilled because it's way easier and much faster to make than the traditional layered lasagna, which I would not normally take the time to make on a weeknight! The key here is to be inexact and trust that the result will taste just as good as "neat" lasagna that gets just as messy after the first bite anyway.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a deep skillet or earthenware pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the turkey or beef, stirring to break it up, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the meat is no longer red. In a medium bowl, combine the Green Purée and tomato paste until mixture turns brownish in color. Add to skillet, and stir in the oat bran, basil, and oregano. Add broken noodles on top of meat mixture, then top with tomato sauce. Fill empty tomato sauce jar three-quarters full of water (about 2 1/2 cups) and add to skillet. Stir to combine. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheese on top, do not stir again; cover for 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings. Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: Green Purée
2 c. raw baby spinach leaves*
2 c. broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
1 c. sweet green peas, frozen
2 to 3 Tbsp. water
*Note: I prefer raw baby spinach to frozen spinach for this recipe (more mild flavor); if you must use frozen spinach, only use 1 cup of it. Raw baby spinach should be well rinsed, even if the package says "prewashed."
To prepare Green Purée on the stovetop, pour about 2 inches of water into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Put a vegetable steamer basket into the pot, add the broccoli, and steam for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the frozen peas to the basket for the last 2 minutes of steaming. Drain.
To prepare in the microwave, place the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes, until very tender. Add peas for last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.
Place the spinach in the food processor first and pulse a few times. This will reduce the spinach significantly. Next add the cooked broccoli and peas, along with 2 tablespoons of water. Purée on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to make a smooth purée.
This recipe makes about 2 cups of purée; double it if you want to store more. Green Purée will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1?4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. Makes about 2 cups of purée.