Discover 4 delicious ways to make lasagna

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Home sweet homemade soul food

Lasagna is one of the oldest types pasta dishes. It therefore reminds me of this beautiful song by Celine Dion “Tale as old as time” that was the theme song for the Disney movie “The beauty and the beast”. Though in this case it’s not tale as old as time, but pasta as old as time. Or shall I rather say thyme? Hm… sorry, this was a really low hanging fruit for a dad-joke-afficionado like me.

The good news about all the recipes below is that they are fresh homemade soul food dish that will give your heart, soul and stomach joy. So it’s only the oldest pasta dish, but certainly not old at all.

History fun fact: apparently the word goes back to the latin term lasanum, which means cooking pot. The kitchen utensil that the dish was prepared in. Now you are prepared, in case you ever compete on “Who wants to be a millionaire” or “Jeopardy” and that question randomly comes up. Or maybe you just want to be one of those people who “entertain” others with “btw did you know…” kinda monologues.


So let’s not say “Pasta la vista” but “Hello food heaven”! Enjoy the recipe compilation.


The classic: Lasagna with rich beef tomato sauce and bechamel sauce

To me, lasagna tastes like home, like coziness, like belonging, as well as like family and friends. It’s one of those dishes that is best shared with many people and perfect for when you have guests and truly want to make them feel at home when they visit. One of the best lasagnas I ever had was made by the Italian dad of one of my closest friends from childhood, when we were just teenagers. It’s safe to say that it’s one of those dishes for which everyone who regularly makes it will have their own personal way of preparing it. This is my take on the classic version, which I sincerely hope you enjoy.


Il bianco: White chicken lasagna with Alfredo sauce

White chicken lasagna or lasagna bianco can be prepared in a million different ways, using all sorts of white Italian sauces. This one uses Alfredo sauce, which is my personal favorite as I can’t think of any dish that isn’t make tastier thanks to this sauce. It is prepared with rotisserie chicken. Simply because it is so boastfully flavorful that it tastes like christmas and your best birthday ever combined in one amazing day.


Low carb: Stuffed lasagna peppers

Who doesn’t love great soul food on any given day? The thing is though, sometimes you might feel like having it, but still kinda stick to your plan to eat healthier, yet also don’t feel that stuffed pepper alone would do the trick to make you go straight to food heaven. Thus, how about stuffing your pepper with lasagna – minus the pasta? Trust me, it is pretty amazing and also amazingly filling, even though it only has a fraction of the calories of traditional soul food noodle dish.


Creative: Lasagna Alfredo rolls

I am willingly admitting that I have a slight addiction to Alfredo sauce, it is just soooo tasty. This recipe for pasta Alfredo rolls with a tasty broccoli and chicken filling therefore ticks that box and also perfectly coincides with my love for lasagna in all possible varieties. Two soul food options in one, if you will. It serves 4 people as a main course. The recipe uses chicken, but vegetarians can easily substitute this by replacing the meat with 1.5 cups of sweet corn.

Heavenly white chicken lasagna with Alfredo sauce

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This heavenly white chicken lasagna cradles every nook and cranny. Like many Italian-American dishes, it’s an ultimate soul food sunday meal choice. It’s so creamy, it’s dreamy.

Lasagna in general tends to be a labor of love and is certainly nothing you just pull right out of your sleeve within 15 minutes and be done with it. Though I would argue that in fact every single minute that you dedicate towards it and to preparing it is a minute that adds to the deliciousness of it.

This is why any type of lasagna tends to be a great sunday meal option, since it’s the day of the week that typically allows the time for it. In my family we therefore call sunday “soul food sunday”. We tend to start with a special breakfast treat like French toast or cottag cheese pancakes and end it with a tasty comfort food meal.

Now, white chicken lasagna or lasagna bianco can be prepared in a million different ways, using all sorts of white Italian sauces. This is a lasagna with Alfredo sauce, which is my personal favorite as I can’t think of any dish that isn’t make tastier thanks to this sauce. Besides white chicken lasagna there is of course the mother of all lasagnas: the red lasagna with beef and rich tomato sauce and bechamel sauce layering.

You can certainly make this recipe with normal roasted chicken breast, I guess most white chicken lasagna recipes tend to use that. I would still strongly recommend that you opt for rotisserie chicken. Simply because it is so boastfully flavorful that it tastes like christmas and your best birthday ever combined in one amazing day.

At a glance
  • Servings: 8-10
  • Preparation time: 30-40 min
  • Oven time: 45 min (30 min uncovered, 15 min covered) (or in accordance with the instructions for the specific lasagna noodles you use)
  • Total time from start to finish: 1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  • Lasagna noodles for 4 layers
  • 1 lbs of shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 3 cups of Alfredo sauce (try out my take on Alfredo sauce)
  • 6 handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup of diced up artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup of flaky parmesan cheese
  • 4.4 ounces (125 grams) of fresh mozzarella cheese (alternatively: 1 cup of shredded mozzarella)

How to prepare white chicken lasagna with alfredo sauce

Step 1: Start by preparing the Alfredo sauce, following my recipe for Alfredo sauce.

Step 2: While the Alfredo sauce is simmering on the stove, shred the chicken into small chunks, wash the spinach and cut the artichock hearts into dices.

Step 3: Now it’s time to assemble. Start by adding a couple of tablespoons (3-4) of Alfredo sauce to the bottom of your casserole dish. Then place a layer of lasagna noodles on top, followed by a cup of Alfredo sauce. Distribute it evenly on top of the noodles, then drizzle one third of the chicken on top, followed by 3 handful of the spinach and the artichock dices.

Repeat the noodles, sauce, chicken and spinach layers, but this time sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of it. Then add another layer of noodles, followed by the sauce and the last third of the chicken. Afterwards add the mozzarela on top.

Step 5: Bring the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Then bake the white chicken lasagna in the oven for a total of 45 minutes. 30 minutes should be fully uncovered. For the last 15 minutes, cover the Lasagna in tin foil so the cheese on top stays nicely browned without burning up or getting too crunchy.

Step 6: This is purely optional, but since preparing this dish is quite a bit of work, use the time in the oven to relax with a chilled glass of white wine while your white chicken lasagne is getting ready in the oven.

Other recipes using Alfredo sauce

Rich mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows

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Vegetarian

The soft and tender texture of mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows make you feel in 7th heaven with this ultimate holiday side dish. No thanksgiving dinner or roast is completely without this unassuming casserole. Sweet potatoes are super versatile, yet, we always underestimate them.

And the marshmallows? Yes, they make all the difference. They add just the right amount of sweetness and nicely compliment the savory sweet potatoes. Isn’t it anyhow funny, how we call them sweet potatoes, yet they are not. So the marshmallows put the sweet back into it.

While you obviously can’t go wrong with the standard white marshmallow, I recommend using mini versions and opting for some colorful ones while you’re at it. I fell in love with golden mini marshmellows as they make everything instantly a little more festive and cheerful. This is especially true, if you prepare them for Thanksgiving or around christmas time. The shinnier, the merrier. Marshmallows all the way…

The recipefor my mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows uses brown sugar as it gives the dish a nice caramlizing flavor. So the reason for sugar is not to simply make it sweeter, but to enhance the overall richness of the mash and that includes the savory components. You will achieve this with brown sugar, but not with white sugar.

At a glance
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories per serving: 284 kcal
  • Preparation time: 15 min
  • Oven time: 25 min
  • Total time from start to finish: 40 min
Ingredients
  • 3 sweet potatos
  • 2 garlic cloves or 1 tablespoon of powdered garlic
  • 3 tablepoons of brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3-4 handful of mini marshmellows

How to prepare mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius.

Step 2: Chop the sweet potato into dices – right there and then, you will have finished a full workout. Congrats! I think chopping sweet potatoes for mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows should be considered a legitimate fitness routine.

Step 3: Bake the sweet potatoes on a baking tray until soft and tender. Depending on the size of your chunks, this should be the case after approx. 15 minutes.

Step 4: Add the sweet potato dices, butter, brown sugar, milk, chopped or powdered garlic and spices to a bowl. Now either use a masher or a blender or a fork if you have neither of the two, to create a mash. Unlike their standard potato cousin, sweet potato is super easy to mash up and have a smooth result.

Step 5: Fill the mash into a casserole dish and spread it out evenly. Distribute the marshmallows on top and bake everything in the oven for 10 minutes. For the perfect mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, you want the marshmallows to be nicely caramalized and browned, but not crunchy or burned.

Loved the mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows and are looking for more amazing side dishes to discover

Creamy cauliflower and gnocchi casserole

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Vegetarian

Gnocchi, gnocchi. Who’s there? Your dinner!

What’s the best weekday dinner after a day of hussling? The quick and easy kind. The kind that is not a ready made meal, but only takes you about as long to prepare as ripping a pre-packed dish open. Girl, I got your back. This cauliflower and gnocchi casserole only takes 5 minutes of your time and from then on it essentially continues to prepare itself while baking in the oven. This is what I call a winner.

While the gnocchi ensure that no one feels hungry 30 minutes after dinner, the main act of this dish might actually be cauliflower. Cauliflower has recently been labeled a “superfood” as it is high in fiber as well as vitamins B and C. So while it looks pretty unimpressive and bland, it is actually full of healthy stuff. If you wanna gnocchi yourself out completely, make this cauliflower and gnocchi casserole dish even more cauliflower-y by using cauliflower gnocchis from Target instead of the standard potato version.

At a glance
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories per serving: 495 kcal
  • Preparation time: 5 min
  • Oven time: 25 min
  • Start to finish: 30 min
Ingredients
  • 17.6 ounces (500 grams) of fresh potato gnocchi
  • 17.6 ounces (500 grams) of cauliflower florets
  • 3.5 ounces (100 ml) of heavy cream
  • 3.5 ounces (100 ml) of veggie broth
  • 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of cream cheese
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) of grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare cauliflower and gnocchi casserole

Place the gnocchi and cauliflower in a casserole dish. Then mix the heavy cream, veggie broth, cream cheese, nutmeg, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and pour it over the gnocchi and cauliflower. Drizzle the cheddar on top and bake everything in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius für 25 minutes.

Heartwarming zucchini eggplant casserole

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Vegetarian

Filling me softly

This zucchini eggplant casserole is inspired by Parmigiana di Melanzane, which I very recently had for the first time with a friend of mine in Berlin. I wondered if it was possible to turn this into a healthy, aka less calorie-intensive dish, without compromising on the amazing taste.

The wonderful thing about the original Italian dish is the incredible softness of the aubergine, so smooth in fact that it essentially melts on your tongue. Mark my words – this was the first time in my many years on this beautiful planet that I liked something that mainly consists of eggplants. I realized, however, that you can make this delicious meal just as good by using zucchini. 

Servings: 4  *  Calories per serving: 299 kcal  *  Preperation time: 35 min  *  Start to finish: 1hr 30min

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchinis or eggplants/aubergines
  • 14 ounces (400 grams) of peeled or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 4.5 ounces (125 grams) of mozarella
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • One handful of fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper

How to prepare zucchini eggplant casserole

Cut the zucchini or eggplant (whichever you prefer) into thick slices (1/3 of an inch or 0.7-0.8 centimeters). Salt them on both sides generously. Let them sweat out the liquid for approximately 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the onion and garlic clove into small dices. Soak up excess water on the zucchini/eggplant slices with a paper towel. Then bring a pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. Cook the vegetables in it until they are soft and place them in a large casserole dish so that they cover the entire base. 

Next, add the onions and garlic to the pan, let them cook by themselves for 2-3 minutes. Then add the tomatos and Basil, as well as the ground pepper and let everything simmer for 10 minutes. Afterwards, pour the tomato sauce over the vegetable slices. Cover it with the mozarella slices or grated mozarella. Place the casserole in the pre-heated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius and let it bake for 25 minutes.