Let me just say that I tried to get this post in before my mom came. It just couldn’t happen though- way too much cleaning and it seemed like every time I did anything to check off my list of stuff to do, something new popped up. Like how I went grocery shopping on Monday but forgot like two ingredients. So on Tuesday I went back to the fruit market and also stopped by the bargain store to pick up some cleaning supplies- but forgot to get a new soap dispenser since I’m all out. So on Wednesday I went back to the bargain store while waiting for my laundry to finish in the wash, and discovered when I returned that ALL of my curtains (except for the ONE that I conveniently forgot to put in) are now pink. What do I even do with that? On the plus side they’re slightly peach-colored, which is significantly better than all-out pink… but regardless, I’m planning tonight to soak them in this blue soap stuff and pray for the best (with my mom’s help since my little cleaning deadline of “before-mom-arrives” clearly backfired).
At the very least, I managed on Tuesday night to prepare a lasagna that I realized I had most of the ingredients for, and I had been craving lasagna so it worked out perfectly. Once all the ingredients are layered, it only requires checking in on here and there for doneness, and if you like the cheese on top to be super bubbly/brown you can also put it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Easy peasy.
Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Skillet Lasagna
½ package no-boil lasagna noodles
1 jar marinara sauce (If you can afford to get a nicer brand, do it- mine came out too sweet because I got a cheap sauce that I think must have had way too much sugar in it. Also, you won’t quite use all of the jar- save a bit for pasta sauce for a quick dinner another night.)
8 oz ricotta cheese (about ½ of a 15oz tub)
2 oz goat cheese (optional- I just happened to have it)
1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)
Sliced tomatoes (any kind- I used orange cherry tomatoes, my favorite summer staple which I was SO excited to see in the store)
Bunch of basil
3 garlic cloves
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced and cut into smaller pieces (or a little less, if you want to save some of your cheese for other stuff)
Start by placing a layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom of your skillet. You’ll probably have two noodles, partially broken up because they won’t fit perfectly (and never do). Mix together your ricotta, goat cheese, and nutmeg in a small bowl, then spread about 1/3 of the mixture onto the lasagna noodles. It will be annoying because the noodles will move around… don’t worry though, once you’re through layering it will still look like a lasagna. Then drizzle a thin layer of the marinara sauce over the ricotta, sprinkle some sliced tomatoes and basil, then top with some of the mozzarella. This is roughly how it will look before the mozzarella:
Beautiful, right? After the mozzarella, we start the layers over again in that order: lasagna noodles, ricotta mixture, marinara, tomatoes and basil, cheese. Continue layering until you’re near the top (try to plan it out so that you end with lasagna noodles, ricotta, and marinara). Now the final layer: throw in basil, tomatoes, garlic (maybe drizzle olive oil too- yum) and lastly, that glorious cheese. Place your skillet on the stove top and simmer over low heat, covered, for about 25 minutes, until the top layer of noodles has softened. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the cheese has become bubbly and has browned a bit. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Now this isn’t exactly my most cost-effective recipe, and I have to say I got lucky with some of the ingredients (if I’m not mistaken I bought the mozzarella at East Village Cheese for like $1.50 or $2). But it’s one of those things where the extra tomatoes and basil can make for a lot of delicious salads and sandwiches, and you don’t use all of each ingredient, so you have plenty of options for other dishes. Personally I am most excited to try toast with ricotta and honey. In fact, I saw a recipe that included sprinkling dried lavender over ricotta-honey toast, and I happen to have some in my spice cabinet so I think that’s where I’m headed next. ;)