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I’m Andrea. I like to cook and bake and take photographs and write about life. Welcome to Bella Eats, where I share these passions of mine with you. I’m glad you’re here.

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Thursday
Jan152009

staying warm

I have a confession to make...I haven’t run since my 5-mile accomplishment on Saturday.  :(  The problem with living in Virginia in the Winter is that its cold.  Really cold.  I know I’m a wimp to complain about 20* weather when so many of you live in places FAR colder but you have to understand that I grew up in Florida...this whole temperature getting below 50* in the Winter is still fairly new to me.  Each day this week I have planned on running, and each day I have chickened out.  Maybe its because the window in my office is so drafty that I have to wear my wool coat and scarf all day, and even then my poor little fingers are still icicles.  Or maybe its because when I get home all I want to do is create a meal that will be so satisfying and hearty that I will be warmed from the inside out after consuming it, like last night’s Ravioli Lasagna and Brussels Sprout Spaghetti.

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This idea came from Tina at Carrots & Cake, and originally from Real Simple magazine (I couldn't find a recipe link).  Lasagna noodles and ricotta are replaced with prepared ravioli pasta...I chose 365 Brand frozen 5 Cheese Ravioli.

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The raviolis are layered with pasta sauce (also 365 Brand), frozen spinach (thawed, excess water squeezed out) and part-skim mozzarella.  There are so many variations that could be played with.  I was thinking about an amazing portobello ravioli that a local pasta shop creates and how good that would be layered with additional mushrooms, olives and capers...yum!

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Were I to create the lasagna for a dinner party again I would probably use fresh ravioli in lieu of the frozen.  This would make the cost of the dish significantly higher, which is why I would reserve it for special occasions only.  The frozen raviolis were good, just chewier than fresh would have been.  Even with frozen raviolis this dish is more expensive than a classic lasagna with noodles would be, but its a fun take on a classic favorite that I will surely make again.

Basic Ravioli Lasagna (I encourage you to try different variations...next time I will add more veggies)

Ingredients:

  • (3) 8oz packages of fresh or frozen ravioli

  • (1) jar of pasta sauce

  • (1) 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid)

  • 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella


Method:

  1. Ladle 1/2 cup of sauce into bottom of 9x9 glass baking dish.

  2. Layer one package of ravioli on top of sauce.

  3. Top with 1/2 of spinach and 1/2 cup of mozzarella.

  4. Ladle 1/3 of remaining sauce over mozzarella.

  5. Repeat steps 2-4.

  6. Layer last package of ravioli on top of sauce.

  7. Ladle remaining 1/3 of sauce over ravioli and top with last 1/2 cup of mozzarella.

  8. Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes, until lasagna is bubbly and top layer of cheese is just starting to brown.


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While the lasagna was baking I worked on a new brussels sprouts recipe.  Our go-to method for cooking brussels has been to roast them, and I'm getting a little tired of it.  We have them weekly, so I wanted to play around with different methods of preparing them.  A friend of mine told me about a recipe he and his wife cook often, where you slice the brussels into 1/8" pieces, essentially turning them into a slaw-like consistency.  You then sauté them in butter, toss them with linguine and serve.  I was intrigued, so we tried it.

Brussels Sprout Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • lots of brussels...we probably had 20 medium-sized

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • whole wheat pasta (I used spaghetti, but will use angel hair next time)

  • juice from 1/2 a lemon

  • parmesan cheese, shaved


Method:

  1. Boil the pasta until soft.

  2. Meanwhile, saute' the brussels and shallot in 1/2 the butter until fragrant and beginning to brown.

  3. Drain the pasta and add to the brussels pan.  Add the last 1/2 of butter and toss all together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Serve with shaved parmesan on top.


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This dish was delicious, although I will definitely reduce the amount of pasta used next time, and will probably substitute angel hair for the spaghetti noodles.  The shaved parmesan really makes the dish, and I think it would be divine with bacon or pancetta added in.

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The evening was delicious, warm and satisfying.  But if I'm going to keep making dishes like this, I have to get over my fear of the cold and get back on the road for some runs!  Here's hoping the weather warms soon...
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Reader Comments (25)

Yum! Both of these recipes sound delicious. I know that some people think they hate them, but I can't think of anything better than brussels sprouts and parmesan cheese. Add pasta in there and it sounds like the best thing on earth!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Mmmm, that looks good! I think brussels sprouts are all-time my favorite vegetable.

I know how you feel about the cold running -- there's no way i can get myself to go after work in this weather! Morning (before I know how cold it is) seems the only way I can manage to get a workout in.

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I hear ya! My running has been off since it got super cold. I just can't commit entirely to treadmills. I hate them!

Here's to hoping for better weather!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRose

good luck with staying warm. I think the key is good running clothes.
I think I've made that reciepe before - YUM

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicoel

I'm a wimp about the cold too even though I grew up in CO and WA and I'm no stranger to snow! I find that I HAVE to wear gloves when I'm outside in the winter, even if it's well above freezing, because when I don't keep my hands warm I'm just miserable. Running outside though... I don't think I've done that since it was in the 40s with NO chance of precipitation!

Beautiful pictures as usual!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Don't feel bad about the running. It's super cold out! Do you ever try to run on a treadmill? It's so not as fun, but maybe that's an option?

Love the brussels sprouts spaghetti. Prob b/c I love brussels sprouts.

01.15.2009 | Unregistered Commentersweetandnatural

YOWZA! I love the idea of brussel sprout spaghetti! Fantastic!

And that lasagna doesn't look bad either! :)

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

No one is outside running in this cold! I like to think it will just get me that much more motivated when it gets warmer!
Your lasagna is a great idea! Seeing you and Tina make it has got me thinking it is in my future!!
Thanks for the Cranberry ketchup recipe too! IT is on my to do list!
:)

Don't worry about not running, it's too cold to even step foot outside!!!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterShelby

if i had to run outside, i would be doing the same thing as you!!

girlie, you need to get out there and do something! come on, you can DO this!

holy cow thats a lot of pasta! it all looks wonderful :) xoxo

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah W.

I make something very similar to that all the time! Actually, I think it was the first meal I ever posted on my blog! Yours looks amazing with the veggies!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

Ravioli lasagna is such an awesome idea! i'm not a fan of running in the cold either, i can sometimes get out when its 30, but any colder than that... ill stay inside please :) haha

01.15.2009 | Unregistered Commenterdailygoods

Comforting!!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

Wow i am sooooo trying that lasagna!!! thanks girlie!!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I am so lucky I live in CA I would die in the COLD!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered Commenterbobbi

I'm going to try the sprouts, but may leave out the pasta altogether. It looks wonderful, though.

I'm blessed to have a treadmill in my garage. Best investment I ever made!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered Commentersarahannmatheny

Those are two great recipes!!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered Commenterksgoodeats

i've been seeing brussels sprouts a lot on blogs lately. (i actually bought some myself today!) apparently cooking brussels sprouts is the cool thing to do if you have a blog...your recipe looks delicious! first brussels sprouts spaghetti recipe i've ever seen!

and i don't run in the cold either....

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRaspberry Runner

Just found your blog! Great recipes! The cranberry pumpkin bread you recently made looks sooo good!! Glad I came across your blog!!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered Commenterredheadyellowdog

This is the best method for preparing brussels sprouts i have found!
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/goldencrusted-brussels-sprouts-recipe.html

They are positively addictive.

01.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

yeah i haven't been outside in awhile... brr. well, to run that is :) these both look fantastic! i'm not a huge fan of brussels sprouts, still trying to find a winning way, this looks quite tasty!!

01.15.2009 | Unregistered Commenterttfn300

Thanks for the comments, everybody!

Ellen - Thanks for the link! That recipe looks amazing, I'm definitely trying it with next week's batch of brussels!

what a great idea for the brussels! looks great!!

01.16.2009 | Unregistered Commenterlauren

I totally cannot wait to try that brussel sprouts spaghetti! I'm making that very soon! :) Thanks!

01.16.2009 | Unregistered Commenterandie

Loved Loved Loved the ravioli lasagne! I'm fixing a batch this weekend. Can't wait to see what kind of ravioli will be available at the store. And I fixed the brussel sprout recipe with a few twists: with spaghetti squash instead of noodles, cutting the brussel sprouts in slightly larger slices (in thirds - they stayed together a bit better), sauteing them in a little bit of minced country ham along with the butter....yum yum yum!!! Andrea - thank you so much for all the energy you put into this blog. It is greatly appreciated.

01.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterShady

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