Wednesday, March 7, 2012

*I Cook Barefooted!* ~ Spinach Lasagna

Barefoot Love!

Years ago, 
I started searching for ways to get my kids to eat their vegetables!
The rule was always the same in our house:
Take it or Leave it.
But, if you take it...
Green always comes first!

And... No Gagging, Squalling, or *Fake Choking Allowed.
* Real Choking, of course, would earn you a one way ticket to the Heimlich...
followed by a stern lecture to use more sense when stuffing your green beans into your mouth.*

So began, the infamous Green Bean races.

My husband, I admit, did his best to play along.
His nostrils may have flared, 
(probably always will)
his eyes may even have watered... on occasion,
and he may follow anything green with his milk glass...
But, he ate them! 
He ate them because he knew little eyes and brains were watching.
 But really, he ate them because he's awesome!

At the start of supper, 
after *Thanks* and *Thoughts* were given 
for what we were about to receive,
green bean-thirsty forks hovered over our plates waiting to dig in!

Some finesse was necessary here.
I mean, the whole point of the game was, in fact, 
to get the green beans past the taste buds 
and into their stomachs 
without them catching on to our manipulation techniques. 
What can I say?
It worked.
And the kids...
Well, let's just say this was one race we Always let them win!

*For the record*
No Child or Adult was harmed in any of The Great Green Bean Races.
All were willing participants... 
Because that's just how we roll. 

Eventually, we graduated to eating "trees" (Broccoli florets)
and the occasional green salad, 
most often loaded with sugar-rich dressings for the kiddos 
(gotta start somewhere)
and a boiled egg, for good measure.

However, it was pure genius, on my part,
(Thank you, Thank you very much!)
the day I first substituted Spinach in one of our family's favorite dishes.
They never noticed the beef was gone.
And they're still coming back for more!

It doesn't get much easier than this recipe.
It's not overly loaded with sodium and sugar and preservatives, 
like most pre-prepared frozen dinners (depending on the sauce you use).
And it's Oh, so yummy...
with a loaf of French Bread and a nice Salad on the side.


Spinach Lasagna
3 cups Ricotta Cheese
3 cups shredded Mozzarella
3/4 cup Parmesan
2 Eggs
1 (48 oz.) jar Your Favorite Spaghetti Sauce
1 pkg. Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
Lasagna Noodles

Cook noodles to desired tenderness.
Mix Ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan and eggs.
Thaw Spinach and add to cheese mixture.
Layer in a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish:
Spaghetti sauce, noodles, cheese mixture, mozzarella.
Repeat layers.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
Let stand to cool and thicken.

*I sometimes use Large Curd Cottage Cheese, in place of the Ricotta, 
when I want to cut down on the fat and cost of the Ricotta. 
Not quite as rich, but still very good!*

*I also tend to use whatever form of spinach I happen to have in my fridge. 
When I have fresh Baby Leaf Spinach I just stir in, roughly 3 cups of uncooked spinach, to the cheese mixture.*


You want reviews?
    How 'bout,
"I'm Popeye the Sailor Man,
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.
I'm strong to the finich
Cause I eats me spinach.
            I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!" 

 How 'bout You?
Have a recipe you want to share on 
*I Cook Barefooted!*?
Show some Barefoot Love and...

Send it here: 
Want to include a photo? Fun!

What's on your table?

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 *Barefoot Love*Airbrush By, Colleen 


  1. My daughter and I went vegan. We are going to experiment with tofu spinach lasagna this week. We are excited. My husband and the boys are not.

    We have a game for picky eaters. They have to close their eyes and guess what I put in their mouth. We start off with one ingredient and then do two at once to see if they can guess. Games make everything easier. :)

    1. It was just a little strange the first time, not frying up the beef for the lasagna, but really... we never even missed it. As long as the spinach is drained and the sauce is thick, the texture and the taste pretty much stays the same.

      I can see my husband now at the mention of closing his eyes, while I put the unknown into his mouth.
      *HUGE Grin* I'm picturing the movie "9 1/2 weeks"... only NOT.

      The games did make it easier. Our kids are all teenagers now, and I think, are finally coming around to trying new foods because of how we handled meal-time when they were little. My main goal was to never make food the enemy. Only a choice.

      Best of luck with your vegan lifestyle. My extended family is full of them. If I didn't live in a house full of meat eaters, I would defect in a heartbeat. Except when a craving for a cheeseburger hit. Then not. *g*

  2. Hi Scarlett,

    I love the Green bean race game. At my house we have Jack Sprat and his wife. My daughter LOVES meat and my son loves veggies. I used to just order one meal and split it between them. Okay, and this is so TMI...sorry, but which one would you think suffers from constipation? Nope, not my daughter. Poor little guy with his bag of prunes :(

    1. ~poor little guy with his bag of prunes~ *snort*

      I don't mean to laugh. That's rough. My youngest had those issues when he was very young. Milk was the culprit.

      "Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
      His wife could eat no lean,
      And so betwixt the two of them,
      They licked the platter clean."

      There's more. I'll stop now. *g*

      Love it!

  3. My kid HATES vegetables, so this recipe is awesome! Thanks for sharing. I get tired of force feeding him. :)

    1. Shallee,

      If you don't tell him, he won't know. *wink* I'll be pullin' for ya!

  4. lol, that's a fantastic technique to get them to eat their greens. And that lasagna sounds yum.

    1. It is simple. But, it is also yummy!

      The spinach is, by far, the easiest veggie to hide in the lasagna. I tried broccoli and cauliflower once. No go on *that* one. Can't be too careful. You don't want to scare'em off!

  5. "Green Bean Races" sound like excellent fun! What a cool mom you are!

    I just tried to make a lasagna with spinach recently, but it didn't turn out at all how I was picturing in my head. My husband ate it anyway (bless him!). I'm looking forward to trying your recipe. And I love Popeye! Thanks, Scarlett! :)

    1. Ha Ha!

      My mom has a saying, which I twisted to meet my own devious needs. She says, "Bless THEM, Change ME".

      I prefer, "Bless ME, Change THEM".

      I took a trip down memory lane yesterday, while searching for Popeye videos. I'd forgotten how "entertaining" the cartoon voices were. Took me waaaayyyy back!

  6. Love your game. This lasagna sounds wonderful; I'll be trying it! Especially since Popeye gave rave reviews. ;) Gonna be singing that song all day. :D
    Catherine Denton

  7. Rest assured, it does taste so much better than that green stuff that appears to, literally, spring from Popeye's can of spinach into his waiting yapper! *TOOT TOOT*

  8. Hey Scarlett,

    Thanks for the awesome comments - really appreciate them, and yeah, I am sooo enjoying the boys now, even as I dodge scalding water and dangerous rakes (you are hilarious!)

    PS... I'm just getting into your I cook barefootedly series and wanted to say they are the coolest (or warmest, I suppose, depending on the recipe) things evah.

    In fact, you remind me of another Scarlett... have you ever seen "Four Weddings and A Funeral" (that Scarlett Rocked the Casbah, too:)

    1. Scarlett: [At wedding one, the bride walks down the aisle] Isn't she beautiful?

      Fiona: Scarlett, you're blind, she looks like a big meringue.

      *That* Four Weddings and a Funeral? *G*

      I have been known to confuse the bride with lumps of meringue. It does get a little sticky when my tongue makes contact with the bride's dress though.

      Did you know, sadly, the actress that played Scarlet (I'm two 'Ts', as in Scarlett O'Hara... Her character is one 'T', as in the Scarlet, the color. YOU noticed! Extra points!) died young of an asthma attack? Bless her. I looked her up. I so wish I had some of the freedoms the Brits do, in that I like their cuss words. So elegant... and yet, Not.

      Thank you for the push, btw... on the recipe idea! I'm really no cook at all, ya know. In fact, I'm just a hack. I steal recipes anytime I find a good one, and if the FAM likes it, then it sticks. And, I do... occasionally... use lots of herbs and spices and more natural ingredients than jarred sauce in this Lasagna recipe! My goal is usually the same, introduce as many whole grains and fruits and veggies as I can into our diets, without the preservatives and excess sugars. This recipe is a compromise. 'PREGO Fresh Mushroom' is my secret.

      *Happy Dance* you stopped by, Mark!

  9. Love your space, love your sense of humor and the recipes. I also love to be barefoot. I don't get back here often enough, I'll be better.

    1. Any time you stop in, it's a treat! No worries. *g*

  10. You have such a great writing voice! And I love the idea of Green Bean Races. :)

    1. Thank you, Peggy!

      Green Bean Races do get the job done! But, the cookie recipes you're posting look FANTASMIC! I've never been great at baking cookies. Not enough patience, I think. But for those, I am willing to give it another go.

  11. This may have to be my "new" recipe to try in March. My son won't eat trees yet, but he loves the spinach pasta his dad makes.

    1. Stacy, this is ME replying to YOUR comment! *G*

      As you can see, I like conversation. Yep, I'm a talker! And I'm so glad you stopped on in for a look-see!

      We started out slow with the "trees". Broccoli does have a distinct flavor, and the smell generally turns off the little guys... well, and my husband. Nothing a little hollandaise can't cure! Or simply some butter and lemon juice. YUM! I put "trees" in every recipe I can. It's my favorite!