Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lemon Garlic Béchamel Vegetable Lasagna

I was recently reminded by Jenny, of Picky Palate fame, of my quest to make the perfect vegetable lasagne. She made a TDF-looking version that made my mouth water just looking at it! Hers was a red-sauce variety whilst I was striving for white -since I'm a cream sauce girl! Anyway, I started this quest a few years ago and gave it up. However, I recently decided to jump back on the old horse... and when I say 'recently', I mean about 5:45 last night, the very hour dinner probably should have been coming out of the oven. Oh well! These kind of spontaneous moments are what husbands w0rking late are for.

In my hasty excitment, I neglected to remember that I didn't have most of the vegetables or cheeses, let alone lasagne sheets. Dang, I wasn't going to escape my usual emergency trip to the store. You will probably learn more about me and how I roll from this post and what you are about to read than any other post I've ever written, starting with what I just wrote. So if you want to siddle on up and be my bff for 2 minutes, read on.

So I load up the kids and head to Castle Towers. I was in my sweats, which was embarrassing. Not even at 9 months pregnant, in my wheel-chair, throwing up all over the place, heart palpitations and all, did I ever leave the house in sweats. Yes, I am that vain. However, at this hour and with my excitement brewing at the thought of my creation, not to mention in an attempt to curb my vanity, there simply wasn't time for wardrobe attention.

I rushed through the store, loaded the car up, buckled the kids in, and was ready to set off for home. Then I realized I somehow didn't have the keys anymore. They weren't in my pocket, they are ALWAYS in my pocket. I have real trouble with loosing things, so I've developed the highly sophisticated pocket system, which up until now had never failed me. I thought and thought about it, and came to the conclusion that they musn't be far, because I unlocked the car in the first place to put everything and everyone in.

So I start with the bags, unloading and reloading each one. Check the cart, check the kids, check the ignition, check the nooks, check the crannies... It was around this point that I realized, that, in my haste and excitement, I had already turned on the oven. Fear sets in. Visions of fires and screaming and damnation. Yes, for sure, the house is on fire. I know it!

Still no keys. I do the whole routine again. Unbuckling the kids, re buckling the kids. I had probably had some divine intervention earlier in the store, because I did something I also NEVER do. I bought the kids toys, which praise the heavens, they were playing happily with. A little too happily with. Gabe got some power wheels and Laine got a 'flute' {recorder} and she kept playing and playing and PLAYING it saying "Mommy, I'll find the keys with my magic flute!" It was really sweet, and annoying... but now as I look back, more sweet.

By this time I have gone for a third round. And as I rifle through bag after bag, I know it is all in vain. The keys are not in the bags, you wouldn't have to look a third time to discover them, they are pretty big keys! By now I am saying hasty, on your death-bed, type prayers with all sorts of covenants and promises. I am near tears, stricken with fear about the house being on fire, exasperated, starving. I realize I have no phone. I forgot it, which was stupid because the gas light was on and I was running on fumes, but the nearest gas station is so terrible for traffic at that hour! I couldn't be bothered to grocery shop AND fill up!

Not only that, but I went to Bi-lo rather than the usual Coles because no one, and I mean NO ONE shops at Bi-lo, which was the point, because of my 'casual' attire. I had the sweats to thank for getting me stuck where we wouln't be found until morning, if even then.

I was seriously about to crack, when all of the sudden, on my 4th round around the every nook and cranny in the car, they magically appeared on the floor near Laine. Was it, could it be? The flute WAS magic! Not sure how they got there, but we were finally on our way to sweet, sweet lasagna. And boy was it! The kids gobbled it up, however, I think not feeding them lunch was really the key there. It's not rocket science people. You want your kids to eat a nice, solid meal of vegetables. Just starve them.


Lemon Garlic Vegetable Lasagna with Chicken

For the Lemon Garlic Béchamel:

1/4 c. butter

1/4 c. flour

4 cups milk / cream {I added probably 1/2 cup cream and the rest whole milk, do any combo you like}

2/3 cup grated Parmesan

2/3 cup grated Pecorino

the zest of one lemon

4+ cloves garlic, finely minced


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, cooking out the taste of the flour. Add in the milk, and stir until boiling. Let it boil for a few minutes. Add in the cheeses, lemon zest, and garlic. Add in plenty of salt. Make sure that the sauce tastes really good and is well seasoned going in. If it is too thick then add some more milk. I don't like mine gluey!

For the lasagne prep:

Get salted water boiling for noodles. I used flat, whole wheat sheets which were excellent.


Washed Baby Spinach

1 zucchini

2 carrots

handful of sliced mushrooms

1 onion

2-3 cloves garlic

{there are many other veg you can use! I looked forever for a yellow squash to no avail but it would be perfect for this! I paid $4.00 a lb for beautiful tomatoes and then chickened out, but I think they would be gorgeous with this. Artichoke hearts also came to mind and would have been great but I forgot! Just use what you have / like -same goes for the cheeses}


Plenty of shredded mozzarella



More Pecorino if desired {I didn't}


We are meat eaters. I had made this chicken, basically for the stock for the soup. So I had it sitting right there, all in nice bite sized pieces, so I threw that in to. It's optional.

Putting it all together:

Dice the onion or slice into rings. Saute over low heat until translucent, adding salt. Add in the minced garlic. As I did this, I slid them to the side and sauteed the mushrooms, leaving them in the pan as long as I could without touching them, hoping to get a nice golden color.

While those cook, grate the carrots and use a mandoline {if you have one} to slice the zucchini in beautiful, uniform,lengthwise, thin slices.

Once the mushrooms and onions / garlic are done, just throw both of those into the pan for just a little bit of heat to get them going.

Drain the noodles. If you time it right, all of this should come together really fast and I PROMISE this is not as difficult or time consuming as it sounds.

Grease a Baking Dish {I used an oval dish that is half-ish of a 9x13}. Pour some bechemel on the bottom. Layer with noodles, more sauce, vegetables, chicken, and then cheese. Repeat this, adding in the ricotta only every other layer. Get plenty of sauce in there {though you will have some leftover}, people like it saucy!

Top with Parmesan and Mozzerella and bake at 375 / 190 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Bon Appetite!


Kath said...


James and Heather English said...

I love the hilarious commentary and you never fail to disappoint in having a crazy story to tell. Thank heavens for the magic flute!! Where would I find Pecorino cheese--costco? What kind of flavor does it have? I am not a big fan of really strong cheeses. Just wondering...

Rebecca (Foodie With Family) said...

Ohsweetgravy that looks good. And I have to confess I share your anti-sweats-in-public thing. I think that's why you misplaced your keys (which I have also done too many times.) You were so distracted by appearing in public in them that you couldn't keep your head straight!

...And the weird thing is that I'm not even super-vain. I just have a no-sweats-in-public-unless-I'm-dying-and-can't-help-it rule.

Maria said...

Wow, what a story! I hope every bite was worth it..ha! It sure looks like. I can't wait to try your recipe. I love veggie lasagna!

Aggie said...

Gosh, I'm so stressed out for you right now...I'm stressed out for me too because I swear that is my life. I lose everything, always end up driving on empty and make last minute trips to the grocery store because of gotta have it now meals...we could really be BFFs!
: )

Your lasagna looks absolutely fantastic and I KNOW it was worth it all! I am bookmarking this right now and am going to make it soon. I love a good lasagna! Especially with all those veggies , chicken and whole wheat noodles!! And of course that sauce!

Gaengy said...

Nat this looks so good and I loved hearing about the adventures in your life! Very creative recipe and fun times making it too! I was wondering about that cheese you mentioned too...never heard of it. Thanks for the entertaining post!

frugalisfab said...

Nick loves vegetable lasagna, but I have never made it before. It looks delicious, we will have to give it a try! Wonderful story as per usual.

Deborah said...

Oh my goodness! What a story! But at least the lasagna was good - it would be horrible if you went through all of that trouble for a so-so dinner!

Steph said...

LOL. Hilarious. I have had so many similar situations it makes me laugh and sigh. I do not like that feeling of loosing you keys, sweating bullets, literally, and on top of that knowing you have to get home to actually make dinner. Man oh man. It looks divine by the way!

Jenny said...

Holy cow girl, what a fiasco to make a pan of lasagna! Your crazy experience at the grocery store paid off, lost keys, sweat pants and all! It looks and sounds terrific!

hot garlic said...

Thanks for all of your sweet comments!

Heather: -If you are not sure you would like it anyway, skip the stress and skip the expense and time it would take to run to the store so you would have it and just use what you have / like. I am sure you will be glad you did! I only used it because it was staring me in the face in my fridge because I happened to have it on hand. Just don't skip the Parmesan!

Rebecca -you are hilarious and I am so glad we have so much in common. I swear we must be the last two women standing with this policy, and obviously I am fading!

Aggie and Steph, I guess we have a lot in common too! What you must put your families through with your fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants antics like I do!

Nicole, give it a try and let me know if Nick liked it!

Thanks again everyone!

Dhanggit said...

oh this lasagna is killing me :-) i love the idea of lemon and garlic bechamel! i will definitely try this!!

well on misplacing things its my hubby's hobby, Im there find it for him LOL

Mekhismom said...

I love the story behind the recipe. The magic flute worked! This looks absolutely delicious I may have to try out the recipe tonight!

Adam said...

Wow. You are actually a great storyteller, I was with you in every thought that went through your head. I love how we check things 3,4,5 times hoping that things will change... but it's like come on who are we kidding?

Glad you found the keys, and the house was in one piece... we wouldn't be able to enjoy your hilarious but scary story and your lasagna :)

Meghan said...

this is really good sounding! i might add this to my list... WOW!

Leslie said...

Ok..that was one seriously funny story. Completly sounds like me!
I remember one time I went to visit my friend at the hospital after she gave birth..I was running late so I valeted the car.
I ran up to see her. When I went to leave I couldnt find my keys anywhere! Oh no....they must have been on the food tray that had already been taken away to the deepest depths of the hospital garbage. I had the whole hospital staff searching through the garbage,,had all the nurses checking their medicine carts..everyone was in on the hunt well this went on for 2 1/2 hours. By this time I was pouring sweat..cursing up a storm.my boobs were engorged, milk was leaking through my shirt(breatsfeading fun).and then it dawned on me.....The VALET has my keys!LOL Not sooooo funny then..but oh how I laugh about it now. I felt like the biggest ass...and everyone looked at me like they wanted to KILL me! Well there is my key story!..sorry sooo long!

Prudy said...

Oh, you had me on pins and needles. I'm glad this story had a happy ending, a very happy ending at that with lemon and bechamel.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I just did a bechamel post too! WOW! Great minds think alike. I love veggie lasagna - my favorite!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Lemon and garlic in a bechamel sauce is just genius!

Stacey Lau said...

Mmmmmmmm...this looks amazing! But I want you to cook it for me.

Meryl said...

Sometimes it can be so hard to find the darn keyes! They are good at hiding. I'm glad you did find them because it looks like you created gold there.

RecipeGirl said...

I love your story :) I hate when things like that happen. And don't you always forget to bring your cell phone when something comes up and you really need it???

I love anything with Bechamel Sauce- yum!

Joe Horn said...

Great Story, I could feel your stress. I'm pretty good with my keys and my wallet. I did lock my keys in my car, with it running once. That was pretty stressful.

My son on the other hand needs your system, because he is always losing both his keys and wallet. Drives me crazy!

Hayley Nelson Potter said...

What in the...are you going to be the next on a cooking show. I am seriously going to try it out. Way to go, I am sure Bob will thanking you later too!

maybelle's mom said...

thanks for visiting me. i really enjoyed this post and recipe.

a. said...

Wow, this looks amazing! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for great ideas/recipes!

Tasty Trends said...

haha...funny story!

the dish looks yummy!

Pam said...

Beautiful. It not only looks really pretty but it looks really delicous too. Great recipe.

Foodycat said...

Lemon garlic bechamel? Wow! That has to be the best vegetable lasagne of all time! The lemon must just lift it into a whole new class! Thanks for sharing it.

Lizzie Bennett said...

Made this recipe this weekend for a group of friends and it was a HUGE hit! Mine didn't look like yours, but still tasted delicious. Thanks for the great new recipe!

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