My first time hosting Easter dinner! I really love having dinner parties.
We had my parents and grandparents over for Easter-dinner-a-week-early today. Usually on Palm Sunday we go to my grandparents, but it's getting to be too much for Mommom. Mom was going to host, but they're getting their kitchen counters redone, so it was up to me!
I had a lot of trouble deciding what to make. I didn't want to make the traditional ham dinner since I don't eat ham, but I wanted to make something special. It was always a tradition in my house growing up to have pasta on Sundays, so I made lasagna.
We made the sauce last night with tomatoes canned from last summer's garden. It smelled soooo good!
I thought about cooking the mushrooms first, but decided not to because I didn't want them to break down too much. It turned out to be good because their juices cooked into the rest and gave a subtle flavor to the whole dish. If you don't like mushrooms, you could easily skip them.
They just look so pretty! And they add lots of nutrients.
We had appetizers for when everyone arrived: jalepeno cheddar hummus, spelt crackers, and olives. The lasagna still had about half an hour to bake and we were having a late lunch, so I was starving!
Baked and ready to serve! We played pinochle afterwards, which is a tradition when the 6 of us are together. It's always guys against girls. This time it was pretty even - we played 2 games and each team won once. Poppop always amazes me because he knows which card everyone is going to play before they play it. Maybe someday I'll have played enough to be able to do that...
Swiss Chard & Mushroom Lasagna
Serves 8 hungry people
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles (about 18-20 noodles)
4 quarts tomato sauce
16 oz. ricotta cheese
2 c mozzarella cheese
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 c frozen swiss chard, chopped (or substitute spinach)
5 baby Portabella mushrooms, sliced
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9"x13" pan with olive oil cooking spray. Mix together the three cheeses, the seasonings, and the swiss chard. Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay noodles on the sauce to cover the bottom. Carefully spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on the noodles. Top with sauce and another layer of noodles. Add another 1/3 of cheese mixture and then cover with sliced mushrooms. Add sauce, another layer of noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, noodles, and finish with a layer of sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20-30 minutes or until you can stick a fork easily through the noodles. Let rest about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Note: The sauce might bubble over the edges of the pan. I placed a baking sheet on the rack under the lasagna to catch the spills and save myself the trouble of cleaning the oven.