Jessica’s Test Kitchen

It must be great to say that your prefix is no longer ‘Ms.’, but rather ‘Dr.’ Neither one of us can say that for several prime reasons, but our friend Jessica can! She is just about to cross the threshold into true medicine woman life, and she is also making her way through the kitchen. Through Twitter, she often names the dishes she has just made or is about to make, and it’s great to know that even a med student can find time to cook. If she can do it, none of us have any excuse to shirk our meal-making responsibilities. She hesitated just a bit when first approached to take part in our Guest Test Kitchen series, but the chef deep inside must be ready to make its debut because she’s here to share one of her vegetarian specialties with all of you.

I decided that in the New Year one of my resolutions would be to teach myself how to cook. I’m graduating from medical school this year, and apparently that means you are an adult. And apparently adults can cook food for themselves. Who knew? I’ve been having lots of fun taking basic recipes and adding my own special twist. Since I was a vegetarian for 6+ years and still have a lot of friends whose tummies “just say no” to meat, I’ve been working on spicing up traditional vegetarian meals. And is there anything more wholesome, hearty, or delicious than lasagna? Well, lasagna is delicious but also usually not that healthy. Since I’m trying to eat better, I figured I could put 4 years and $100,000 of knowledge to use and try to come up with a healthier version. So I added my favorite vegetables and used low-fat cheese and voila! A great meal minus all those pesky calories. I actually cooked this while I was in NYC visiting my friend Bobby to thank him for letting us stay with him and for taking us to all the hot spots. I hope Bobby and my friends enjoyed it as much as I did!

Easy Vegetarian Lasagna – Serves 8
12 whole grain lasagna noodles
26 ounces spaghetti sauce (your choice)
15 ounce tomato sauce
3 cups low fat mozzarella, shredded
3 cups low fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
3 cups low fat parmesan cheese, shredded
10 ounces fresh spinach
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
3 large yellow squash
1/2 large onion
32 ounces ricotta cheese
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon sugar

1. Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside to drain.

2. Meanwhile, slice squash and dice onions and peppers.

3. Put olive oil into large skillet or pan with heat to medium. Sauté onions, peppers, and squash. They should get nice and soft. This should take about 10-15 minutes depending on heat used.

4. In large bowl, mix ricotta cheese with half of mozzarella and Monterey Jack. Season this mix with parsley and oregano. Set aside for now.

5. In another large bowl, pour in spaghetti sauce. Add black pepper and sugar. Set aside for now.

6. Heat stove to 375 degrees. Spray baking pan with cooking oil.

7. Spoon small amount of sauce in bottom of pan, then place layer of noodles over the sauce. Top noodles with more sauce, cheese mix, spinach, sautéed vegetables and parmesan cheese. Repeat. Top final layer with remaining mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and parmesan cheese.

8. Bake for 45 minutes and then turn off stove. Let remain in stove for another 15 minutes and then serve with your favorite wine!

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


13 thoughts on “Jessica’s Test Kitchen

  1. Congratulations Jessica! I remember the day my sister graduated medical school my mom had herself a t-shirt made that said “My daughter IS the doctor” (as opposed to marrying a doctor, I guess). And who doesn’t love a doctor who can cook something this scrumptious? Vegetarian lasagne is the best! Now I’m craving.

  2. Nothing beats a good vegetarian lasagna, and this version sounds delicious. How awesome not only to have all the incredible skills required to be a MD but also the cooking panache to shock and amaze. Congratulations on a heck of an accomplishment.

  3. good to know Ive got some colleagues here…. As a medical intern, you need to find an outlet from being in a stressful hospital work… My fellow interns are always surprised whenever they find out that i can cook? I mean, whatsup with that? haha… Cant we have a hobby aside from suturing? Anyway, love your 4 cheese vegie lasagna. Sure is healthy, without sacrificing your palate… U

  4. I love lasagna! sometimes I throw in a bag of Morningstar crumbles to at least make it seem like there’s meat in there.

  5. Here’s a dirty little secret, I love me some meat, but I actually prefer vegetarian lasagna! Especially when it’s Evan Kleiman vegetarian lasagna…

  6. As a fellow med student, I have to say that I too love cooking healthy and delicious meals to fuel my studies. (or to procrastinate studying….). This lasagna looks delicious and congrats to Jessica on her imminent graduation!

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