It’s August (Where the HECK did the summer go?), which means kids are starting back to school shopping while moms are preparing themselves for the hype and chaos that is the start of back to school schedules. This time of year was always so exciting to me. I can remember the smells of back to school vividly, and back to school shopping was my favorite. My mom would take each of us to the mall where we got a certain amount of money to spend however we wanted, stretching it as far as we could. Things have changed a bit now, though, and all that the beginning of August means to me is 21 Mondays left until Christmas. In two months, Hobby Lobby will start putting up decor, and in three months the eager beavers will start putting up their trees.
Last week we celebrated Christmas in July, which actually makes no sense to me at all. It is not half-Christmas, that would be June 25th. But, none the less, I jump on any chance to justify feeling like it’s Christmas. I seriously think I live for the small portion of the year that we get to sing songs, party, have up pretty twinkle lights and celebrate every hour of the day. Growing up, my mom made homemade lasagna every Christmas Eve. We would go to church together, then come back and eat a fancy lasagna dinner with the special china and gold table cloths. Of course, in the background was one of the Amy Grant Christmas albums playing. Christmas in my family is something I can remember vividly because my parents made it so special, and lasagna is a tradition I want to carry on. So last week on Christmas in July Eve, I attempted lasagna for the first time ever. And let me tell you, it was freaking awesome. SO awesome, that upon leaving the room for a few, Presley my goldendoodle ate the entire tray. (I am absolutely still bitter about it.) With our allergies, gluten and dairy, I not only had to make two different lasagnas, but I had to change up a few things from momma’s.
Gluten Free Lasagna:
1 16 oz. box of gluten free lasagna noodles
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced Italian tomatoes
1 package ground mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup non-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp. basil
2 cups fresh spinach
1. Bring a large pot to boil and cook your lasagna noodles in batches. (Roughly 6 minutes per batch) Until all noodles are cooked. Lay out flat to cool off.
2. Meanwhile, brown your mild ground sausage in a large pan, 1 tbsp of coconut oil in the bottom.
3. Bring to simmer in another pot your sauces and tomatoes, adding in a pinch of salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp. of basil.
4. Once your sausage is cooked, add in your tomato sauce to sausage.
5. In a separate bowl, mix your cheeses together, adding a pinch of salt.
6. After spraying your pan with non-stick olive oil, begin layering your noodles into your casserole pan. For every layer of noodles, place 3 dollops of your cheese mixture on each noodle, cover in sauce and top with spinach. Repeat the process until your final layer of noodles. Top with thin layer of sauce and mozzarella.
Place in the oven at 350 degrees for roughly 60 minutes or until cheese is fully melted and incorporated into the dish.
EAT AND ENJOY.
For DAIRY FREE. Remove the cheese, and add any vegetables you want to the sauce mixture. (I suggest eggplant, onion, zucchini and squash.) Top with fresh spinach.