Last night for dinner I made one of my favorite things - not actually a specific dish, but one of my famous, let's-see-what-we-can-make-from-these-leftovers creations. I think this is a skill I inherited from my mom, as it was a running joke in the family that if we were eating something new, we would ask, "can we ever have this again?", as most of the time it was just something she threw together with whatever was hanging around in the fridge. Life as a student solidified this genetic tendency for me, with many a night of "ok, I've got, um, raisins, a carrot, some leftover ham...what on earth can I make?" I think I have yet to have something turn out truly disgusting (though there is always time), and most of the time it is a great new recipe, and it is actually immensely helpful to record it here on the blog so that I now can answer, "Yes, we can have this again!"
For the two nights previous we had been eating lentil stew, and we had just a little bit left - not even quite enough for a whole serving for lunch for me. I didn't want to waste it, so I decided I would turn it into lasagna - quite a stretch, I know! - for dinner. I added a can of whole peeled tomatoes to the leftover lentils, as well as a couple more carrots finely sliced and let that cook into the tomato sauce base for the lasagna. It was a bit too close to when Henry would be getting home to have time to make a bechamel sauce, so I did a little cheaty cheesy sauce by adding some crème légère to two large spoonfuls of St Moret (cream cheese), as well as a twist of S&P.
In the fridge we also had some courgettes, a handful of shredded Emmental cheese and some parmigiano reggiano, so I finely sliced one of the courgettes and started with a layer of that in a buttered rectangular Pyrex dish, followed by a few spoonfuls of the lentil tomato sauce, a layer of the dried lasagna pasta we had in the cupboard, then the cheesy sauce spread over that, and repeated until I ran out of ingredients. I stuck the shredded cheese somewhere in the middle as I was building it, and topped it with grated parmesan then cooked it in the oven for I think around 30-40 minutes at 180°C (400°F). (If it is quite thick, cover it with foil for the first 15-20 minutes, then remove to brown on top.)
It was really delicious, and took about half the time and effort it normally takes to make a lasagna. The cream cheese sauce also funnily enough turned into something remarkably like ricotta cheese, so it is a great quick cheat for making lasagna!