Sunday, February 28, 2010

Carrot Zucchini Muffins

I still have loads of shredded zucchini in the freezer saved from last summer's harvest. Why haven't I been using it up? It's almost March, the seed catalogs are piling up on the coffee table, before I know it the snow will be melted and I'll be sowing more Black Beauties in the backyard garden.

I suppose the reason is that shredded zucchini is basically only good for one thing: baking. I mean, you can make zucchini fritters or hide it Mrs.-Seinfeld-style in fish cakes, pasta sauce, lasagna, etc but it's mainly a baking staple in my kitchen. And I haven't been baking nearly as much as I used to with baby on my hip.

However, I wanted to make muffins for breakfast this week. Carrot zucchini muffins, to be exact. The days of my somewhat leisurely mornings of stovetop oatmeal and fruit went out the window when Ben came around. Now I just want to grab something quick and get out the door before he manages another exploding diaper episode, requiring the third outfit change of the day and it's only 7:30 am.

(S*)It happens.

So I decided to make these muffins, but had to locate a decent recipe first. Unfortunately, my quick searches only brought up recipes that assume the very notion that you are looking for something like "Carrot Zucchini Muffins" means you are some sort of absurd fat-free-food freak that wants a tasteless muffin with "pasteurized egg white substitute" in the recipe.


I wanted a real muffin. A good one. Thankfully, I came across this recipe. The blogger mentions it's a Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe, which is basically a big fat stamp of approval in my book, since Rosie knows her baked goods. In fact, I was so confident in the recipe that I tweaked it by adding carrots, substituting in some whole wheat flour, yogurt, and applesauce, taking out the nuts, adding maple syrup...ok, well, maybe my changes constitute a little more than just tweaking.

But I'm very pleased with how they turned out. Nice healthy-but-tasty veggie-rific muffins. Breakfast is set for the week: add on a schmear of peanut butter or cream cheese, take a swing of oj, grab my travel mug of milky black tea, and it's a complete meal. Done.

As for my son's morning routine, if only it could be so simple as this.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Makes 12 muffins - feel free to double the recipe. You can always throw a few in the freezer to save for later.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (substitute up to half with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil (substitute up to half with applesauce and/or plain yogurt)
1 cup (firmly packed) grated zucchini--use largest holes on box grater
1 cup (firmly packed) grated carrots
2/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and optional walnuts. Whisk well to blend.

In a mixing bowl beat the eggs, sugar and oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until very smooth. Add the zucchini and carrots; beat just until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and optional raisins and beat until completely moistened.

Scrape the batter into greased or paper cup-lined muffin tins, filling each cup almost full. Bake 20-25 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Unmold onto the rack. Cool completely and wrap airtight.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Puppy Chow

These are our puppies.

Or should I say, these were our puppies. They aren't very puppy-like anymore.

This is puppy chow.

However, the puppies do not eat the puppy chow. They only wish they could.

Puppy Chow
I'm sure there are a million names for this concoction, but puppy chow has stuck in my family. I ripped the recipe off a Rice Chex box, but my mom has been making this for ages. You don't really need to measure out the ingredients, if only to avoid washing that peanut-butter-covered measuring cup.

9 cups Rice Chex, Corn Chex, or Crispix cereal (or the generic equivalent)
3 Tbls. butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Pour cereal in large bowl and set aside.

In a microwavable medium bowl (glass please, no plastic in the microwave), add butter, chocolate, and PB and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until smooth, microwaving a few more seconds if necessary.

Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and carefully stir to coat cereal completely. Pour coated cereal into a large plastic container with a cover or a 2-gallon Ziploc bag; add powdered sugar, close the container or bag, and shake well until coated. Spread on parchment paper to cool. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Frozen Pumpkin Pie

As a fairly agnostic person married to a Catholic, Lent is always an interesting time of year. I understand the historical and cultural significance of Lent, but I didn’t grow up with it. I didn’t give up candy or TV. I didn’t get ashes on my forehead. I didn’t pray, unless you count those ‘Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret’ moments. But yet, the Easter bunny still came a-knocking every year, chocolate eggs in tow. That’s the American way, right? Celebrate the feast, ignore the fast?

Being married to a man who does observe Lent, I find myself trying to establish my role in all of this. I want him to keep his faith. I want him to have this part of himself that has become an integral part of his identity. I want him…to be him. But for reasons I choose to keep private, I don’t want to join the RCC, and he's cool with that.

So I find a happy medium. In support of my spouse, I tag along, a scrappy Lent novice following an old pro. I try my darndest to remember the no meat on Friday rule. I remind him of the Ash Wednesday service times. I go to the service with him, politely sitting while the congregation goes forward for ashes and communion.

In a word, I'm trying.

Prior to Ben’s baptism, we received a little welcome kit from the church. Nestled in all the pamphlets and calendars, I found pure gold: the church community cookbook. Bells rang out and angels sang as I flipped through those spiral-bound pages. There were a lot of prepackaged, “open a can and dump it in” recipes, so I figured it wouldn’t be a daily reference for me, but I still kept it on hand, a nice addition to my growing collection of North Dakota community cookbooks.

Lately I’d been noticing a sole can of pumpkin in my cupboard, waiting all fall and winter for an opportunity to make an appearance. Sorry, Mr. Pumpkin, but since baby came along last year, I haven’t been much of one for throwing together homemade pie crusts – I think any parent reading this will understand that. However, I did have one of those premade graham cracker crusts. I wanted to put them together somehow – some sort of creamy, pudding-type pumpkin pie? What about a frozen ice cream pumpkin pie? A quick Internet search didn’t pull up what I was looking for, so I set the idea aside. Weeks later, I picked up that church cookbook and the page landed to this recipe.

Was this a sign from God? How did He know I was looking for something Exactly…Like…This? It may be a coincidence. It may be a small miracle. Either way, all I can say is thank god we didn’t give up frozen pumpkin pie for Lent this year.

Frozen Pumpkin Pie
From the Bismarck St. Mary's Church Centennial Cookbook. Freezers suck moisture from food, so to avoid a gummy frozen pie, once the pie has hardened, store in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.

1 c. canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 graham cracker crust
Sliced pecans (optional)

Combine pumpkin, sugar, spices, and salt. Stir ice cream to soften, then fold in pumpkin mixture. Spoon into crust and freeze. Garnish with pecans (optional).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Corn Chowder with Bacon

If I purchased every cookbook that perked my interest, Amazon would have to put up a plaque in my honor. As much as I adore cookbooks, I practice extreme restraint when it comes to purchasing them due to a) limited shelf space, b) limited cash flow, and c) close proximity to a good library. I get my kicks from library cookbooks, then trade them in for something fresh a month later. I heart my public library. XOXO!

In How To Eat Supper, I read about a woman who purchases one new cookbook each year and explores that one cookbook all year. I liked that idea and thought about imitating it, but when January came around for an annual cookbook purchase, I couldn’t commit. I looked hard at The Flavor Bible and Super Natural Cooking, but in the end, I bypassed both and waited for my Prince Charming.

I am happy to report that Prince Charming has arrived, wearing a beautiful green jacket with wine colored trim. Say hello to Gourmet Today.

After sneaking a peek at the library’s copy of this, I placed an order for one of my very own. I must have this book in my kitchen today, forever, always. Isn't it gorgeous? I’m not just seduced by the lovely cover, however. I do have criteria, and I’m happy to report it passed all tests with flying colors:

The Buzz Test: I’ve heard great things about this cookbook, specifically from NPR, Amazon reviewers, The Leftoverist – all sources I respect and trust (well, some Amazon reviewers are a bit overenthusiastic, but anyway).

The Page Flip Test: I randomly flipped open the book and landed upon Grilled Zucchini and Tomatoes with Feta Sauce. Yes, I would eat that. Yes, I would make that. Yes, I would love that. Just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, let’s do it again…Strawberry and Cream Cake with Cardamom Syrup? Yes please!

The Font Test: clean format with a nicely sized font – not so small that you have to squint, but not so big that the recipes take up multiple pages. No pictures, but who needs pics when you have Ruth Reichl's pitch perfect descriptions?

The Rhubarb and Venison Test: This is my personal favorite, of course, since both are ingredients I cook with often. You'd be surprised how many cookbooks don't include recipes with these two ingredients...ok, maybe you wouldn't be surprised. Anyway, checking the index for rhubarb and venison – yes! Both are included. Score.

No one is paying me to write this (unfortunately). I’m just really excited about this cookbook. It’s a happy/sad feeling, since I probably would have subscribed to Gourmet now instead of Bon Appetit, but alas, ‘tis not to be. I’ll be curious to see Ruth Reichl’s next move. Ms. Reichl, if you’re reading this, whatever you decide to do next now that Gourmet folded, I just have one question:

Can I come with?

Corn Chowder with Bacon
From Gourmet Today, of course. We still have a ton of corn in the freezer from last fall's harvest, so this is a perfect use for it. I love all the veggies in here. I suppose you can substitute some of the cream with milk, but I hope you leave at least half the cream in there. It makes the whole dish.

1/2 c. diced bacon
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
5 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp. thyme
3 c. corn kernels
1 and 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Cook bacon in a large pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel to drain.

Add onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper to bacon fat remaining in pot and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, 8-10 minutes. Add both potatoes, stock, and thyme, bring to a simmer, and simmer covered until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.

Add corn and cream and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir in bacon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Applesauce Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made a discovery recently. Other bloggers actually plan their posts. As in, they think ahead of what they are going to blog about. And get this. They stage their food, and afterwards, edit the pictures before they post them! I know, right? Who'da thunk it?

This shouldn't really be news to me, but somehow I thought people were just posting up whatever they ate for dinner that evening. I realized otherwise when I saw this Pioneer Woman post, her new cookbook at her feet, pages bookmarked, notes, like she's prepping for a midterm biology test.

Then this post at Smitten Kitchen, where she admits that she is so busy cooking and taking pics that she sometimes forgets to eat the food! I adore SK, but that's like those annoying skinny people who say, "Ohmigoodness, it's 5:30? I've been so busy, I just forgot to eat breakfast and lunch!" I never miss a meal, and I promise you, I eat every darn thing that's posted here. That's a R&V guarantee.

But thinking about PW and SK and their blog perfection, I thought I could at least try to add a little window-dressing to the pics. So when I made these bars to use up an abundance of applesauce, I cut out some bars and arranged them nicely on a cake plate, like delicious little soldiers standing all in a row.

This was my modest effort to make them look appetizing while baby was sitting in his highchair, playing with a glass cup half full of milk, so pardon me if I didn't haul out the spotlights and reflective gear.

But here's the deal: since I wanted the bars to look pretty, I cut them out from the middle. A bar cutting faux pas in real life, but for you, no worries. However, lucky me since I adore the edges. So this is what I call a win-win: pretty pic for you, and plenty of nibblicious edge for me.

And baby? A happy, sticky, milk-spilt mess. Thank goodness babies aren't dry clean only.

Applesauce Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, the original recipe calls for 1 full cup of oil - I think that's too much. These are applesauce bars, after all. Substituting half the oil with additional applesauce doesn't hurt these one bit. Be warned: once you schmear on the frosting, these innocent little bars become highly addictive.

2 cups all-purpose flour (feel free to substitute up to half with whole wheat flour)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 eggs, beaten
2 and 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Stir in eggs, applesauce, and oil until combined. Spread into an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan (like a cookie sheet in rim or jelly roll pan). Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely, then spread with cream cheese frosting.

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 Tbls. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
About 3 cups of powdered sugar (or more or less to taste)

In a large bowl, stir together cream cheese and butter until very soft and thoroughly mixed. Stir in vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring well after each addition. Spread on cooled bars.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ben With Plate: A Pictorial

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Say what you want about Valentine's Day. In my book, a day devoted to the celebration of love can't be all that bad. I'm not big on flowers, and you can keep the chalky candy hearts, but coffee cake? My heart is all a-flutter.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Adapted from AllRecipes

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 Tbls. butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and beat until combined. Pour batter into a greased 8" square baking pan. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle topping over batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Quick Cocktail Sauce

It’s been another intense winter here in North Dakota. Lots of snow. Lots of cold temps. Lots of icy roads.

Ok, so it's been an intense winter everywhere right now, but this is the time of year where I'm completely over it. I love the four seasons, but around February I start to feel locked in, locked down, covered up, all while knowing we still have a couple months to go before the first sprigs of green pop up. *sigh*

Hubby risked life and limb to shovel snow off the house this week so our ceiling doesn’t cave in. We’ve already lost a window awning this winter, snapping off in the middle of the night from the weight of snow. I’m not crying about it, though. The house actually looks better without the awning, like a fresh face after scrubbing off a heavy layer of make-up.

Thank goodness for this man. Seriously, I'm all about equal rights, women wielding power tools and men wielding spatulas, all that, but I just can't get excited about climbing on the roof on a frigid day to shovel snow. I'm so lucky to have married this guy. He is caring, honest, patient, kind, a great husband, a fantastic dad, my best friend…and he happens to have parents who winter in Arizona. Bonus.

We recently returned from our annual trip to visit the in-laws in AZ. Although culturally Arizona just feels like a massive grid of mini-malls, golf courses, and dusty plots of undeveloped desert, I can’t tell you how invigorating it is to simply walk outside without layers of thick clothing, hunched down against the cold. To go outdoors, standing up straight in just a t-shirt – I wait for that feeling all winter. To go swimming and feel every muscle and ligament thawing, stretching, relaxing. To just sit in the sun and let the warmth radiate to the core of my body, the core of my soul. To eat oranges and grapefruit right off the tree, every cell of my being happy to receive an injection of fresh juicy sunshine in citrus form.

Yes, being able to escape from Old Man Winter, if only for a few days, is a definite bonus. The grandparents were very excited to see their newest grandchild, too. Check out that new tooth! (And ignore my ugly pasty foot.)

Baby Ben traveled well. It’s a little cramped sitting in coach with a baby on your lap, and a few pages of SkyMall may have suffered for his amusement, but we managed. Everyone warned me about fussy babies with popping ears, but he didn’t seem to even notice when we were taking off or landing. Any fears of being the person on the plane with an inconsolable screaming baby didn’t materialize, although I must give thanks to my husband, the island of calm whenever I was starting to get a little flustered. I feel like our little family unit can go anywhere now.

While we were in Arizona, I did zero cooking thanks to a wonderful mother-in-law whose primary purpose in life is to ensure no one in her family every goes hungry. This sauce is the only thing I contributed. We were having shrimp for dinner, but alas, no cocktail sauce. No one was really excited about running to the grocery store, so I looked up a couple recipes online, threw this together with what we had on hand, and surprisingly, it worked. It’s not gourmet, but it gets the job done in a pinch. Which leaves more time for walking, swimming, sitting, sunning, thawing…

Quick Cocktail Sauce
If you have more time, more ingredients, and access to a blender, check out Alton Brown’s cocktail sauce recipe. Otherwise, try this! You'll never need to buy a separate bottle of cocktail sauce again.

1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbls. horseradish (or more to taste)
A squirt of taco sauce (or more to taste)
Splash of Worcestshire sauce

Mix and serve with shrimp and lemon wedges.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The R&V Kitchen

Every now and then, the local wildlife guru Doug Leier will send me an invitation to discuss food, particularly wild game, on his AM radio show. Even though we’ve recorded a few of these chats in months past, I’m still surprised when these messages come across. A note from Doug will pop up in my email inbox, usually saying something like this:

“Beth. You, me, and radio make three. Let’s talk meat.”

Somehow Doug got this weird notion that I actually know something about cooking game…and even more astonishingly, that I can speak intelligently about it. And despite my stammers and dry sense of humor on the air, he continues to invite me on. A glutton for punishment, I suspect.

So it’s February and there isn’t much going on hunting wise, so I thought about discussing sausage making, something most ND hunters do after they bring home the kill. Shortly after making that suggestion to Doug, I had this running through my head:

There is no way I could talk about sausage on the radio without breaking out into a case of the giggles. Delicious Dish, indeed.

Thankfully, instead of the gigglefest sausage discussion, Doug threw me a spontaneous curveball and asked me to talk instead about a few things I must have in the kitchen, my absolute necessities, whatever came up off the top of my head. What? I can’t type out a page of notes on the topic? I can’t conduct hours of research for our four minute chat? You want me to, like, wing it?

Wing it I did. I’ll post the clip when it is available, but for now, these were my top-of-my-head must-haves in the kitchen – and I think they are pretty spot on for me.

1. Microplane. I think I called it a microplaner on the radio, but whatever, it’s a grater/zester. I use it constantly for shredding up citrus zest, hard cheeses, nutmeg, chocolate, ginger – a quick grate across the microplane creates all these little bits of concentrated flavor that can turn a good dish into a great one. It’s handy and dandy.

2. A decent bottle of wine. Not only because it makes a tasty beverage, but it’s great for deglazing the pan, making quick sauces, adding to soups, stews, roasts; I even put a pop of sherry in my stir fry. Wine and game are two earthy foodstuffs that go perfectly together.

3. Shallots, onions, garlic. I don’t know why I said shallots. Shallots are great, and I use them on occasion, but they aren’t my basic. Onions are my true go-to. Nearly everything I cook starts with an onion, and often garlic as well, much to my breath-conscious husband’s consternation at times.

And Doug, thanks again for the forum. Keep doing what you're doing, promoting the Great Outdoors of ND - and I don't mean that in the John Candy kind of way. Unless you are going out for an 'Ol 96er. THAT is something I want to see.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Three Cheese Lasagna

I now understand why having a baby is a big deal. Before entering parenthood myself, I would always congratulate people on their new arrival, but in reality, I was thinking how funny it is that we applaud people for having sex and procreating. “Good job getting one past the goalie!”

And sometimes, greeting a new baby could get me a little depressed, seeing one more American consumer enter the world, filling our landfills with diapers of poo consisting of over-priced powdered milk, Gerber puffs, and Happy Meals, being carted around in massive SUVs, a plastic and disposable upbringing to create a plastic and disposable adult lifestyle. Yes, I thought things like this while congratulating people on their new arrivals. Boo.

But I get it now. It’s a child. It’s hope and promise and innocence in a tiny 7 pound package. It’s a product of love that will continue to love and be loved all through its years. I understand now. And when you bring that baby home, the culmination of all the anticipation, you are brimming with happiness, excitement, anxiousness, and adoration.

The last thing you are thinking about is making dinner. So when a local blog friend recently had twin girls to add to her flock of four other kids (or is it five??), all I could think is ‘this woman needs a pan of lasagna.’

Is there anything more comforting than lasagna? Pasta, cheese, sauce, all layered together, warm and cozy and bubbly – and fit to feed a crowd. When baking bread, I have my own little rule of three: a loaf to keep, a loaf to save, and a loaf to give away. I decided to apply my rule of three to lasagna: a pan to keep, a pan to save, and a pan to give away.

When I found myself buying six containers of ricotta, I realized this may be a little more work than just making three loaves of bread. Still, when I got home with my groceries, took out my biggest pots and bowls and started mixing. It ended up being an all-day project, as I had to wait until Ben went to bed to actually assemble it, but if I ever complained, I remembered thinking it would’ve taken much longer if I had six kids, including baby twin girls.

So Pam, this one’s for you. A sincere congratulations on your new additions, wishing you a lifetime of big raucous family meals that celebrate the energy and bounty of life – the best kind of meals, if you ask me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to wash some dishes.

Three Cheese Lasagna
I grew up on no-ricotta lasagna – straight up mozz, meat, and noodles. But I had to try this recipe, as 582 positive Epicurious reviewers can’t be wrong – it’s gooooood. I used elk burger and our house Italian sausage, but obviously beef and store-bought sausage work just as well.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
8 ounces lean ground beef
6 ounces bulk Italian sausage
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

15 lasagna noodles (about 12 ounces)
2 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry
2 large eggs
4 3/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/4 pounds)

FOR SAUCE:Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic; sauté until softened, about 12 minutes. Add beef and sausages to pan; sauté until cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until flavors blend and sauce measures about 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Cool.

FOR LASAGNA:Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; cover with cold water.

Combine ricotta and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Mix in spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs.

Drain pasta and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Place 5 noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit. Spread half of ricotta-spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella cheese evenly over ricotta-spinach mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups sauce over cheese, spreading with spatula to cover (sauce will be thick). Repeat layering with 5 noodles, remaining ricotta-spinach mixture, 2 cups mozzarella and 1 1/2 cups sauce. Arrange remaining 5 noodles over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over lasagna. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.