Happy weekend! Once a week Mike and I have a cheat meal. Typically we go for Italian on these days. Last weekend it was Chicken fingers with mashed potatoes and gravy. We do this for two reasons. One – to congratulate ourselves for a week of clean eating and hard work and two – to remind us why we love eating clean. Once you go paleo – we have found that our stomachs and bodies just don’t handle the foods we use to love to eat. Saturday’s cheat meal was homemade and my favorite dish to make and consume and has been since I was a child! This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember. If I’m ever asked to make a meal, this is most likely what I make. Everyone who has ever had this dish has been blown away and goes back for more. This was my first time making it for Mike and telling by the amount of it he devoured and his words, he loved every bite. The menu consisted of California lasagna, spinach casserole, garlic bread and brownies. The brownies were a box mix so don’t get excited about a new brownie recipe to add to your repertoire just yet! Here are the needed ingredients:

California Lasagna

  • 1 large box of lasagna noodles
  • 3 jars of spaghetti sauce – I love Rao’s but find it too expensive for this, so used Prego this time. If you have a great homemade sauce/gravy recipe – that’s even better.
  • Either 2 bags of already shredded cheddar cheese or shred two blocks
  • Same as above but with Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 block of cream cheese
  • 1 regular size container of sour cream
  • 1 pound of either ground beef or turkey
  • At your preference you can add mushrooms sliced

Spinach Casserole

  • 2 packages of frozen chopped spinach
  • 3/4 block of cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Artichoke hearts (optional)
  • Handful of breadcrumbs

Lasagna directions:

Boil noodles and drain. Once done, lay noodles out on either parchment or wax paper so they do not get stuck to themselves or each other. Brown the meat of choice (I added garlic to mine). Melt the cream cheese and mix with the sour cream until they become one. Now it’s time to build the layers. In your lasagna pan, spoon sauce on to the bottom so it does not stick. Then, side by side, place four noodles long ways across the pan so that they are touching and cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon dollops of the cream cheese mixture on to the noodles, spread them out like you would cookies on a cookie sheet. Then sprinkle the meat on, followed by the two kinds of cheese. Then too it all off with sauce to completely cover but not soak. Repeat these layers. I get 5 layers out of my noodles with the top layers only being covered with sauce and then cheese. Cook on 360 degrees for 45 minutes and cover with foil. Then cook for another 15 uncovered. This dish is always better leftover, therefore mine is sitting out and I will reheat for dinner tonight!

Spinach Directions:

Defrost the spinach by placing in a pot of boiling water, then strain and remove as much water as possible. Then melt the butter and combine with cream cheese until it becomes one. Mix the cream cheese mixture with the spinach (add artichokes if desired) and spread in to a casserole dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and then bake at 360 degrees uncovered for 30 – 40 minutes or until breadcrumbs have browned.

Last but not least, do not forget to consume this meal with a bottle of red!