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So, you take a walk to the farmer’s market in Union Square. You pick up a cucumber because you really wanted a cucumber sandwich. Then you spy a table of summer squash galore. Bags of yellow and green squash for $2 each. Each bag contains about 6 small zucchini. You buy two simply because it’s a bargain.

You have a spending problem.

Okay… I have a spending problem. But how could you blame me? I love summer squash and when its available, always use it as a side dish. Its versatile. Its easy to cook with. And its healthy. So please tell me what da EFF was I thinking when I purchased 5 lbs of squash???

I was thinking that I was going to enjoy grilled zucchini. fried zucchini. stuffed zucchini. broiled zucchini. breaded zucchini. zucchini. zucchini. zucchini.

What eventually happened was I got really tired of zucchini.

I really miss my friend, Mike, who moved to the West Coast a few months ago and I fondly remember the lasagna he made for me. I liked it so much I wrote it a letter asking it to marry me. But missing my friend and his lasagna, I decided to make a veggie lasagna inspired by the dude. Excuse me, the now west coast dude.

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Spicy Summer Squash Lasagna (makes 12 servings)

Ingredients:

1 box of lasagna noodles

6 cups of your favorite marinara sauce + 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes ( if you prefer store-bought, I sometimes use Classico spicy tomato and basil)

8 oz part skim ricotta

1 lb part skim mozarella, shredded

2 medium zucchini (or 6 small zucchini), sliced

1 Tbsp fresh basil

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In a 9 x 13 baking pan, spray surface with non stick cooking spray. Lay uncooked lasagna noodles in the pan covering the surface. My pan needed 5 lasagna noodles and if one didn’t fit perfectly, I broke it to make it fit. HULK status.

Cover the noodles liberally with marinara sauce, about 1 cup or enough to cover the noodles.

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Next, add a single layer of zucchini. Because the zucchini loses a lot of water in the cooking process, the excess liquid helps cook the noodles to perfection.

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Add several small spoonfuls of ricotta cheese on top of the zucchini. Then add about 1 –2 cups of sauce, followed by a layer of mozzarella cheese (1 cup). Repeat 2 more times, or until you have 1 inch remaining to the top.

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Add a final layer of sauce, being sure to liberally cover every surface with sauce. Cover with remaining cheese and sprinkle with fresh basil.

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Cover and bake at 350* for 1 hr. Allow the lasagna to rest before cutting into it right away so the cheese has time to settle. Makes 12 portions… or more if you don’t like big portions.

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These can be frozen by wrapping individual servings in foil and placed in a freezer bag. It’s a great way to store leftovers in case of emergencies.

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…or in my case feeding the parents who live across the street.

Lately, with my family being so close to me, I make extra so that I can share it with them. I love knowing they are so close by. I love even more showing up at their door with a container full of hot veggie lasagna and having dinner with them at the table.

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Food has a beautiful way of bringing us closer together as a family. And as we sat down to this spicy veggie lasagna, we ate in silence for all of 5 minutes in pure enjoyment until someone broke the silence with a loud and grateful belch. Then we all laughed heartily. Together. At the dinner table.

*shake some parm cheese on this baby before eating! oh my!*

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