Thursday, December 9, 2010

Darth Vader Casserole

It's Christmastime in the City!! Have I told you that lately?? One thing I love about our great city is that when I walk from the office over to the parking garage, I'm among these beautiful sky high historic buildings and as the icy cold chill of winter air fills my lungs I'm excited to hear my favorite Christmas carols being played through the speakers all throughout downtown. It makes me absolutely giddy!!

Our first "real" cold wave hit this week. So I have been in the mood for warm hearty dinners all week, but I needed something quick that I could throw together and bake as I wrapped glitzy packages to place beneath our tree.

Darth Vader Casserole is a nice change to a typical lasagna. Made with black beans, cheese, and salsa, this is a delicious meatless casserole that is so easy. Enjoy!!

15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
26 oz. can crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup salsa
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10-12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded Colby jack cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine drained beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell pepper, salsa, chili powder, and cumin and mix well. In small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and beat until combined.

Spread 1 cup of the tomato and bean mixture in the bottom of a 13x9" glass baking dish. Top with half of the noodles, overlapping slightly and breaking noodles as necessary to fit. Top with half of remaining tomato mixture. Spoon ricotta mixture over the top, spreading carefully. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Layer remaining noodles and tomato mixture over the casserole. Top with remaining cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray, and cover baking dish tightly with foil, sprayed side down.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-65 minutes or until noodles are tender. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer, until casserole is bubbling and cheese begins to brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. 10 servings

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