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Turkey Lasagna

Indio, California: A beautiful sunny day in the trailer park. We think it is getting a little quiet around here. Because we have been away so much, we have missed many of the comings/goings... but it seems more and more campsites are empty. I feel many people want to get home for Easter with the grandkids.

Me? I spent an hour driving all over the desert trying to find Kosher-for-Passover Matzo. The closer one gets to Palm Springs, the easier it is to find such things. I am reminded of the countless places we have been in our travels over Passover. Trying to find Passover matzo in Austin. Mexico (not happening). Borrego Springs. Las Vegas. Los Angeles (super easy). Julian. The Grand Canyon (nope). New Mexico. We always manage to pull it off somehow.

Our contractor came by this morning with the final plans for our casita and "covered pavilion". We approved the drawings and I signed-off on the plans. We wrote a check to the Motorcoach Country Club for $500 for the architectural committee to (hopefully) approve the plan and also gave the Motorcoach Country Club a check for $5000 as a deposit. We are not exactly sure what this check is for, but apparently the five grand will be returned to us once the project is complete. The $5000 deposit does not bother me. I am just wondering why we have to pay $500 to a volunteer committee to approve our site plan?

Mark & Debbie came for dinner. They were the third taste-test for my turkey lasagna recipe. Lisa feels it is too carb-rich. Lisa is right, but this recipe is also super-low in fat and low in calories. The flavor is so savory, I feel it is a healthy recipe and I hope you will give it a try. This lasagna is very RV friendly as well - and great to make-ahead for guests. If you have a food processor, go ahead and smish the veggies in your machine.

Mark brought garlic bread and Tiramisu to the party - so we had a perfect Italian meal in the California desert.

This recipe involves a simple Turkey Ragout layered between many sheets of lasagna noodles. The veggies need to be diced super small, so they will meld into the sauce. The only cheese is a little Parmesan sprinkled over the top. (The sauce could also be served over spaghetti, penne or rigatoni pasta.) The lasagna can be prepared up to 24 hours before baking - just assemble, cover well and refrigerate. Don't be afraid of the allspice - it makes the meal.

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced very fine
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced very fine
2 ribs celery, minced very fine
2 carrots, peeled and finely grated
1.25 pounds ground turkey
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine (not chardonnay!)
14 ounce can tomato sauce
½ teaspoon Kosher Salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
One package (9 ounces) no-bake lasagna noodles (or 12 sheets)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and coat the bottom with the olive oil. Add the onion and saute for three or four minutes until the onion begins to brown. Add the garlic, celery and carrots and stir, over medium heat for a few more minutes. Add the turkey and cook, while breaking-up the meat into very small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon, until the turkey is just cooked through. Reduce the heat and stir in the tomato paste and white wine. Mix well until the tomato paste is incorporated into the turkey mixture, then add the tomato sauce, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and allspice. Stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, slightly covered, for about 30 minutes.

(At this point, the sauce can be cooled/frozen for use later.)

Oil an 8x8-inch baking dish. Line the bottom with two sheets of no-bake lasagna noodles and cover the pasta with a very thin layer of the turkey sauce, about one cup of sauce. (The object is to have a lot of pasta with a thin layer of sauce between each layer.) Continue layering lasagna noodles with turkey sauce until all the sauce is used, finishing with a layer of turkey sauce on top. Cover tightly with foil.

(At this point, the assembled lasagna can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours prior to baking.)

Bake, covered with foil, at 375° for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the lasagna from the oven. Remove the foil and sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly over the surface. Reduce oven to 350°. Return lasagna to the oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes. Let rest for five minutes, then cut into squares and serve.

Serves 4 hungry runners, or 6 normal people.

Until my next update, I remain, your well-fed correspondent.

Turkey Lasagna - ready for the oven

SLOGGER REPORT:  I "ran" 3 miles around the resort. The first mile felt as if someone had poured cement into the veins of my legs. Horrid. Awful. Dave says it is because I did not run for three days. I think it is because I did not run for three days and because we helped the kids move to their new home for two of the three days. Tomorrow I will try again.

RV Park:  Motorcoach Country Club - The Crown Jewel of Motorcoach Resorts. 400 sites, three pools, three spas, fitness center, golf, bocce ball, tennis, 2-mile waterway, fine-dining restaurant, bar, security, free wifi, planned activities, perfectly maintained. Sites for sale or rent.