Crab and Spinach Lasagna

Now that Autumn is here, we decided to make some comfort food that wasn’t as heavy as some of the things that we make during winter.  We made this with crab claw meat, but you could easily substitute with lobster or a combination of other seafood.  It is pretty simple to make and is quite delicious.  Pairing it with a simple salad made it a perfect and easy weeknight meal.

Crab Lasagna
Crab Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 pinch Fresh Nutmeg
  • 3 oz Fresh Spinach – cleaned, stemmed, and chiffonade
  • 4 oz Parmesan Cheese – grated
  • 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Garlic – minced
  • 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – sliced
  • 1 lb Crabmeat – shells removed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Lasagna Sheets (we used the ready to bake lasagna sheets or cook to package directions)
Butter and Flour Rue
Butter and Flour Rue
Slowly Add Milk
Slowly Add Milk
Fresh Nutmeg
Fresh Nutmeg

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour, whisking for 2 minutes in order to make a rue.  Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously.  Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Continue cooking for 4 to 6 minutes until sauce has thickened.  Remove from heat and add the spinach, crabmeat, and 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg.  Mix well.  Spray a 7″ by 11″ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread some of the sauce mixture across the bottom of the pan and then add a layer of noodles.  Spread the sauce across the noodles, then add 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.  Add another layer of noodles and repeat 2 more times.  Add the rest of the parmesan cheese across the final layer, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese starts to brown.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes.  Cut and serve.

Spinach and Parmesan Cheese
Spinach and Parmesan Cheese
Whisk in Spinach
Whisk in Spinach
Stir in Crab Meat
Stir in Crab Meat
Layer Ingredients
Layer Ingredients

Oktoberfest in Colorado Springs

We went to the Colorado Springs Oktoberfest over the weekend to enjoy some German beer, eat some bratwurst, and see everyone who dressed up for the occasion.  The temperature was more like a summer day than an Autumn day, but that didn’t keep people from coming out and having a good time.  We’re not German ourselves, but with our Irish backgrounds, any excuse to enjoy a few beers is fine with us.  We really had a good time watching the dancers, listening to the music, and eating authentic German food.  We were even pulled out onto the dance floor to join the dancers in a traditional German folk dance.

Pretzel Stand
Pretzel Stand
Young Dancer
Young Dancer
Dancing to the Band
Dancing to the Band

We had a very nice Hefe-Weizen wheat beer as well as an excellent Marzen amber ale from Paulaner Brewer, who are from Munich.  We needed the cold beers after literally kicking our heels up with the dance troupe, The Denver Kickers.  We have a lot of respect for them, all of whom are family members, as they danced the entire day and evening, entertaining the crowd.  That certainly can’t be easy, especially wearing lederhosen as warm as it was that day.  In addition to the dancing, there was plenty of music by The Prime Time Band featuring Klaus.

Pete and Dona with the Dancers Enjoying Some Beer
Pete and Dona with the Dancers Enjoying Some Beer
Beer Steins
Beer Steins
Beer Mug Table
Beer Mug Table

If we had tried all of the different food that was offered, we would have probably put on ten pounds.  The food that we did eat was delicious, especially the bratwurst with sauerkraut.  In addition to brats, there was Weiner Schnitzel, giant pretzels, German chocolate cake, and a variety of sweets.  Along with the beer, we definitely had our fill of good food.

Sweets
Sweets
Bratwurst
Bratwurst
Weiner Schnitzel Vendor
Weiner Schnitzel Vendor

It was a great day of dancing, drinking, eating, and people watching.  Regardless of your heritage or where you live, going to Oktoberfest is well worth the time.  It is a great event for families as well as for couples like us.  We really had a lot fun, made some new friends, and even learned a new dance, all in all, a wonderful day.

Cooking Some Brats
Cooking Some Brats
Traditional Folk Dance
Traditional Folk Dance
Smoked Salmon
Smoked Salmon

Hiking in Mueller State Park

We always head into the mountains at this time of year to enjoy the beautiful weather and view the beautiful scenery.  We’ve had an unusually warm start to Autumn in Colorado, so this was an absolutely gorgeous day to go hiking.

Aspen Leaves and Blue Skies
Aspen Leaves and Blue Skies
Cabin on Trail
Cabin on Trail
Trail Head
Trail Head

If you haven’t been to the Colorado high country to see the Aspen leaves changing color, you should put that on your bucket list.  We both grew up back east and have seen the leaves change in the northeast, which is a beautiful sight as well, but there is something about the vibrant gold of the Aspens against the dark green of the pine trees that is truly spectacular.

Aspen Trees
Aspen Trees
Rugged Tree
Rugged Tree
Aspen Tree Trunks
Aspen Tree Trunks

Mueller State Park is a great place to go hiking any time of year, but especially at this time of year.  It sits on the back side of Pikes Peak and has tremendous views of the surrounding mountains.  There are over 27 miles of trails in the park and there are trails to suit any hiking capability as well as plenty of trails that are suitable for children.  On this trip, we chose to hike the Cahill Pond Trail (#34), which takes you by an old cabin as well as a pond.  We didn’t see any wildlife on this particular hike, although there was plenty of evidence that they were around, but in the past we’ve seen elk, wild turkeys, and mule deer, and there are also black bear in the park as well.

Trail in Mueller State Park
Trail in Mueller State Park
Cahill Pond
Cahill Pond
Autumn Field
Autumn Field

There is nothing like hiking in the Colorado high country in late September.  Beautiful blue skies, golden Aspen trees, and cool Autumn breezes make this our favorite time of year to get into the mountains.  There is no doubt that winter is on its way, but until the snow flakes start to fly, we’ll get out and hike as often as we can.

Pete and Dona on Trail
Pete and Dona on Trail
Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
Mueller State Park
Mueller State Park