A warm and hearty start to the day is always good.  Not so appealing in the heat of summer but during these wet, chilly days of winter nothing beats a steaming bowl of Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat (Creamita, as my Nana called it) or Muesli.


To be honest, I’m a traditional European when it comes to breakfast: a hot cup of coffee and a pastry, is all I need and crave.  But there are days when my body talks to me and cravings for something more substantial is the order of the morning.  When that happens, I listen and take the time to prepare something that interest and satisfies what my body is lacking.  Usually protein.


Many of us don’t have a whole lot of time in the morning to prepare a healthy, hearty breakfast on weekdays, especially me.  When my sugary breakfasts need to be replaced midweek I go to my trusty Slow Cooker.  Here’s a recipe for a warm, rich and creamy that will sustain you for several hours and make you feel as though your mom, dad or whoever showed you food-love is still in your kitchen.


— 2 cups steel cut oats (NOT quick cooking – they’ll too mushy)
— 3 cups almond milk
— 1 cup water
— ¼ cup barley
— ¼ cup wheat germ
— ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
— ¼ cup maple syrup
— 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
— 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
— 1 teaspoon cinnamon
— ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pumpkin seeds
— ½ cup raisins
— ½ cup other dried fruit such as apples, apricots, currants or bananas
— ¼ cup slivered almonds
— 1 pinch of salt


— Gently add artichoke hearts to the large bowl of roasted vegetables. Stir in Italian seasoning then taste for additional salt and black pepper if needed.


In a small mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg and 2 tablespoons of the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.


To assemble: Spray a large loaf pan lightly, with non-stick spray. Then spoon bottom of pan with approximately 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Lay two lasagna noodles on top of sauce (you may need to cut them to size), top with 1/3 of the roasted vegetable mixture, top that with dollops of the ricotta cheese (1/3rd) 1/3 of the sliced mozzarella. Repeat this pattern until you’ve done it 3 times. You should be near the top of the loaf pan but not at the top. Finish with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.


Place loaf pan on a clean sheet pan, to catch any spill over. Tear a piece of foil large enough to loosely cover pan, spray one side lightly with non-stick spray and cover lasagna. Bake covered in 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes then remove foil and bake another 10 minutes.


Lasagna should be bubbling and lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes then garnish with remaining basil chiffonade.