Lasagna

14 Mar

Today was a cold, windy day and a big pan of lasagna sure hit the spot after a long day at school. What made it even more enjoyable was that I’d assembled it yesterday afternoon (Sunday) then just covered and refrigerated until time to bake.  Once I got home, I popped it into the oven and let it bake while I got my miles in on the treadmill.    Homemade lasagna is not as intimidating as some might think.  I don’t even cook the lasagna noodles first, just put them in right out of the package!  I’ve made this lasagna for years, but measured this time so that I could get the exact ingredients down on paper.

This recipe freezes very well and can easily be frozen once it’s assembled to bake later.  I actually doubled the recipe below and made one pan to bake and one pan to freeze for later.  It really doesn’t take much extra time to prepare two pans instead of one.  You can freeze the extra pan to have on hand for a meal another night, or you can take it to someone else to bless them!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

15 oz. can tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons dried oregano (or fresh if it’s available)

1 teaspoon dried  basil (or fresh if it’s available)

1 teaspoon dried parsley (or fresh if it’s available)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 lb. ricotta cheese or cottage cheese (I used ricotta)

1 egg

additional 1 teaspoon parsley and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb. shredded mozarrella cheese

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

lasagna noodles

Directions:

Place ground beef, diced onion, pepper, and garlic in large saucepan.  Cook and crumble meat until it is no longer pink and onions and peppers are tender.

Drain the fat from the meat and add the tomato sauce and the crushed tomatoes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the 1/2 teaspoon sugar (or a little more if desired) it cuts the sharpness of the tomato.

Add the herbs, basil, oregano, and parsley.

Simmer the sauce on low to allow the flavors to blend (about 15 min. or so)

 

Grease a large baking dish and place a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan and spread to cover.

Place a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles right on top of the thin layer of sauce.

Place half of the remaining sauce on top of the noodles and spread out evenly.

Mix the ricotta with one egg, 1 teaspoon of parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Once the ricotta mixture is mixed, spread half of it on the meat sauce.  It’s a little hard to spread evenly, but it’ll all bake up just fine.

Sprinkle this layer with half of the mozzarella cheese, then half of the parmesan cheese.

Repeat the layer, starting with the lasagna noodles, then the meat sauce, ricotta mixture, rest of mozzarella and parmesan last.

If you double the recipe, and make two, you can assemble one in a disposable pan to give away or just to make clean up easier.  If assembling the day before, just cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  To bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake, covered  loosely with foil so cheese doesn’t stick, for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes to brown the cheese.

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One Response to “Lasagna”

  1. whatsaysyou March 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    I heart what I read and now I want some :)

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