Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Traditional Lasagna

There aren't many meals I enjoy more than a good old-fashioned lasagna.  Chock full of tomatoey meat sauce and a thick cheesy topping.  This is one of my favorite comfort foods.... and it's something I don't make often.  Why?  I don't know.  It's so easy.  It makes a few messy pans and bowls, but is such a basic recipe that is so simple to assemble.  I have been known to more often make my CrockPot Lasagna just because you throw it all in a pot and leave it, but my husband thinks the noodles have a different texture when they cook in the crock pot, so I don't make it much anymore.  Chris actually wanted lasagna on Sunday and after church we had gone to the grocery store to get a few basics and went past the pre-packaged frozen meals and he saw the big box of family-style lasagna and he wanted to get it.  $20 - plus all those preservatives, fat and sodium?  No thanks - I can make it way cheaper and healthier - so that's what we did!

Traditional Lasagna

1 1/2 lbs ground beef* (I use 85% lean)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 heaping teaspoons dried basil
1 heaping teaspoon dried marjoram
1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 eggs
1 20-ounce container of cottage cheese (I think it's a 20-ounce container, maybe 22)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus another 1/4 cup for the top
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese or 1 cup each of shredded cheddar and mozzarella
6 lasagna noodles (3 for each layer tends to perfectly fit unless you use a larger lasagna pan, then probably make 2 more noodles)

Brown meat with onion and garlic; add tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, marjoram and mushrooms.  Reduce pan to simmering and while the meat is simmering boil your lasagna noodles.  In another bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan and parsley.
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9x13 pan.  Spread a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom of the pan - just enough for a thin layer before placing noodles.  Place a layer of noodles in the bottom of the pan (3 should be perfect) then half of the cottage cheese mixture, half of the meat sauce and repeat layers.  Top with the 2 cups of shredded  mozzarella and cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan.  Bake at 375 for about 45-50 minutes.  If cheese seems to get too brown for your taste you can spray some aluminum foil with cooking spray and place it over top of the pan to finish baking.  Let the lasagna stand another 15 minutes before serving.

--You can make this lasagna in advance and cover it in your fridge for a few days or freeze it for later use (thaw before you bake it).  You will have to adjust baking time accordingly.  From the fridge, bake it approximately 60 minutes.

*you can use a mixture of ground beef, turkey, Italian sausage or pork - whatever meats you like, just be sure to have 1 1/2 pounds

The hubby thought we should make the lasagna 'together'.  :)

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