Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lasagna

Several years ago I found a recipe for lasagna that I really liked. The sauce was simmered for a couple of hours and could be used not only for lasagna but for spaghetti as well. Just a good basic red sauce with ground beef. The recipe also used cottage cheese instead of ricotta which I like because I almost always have cottage cheese and living out in the country you use what you have on hand. Besides, I don't keep ricotta in the fridge on a routine basis. For some reason this really tastes better to me than the standard lasagna with ricotta.

The downside to this recipe is that it took me hours to make because of that great sauce. If you have tons of time that is great but most often I don't have all day to put together a meal. This is when I become a cheater peeter (I don't know where I learned this but I used it as a child....cheater peeter, cheater peeter). Oh excuse me I regressed for a moment. Anyway I'll show you how I cheat later.

There needs to be a whole lot of chopping going on. Chop the onion and garlic and set aside.

I used some flat leaf Italian parsley in this but you can use dry as well. I just happened to have some left in my garden.

Here I have chopped up canned mushrooms (I have used fresh before as well), green onions and that parsley. Set aside.

Now here's the thing. Some people prefer to sauté the onion and garlic first but you don't really need to do that. It will be cooking with the ground beef as well as simmering for an hour or so later. So toss that onion, garlic and salt and pepper together with the ground beef.

While the ground beef is browning cook the lasagna noodles according the package directions.

After the ground beef is completely browned add mushrooms and a tablespoon or so of that fresh parsley into the mix.

O.K. here is my dirty little secret. You can continue on making this recipe using the canned tomatoes and such as below instructions, or you can stop right here and add two jars of Prego Italian Sauce. I have resorted to this because I usually don't have an entire day to wait for the sauce to simmer. This tastes pretty darned good.

I usually add a package of pepperoni that you slice up yourself at this point (not the pre-sliced....somehow it is just not the same). Simmer on a low setting for about an hour stirring occasionally. The flavor from the pepperoni just seems to add a zing to the sauce.

I forgot to take a photo of the cottage cheese process so just mix the cottage cheese, green onion, eggs, parsley, salt together and we are ready to rumble assemble.

I was using disposable foil trays because this was being given to my in-laws but just a regular 13x9x2 inch pan is what you should use. Begin by spreading a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.

Next lay three cooked lasagna noodles lengthwise over the sauce.

Spoon the cottage cheese mixture over the top of the noodles.

This layer is the mozzarella cheese. You can use grated but I usually use an entire 2 pound block for two lasagna pans so I prefer to slice it and lay the slices over the cottage cheese layer. Spread a layer of the sauce over this and repeat all layers once again ending with the sauce.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top of the sauce and bake as below.

This makes a really terrific meal with a salad and bread. But see that roll on my plate? That is a roll I made using Suzanne's Grandmother Bread recipe on the Chickens in the Road blog. It turned out so good and it was super easy to make. Try it some time.

LASAGNA
=======

Ingredients:
------------
One 11x7x2-inch baking dish
4 oz lasagna noodles (6 noodles)
thick spaghetti sauce (see below)
2 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
3 tbsp minced green onion
1 tbsp minced parsley
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
-------------
1. Cook noodles according to package directions adding 1 tbsp butter or
oil to water; drain.

2. Brown beef, onion and garlic; drain excess fat.

3. Cover bottom of baking dish with thin layer of sauce; add beef to
remaining sauce.

4. Beat eggs in medium bowl; blend in cottage cheese, green onion,
parsley and salt.

5. In baking dish, layer in order half the following: noodles, cottage
cheese mixture, Mozzarella slices and sauce. Repeat with remaining
ingredients. Top with Parmesan cheese. At this point, lasagna may be
baked or it may be covered and refrigerated for one or two days.

6. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 35 minutes (slightly longer if
refrigerated) or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef and Pepperoni:
----------------
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 package whole pepperoni (sliced yourself)
2 small cans mushrooms diced
(Note: you can stop here and use 2 small jars or 1 large jar of Prego or continue for home made)
3 tblsp olive oil
1 29oz can tomato puree
1 12oz can tomato paste
36 oz water (3 tomato paste cans)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp tarragon

Instructions:
-------------
1. Cook onion, garlic, ground beef, salt and pepper until beef is browned.
2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours, stirring
every 30 minutes.

Makes about 6 cups.

7 comments:

noble pig said...

Good grief where are those two ji-mongo pans of lasagna going? They are beautiful...I'm coming over.

frugalmom said...

MMMMMMM....that looks really good. I use cottage cheese instead of ricotta as well. Have you ever used the no boil lasagna noodles? They make the lasagna process even faster and they taste really good.

Twisted Fencepost said...

That looks delicious!
it would go great with the garlic bread I posted today!!
Believe it or not...
I have never made lasagna.
Only the frozen premade kind.
I'll give yours a try.

The W.O.W. factor said...

HeeHee...I knew where your 'cheater peeter" was going to end up! How?? Cuz sometimes I do the same! So my "recipe" is almost identical as yours...I shredd my moz. chez, but hmmm slicing would be easier, will remember that for next time!

tipper said...

Yum Yum!! Now I'm starving!!

Jeannelle said...

Your recipe posts and photos are excellent! I think you could have a TV show....."egghead in the kitchen" or something!

DesertHen said...

That looks so yummy!! My mom made lasagna for us last night and sent it home with me. It was nice not having to cook when I got home....=)