Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lasagna Recipe

It's Wednesday, we are half way through the week! We can do this!

Today I wanted to share my lasagna recipe. There are tons of variations of how to make lasagna floating around out there, it sort of becomes overwhelming. So much so, that I ignore them all and make it my own way. Lasagna takes a little time, but is totally worth it! I make my own sauce instead of using jar sauce, so I will include instructions on that. Produce was looking a little sad when I went to get the ingredients, so I used can tomato items instead of fresh. Certainly when you can go fresh you should!

Also, you could use cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese. I have done this before, I just prefer the taste of the ricotta more. If you are trying to watch your weight, cottage cheese would probably be the "healthier option." I did use reduced fat and skim items when I could. You can certainly use the full fat version of everything if you are lucky and don't have to watch your weight!


For the sauce
1 large can of Hunts crushed tomatos
1 large can of Hunts tomato sauce
2 small cans of Hunts tomato paste
Italian Seasoning
Basil (fresh would be even better)
Garlic Powder
2 carrots, cleaned (you will remove the carrots after cooking, it keeps the acidity level down)
1/2 cup sugar (this also keeps the acidity level down, and makes the sauce just a little sweet. This could be omitted as long as you have the carrots in there)

For the lasagna
1 lb of ground beef (I used extra lean)
2 cloves of garlic (I used minced this time)
whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese( I used the part skim milk kind)
1 package of Italian Blend cheese (I used reduced fat, you can not tell a difference when cooking I promise)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg

Brown the ground beef with the garlic.

Drain and rinse. Place all the ingredients for the sauce, along with the ground beef into a crock pot.

Cook on low for a few hours. I can not tell you exact amounts of the seasonings, it is really based on your tastes. I am pretty generous with them, you can't really mess it up. It also doesn't matter for how long you cook the sauce. I started it around 11:00am and we ate around 6:00pm, it could have cooked longer, or it could have been done a lot sooner. As long as the sauce is heated through, you are fine.

Once you are ready to prepare the actual meal, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cook the noodles to the instructions on the box. Make sure you sprinkle a little salt in the water so the noodles do not stick. I cook the entire box of noodles, but usually do not end up using all of them.

While the noodles are cooking, combine your egg, ricotta cheese, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in a bowl and set aside.

Once your noodles are done, layer your bake dish with a thin layer of sauce. Make sure it is covering the entire bottom, this prevents sticking and keeps your lasagna from being "dry." Then place a layer of cooked noodles to cover pan. It is ok to overlap if needed.

Next you will spread half the cheese mixture on top the noodles. Then sprinkle some Italian cheese blend, then a layer of sauce.

Then another layer of noodles, the rest of the cheese mixture, sprinkled Italian cheese and sauce.

Finally you will finish with a layer of noodles, sauce, and sprinkled Italian cheese.

Place in the oven (375 degrees) and cook for 30-40 minutes. (The cheese will be melted on top, and the lasagna will be heated through.)

This makes around 8 servings and tastes great reheated. Enjoy! 

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