Lasagna

11 Nov

Since my boyfriend has been working so hard, and made my birthday weekend such a success, especially with everything he had done for me, I wanted to do something special for him for dinner.  One of his favorite dinners is lasagna, although if he had his way, he’d be eating his mother’s lasagna each and everyday (I can attest to just how delicious it is)

Most people think that lasagna is a day long affair, but I promise, it’s not as scary as it sounds! With some shortcuts, and some planning ahead, you can have a fantastic dinner in no time 🙂

ingredients

This is all I use for my lasagna

The first thing, obviously, that you want to do is prep the sauce.  I don’t keep any jars of pre-made pasta sauce in the house, but if that’s your forte, feel free to use it ! No one will judge you.

If you are prepping your own sauce, start off by chopping the onions and garlic.

onions

 

When that’s all said and done, throw it into a pot with some heated olive oil, salt and pepper until they are browned and delicious.

onions 2

When this turns to...

onions 3

this 🙂 yummm

Can you believe that you’re already halfway there?

After the onions and garlic have gotten to know each other, and got married and had sweet yummy food babies, it’s time to add the tomatoes. I like to use Hunt’s crushed tomatoes because, well, they’re usually the cheapest ones, and I like the flavor.  I get the ones with basil added so that I don’t have to worry about adding an extra herb to the dish, it’s already done for me.

Open the can up, and pour it into the onion mixture.

mmm sauce

Now is when I will add the dry spices, and crushed red pepper if that’s your thing.  We like it spicy in this house, so I’ll add a hefty pinch of red pepper flakes.

Let it simmer for a few minutes so everything can come together and the flavors can meld, and that’s it! Take if off the burner and let it cool down some.

This might be a shocker, but I don’t cook my lasagna noodles. Never. Ever. It’s too much of a hassle, and I find that the lasagna doesn’t come out as neat when the noodles are going into it already soggy. So what I do is take some reeeaaally hot tap water, and but it into a 13×9 pan. Then I lay the lasagna noodles in it, and let them sit for up to 30 minutes. The best part? you can do this before you start the sauce, and when you’re ready to go, so are the noodles.

I love it when it does the work for me.

While the sauce is cooling, is when I start the meat.  Just brown is in a pan until it’s nice and browned. Depending on the kind of meat you have, and the amount of fat, you may need to drain the fat off.

Now it’s time to layer 🙂

Start with a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your pan so the noodles don’t stick.

You can also use a nonstick spray, but why not work with what you have?

Starting with a base layer of noodles, layer your ricotta, meat, cubed mozzarella, and sauce. In whatever order your heart desires.

I usually get 3 or 4 layers. Be sure to save some sauce and mozzarella for the top of the lasagna!

before cooking

Cover with foil, and if you need to at this point, it can be put in the refrigerator for later. Or you can bake it right away at 350 F for a half hour. After a half hour, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is melted to your liking.

After 🙂

Let is sit for a few minutes, and dig in!

 

Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups cubed mozzarella/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 3 T italian seasoning
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • ground beef/sausage
  • 1 lb lasagna noodles

Directions:

  1. Start sauce by chopping onions and garlic. Add to pot with heated olive oil and cook until browned.  Add crushed tomatoes, italian spices, and crushed red pepper.  When sauce starts to bubble, take off heat and let cool.
  2. While sauce is cooking, place lasagna noodles in very hot tap water to soften.
  3. Cook meat in a pan until browned.  Drain rendered fat off if needed.
  4. Start layering lasagna by placing a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Starting with a base layer of noodles,  layer meat, sauce, and cheeses. Cover with more noodles and repeat layers. Making sure to reserve sauce and mozzarella cheese for top.
  5. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Take foil off and bake for 15 more minutes until cheese is melted.
  6. Let lasagna rest for 5-10 minutes, so that it stays together when sliced.

 

 

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