Just a little ole working gal, who loves food

Friday, June 3, 2011

Meat Lovers Lasagna!

Everyone loves a good lasagna. And that's a fact. I don't think I have yet to meet a person who didn't love this family style meal. You can add whatever you like to it and it (should) always come out delish! I usually add as many veggies to my lasagna as I can. With all the cheese, sauce and pasta involved even the biggest veggie hater won't know what hit them!

Last night in the very late hours of the night, I made a lasagna. Don't ask me why I decided to make lasagna at 11pm on a Thursday. I just did. And I ate some, then went to bed on a full stomach. So not good. But the lasagna was! And totally worth it because now I don't have to cook dinner tonight!

First you make the sauce. This is a meat lovers sauce, however you are welcome to omit the meat and just make a veggie filled marinara sauce. But my husband wants meat in his lasagna, so I went with this route.
 In a large heavy bottomed pot, add 1 tbsp Olive Oil and 2 roughly chopped onions. Saute.
 Chop up some veggies for the sauce. I like to add Peppers, mushrooms, shaved carrots, chopped zucchini etc. But since it was 11pm and I didn't go to the grocery store to buy all these veggies, I stuck with Yellow and Orange Peppers. Seriously though, just add whatever you want!
 Now its time for the meat. My husband had purchased one of those Costco sized family packs of Lean Ground Beef. I used the whole thing in this for this reason: When I make sauce, I make enough to freeze for 2 more lasagnas. Making the sauce is the longest process in this whole ordeal, so why not make enough for a couple more times? Or if you don't want lasagna again you at least have a wonderful meaty sauce for spaghetti. I am just so smart sometimes!
 Add some spices to your meat. I like to add the following: Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Dried Parsley, Salt and Pepper. If I want some spice in the sauce I will also throw in some Hot Pepper Flakes.
 Add about 3 Minced Garlic Cloves. I love the fact that I have this fresh pre-minced garlic at hand. This is no ordinary store bought minced garlic. This is Fresh out of my grandma's garden.
 Every year after her garlic harvest in the fall my grandma hand peels allllllllll her garlic and throws it in her food processor to mince. She adds a little salt and vinegar and preserves it in mason jars. I get 2 of these a year and we use every last bit! This is the second jar already! I love my grandma!!!
 The meat should be completely browned by now.
 Add 1 Large Can of Crushed Tomato's and 2 Jars Tomato Sauce. I don't buy the fancy sauces, just the plain tomato sauce you find in your local grocery store.
 Sauce is good to go! I let it simmer on low while I prepare the rest of the ingredients!
 In a large pot, fill with water and salt heavily. When I cook lasagna noodles I like to add a little olive oil to the water so the noodles don't stick. Cook until Al dente. When the lasagna is baking the noodles will continue cooking so you don't want them completely done when you boil them.
 In the meantime grate your cheese. I use non-fat Mozzarella (because I use a tonne of it, using non-fat makes me feel better about myself). I also mix in some grated Romano cheese as well.
 Noodles are ready! I rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process. They are also easier to handle.
Now get your layering station ready! You will need 1 large lasagna tray or dish, Your cheese, your sauce, your noodles, 1 container cottage cheese (Trust me!!), 4 large handfuls baby spinach. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
 First layer is the sauce
 Second layer is the noodles
 More sauce
 Spread that cottage cheese on
 Sprinkle some Mozzarella/Romano cheese mixture over that
 And all the spinach. It may look like a lot but it shrinks like crazy in the cooking process
 Add some more noodles. You make have to press down the noodles to make room for the last layer.
 Generous layer of sauce
 Top with the rest of the cheese
 Saucy! Now bake for 45min-1 hour. Make sure you place a baking sheet under your lasagna.
This will save you cleaning your oven later!
 2am lasagna!!

 So Gorgeous!

I can't wait to eat this for dinner (again) tonight!

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