Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Garfield Day - Lasagna

Well folks...I did quite a bit of cooking yesterday....I decided since the weather was gonna be iffy today that I would go ahead and cook what I had planned for today....and that way it would be ready to go if we did lose power. Did you know that you can reheat Lasagna in a skillet??? All you have to do is cut it in bite sized pieces and reheat....it tastes better than microwaving it!

Of course the draw back of cooking all that food was my Bear decided she was starving and just had to have some of Mama's Lasagna before she went to bed.....which I gave her a small serving with the promise of more today! I told her she was gonna turn into Garfield if she ate anymore!

This is a wonderful make ahead recipe...if you are having company it will store in the refrigerator for a couple of days. What.I do is double my recipe...it doesn't take more time just a little more effort...and I put one in the freezer for later. I have even been known to make several smaller servings and share with my brother, who loves to come home and take home my freezer meals. Here lately I have been making small versions of my favorite meals and selling them to my friends who don't like to cook or just like a little help in that area from time to time!

Lasagna is fairly simple even though the instructions can get complicated at times....the ones on the back of the boxes always make my eyes cross. So hopefully my explanation will be a little easier to follow.

Homemade Lasagna
1 lb. ground meat (I used beef....but adding in some sausage works well too)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 or 3 jars of Spaghetti Sauce (the Tool Man claims that a combination of Prego and Ragu is the best...but use whatever you like or make homemade)
1 - 15 oz container Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 pkg. Parmesan or Italian Blend Cheese
1 Pkg. Mozzarella Cheese
1 box of Ready To Bake Lasagna Noodles

My Ingredients
Ok because I made a double batch there is more here than what you would use in a normal recipe.....I didn't take a picture of the meat that I had already browned or the extra spaghetti sauce that I added....some things just get redundant!!!

1. Brown you ground beef with you onions and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the grease and add your pasta sauces to heat.

These are blended for your cheese layer
2. Now you need to mix up your cheese layer ingredients. In a medium sized bowl mix Ricotta Cheese, egg, 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning, and about 1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan Cheese. If you don't have ricotta cheese you can substitute cottage cheese...if you want the finer consistency of ricotta run your cottage cheese through a food processor.
Ricotta Cheese Mixture
Ok now you can assemble your Lasagna. When choosing a pan be sure it deep.....it needs to have at least 3 or 4 inch sides.

3. Start with a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Top with three of you pasta sheets. I personally love the ready to bake Lasagna noodles...it saves a step in the cooking process, I don't have another pan to wash and you don't have to struggle with slippery pasta.

4. Divide your Cheese mixture into thirds...and spread 1/3 of the mixture over the pasta sheets.
Cheese Mixture Layer
5. Next you want to spread a layer of your pasta sauce over the cheese layer. I find a soup ladle to be extremely helpful for this process.
Pasta Sauce Layer
6. Now sprinkle on a combination of your cheeses. I normally use a handful of each...but I like cheese so I tend to be generous on this issue.
Grated Cheese Layer
7. Now start all over again with a layer of your pasta sheets. Repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 twice more.

8. You can either stop here or I add another layer of pasta sheets, topped with whatever sauce is left and the remaining cheese.
Before baking.
This is what I managed to make with the ingredients that I had. The big casserole I baked and divided between my crew and my Momma and Daddy down the road (Lil' Sister and Grandma live down there, too!) . Two of the smaller (2 serving pans) went in the freezer and one went in the oven with my big pan. One of my friends likes hers where she can just reheat it for lunch.

9. Bake your dish, uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes! If you choose to refrigerate or freeze this, you are gonna need to let it cool completely and then wrap with foil and mark with instructions.
Yummy!!! Garfield Food!
We keep this meal simple...I normally make some whole kernel corn or corn on the cob, a green salad and garlic bread....wish I had a picture of that! Like I said yummy and guaranteed to make any kid into a Garfield!

Happy cooking and God Bless, Mama D

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