Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Lasagna Recipe!

Since Chris & I have been married, lasagna has always been my favorite thing to make for dinner!  I feel like lately, I have perfected my recipe.  I made it a couple weeks ago the night before my friend Katie came over.  We heated up leftovers for lunch.  She loved it & asked for my recipe!  Such a great compliment, because she's a wonderful cook AND her family is Italian! 

I've made it in the past many other ways.  Half meat sauce, half sausage.  Half cottage cheese, half ricotta.  Different brands of meat sauce.  Etc.  But this is the way my family likes it the best! 

Here are the ingredients that I buy:
  • 1/2 - 3/4 lb of ground beef (I like to get it from Fresh Market)
  • 25 oz of Tomato Basil Organic Pasta Sauce from Fresh Market (or you can use the smaller jar.  I bought this because it was on sale for the same price  - $3.99)
  • Barilla Oven Ready Lasagna
  • 24 oz of Cottage Cheese
  • *optional* Goat Cheese (Maybe two heaping tablespoons or so.  I buy it at Sam's)
  • One Egg
  • 8 oz of Mozzarella cheese
  • Coconut oil non-stick spray
(My goat cheese had already been opened & previously used)

I prefer to buy a block of cheese and grate it myself.  
Check out all the yucky additives and preservatives that pre-graded cheese has it in -  Added smoke flavoring, potato starch, and powered cellulose (added to prevent caking), and Natamycin (natural mold inhibitor).

No thank you.
AND I think the block cheese tastes better anyways!
You can grate all your cheese first, or do it while your meat is browning!  (Grate it into a large bowl that you'll later use for the cheese mixture.  Also a have a small bowl to set half of the cheese aside for the top!)

First, I preheat the oven to 375 degrees - or 350 if it is on convection.  (I use 350 convection)
I use a deep skillet, add a splash of water, and keep stirring & chopping it up until it's all cooked. 

I drain the meat in the sink, return to cooktop, then pour in the sauce, mix, and let simmer.

Next, in your large bowl, mix half your cheese, the entire container of cottage cheese, a couple tablespoons of goat cheese (optional), and 1 egg.

You may not want to use goat cheese, but I personally love it!  I think it gives it a such a unique, yummy taste!  

If your kids are insisting on helping Mommy, let them mix! 

Spray the bottom of your 9x13 baking dish with oil.  I use coconut oil spray.

I usually set the baking dish in the middle, then start laying. 
This order:
1 cup meat sauce
3 lasagna noodles
1/2 cheese mixture
1/3 meat sauce
3 lasagna noodles
1/2 cheese mixture
1/3 meat sauce
3 lasagna noodles
1/3 meat sauce 
(make sure it's totally covering the lasagna noodles)

First, coat the bottom of the pan with meat sauce.

 Then place 3 lasagna noodles over the meat sauce.
 Then top with about 1/3 of your cheese mixture.  Top it with 1/3 of your meat sauce.   Repeat twice.

 *Optional: Let anxious children help add lasagna noodles.
The last time you put on meat sauce, top with lasagna noodles, and top with the rest of the meat sauce.
I then cover the baking dish with foil, and bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes.   Set a timer!  When it goes off,  take dish out of the oven, and take off foil, and add remaining cheese to the top, and bake for another 15 minutes (with the foil off).
Turn off oven.
Let lasagna set for 10-15 minutes, while you set the table, get drinks ready, etc.   

Mine isn't usually so "cooked" looking but I was in the other room and didn't hear the timer going off!  I'm not sure how long over 15 minutes it stayed in!  Thankfully, wasn't burnt though!

My girls thought it would be fun to sit at our formal dining table!  I agreed, as long as they promised to eat!  My picky 5 year old ate two helpings!!  She kept saying how well "the bakers" made our dinner!

Bryn thought it was really funny that she got to sit in the head chair!  

Chris said it was the best lasagna I had ever made!  (I agree)  
This was all that was left after my tiny family of 4 devoured it!  

My mouth is already watering just thinking about eating leftovers for lunch! 

If you follow my recipe, I'd love to see a picture, and know how your family liked it!  Also, let me know if you change it up, or add anything else!  

Hope you enjoy! 

And if you're wondering, here's around how much it will cost using the same ingredients:
Ground Chuck - .75 x 5.49lb = $4.12
Fresh Market Sauce 25oz - $3.99
CF Mozzarella Cheese 8oz - $2.52
Barilla Lasagna Noodles - $1.98
Kraft Cottage Cheese 24oz - $2.98
1 egg -  1/12 of $2.94- $.25
Laura Chenel Goat Milk Cheese - $6.98 1 oz used/16= $.44

=$16.28 with 9.5% tax= $17.82  +  any sides you want to add (salad, bread, etc.)  
You can also make substitutes to any ingredients to get your cost down.

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