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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Simple Cheese Lasagna


My niece Lacey borrowed me a cookbook called America's Test Kitchen's Family Cookbook.  It is an awesome cookbook if you are looking for some great recipes! 

This lasagna recipe comes from that cookbook.  I love how fresh it tastes!!  The main recipe is meatless, but there is a variation where you add ground beef to the sauce.  The first time I made it I did it meatless, and it was excellent!  When I made it this time, I decided to add steamed spinach for extra nutrients, and cooked ground turkey breast for extra protein.  The result:  AWESOME!  We loved it and so did our baby!

I halved the recipe and made it in an 8x8 pan, but I will write the recipe for a 9x13 pan.  Another idea if you have a small family, is to make the whole recipe and put it in two smaller pans.  Bake one for dinner, and freeze one for later!


Who says lasagna has to full of fat and unhealthy?  I use part-skim ricotta, part-skim mozzarella, and with the spinach and ground turkey breast, it cuts off fat, cholesterol, and adds great vitamins and nutrients!



These are my favorite brand of canned tomatoes! They are very fresh tasting!



If you have never used ground turkey breast, this is what it looks like cooked.  I added onions and dried spices to it also!  Make sure and get the turkey breast, and not just ground turkey.  The regular ground turkey has a lot of fat, where as the breast is 99% fat free.

I am always looking for healthier ingredients and ways to cook!



The chunky tomato sauce with the cooked turkey breast added in.



The tomatoes were pretty large, so I decided to use a hand blender to make a less chunky sauce so it would be easier for my baby to eat.


Spread a little sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then put a layer of noodles.  The original recipe called for no-cook lasagna noodles, but I just buy the regular kind and cook them.



Next layer one third of the ricotta sauce.  The fresh basil in it smells so good!



Then a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.



Add spinach if you like!  Thinly sliced steamed zucchini would be excellent also!



Layer with tomato sauce, then do the process over again twice.  Noodle, ricotta, spinach, tomato sauce, noodle, ricotta, spinach, tomato sauce.  Then put on more noodles, and the last of the tomato sauce.



Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Cover with sprayed foil, and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 25 more minutes.



Look at that delicious lasagna! Lightly browned on top and bubbling on the edges!  Cool for 10 minutes before cutting!  You don't want to cut into it steaming hot....it will make a big mess!


CHUNKY TOMATO SAUCE FOR LASAGNA

Makes: 6 cups

This sauce is also delicious served over regular pasta!

1 T. olive oil
1 onion, minced
salt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and 1 tsp. salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.




SIMPLE CHEESE LASAGNA

If you don't want to make your own tomato sauce, you can use two 26 oz. jars of sauce.


15 oz. ricotta cheese (1 3/4 cups)
2 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 cups tomato sauce
12 lasagna noodles, cooked
1 pound mozzarella, shredded (4 cups)
1 cup steamed fresh spinach, or frozen spinach thawed (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the Parmesan, the basil, egg, salt, and pepper until well combined.

Spread 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Place 3 of the noodles on top of the sauce and drop 3 T. of the ricotta mixture down the center of each noodle, then spread it to an even thickness.  Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the mozzarella.  Top with 1/3 cup of the spinach.  Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the sauce evenly over the spinach.  Repeat this layering two more times.

For the final layer, place the 3 remaining noodles on top.  Spread the remaining 1 1/4 cups sauce over the noodles.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Spray a large sheet of foil lightly with vegetable oil spray and cover the lasagna.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake for 25 more minutes or until the cheese is browned and the sauce is bubbling.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


SIMPLE TURKEY or BEEF LASAGNA

In a pan over medium heat, brown 1 lb. of ground turkey breast (or ground beef) with 1 cup of chopped onion.  Add a generous sprinkle of each of the following:  Pepper, Lawry's All Season, Italian seasoning, dried basil, oregano, parsley, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Add this to the chunky tomato sauce after you add the garlic and continue with the recipe.  If you are using jarred tomato sauce, simmer meat with sauce for 15 minutes on low heat.







5 comments:

  1. yum that looks like a great lasagna recipe...i might have to try it and i dont usually love lasagna!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful recipe. Great photo really vibrant.

    I make a white veggie lasagna that's pretty good. I use a cauliflower puree as the sauce. Here's the link if you'd like to check it out. Cheers!

    http://lazarocooks.blogspot.com/2010/03/white-veggie-lasagnanow-thats-amore.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Mindy - Molly just forwarded me your blog! Wow!! Very cool!! I can sooo much relate to the 'can't throw a recipe away' thing!!! I love recipes too and read them often as a pastime! All your recipes look wonderful - will have to give some of them a try sometime! And oh - your little guy is such a DOLL!!! How fun hey!!?! Was so excited to see him on here. Keep up the good work Mindy - am so proud of you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ha!Ha!! I just noticed it says Tom said . . . well, my comp is down so I'm using his!! Funny!! Thought you might be wondering!!!
    This IS from me with hugs to you - Wendy!

    ReplyDelete

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