La’s Lasagna

I have been making lasagna for a very long time now, I’ve done it a million ways and it always turns out great (it is lasagna afterall).  This recipe is the culmination of everything that works in a lasagna, if I were going to enter a lasagna cooking contest I would use this recipe…ok, you get the picture.

I love making lasagna, it’s relatively simple to throw together and then you just pop it in the oven and magic happens.  Kids love lasagna too, even if it’s stuffed with spinach!

This lasagna also has meat in it but you can always leave it out, the lasagna will still be great.   

ok, here are the ingredients…

1 pound – italian style turkey or chicken sausage
1 box – lasagna noodles
1 jar – favorite pasta sauce
1 – 10 oz. box frozen spinach (thawed and drained well)
2 cups – part skim ricotta
1 cup – reduced fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup – grated parmesan 
12 oz. – shredded mozzarella
1 egg
salt and pepper
dried oregano

Start with the meat (if you’re using it)…I just got four Italian style chicken sausage links at the deli counter.

Get some olive oil going in a pan over medium low heat…

Squeeze the meat out of the casing with your hands (sorry, no photo of this)…and break it up in the pan with a metal spatula.

Now start boiling your water…you need a large pot.  When it’s starts boiling, throw in some salt and then add the noodles.  You need 12-noodles for this if you’re using the standard 9×13 pan but I just make them all because a few will end up tearing and my kids will eat the leftover noodles anyway…what is it with kids and plain noodles?  I watched my two year old stuff an entire lasagna noodle in his mouth and then refuse to spit it out.  I tried to get it from him but he ran away (with a mouth full of pasta)…he was eventually able to get it down, or it’s in a corner somewhere…either way he survived.

Anyway, when you get the noodles in the pot use a spoon to push them down so they are covered.  

Cook them for about 7 minutes or so and then drain and rinse the noodles with cold water. Then lay them flat on a plate so they’re easy to grab when you start assembling the lasagna.

While the pasta is going and the meat is browning, add the following ingredients to a large bowl: ricotta, cottage cheese, parmesan, spinach (make sure you’ve squeezed all the water out of it with a towel), and egg.

Now mix it all together with a spoon…

You can also add a little bit of the shredded mozzarella if you want, I wanted to…

Now taste it and then add salt and pepper to your liking.

Ok, that part is done…now add your pasta sauce into the pan with the browned meat, I got this sauce on sale at WF and it’s my new favorite.  My kids don’t like mushrooms but they can’t tell when the shrooms are in a sauce….groovy.

Now stir it all together…

Now it’s time to assemble your masterpiece… but before you do that, get your oven going at 350 degrees.

Put a little bit of the sauce down in the bottom of your 9 x 13 dish.

Layer 4 lasagna noodles in the bottom of the dish, they will probably overlap a little.

Now divide your spinach/cheese mixture in half while it’s in the bowl.

Plop half of it down on top of the noodles, I do large dollops all over the lasagna and then use my clean hands to spread it around.  You can use a utensil if you don’t want to use your hands…good luck with that.

Now put about half of the sauce on top of that and use the spatula to even it out…

Now add 4 more noodles and repeat the process…I reserve a little bit of the sauce for the top of the lasagna, I’ll tell you why in a second.

Add your shredded mozzarella all over the top of the lasagna, I save some of the sauce and mix it in with the cheese because I think the moisture helps the cheese melt nicely…

The last thing I do is sprinkle dried oregano over the whole thing.

Now cover it with foil and pop that baby in the oven for about 50-60 minutes.  I remove the foil about 15 minutes before it’s done so the top can get nice and bubbly.

While that’s cooking, I usually cut up some crusty bread and also make a salad…like I’ve said before, a salad might help prevent you from eating 7 pounds of the lasagna…”might” is the key word there.

Here is the finished product…

The answer is yes, it does taste as amazing as it looks…

I ate a bunch of this last night and then I had it again for lunch…now it’s 3:00 PM and I want more!  I’ll be glad when it’s all gone, and sad…lasagna brings out so many emotions in me. This is a great dish for cold spring days.  I would have said cold winter days but it’s spring now and it’s still freezing outside, perhaps it will never warm up …excuse me, I have to go eat more lasagna.


The Good Cooker  

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