Monday, January 24, 2011

Meat Lasagna

A couple months ago, Sumiko posted a recipe for cheese lasagna.  For a while, I didn't make lasagna, because 1) I don't like ground meat and 2) most recipes I found called for ricotta cheese and it just never tasted right.  I recently got brave and decided to try lasagna again because my husband likes it.  I read many recipes online, trying to find the perfect one.  As always, I couldn't decide which one to try, so I took bits and pieces of each recipe, along with my own ideas and combined them into one recipe.  This time, I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta and it was great!  I was excited that it actually turned out and my husband likes it!  Of course, I can't vouch for it, because it still has ground meat in it, but I'll share my favorite vegetarian version another time. I must apologize in advance for the lack of pictures.

Meat Lasagna
1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked
16 oz. cottage cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
2 eggs
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded*, plus more for sprikling
1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
1 link Italian sausage, chopped
1/4 large onion, chopped
24 oz marinara sauce (Sumiko and I both like Prego)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook onions, turkey or beef, and sausage.  Cook until onions are soft and meat is browned. Drain off fat.  Add marinara sauce.

In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese, garlic, and oregano.  Adjust seasonings to suite your tastes, then add eggs.
In a 9 x 13 dish, place a layer of meat sauce, a layer of noodles, 1/2 cottage cheese mixture, 1/3 cup mozzarella, noodles, meat sauce, noodles, cottage cheese mixture,  1/3 cup mozzarella, and noodles, then top off with the remaining meat sauce and 1/3 cup mozzarella.
This looks different, because it is half vegetarian and half meat.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

This is great served with garlic bread!

If you'd like to make it ahead of time, you can assemble it and refrigerate it until ready to bake.  However, be aware that it will take a little longer to bake since it's going to be cold when you put it in the oven.  Additionally, lasagna is freezable!  It can be frozen either before or after baking.  Freezing it after it is baked reduces prep time when you are ready to eat it but produces a slightly over-baked pasta.  You can compromise and bake it half-way before freezing it.  Sumiko prefers to freeze it unbaked.  She just moves it from the freezer to the fridge one or two days before she's ready to bake it.  However you decide to do it, be sure to wrap it well to prevent freezer burn.  Sumiko usually wraps it with two layers of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil (be sure to remove the plastic wrap before placing it in the oven).  *These instructions were taken from Sumiko's cheese lasagna post here.

*I've recently been able to get sliced mozzarella from the deli for $1.99/lb.  I've found that sliced mozzarella works great too!  Simply place a layer of mozzarella slices in place of shredded cheese.


Sarah DJ said...

Mmmm, that looks delicious - and sliced mozzarella sounds so good! I've always preferred cottage cheese over ricotta.

Unknown said...

Girls, I made this for MOPS monday night and baked it tuesday morning. Mine didn't look NEAR as saucy as yours (my can was even 26 oz, when you called for 24), but I didn't have an extra can in the pantry. It baked up tasty, but dry and rubbery. I didn't see the link to "If you're going to make it ahead of time, follow the instructions here" before I started, but now as I'm looking back at "here", I'm not sure I see the instructions you're referring to (so I can do it right next time). Can you help me out? Thanks! <3

Kimiko said...

Jaime, sorry it didn't turn out right. Let me look at the recipe again and see if I made a type-o anywhere. I don't have the time to do it right now as I have a sick hubby I need to tend to, but I will look into it! I just wanted to let you know I saw your comment and will check on it. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Thanks Kimiko. Hope your husband is better soon!!

Kimiko said...

Jaime, sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. I finally had a chance to look over it again, but I'm still not sure what the problem is. Next time I make it, I will pay more attention to how much sauce I'm putting on each layer. Was each layer dry or just the top layer? If so, maybe you can skip the uncovered baking portion and/or use less sauce on the bottom layers and save more on the top? I think I usually end up with a lot more sauce on the top because I'm bad at estimating to get equal amounts on each layer. :) I'm going to cut and paste the specific part about making it ahead from the other post I linked to.

Anonymous said...

When I found your recipe for Meat Lasagna, I said to myself "Meet Lasagna" like I was introducing this recipe to somebody as my friend. Because I am sure this recipe will become friendly to me and I will introduce it to as many people as I can!

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