Lasagna is awesome because it’s fun to make and impossible to mess up as long as cheese, sauce, and noodles are involved!
(serves about 10 people)
- 1.5 lb very lean ground beef or turkey (or kidney beans for vegetarians!)
- 3 Tbsp. minced garlic
- One small onion, chopped
- Two 26 oz. jars tomato sauce
- Chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp. each dried parsley, oregano, and crushed red pepper
- 14 lasagna noodles (preferably whole wheat)
- About 3/4 of a 32 oz. container of part skim ricotta cheese
- 6 C chopped fresh (or frozen) spinach
- Fresh vegetables, chopped (we used one zucchini, one squash, and one 8 oz. package of mushrooms, but peppers are also great in lasagna!)
- Two 7 oz. packets of low fat or fat free mozzarella cheese
- Optional grated parmesan cheese
(Preheat oven to 375.)
1) First, cook the meat. Add it to a pot and with the garlic and onions and cook until fully browned (about 8 minutes for us).
2) When the meat is fully cooked, drain out the fat, then put the pot back on medium heat and add the two jars of tomato sauce. (Save a little bit of sauce in one of the jars to spread on the bottom of your pan later.) Add the chopped fresh basil and the dried parsley, oregano, and crushed red pepper to taste.
3) In a separate large pot, cook the lasagna noodles. Make a couple extra just in case.
4) While the noodles are cooking, mix the ricotta cheese and spinach together in a large bowl. Set aside. Also, chop your veggies of choice and top them with a drizzle of olive oil and cracked pepper, if desired.
5) When your noodles are done, place them in a pan with lukewarm water so they don’t dry out. You are now ready for the fun part:
(You’ll be making three layers.)
1) Start with a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan so the noodles don’t burn.
2) Add a layer of noodles from your water pan. They should slightly overlap.
3) Next comes about a third of your meat (or bean) tomato sauce mixture!
4) And then a layer of veggies! Use about half of them as these are only in the first two layers.
5) Followed by CHEESE! Add about a third of your mozzarella cheese…
Followed by about half of your ricotta/spinach mixture (we only put this in the first two layers). Put it on in by the spoonful since it’s pretty sticky!
You can also sprinkle on some grated parmesan cheese here if you want.
6) And then start all over again with another identical layer. Use the noodles to smoosh down the cheese!
The final (third) layer will just include a layer of noodles, followed by the meat tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
The fun part about lasagna is that you can basically do whatever layers you want, but here’s what we did, just to recap:
- Plain tomato sauce (to prevent burning noodles)
- Meat sauce
- Meat sauce
- Meat sauce
Once you’re finished layering, pop it in the oven, covered in tin foil, for about 45 minutes to an hour. ENJOY!!