Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Favorite Lasagna

Lasagna is my husband's FAVORITE dish in the whole world! Fortunate for me, since it is one of the easiest meals to make. I made a double batch yesterday to share with some friends who are going through a difficult time, and thought I'd add the "recipe" to my blog. But see here's the deal - I'm kind of a "throw in whatever and how much ever I want" kinda gal - usually depending on what I'm craving or what I have on hand. I've always been one to look to recipes for ideas, but I don't know that I've ever followed one exactly! :) Which, as a side note, is why I don't do much baking... well, and also because I don't keep fattening junk food in the house... But I do love to be creative in my cooking. All that to say, this is a VERY LOOSE recipe. I am by no means a chef!!!  My goal is to make scrumptious meals that do not require expensive ingredients or a lot of prep time. SO, please feel free, as will ALL my recipes, to deviate - I'm sure it'll turn out great!

1- 16 oz carton of cottage cheese
1- 8 oz carton of ricotta cheese
1- 16 oz package of mozzarella cheese ,divided
1- 8 oz package of cheddar cheese
1 egg (beaten)
Italian Seasoning (to taste)
1/2 ts nutmeg
dash of salt and pepper
1- package of OVEN READY lasagna noodles
2 - large cans of spaghetti sauce (I DO NOT like Ragu, and usually use Hunt's or Del Monte because they're cheap!)
1 lb. Ground Italian sausage, cooked and drained
***If I have it on hand, I like to throw some Parmesan into the cheese mixture.

1. Mix cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, 8 oz of mozzarella cheese, spices, and egg in a large bowl. Reserve enough mozzarella cheese to cover the top when you are finished assembling the layers.  The cheddar goes on top as well. Set aside.
2. Spread a little of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a deep dish lasagna pan. I always use my Pampered Chef rectangular baker stoneware.  Then combine the rest of the sauce with the cooked sausage.
3. Start layering in the following order: noodles, cheese mixture, meat sauce.  I usually end up doing three layers of this, so you can judge your amounts accordingly. And be sure to spread out the ingredients evenly. :)
I am pretty persnickety (SHOCK!) about the way I layer the noodles.  I have to break some of mine to fit so that each layer is completely covered with noodle. I also alternate the direction I lay the noodles as it seems to help my lasagna hold up better when serving it.  But that is just our preference.... :)
4. After the last layer of sauce, top with LOADS of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. YUMMO!
5. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Let it cool slightly before serving with garlic toast. :

Best part is that this dish tastes even better as leftovers!

Hmmm....guess I should have taken a picture to add here to get your taste buds salivating..... maybe eventually.  I'm doing good to post an update... lol! :)

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