When Parker was first born, meals that provided leftovers and could easily be frozen took top priority on my weekly menus. I mean, there were days when my lunch consisted of a rolled up piece of turkey and a slice of cheese shoved down my throat while standing at the refrigerator holding a nursing child. It’s sad, but it’s true.
Anyways, back to lasagna. My mom passed this recipe along to me around that time and it has been part of the rotation ever since. The best part about it is that you don’t need to boil the lasagna noodles first. Oh and all of the cheeses are part-skim so it’s not that bad for you! Of course, if that turns you off, by all means, use the full-fat versions. Ok, here are our ingredients:
1 container (16 oz.) Skim Ricotta cheese
3 cups Part-skim Mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. Oregano
1 pkg. (10 oz.) Frozen chopped spinach
Salt and Pepper
1 lb. Lean ground beef
1 cup of water
1 box uncooked lasagna noodles
1 lg. Jar spaghetti sauce (I prefer Ragu Garden Combination)
1 sm. Chopped onion
3 clove garlic minced
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Before I get started, I know that this looks like a lot of steps, but it comes together really quickly, so don’t be afraid to give it a go. Your family and guests will thank you!
First, you want to thaw and thoroughly strain spinach. Or if you’re like me and you alwayd forget to do this, rinse the spinach until it’s thawed and then strain it (squeezing it until all of the water is gone). Go ahead and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Now, saute the onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat (about 3-4 minutes).
Add the ground beef (and salt and pepper to taste)…
…and cook until meat is browned (about 5 minutes). Then, add 2/3 of the jar of spaghetti sauce to the pan. Give it a good stir…
…and simmer an additional 15 minutes. While meat mixture is simmering, slightly beat one egg in a medium size bowl.
Add 2 cups of the mozzarella, ricotta cheese, spinach, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste to the bowl.
After 15 minutes or so, the meat should by ready to go. Oh and if you’re a meat sauce kind of person, this is fantastic over cooked spaghetti. Sticking with my freezing theme, I usually have a couple batches of this frozen to use when I decide to skip a home-cooked meal and go straight to spaghetti.
Alright, time to assemble our lasagna. In a 9”x 13” pan (greased if it is not glass), add 1/3 of the meat mixture to the bottom. The small strip on the bottom is a different shade of sauce because that’s my portion, so I put just plain sauce (no meat).
Now, add three or four uncooked lasagna noodles. (I had to break a couple inches off of the one on the bottom.) If the entire thing was a meat lasagna, I would have only added 3 because the noodles expand, but since I needed some way to distinguish my meatless portion, I added 4.
For the next step, add half of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles. I usually use my fingers to spread it because it sticks to the noodles and moves them around if you try it with a spoon.
Add another 1/3 of the meat mixture…
…and more uncooked lasagna noodles.
We’re almost there! Add the other half of the cheese mixture…
…the last 1/3 of the meat mixture…
…and the last three uncooked lasagna noodles.
For the last step, combine (in a separate bowl) the leftover 1/3 of spaghetti sauce (that did not go into the meat mixture) with the last cup of mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese.
Spread this on the top.
Finally, put the cup of water in the spaghetti jar…
…and pour it around the edges of the pan to keep it from burning.
Cover tightly with foil.
This is going to bake for 70 minutes or so. Then, take the foil off and turn oven off. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or so.
Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes, then serve!
Another great thing about lasagna is that it is always better the next day so most of the time, I’ll make this after we’ve eaten dinner and it will all be ready to go for the following day.
I also wrap up any leftovers in individual portions so that the Irishman can heat them up either for lunch or on days that I have Moroccan Stew or something equally exotic planned for dinner. Silly Irishman.
OMG, this looks sooo good, I have been craving lasagna for a few weeks, now I guess I better make this!
Definitely Jess! You'll have to let me know how it turns out.