Thursday, September 1, 2011

5 Cheese Lasagna

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You know what my favorite thing about lasagna is? It lasts forever. Granted I live in a household of two, but this one pan can last me and Tim 5 days. Lunch and dinner. And it's wholesome, too. Who doesn't love to come home to a warm piece of lasagna with fresh bread, a salad and a diet coke? A crazy person, that's who.

So please, my lovely readers, forgive me for making something so simple. I don't mean to undermine your skills or intelligence, but don't we all need a little simplicity in our lives from time to time?

Enjoy. Seriously.

Ingredients:
  • 1 box lasagna noodles (if you can tell me what major grocery store sells whole wheat lasagna noodles, I will love you forever and ever. I can't find them anywhere!)
    • There are magic noodles out there that do not need to be boiled, and while I like using them, I find the noodles are always uneven. They tend to be softer in the middle where the weight of the sauce lays, and the outsides are kinda' crunchy. Not worth it to me.
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (or 1 lb. ground beef)
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Minced garlic
  • 1 large can pasta sauce
    • I realize that we could go the difficult route and make this from scratch with crushed tomatoes and paste and blah blah blah, but who has the time? Really? 
    • In case you're relatively new, I normally add some butter and milk (or cream) to my marinara sauces. I realize this adds about 2,334,839,104 calories to the sauce, but the taste of creamy spaghetti is unreal.
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Garlic salt
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 8 oz. bag shredded cheddar cheese
    • Before you stare at me dumbfounded that I use cheddar cheese in my lasagna, let me tell you this: at a youth event, we had to make about 50+ large lasagnas for a few hundred students, and we ran out of mozzarella and had to use cheddar. With the combo of those two cheeses, it was honestly the best lasagna I had ever eaten. Just give it a try.
  • 8 oz. bag shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4-6 slices of provolone cheese
  • 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
Directions:
  • Cook the noodles according to package. Drain and set aside.
  • While that's happening, cook sausage/ground beef and drain. Set aside.
  • In a separate (large) pan, saute the onion with the butter. 
  • Once the onions are a light brown and somewhat tender, add some minced garlic and turn the heat down and let the onions and garlic get to know each other for about 3 minutes. How much garlic you use is up to your own discretion; however, I always use way too much...and love it.
  • Add the pasta sauce and milk and combine well.
  • Add cooked meat, stir, cover and turn the heat down low.
    • Just like with our classic spaghetti, the trick is to let it simmer. The longer it simmers at a low heat with the top on, the richer it will taste.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg until smooth.
  • Grab a large bowl and throw the ricotta cheese in there. Add some more garlic, the egg, a small handful of mozzarella cheese, and some salt. Combine.
  • Now it's time to layer everything in your 13x9 pan. Here's the order:
    • Meat sauce on the very bottom (about 1 cup)
    • Noodles
    • Half of ricotta mixture
    • Mozzarella cheese
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Noodles
    • The other half of the ricotta mixture
    • More mozarella
    • More cheddar
    • Meat sauce
    • Noodles
    • Provolone slices
    • Parmesan cheese
    • Sprinkle with basil and oregano.
  • Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Serve with garlic bread, salad, and cheesecake for dessert (duh) to gain 20 lbs. To justify this, go watch "Heavy" on Netflix. You'll feel better about yourself.
Love and my-husband-just-made-fun-of-me-for-saying-"duh,"
Rachael
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