16 January 2007

Lasagna on a cold, winter night

After a weekend of miserable winter storms in Texas, including freezing rain and icy bridges, I woke up this morning to the smell of burning heat. Turns out the motor in our heater needed to be replaced due, luckily my husband and his father will be fixing it tonight. Meanwhile, the heater is OFF and the weather is still in the freezing range, which of course means my house is getting colder and colder. So, since my in-laws are coming over to a cold house, its only fair that I make dinner, and prevent frostbite, I'll BAKE something to help add heat - so the consensus is lasagna. What a perfect cold weather food!!!

So here it is, one of the first recipes I ever discovered AND one of the reasons I enjoy cooking so much now. The one comment for the recipe is that I'm a big fan of sauce, and I think this one is a little shy on the sauce so I always add more, but never record how much - go figure. Hopefully I can remember to take some pictures to add here before we dive into the lasagna head first!


1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
12 dry lasagna noodles
2 eggs, beaten
1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, onion and garlic; drain fat. Mix in basil, oregano, brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Lay noodles flat on towels, and blot dry.

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon salt.
Layer 1/3 of the lasagna noodles in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover noodles with 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

***I always divide the left-overs into serving size pieces and put them in the freezer; they are PERFECT to take for work lunch. I do notice the sauce seems to reduce this way and they always seem slightly drier later on. I'll continue to play with the recipe to get the perfect amount of sauce and update it on here when I do.

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