Back in the day when Mike and I were dating in Charlottesville his parents would come visit often. While Mike and I were at work, they would tour around Cville and Mike's Mom, Cathy would make these great meals. My very favorite dish she made was her homemade lasagna. I would come over to Mike's apartment and eat this yummy meal with them. We would fight for the leftovers.
She shared that recipe with me years ago and I have used it since. It is my go-to dish. If you have had a death in the family or had a baby, then you have probably had some of my lasagna. I have tweaked this recipe to fit my family and wanted to share it this week on the blog.
Homemade lasagna sounds pretty fancy and hard to make, but trust me, it is not. It is casual enough for weeknight meals, but can be fancy enough for company or a family get-together. Here is my tweaked version of this wonderful dish!
around 1 1/2 pounds of hamburger or turkey. (One pound exactly is a little too thin for me, but two pounds is a little too meaty, so somewhere in the middle is geat).
a box of lasagna noodles (I am using whole wheat in the pictures below)
small container of cottage cheese (smallest they have at the grocery store)
Mozarella cheese (I use about 4 cups, but we like it cheesy. 3-4 cups would be fine).
Big container of spaghetti sauce (I used the traditional flavor for my picky kids)
First step is to line your 9 x 13 dish with some plain spaghetti sauce. Just pour some from the jar in the bottom of the dish and spread with a spoon. This is to keep your noodles from sticking to the bottom.
Next step is to start cooking your lasagna noodles. This takes about 20 minutes to cook those big noodles. Don't overcook them or they will shred on you. Cook them until they are tender. I cook about 10-12 noodles. When they are tender and cooked, drain them in a large colander.
Meanwhile, while your noodles are cooking, cook your hamburger until no longer pink. Drain off the fat and add the remainder of the spaghetti sauce to the meat- it will look like this.
You are now ready to assemble the lasagna. First line the bottom of your dish with noodles on top of the spaghetti sauce that you have already put in there. (Note: my dish is a little longer than a traditional 9 x 13, so I had to cut a noodle with kitchen scissors and place is on the end to fully cover.
Next take a spoon and plop half the container of the cottage cheese on top of the noodles and spread with a knife. It will look like this.
On top of the cottage cheese, sprinkle some mozarella cheese and then spread some of your spaghetti meat sauce on top of the cheese. This is your first layer.
Then do it all again in this order: noodles, rest of the container of cottage cheese, mozarella cheese, and some spaghetti sauce.
Then add your third layer of noodles and this will be the top. Pour the rest of your spaghetti sauce on top of the noodles and sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and you are ready for the oven!
This is what it will look like going into the oven. Cook at 350 degrees for about an hour. If you cook it directly after putting it together, it will take only about 30 minutes to cook. But if you pull it out of the refrigerator it will take about an hour to cook. You will know it is ready when you put a knife in the middle of the lasagna and it is hot. Serve with salad and bread and even your pickiest eaters will enjoy:)
Here are some other options:
I believe Cathy sautees an onion and adds it to the sauce. Yummy, but not very nursing baby friendly for me right now. Also, if I am annoyed at my children's veggie intake, I have been known to cook random veggies, grind, and add to the sauce.
Make two while you are at it and put one in the freezer uncooked. One hectic day down the road you will be so happy with yourself. Defrost and cook!
Great dish to take somewhere-especially with the disposable dishware out there.
Exchange beef for ground turkey for less fattening option. This time I used whole wheat noodles and my kiddos will have no clue:)
Enjoy! Let me know if this dish gets a rave review in your house!!