Monday, October 3, 2011

Deja's Awesome Lasagna

This is a recipe I got from a good friend. The best part about it is that you can use normal lasagna noodles and you don't have to pre-cook them. I love lasagna, but I never bothered to make it because I hated boiling the noodles then having to peel them apart to layer in the pan. This recipe skips that whole step and makes a delicious, light and not-too-pasty lasagna. Just make the sauce, layer and bake!
I even used this recipe for a big dinner of about 80 people at a family camp our church was hosting. It was a huge hit and I had several comments as people helped themselves to seconds: "I don't usually like lasagna but I LOVE this!"

So, try it. Eat it. Love it.

Lasagna Recipe
I have slightly adapted this recipe to suit my own sauce-making. Feel free to season your sauce to taste and to add more or less vegetables.

- 1 onion
- two cloves garlic
- 1 lb of ground beef
- 2 peppers, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 1 cup prepared pasta sauce
- two cans diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried tarragon
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste

Cheesy filling:
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

- grated cheese to taste, about 3 cups (your choice of cheese, I use marble)

- lasagna noodles

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees.

Fry up the onions, garlic and ground beef together. I like to add in the herbs at this stage so the flavour gets into the meat. Add the peppers and zucchini. Let these cook for a few minutes while you open the cans of tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and pasta sauce. I like to rinse out the cans with some water and just add it to the sauce. It's ok if your sauce is runny, in fact you want it to have lots of moisture for the noodles to soak up

As your sauce is simmering on medium heat just long enough for the flavours to meld, mix together the cottage cheese, egg and cheese in a small bowl.

In a large, 9x13 pan, ladle one layer of sauce on the bottom. Then a layer of noodles.

Then sauce and cheese. Now more noodles.

Then a little sauce and the cottage cheese mixture. Surprise - more noodles. Finish with sauce and lots of cheese.

Depending how thick you want your lasagna, and how much sauce you have left, feel free to add one more layer.

Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes or so.

Dish up and enjoy!

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