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Lasagna

November 28, 2010

There are many days of the year that I’m thankful for taking “Student Chef” — one of the home economics courses at my high school. While there may have been a few epic fails in team cooking (ask my friends about why I no longer eat peanut butter cookies), I came away with a few basic ideas about how to cook and some starters for recipes.  This lasagna has morphed from our high school recipe over the past 12 years I’ve been making it. The recipe below includes some of my favorite veggies and browned up hamburger. Mix and match to please your tastebuds!

The proportions below will give you a 9×13 version; cut in half if you want a smaller square lasagna.  This recipe also works really well if you need something prepared in advance. Simply freeze it prior to baking. When you need it, thaw and bake away!

You will need:

  • 12 c of your favorite pasta sauce (This is roughly 3 average-sized bottles of sauce if you opt to buy some)
  • About 18 sheets (1 and 1/2 boxes) no-boil lasagna noodles (If you can’t find any, simply parboil traditional lasagna noodles for 5 minutes before incorporating)
  • 1 1/2 c ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 3/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t basil
  • 2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced no thicker than 1/4 inch
  • 1 zucchini, sliced no thicker than 1/4 inch
  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 lb hamburger, browned and seasoned as desired
  • 1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese

Then you…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Set a 9×13 baking pan on a cookie sheet with a lip; this will help keep your oven clean, if your sauce bubbles over during the baking.
  2. Cover the bottom of the baking pan with sauce (roughly 4 c). Line the pan with about 6 lasagna noodles; this should be enough to go end-to-end and side-to-side, but depending on how much overlap you allow, you may need a few more or less. I sometime break apart a piece as well to get all the way into the corners.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and eggs with the salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano and basil. Whip it with a fork until light and fluffy.
  4. Top the noodles in the pan with half of the ricotta mixture. Spread evenly.
  5. Add enough yellow squash and zucchini to form an even layer on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle with 1 c of the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Top the cheese-veggie layer with more sauce until covered, roughly 4 c. You can use the sauce to fill in the edges as well.
  7. Add another layer of 6 lasagna noodles. I try to alternate the directions of the noodles. For example, if my first layer went short side to short side, my second layer would be along the long side.
  8. Top the noodles with the second half of the ricotta mixture.
  9. Cover with the ground beef and the sliced mushrooms.
  10. Sprinkle the second cup of shredded mozzarella cheese over the beef and mushrooms.
  11. Add your third layer of noodles.
  12. Cover with the last of the sauce until the edges seem “sealed” and there is some on top of the whole lasagna.
  13. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.
  14. Bake about 50 minutes to an hour, or until bubbly and just turning crispy.

Go play! Customize the basic layers: 1. sauce, 2. noodles, 3. cheese, 4. sauce, 5. noodles, 6. cheese, 7. noodles, 8. sauce, 9. cheese

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