Friday, September 18, 2009
Here's a lasagna recipe that combines three different kinds of lasagna in one: your standard traditional meat and tomato sauce, a rich multi-cheese lasagna and a vegetarian one. This can be made with any leftover pasta sauce, unused veggies, and other goodies that you may currently have in your fridge and pantry. I made this two nights ago and it was a hit with the family:
1 pound of ground beef (I prefer extra lean or lean ground beef)
4 medium sized tomatoes (or 1-2 cans of ground tomatoes)
1 can tomato paste
1 large onion (diced)
3-4 garlic cloves (crushed)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 package of lasagna noodles (or 12-14 large noodles)
Spices (1 teaspoon each): oregano, sage, parsley, thyme, chili pepper (or cayenne pepper), black pepper and salt
Cheeses (one cup each): cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, and goat cheese (all shredded)
2-3 cups of vegetables (any or all of the following): broccoli, carrots, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, green peppers
Here's the recipe:
Using a regular to large-sized frying pan, fry the ground beef with some olive oil until it has browned. In a medium sized bowl, mix the tomatoes, onions and garlic with the spices. Once the ground beef is cooked, add the contents of the bowl and continue cooking on medium-low heat.
Add the 2-3 cups of vegetables to the meat and tomato sauce and continue to simmer on low heat.
Combine all four cheeses in a separate bowl. If you do not have all four of these, you can always use one more than another or less cheese altogether. I usually stick with mozzarella and Parmesan mostly and add the other two if I have them.
Bowl lasagna noodles in a large bowling pot in batches (2-3 at a time or more, if possible); rinse each batch in a strainer over the sink and set aside.
In a regular or large sized casserole pan, layer the bottom with the meat, tomato and veggie sauce and cover with noodles. Cover the noodles with cheese and cover with a second layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with the sauce, add more noodles, then cheese and repeat until all of the sauce is used up and the top layer of noodles is covered in cheese.
To prevent the top layer of noodles from burning or becoming crisp, coat them very lightly in olive oil before topped with cheese. Now the hard work is done and the lasagna is ready for the oven.
Preheat the oven and cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes; take a peek around 30 minutes just to make sure it's ok...keep it in longer if needed.
Now you're ready to indulge in lasagna!!
Tips for buying the ingredients cheaper and better quality:
Ground beef - I always buy in bulk at the local market or butcher. The quality is always better than the grocery store and fresher too
Lasagna noodles and spices - buy in bulk
Cheese and veggies - I try to buy fresh at the market and in bulk and avoid pre-shredded packaged cheese if possible - it's more expensive and full of preservatives.