Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lasagna - Made Easy

It has been a cold winter here in California.  We haven't had much rain but it is still cold.  I have enjoyed cooking and using my oven but it has to end soon.  All this comfort food is beginning to show.
John and I really like lasagna and I made it quite often when our three sons were growing up.  They all loved it and they ate leftovers for breakfast.  Now, I leave the lasagna making to our youngest son, Joel.  It's one of his specialties.  He lives 3 hours away from us so when we recently wanted lasagna I had to make it myself.  I didn't want to use meat this time so I gathered onions, mushrooms and spinach to add to the sauce, along with spices to bring the flavor up to what I like.  I use cottage cheese and an egg blended in the blender instead of Ricotta cheese.  Since I was using Joel's dry noodle method, I made sure the sauce was a little juicy to cook and soak into the noodles.  I broke my 'raw' noodles to fit my baking dish and I have to say it turned out pretty darned good!  There was plenty of leftovers so I wrapped portions for two in plastic wrap and then put them into plastic freezer bags.  Next time we want lasagna it will be simple to take it out of the freezer and heat it up.  Am I brilliant or what!  Enjoy...

                                Lasagna - Made Easy
                         (No need to boil the noodles!)

1 lb. Lasagna Noodles (dry and uncooked)
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 large White Onion, cut in med. cubes
2 lbs.  White Mushrooms, cleaned and cut in 1/4” thick slices
5 cloves Garlic, diced
8 oz. Fresh Baby Spinach (or a pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained)
32 oz  jar Marinara Sauce (make your own if you have time!)
1 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Oregano 
1 Tablespoon Basil
16 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, sliced or grated
12 - 16 oz. Small Curd Cottage Cheese 
1 Egg   (mix cottage cheese and egg in a blender until smooth)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese

Heat Canola Oil in a large deep fry pan.  Saute Onion until they are translucent.  Add in the Mushrooms and Garlic and saute until Mushroom juice is mostly gone.  Add in the Spinach and saute for 2 minutes. Add the Marinara Sauce, spices and water.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

In a large and deep baking dish, put a little sauce on the bottom.  Then a layer of dry uncooked  Noodles, then Sauce, then the Cottage Cheese and Egg mixture (just dollop it on and smear it around), then the Mozzarella Cheese, sprinkle some Parmesan Cheese on and then repeat until you have 4 layers of noodles, sauce and cheeses. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake in 375˚ oven for 1 hour.  Use a fork to test those noodles for doneness.  Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes to brown up the top.  Let stand for 15 minutes to cool before cutting and serving.

Note: I place my baking dish on a foil lined cookie sheet, just in case it simmers over - you know how ugly some messes can be!

Swirl the cottage cheese/egg mixture!
First layer of noodles and sauce!

Leftover lasagna portions ready to freeze!


Anonymous said...

Love your suggestions. Looks really good. Thank you, Connie

Pat Lutzow said...

Connie, not having to boil and mess with the noodles really speeds up the whole process. Do like me and make some, eat some and freeze some. :)