Friday, May 11, 2012

Food Fridays: Ten-pound lasagna

Monday night, I made lasagna at the suggestion of my new work friend. I usually shy away from lasagna because mine always kind of falls apart when you cut it up, but this time I really nailed it, if I do say so myself. When it comes to why I didn't write a post Monday night for Tuesday morning, I blame this dish entirely. (Apologies for the poor Instagram photo. Like so many of the recipes I make, I didn't think to do blog pics until after it was half eaten.)

I call this my ten-pound lasagna because there's just so much stuff in it. Including a pound and a half of cheese. Yum.


This is one of those recipes that's less of a recipe, and more of a "let's just throw some stuff together." So here's what I used:

- 1 box of lasagna noodles
- 1 lb ground beef
- 16-oz jar of red spaghetti sauce (I used a garlic-flavored one)
- 12-oz jar of Alfredo sauce (I actually didn't quite use the whole thing)
- 8-oz can of plain, straight-up tomato sauce
- tub of ricotta cheese (I can't remember what size, but I'm guessing around 8-10 oz)
- 8-oz tub of cottage cheese
- 1.5 bags (16 oz each) of mozzarella cheese
- asiago cheese to taste (I used probably about four ounces)

So first of course is cooking your noodles according to package directions and browning the ground beef in a pan. I used a bit of onion powder, salt and pepper to season the beef. While those are cooking, mix the small can of plain tomato sauce with the ricotta cheese. (That makes it easier to spread later.) When the noodles are done, drain them and set aside. When the beef is done, mix in about three-quarters of the 16-oz jar of spaghetti sauce.

Grease a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray and preheat your oven to 375. Pour a little of the reserved tomato sauce (from the big jar) into the bottom of the baking pan and sloosh (yes, sloosh) it around to cover a thin layer over the bottom. Then lay down a layer of noodles. I was able to get four noodles laying side-by-side, overlapping slightly, in my pan. For the layering of the actual ingredients, go hog wild. I like to do one cheese and one sauce per layer. So one layer had meat sauce and mozzarella, the next had the tomato-sauce-ricotta mixture, the next had Alfredo sauce and cottage cheese, etc. Just make sure you save some of the mozzarella, asiago and meat sauce for the very top, non-noodle-covered layer. I suggest putting the sauce down first, then the cheese on top. After you put down your last noodle layer, top with more meat sauce, tons of mozzarella and a sprinkling of asiago.

If you're cooking it right away, cover the pan with foil, making sure it doesn't sag in the middle and touch the cheese. Bake this way for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 15 more. Next comes THE HARDEST PART. You have to let that delicious pile of cheesy, saucy, noodley heart-attack-in-a-pan cool for another 15-20 minutes. This is what I never did before, and this is why my lasagna ALWAYS fell apart. Trust me. It's worth it.

If you're making this ahead of time for cooking later in the week, cover the top tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days. (But if you go for three, I won't tell.) Don't freeze it, because the ricotta gets all gross. And make sure you bring it up to room temp a bit before you bake it, or your lasagna will be all cold and non-melty in the middle. Sad.

So there you have it! A genuine food-coma inducing masterpiece. And because I just have to plug this...Don't forget to enter my giveaway this weekend :)


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