Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jenn's Kitchen in NJ: Gram's Lasagna Recipe

This is my recipe for lasagna, a great meal for when the weather is cold or you need some comfort food. It is based on my grandmother Edna's recipe which, like her sticky buns, people rave about once they have tried it! The surprise ingredient is cottage cheese. I'm not really sure why Gram includes it but I do think it help prevent the lasagna from becoming too dry. One modification that I made was switching from the "old-fashioned" lasagna noodles - which have to be boiled and cooled before layering - to no-boil lasagna noodles which you can simply layer uncooked and they'll cook in the oven! It saves a lot of time and effort. The prep time is about 30 minutes (plus 1 hour in the oven) and a disposable aluminum pan saves on clean-up. If you have the room, it's not too much additional effort to make 2 pans and freeze one. While fresh-from-the-oven lasagna tastes the best, leftovers or from the freezer taste almost as wonderful :) I usually serve with garlic bread and a salad, though this time Eric made broccolini and it went very well together.

Ingredients (per 1 deep pan - which serves about 12):
~1.3 pounds hamburger
One 9 oz. box Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles
24 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (3 bags)
1 large container (~1 lb.) cottage cheese (small curd)
1 large container (~2 lb.) ricotta cheese
2-3 jars (48 oz.) spaghetti sauce (better to have an extra one on hand - you don't want your lasagna to dry out and the noodles not cook enough while in the oven)
Generous amounts of seasonings: onion, garlic, oregano, basil, black pepper, etc.

1. Brown hamburger with onion, garlic, seasonings
2. Add this to spaghetti sauce in large pot on stove, add more seasonings to taste
3. After sauce is heated, use half of it to cover the bottom of the baking pan
4. Layer half of the noodles on top of the sauce
5. Spread cottage cheese on top of the noodles
6. Spread ricotta on top of the cottage cheese
7. Add 1 bag of mozzarella on top of the other cheeses
8. Layer the rest of the noodles on top of the cheeses
9. Add rest of the sauce on top of the noodles
10. Spread rest of the mozzarella on the very top
(If you have extra ingredients - usually cheese - you can keep layering)

Can now either freeze or bake (350 F for 1 hour for entire pan)

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