Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Well I never would have imagined this, but guess what I have become?  I have become the woman who brings other families lasagnas when something bad happens.  This is shocking to me for a number of reasons.  First of all, if you had told me two years ago that I'd be bringing dinner to anyone, I wouldn't have believed it.  Secondly, and most importantly, I hate lasagna.  Or at least I used to.

I'm sure you remember my old posts ranting about the people who bring lasagnas.  We unfortunately frequently had bad things happen in my family growing up, and lots of people were kind enough to bring food.  We looked forward to some people's (Tammy and her Olive Garden stuff, Courtney's mom and her ham and her soup, etc.) but I always dreaded the lasagnas.  Part of it was the meat.  The other part was just the sheer number of them.  I think when something bad happens, people want to bring something hearty, filling, and easy to heat up again, and thus the lasagnas.  I know I've told the story before, but one time there were literally 7 lasagnas in my freezer.

Meat sauce!  Yikes.
I have since given up my intense hatred of lasagna.  I realized over the last couple years that I just hate the traditional hamburger, sausage and red sauce lasagna.  I like Mexican lasagna, the white sauce and vegetarian lotsa green lasagna, summer lasagna, and I have made lasagna roll-ups more times than I can count.

So, imagine my panic when a friend's father passed away and I offered to cook him dinner, and he asked for lasagna.  And when I offered the above recipes, he said, "make it with meat.  Hamburger."  YIKES.  And thus I became the woman who makes meat lasagnas for people.

I resorted to the Pioneer Woman for this one.  She never steers you wrong when it comes to comfort food.  Plus she called this recipe The Best Lasagna. Ever.  That sounded promising.

The recipe was discomforting, I won't lie.  There was hamburger and sausage in there.  Hot breakfast sausage, nonetheless!  And you make a meat sauce with it.  Yeesh.  Then there's dried basil and parsley - not fresh - and it calls for cottage cheese rather than ricotta.  Oh, and it asks for the fake parmesan cheese.  You know - the one that comes in a container that is nowhere near the refrigerator, and it smells like feet and has no resemblance to cheese?  And sliced mozzarella cheese that you just lay over the top.  Sounds bizarre, doesn't it?!  Put all these ingredients together and you get.... what my I have been told is the best lasagna ever.  I know, I didn't see that coming either.  I made two lasagnas, one for my friend and one for my family.  My mom declared it the best lasagna ever, and Rach agreed.  All traces of it were gone and taken to work the next day.  My friend agreed that it was a great lasagna and his mom even asked for the recipe.  I can't tell you my opinion because I didn't go anywhere near that meaty casserole, but for all you carnivores out there, if you are lasagna people, this may be the next recipe you need to try.


from the Pioneer Woman 
serves 12

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 pound hot breakfast sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 ounce) whole tomatoes
2 cans (6 ounce) tomato paste
4 tablespoons dried parsley, divided
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 teaspoon salt, divided
3 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 whole beaten eggs
1/2 cup grated (not shredded) parmesan cheese
1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1 package (10 ounce) lasagna noodles


1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2) Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic.  Cook over medium-high heat until browned.  Drain half the fat.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons basil, and 1 teaspoon salt.  After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.

3) In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt.  Stir together well.  Set aside.  Cook lasagna until a dente.

4) To assemble: arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary.  Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles.  Spread evenly.  Cover cottage cheese with a layer mozzarella cheese.  Spoon a little less than half the meat/sauce mixture over the top.

5) Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture.  Sprinkle top generously with extra parmesan.

6) Either freeze, refrigerate for up to 2 days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20-30 minutes, to until top is hot and bubbly.

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