Thursday, October 6, 2011

Paula's Easy Lasagna

My family loves Italian food! They could seriously eat pasta every night of the week, I think!

I, myself, like lasagna.  But there's this myth out there that lasagna is hard and time consuming and, and, and!

But my friend, Paula, makes this great lasagna that is SO easy and so good!

I'm giving you her recipe, just as she does it -- but in the directions, you'll see where I make a few minor adjustments . . .but only if I have time! 

You may ask, "Don't you have to cook the noodles?"  I never have.  I just snap them to make them fit the pan I'm using and layer away.  By the time the lasagna is browned and yummy -- the noodles are always soft and perfect!

Paula's Easy Lasagna

Lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 jar of Ragu tomato, onion, and garlic sauce (or whatever brand/flavor you prefer)
1 lb ground beef, cooked
1 small container or Ricotta cheese or small curd cottage cheese
Mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef season with salt and pepper.

(Paula's recipe doesn't add this; but I chopped baby carrots and also onions and saute those and add to my cooked meat.  It's an easy way to through in some extra veggies!)

Stir in the Ragu sauce into your meat mixture.  (I like about a jar and an extra 1/3of another)

Now you're ready to assemble the lasagna!

Spray your pan with Pam.  Add a smidge of sauce on the bottom of the baking pan and smear around.  Add a layer  noodles, meat/sauce, ricotta or cottage cheese, mozzarella, noodles, sauce, ricotta/cottage cheese, mozzarella.  Repeat this as high as you can!  I can do either 2 or 3 layers. 

(A 9 X 13 pan yields a "skinnier" lasagna; so obviously an 8 X 8 pan gets you a little "chunkier" lasagna!)

(Totally my in-put:  I assemble my lasagna in 2 loaf pans; one for now and I freeze the other for another night.  I also don't put mozzarella in between each layer --- just an easy way to save a few calories.  I prefer ricotta cheese.  I do the "rustic" assembly.  That means I just drop the ricotta by the spoonful around the lasagna, I don't worry about covering every inch. It gets warm and yummy!)
Cover with foil and bake at 350 until heated thoroughly, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  Remove foil and brown the top of the cheese until golden and bubbly.

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