Moms Lasagna with Meat Sauce, Game 1
The past week bebe dada’s been full of dinner requests. I can tell he needs a break from all the Japanese food I’ve been cooking and he needs to be rewarded for the vegetarian dinner he lived through (post forthcoming), as well as the vegetarian dinner leftovers he ate.
I got it, hun! You’re craving hearty family favorites (with meat).
The other night he wanted Italian sausage hash, and when I mentioned lasagna because we have meat sauce in the freezer, he said, “lasagna sounds like a REALLY good idea”. I decided to make this for last night’s Laker game dinner – Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, Lakers vs. Suns.
When we were kids my mom made homemade lasagna for us, and I LOVED lasagna night. It was the next best thing after spaghetti night. As we got older and life got busier, my mom sometimes bought Stouffer’s frozen lasagna but it just wasn’t the same. When she served frozen lasagna I always asked her if she would please MAKE us homemade lasagna instead of buying it. I was a very demanding child. Bebe dada will likely want to chime in and tell you that I am a demanding wife. Heh-heh.
My mom’s lasagna recipe is heavy, cheesy and yummy. It’s total comfort food.
When my friends J & J had their baby girl just one month before we had bebe E, I was fortunately off bed-rest by then, and I decided to make lasagna for their newborn arrival “meals-on-wheels” dinner. I thought it would be great comfort food after their stay in the hospital. They loved it. :) Last December they asked me to make this for their holiday potluck but sadly I declined due to holiday-rush time constraints and instead I guiltily bought egg rolls from my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I still feel bad about that, so I’m dedicating this post to J & J.
When I used to hear the words, “homemade lasagna,” I immediately thought, “ugh… so much work.” Those were also the days when I found myself buying frozen lasagna from Costco (just like my mom). It’s rather inexpensive and two family-size portion lasagnas come in each package, which meant 2 nights of easy dinner during the busy week.
The key to easy and quick lasagna is having the sauce pre-made and stored in the freezer. I started doubling (sometimes tripling) my meat sauce recipe and FoodSaving the leftovers. For a while I took this one step further and made two lasagnas in one day. I would make one in our baking dish to eat for dinner, and I would make a second in a disposable tin pan, which I would FoodSave and freeze. (Keeps in the freezer without freezer burn for 3 – 6 months). In my book, homemade frozen lasagna is tastier than store-bought frozen lasagna.
Don’t get me wrong, fresh foods are the best, but for whipping up dinner on short notice, it’s nice to have some ingredients FoodSaved in the freezer. Several years ago my brother asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told him I wanted a FoodSaver. He said, “WHAT? Like the one you see on TV infomercials?” Yes, that’s the one… At the time I’m positive my brother thought I was weird for wanting this – but I highly recommend it.
Anyway, when you have meat sauce pre-made, in the freezer, lasagna night is easy to pull off. It’s even easier if you have cheese in the freezer too. Yes, I have shredded mozzarella AND fresh mozzarella cheese, as well as grated parmesan in the freezer. All are FoodSaved and keeps quite well.
- 4 – 5 cups meat sauce
- 8 lasagna noodles
- 16 oz non-fat cottage cheese
- 2 – 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesean cheese
- 3/4 cup chopped black olives
1) Make meat sauce. Follow this link for my meat sauce recipe.
2) Boil the lasagna noodles for 6 -8 minutes until tender. Using cooked noodles instead of dry noodles drastically cuts the baking time.
COOKING TIP: Spray the water with Pam Cooking Spray to prevent the lasagna noodles from sticking together.
3) Assemble the lasagna in a 9 x 13 baking dish by layering the ingredients in the following order. Repeat once. I find that two layers of the ingredients usually fit in the dish. If I have some spinach or eggplant, I’ll either blanch the spinach and/or bake the eggplant and then layer this into the lasagna on top of the sauce and olives.
- hamburger sauce
- cottage cheese
- small bits of fresh mozarella
- shredded mozerella
- grated parmesan cheese
4) Bake the lasagna, uncovered at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Set the oven on low broil, then broil for 5 minutes to get the top of the lasagna nice and toasty.
Bebe dada ate TWO large squares of lasagna and he must have said, “this is so delicious, sweetheart” at least four times last night. That makes me happy. :)
Big onechan came over after school today, peeked in the fridge and said, “oooooooooh, are we having lasagna for dinner tonight?” I told her I made it last night and we were having leftovers tonight. She was pretty happy. And it makes me happy when even leftovers make big onechan happy.
Good comfort food for dinner two nights in a row. Lakers beat the Suns 128 – 107. All’s well in bebe mama’s world.
Judy | bebe mama
- 4 - 5 cups meat sauce (see Recipe page on bebeloveokazu.com)
- 8 lasagna noodles
- 16 oz non-fat cottage cheese
- 2 - 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1½ cups fresh mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated fresh parmesean cheese
- ¾ cup chopped black olives
- Cooked spinach and eggplant, optional
- Make meat sauce. (See Recipe page on bebeloveokazu.com)
- Boil the lasagna noodles for 6 -8 minutes until tender. Using cooked noodles instead of dry noodles drastically cuts the baking time.
- COOKING TIP: Spray the water with Pam Cooking Spray to prevent the lasagna noodles from sticking together.
- Assemble the lasagna in a 9 x 13 baking dish by layering the ingredients in the following order: hamburger sauce, olives, noodles, cottage cheese, small bits of fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan cheese
- Repeat once. I find that two layers of the ingredients usually fit in the dish. If I have some spinach or eggplant, I'll either blanch the spinach and/or bake the eggplant and then layer this into the lasagna on top of the sauce and olives.
- Bake the lasagna, uncovered at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Set the oven on low broil, then broil for 5 minutes to get the top of the lasagna nice and toasty.