Cooking From Scratch - Homemade Lasagna
Lasagna is one of those meals that I only make once or twice a year. Honestly, it is a bit of a pain to make homemade lasagna from scratch, but I find it worth it in the taste. So when I make lasagna, I automatically make two. This type of cooking saves time and money in the long run.
I was able to buy bigger sizes of the products which were cheaper per ounce. It only took me an extra 5-10 minutes to put together the second lasagna. But if I started from scratch the next time I wanted lasagna it would take a minimum of 30 minutes to get it in the oven. Plus, I now have a meal in the freezer for a crazy night somewhere down the road. To me this is a win-win situation all the way around. Here is how I make our lasagna.
6 lb 9 oz can of tomato sauce - the industrial size can you get at a warehouse store
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground sausage
2 teaspoons dried basil
3-5 cloves of garlic
3 carrots or large handful of baby carrots
1/2 medium onion
30 oz tub of ricotta cheese
1 lb of mozzarella cheese, grated
1.5 lbs of lasagna noodles, I use the no boil kind
Brown the ground beef and sausage together in a large pan. While that is browning, steam the carrots and onions. Once these are soft put them in the blender with a ladle full of tomato sauce and puree. You are adding flavor to the sauce as well as vitamins and nutrients and your kids or picky eaters will never know. In a large pot mix the tomato sauce with the basil, chopped or minced garlic, browned meat and vegetable puree. Heat the sauce on medium while you grate the mozzarella cheese. In a large bowl mix the ricotta cheese with the eggs.
When you have everything ready to layer get out your two 9x13 pans. Add enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom of each pan. At this point I add 1/4 cup of water to the sauce to help the noodles cook. I will do this with each layer. After the sauce put down enough noodles to cover the bottom. For me that was 3.5 in my larger pan and 3 in my smaller pan. Put a spoonful of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of each noodle and spread around. Sprinkle with a handful of grated cheese. Then start your layers over - sauce, water, pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, repeat. I repeat this until I am almost out of ingredients. I top everything with another layer of sauce and grated cheese.
Bake for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes at 375. Check half way through to make sure the cheese isn't getting too brown. If it is cover the lasagna in tinfoil and keep cooking. Once the lasagnas are done take them out of the oven, cover and let them rest for 10-15 minutes. This is the hard part! But if you cut into them too soon you will have a runny mess. If you let them rest you will get nice pieces of layered lasagna.
You can make some alterations to this recipe to fit your tastes and ingredients. You can easily leave out the carrots and onion, or add the onion chopped to the sauce. You can use zucchini or eggplant instead of the noodles. You can also easily make this lasagna vegetarian by leaving out the meat. If you don't have enough mozzarella cheese you can add grated cheddar instead. But now at least you have the basics to create your own delicious lasagna.