How To Make Shari's Amazing Lasagna
If you want to make a lasagna that everyone will keep coming back for, this is the recipe you need. This recipe makes a large amount of lasagna. Everytime I make lasagna I have to make two of these large pans because everyone wants some. I only have leftovers if I don't tell anyone, or very few people, that I made it!
I have been asked by many for this recipe. I never really had a recipe for it. I mixed ingredients and directions from several different recipes and got this.
A friend had told me that lasagna was delicious and since I had never tried lasagna before, I asked what was in it. She told me and added that it took Ricotta cheese. I had never heard of that kind of cheese and thought eww, yuk, that does not sound good at all.
Several years later, after my kids were teens and asked for some, I decided I would give it a try. Since I had no recipe I was scouring cook books everywhere looking for a recipe. They all sounded terrible and the pictures didn't help. Somewhere, I don't remember where now, I read to add ricotta cheese and cottage cheese. I thought, hmmm, I like cottage cheese so I will try it with that. And it was delicious!
Everyone that has tasted it begs me to make more. People that have not tasted it tell me they have heard my lasagna is delicious and want me to make them some. A friend calls it "Shari's Amazing Lasagna", but to me it is just plain old lasagna with no special ingredients.
Here is how I make my "amazing" lasagna:
about 5 pounds of hamburger
1 - 24 ounce container of small curd cottage cheese
1 - 2 pound 13 ounce jar of prego meat flavored spaghetti sauce
2 to 3 - 16 ounce bags of shredded mozarella cheese, depending on how much cheese you like
10 lasagna noodles, you will not use this many but it is a good idea to cook a couple extra
1 - 13 1/2 x 9 5/8 x 2 3/4 aluminum disposable giant lasagna pan, or one close to those measurements, with or without a plastic lid; or a pan that is not disposable
How to prepare:
Cook the noodles in a pan of boiling water until they are tender. I add salt to the water. While the noodles are cooking start the hamburger browning, I sprinkle it with salt and pepper. While these are cooking, mix the cottage cheese and spaghetti sauce together in a large bowl.
When the noodles are tender, drain the hot water off and add cold water to the cooking pot. Let the noodles sit in the cold water until ready for use, this keeps them from sticking together. Drain the grease from the hamburger when it is done, then add to the cottage cheese / spaghetti sauce mixture and mix together. Just the hamburger, cottage cheese, and spaghetti sauce are delicious!
Start filling the pan by putting a layer of hamburger mixture along the bottom of the pan to keep the noodles from sticking during baking. Then put a layer of noodles, I put four to five noodles across. Layer the edges of the noodles over each other. Then pour in half of the hamburger mix and spread evenly over the noodles. Next sprinkle a layer of mozarella cheese over the layer of hamburger mix. Then repeat: a layer of noodles, then hamburger mix, then cheese. I like a lot of cheese, so I use a lot.
I do not pre-heat the oven. When I am done layering it I turn the oven on to 350 degrees F and put the pan in. It will take about 45 minutes to bake. I check it once in awhile, after I can smell it cooking. It is done when the cheese is all melted. I like the cheese around the edges to be a little well done, so I bake it until the edges are browning. That is almost the best part.
It is a good idea to let the lasagna cool before cutting into it, but in my house the second it comes out of the oven there is a line of people digging in. This should serve four to six people, depending on how hungry they are. I serve it with frozen garlic toast, baked of course, after the lasagna is done. I also have a small salad for those wanting salad, but that is rarely eaten.
The advantages of using a disposable aluminum pan: this will fill the pan to full so I turn the edges of the aluminum pan up. This prevents any cheese or sauce from running over. And you don't have to wash it! The large pans I use all come with plastic lids, so if you have any left over, the lasagna is already in a storage pan. And with a lid it is portable and you don't have to worry about getting your pan back!
Some do not like the thought of cottage cheese in the lasagna, but once they taste it they like it. This is just a plain recipe with nothing added, but you can add lots of different things and use different cheeses. Experiment and find your "amazing lasagna"!