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Twice Cooked Pasta (Lazy Lasagna)
Welcome to my kitchen
In today’s non-stop world, it is hard to find time to breathe. This is a great meal you can make and eat or freeze. If you freeze it, then during the week when you are pressed for time, thaw it and throw it in the oven. You will have a great meal in minutes. Leftovers can be heated in the oven or microwave. As a busy mom I liked it because, it contained all the major food groups and the kids loved it. It was also cheap to make and usually made 1 meal and 1-2 rounds of leftovers.
Small amount (1/4 pound) of mild Italian sausage (uncased), Hamburger (1/2 pound), Ricotta cheese, Tomato sauce (1 jar of your favorite brand), Onion (whole medium and powder), garlic (whole clove- 2 if small and powder), mozzarella cheese, Italian spices (oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, and sage), for this I like to use rigatoni (you can use your preferred pasta), crusty bread, butter, shake cheese (parmesan & Romano), olive oil, medium green pepper (optional)
In a medium pot over a burner with medium – low heat…melt a tsp of butter…when melted add a tsp of olive oil, Tbsp. Italian spice, ½ tsp of garlic powder, 2 Tbsp. shake cheese, 1 tsp onion powder and stir until combined…add whole jar of Tomato sauce (for good measure I add a pinch of sugar but, it is not needed)…stir slowly until combined…drop in 3 Tbsp. ricotta cheese into the sauce…put on low heat on the back of the stove and stir occasionally
In a large skillet on medium heat melt 1 Tbsp. butter…crush 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves and add to skillet…dice 1 medium onion, add to skillet (1 medium green pepper can be added here)…cook until soft…add 1 tsp of Italian seasoning…add ½ the hamburger first, pulling it apart as it is placed in the pan…add sausage, again pulling it apart and layer evenly across hamburger…layer on the rest of the hamburger over the top of all meat in pan…as it cooks, chop it into small – medium chunks…when it is brown, drain and add to sauce…leave on the back burner, still on low heat and continue to stir occasionally…it is now time to turn the oven onto 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius) to preheat (unless your plan is to freeze it to eat at a later time)
Do you like to cook?
Fill large pot with water…turn burner on high…add 1tsp of butter, 1 tsp olive oil, pinch of salt…when water comes to a rolling boil add pasta (usually 1 box) and becareful of any water they may spit out of the pot…turn heat down to medium – high…while it cooks, put the colander in the sink…cut a tsp of butter in ¼ s…cook pasta until it is al dente- not too hard or soft (keep in mind it gets cooked again)…when pasta is done dump into the colander…do not rinse…add butter and ½ tsp Italian seasoning to top of pasta…when it melts stir to get an even coat over the noodles
Time to Combine:
In the large pasta pot, dump the noodles back in…on top of it dump the meat sauce…stir gently until thoroughly combined…it is now time to be transferred into the baking dish…it should now be leveled and let to rest for 5 minutes…a light coating of shake cheese should be sprinkled across the top of the pan and then 2 cups of mozzarella cheese should be spread evenly across the top…now it is time to decide
Oven or Freezer:
It is time to make that hard choice…if you are planning to freeze it, seal the baking pan with aluminum foil and put in freezer…when you are ready to eat, thaw and proceed with oven instructions…if you are not freezing it then we are ready for the oven…in an uncovered baking dish put pasta in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius) for 25-30 minutes…when it is done cheese will be melted but, not burned…take out of oven and let stand for 5 minutes…then it is ready to serve
Set the table:
Crusty bread can be sliced and buttered…some people like shake cheese or salt and pepper…usually I serve a nice fresh garden salad or green beans with this dish…this is best served on a plate as opposed to a bowl due to the retained heat when it is first served…if feeding to a child, cut into small pieces and let cool prior to feeding…I give adults forks and children spoons…since there is nothing to butter or cut there is no need for knifes…each person will need a napkin and if a child is present, I tend to keep a wet and dry cloth handy (I do this anytime children have any tomato sauce)….it is time to serve the table
Microwave instructions…put in microwave, one microwave safe dish and set on high for 1 ½ minutes…stir and add some fresh mozzarella cheese to the top…put back in the microwave and place it on high for another minute and half…this should be done but, microwaves vary in power so be sure to check it
Oven instructions…preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius)…place scoop of pasta in baking dish and distribute evenly across dish…sprinkle fresh mozzarella cheese over the top and place in oven…cook for 10-15 minutes and check regularly, time may vary due to sea-level and oven…remove and eat
The Memories Made:
I am 50 now and my children are grown and gone. I do not know that I could explain the memories made because of this but, I will try. I used to set up Sunday afternoon as my cooking day for the meals I would freeze for the week- back then I was a single mom who worked 2 jobs and needed every inch of time I could gain. This was an easy dish the kids could help with and was a good way for them to learn to cook and work with spices. When I pulled this out of the freezer, the kids got excited because this was food ‘they made’ and they took pride in telling me how they made me dinner. I laugh when I think of the day my daughter dumped the Italian spice bottle into my last jar of sauce. A smile comes to my heart when I think of my son bragging to his girlfriend how he could make a pasta dinner. Now it is one of my grandson’s favorite meals and he loves to scoop the meat with his buttered crusty bread. May you all be blessed in making your own memories.