Sunday, June 10, 2012

Easy Semi-Homemade Lasagna

I have been scared of lasagna for a long time.  Simmering meat sauce for hours and having to boil the lasagna noodles before cooking took more time than I had.  As far as ingredients go, I don't personally like the texture of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese so I never really liked recipes that were made with either.

Since I don't really cook lasagna, I haven't shopped for lasagna noodles in a very long time.  But when I made chicken Alfredo roll-ups a few weeks ago, I made an amazing discovery.  They now sell oven-ready noodles that you don't have to boil beforehand.  Who knew?!?  Well, probably everyone but me.

Anyhow, I decided I wanted lasagna last night at the last minute.  And I was able to put one together in about 20 minutes that was extremely delicious and really easy to make!

I cooked 2 lbs of hamburger meat and then mixed it with two jars of my favorite spaghetti sauce.  I put about a cup of sause in the bottom of a 9 x 12 casserole dish and then proceed to alternate layers of the oven-ready lasagna noodles, meat and sauce mixture, and a combination of Colby, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella cheese.  I ended up with three layers each of the noodles, sauce, and cheese.  Of course, the cheese was the final layer.

I cooked the lasagna in the oven for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

I got a thumbs up from both Little Man and Deputy D, but how can you really go wrong with pasta and meat layered with loads of melted cheese?  Even as we are eating the leftovers for lunch today, Deputy D is commenting on how yummy it is.

Lessons learned?

The chefs on the Food Network are right.  Once you learn a cooking method, you can tweak recipes however you want to get them to suit your tastes and lifestyle.

Don't like ricotta?  Don't use it.  Lasagna police are not going to show up at your house to arrest you for not using it.

There are many advancements in the culinary world, and you should probably peruse your grocery store of choice every once in a while to see what new things they have that would appeal to you.

And finally, don't be afraid to experiment and try new things.  You never know what you will be able to accomplish.  There might be some failures, but so what?  As long as I am cooking, Deputy D really doesn't care if it always turns out perfect.  He likes that I experiment with things because he hates to eat the same thing over and over.

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