Lasagna and Garlic Bread

I love to make lasagna every once in awhile.  This is a great recipe.

Ingredients

1-2 lbs ground beef
½ box of lasagna noodles
Kosher salt
1 –32oz can tomato puree
1 – 15oz can tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp of tomato paste
1 – ½ tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp Course ground black pepper
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp dried Oregano
½ tsp dried Basil
½ small 15oz container of Ricotta cheese
1-16 oz bag of pre-shredded Italian blend cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Mozzerella…)
1-16 oz bag of pre-shredded Mozzerella
Non-stick spray or 4 Tbsp of cooking oil

Instructions

In a large skillet add non-stick spray or 2 Tbsp of oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. On medium heat, cook the ground beef, and drain the fat.  While you are cooking the sauce, place a large pot of water with 2 tspn of kosher salt  cover and cook on high until boiling.  Once the water boils, add the lasagna noodles – don’t force them – they will break.  Allow them to get soft and stir them in.  One half a box of lasagna noodles is enough to prepare 3 layers in a 13 x 9 dish.  If you want to prepare the whole box of noodles you will probably have extra noodles left over.  Cook these according to manufacturer’s directions or uncover and cook on medium-high for about 10 minutes usually does the trick.
Meanwhile, once the meat is done and the fat drained.  Combine 1-2 Tbsp of tomato paste to the meat. Then season the meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder – I also add a little dried oregano and dried basil to my meat.  Add the tomato puree, tomato sauce, and seasonings:  Italian blend, oregano, and basil. You need to taste test this now and adjust the Italian seasonings right.  Add more salt, garlic powder, or Italian blend if you need to. If your sauce does not taste right, nothing will.
Turn the heat down on the meat sauce or you can turn it off – it doesn’t matter while you prepare the lasagna.
Drain the noodles.  Prepare a 13 x 9 dish by coating the bottom with non-stick spray or I drizzle a little oil on the bottom and spread with a paper towel. Lay out 3 strips of noodles side-by-side to cover the bottom of the dish. Add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp dried Oregano, and ½ tsp dried Basil to ½ the container of ricotta cheese and combine before spreading it.  You will use about ½ container of the Ricotta cheese in this recipe. Spread the ricotta out in a thin layer over the noodles.  I use a small spatula or a fork and my fingers to press it down as I apply it. Add the Italian blend cheese and Mozerella shredded cheeses lightly over that and then 1/3 of  the meat sauce. Remember to use 3 equal portions of the meat sauce or you may run out.  You need enough sauce for each layer.  Repeat this for each additional layer.  Don’t cover the top with cheese until the lasagna is done.  Cover the lasagna with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  When the sauce starts to bubble on the sides. Then when the lasagna is done, remove the foil, and sprinkle some Mozzerella on top and put it under the broiler until the cheese melts, usually about 1-2 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread.  I make my own garlic bread sometimes.  Below is a recipe that I use.

Garlic Bread Recipe

Ingredients

1 loaf of Texas Toast or French Bread
½ to ¾ cup of butter or margarine
2-3 tsp of Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Basil
2-4 Tbsp of olive oil (I use Smart Balance cooking oil – it’s a combination of oils – including olive oil – it’s great if your watching your cholesterol and B/P and don’t want
to sacrifice the taste.)

Combine the butter and seasonings using a small rubber spatula.  You may need to add more garlic powder.  You can do a small taste test first.  I usually eyeball this.  It seems like you add a lot of garlic powder, but you need to.  Also don’t use garlic salt.  I used to wonder why my bread never came out right when I was younger, because we used garlic salt.  I found out quickly that I prefer garlic powder over garlic salt any day.  My husband prefers to use it when he cooks, but I stick to the garlic powder.  If you are using french bread, cut the loaf in half and separate the top from the bottom.  Spread the bread thickly with the butter mixture.  If you are using Texas toast, just make sure you spread the mixture on both sides of the bread.  I like to drizzle a little oil on top. Coat the bottom of your baking sheet with non-stick spray or drizzle a little oil on it. Cook the garlic bread at 400 degrees or place it in the oven with the lasagna towards the last 10 minutes of cook time for the lasagna.  It doesn’t take long to bake the bread.  You don’t want it to get cold.  Make sure you just allow 5-10 minutes to bake it.  The Texas toast will take 5 minutes on each side. If you need to speed up the process, I sometimes put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes – if Texas toast – broil both sides. I like mine soft, but lightly golden.





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