Sunday, December 20, 2009
Let me start by saying that I come from a long line of women who made fantastic lasagna. My grandmother and mom make their own sauce from scratch (a meat sauce with ground beef) and boil the noodles and the result is wonderful. So, I have no excuse for not making "real" lasagna. When I discovered the no boil lasagna noodles, I was sold. By combining that with jars of sauce, precooked sausage, and some veggies, I could make a huge pan of homecooked (albeit cheater) lasagna in a short time. It's better than Stouffer's but not as good as Grammy's.
Over the years, I've made many versions of this faker, cheater lasagna with no complaints from the eaters and tonight, I'm taking a pan of it to a Christmas potluck. Usually I make this ahead of time and refrigerate it then throw it in the oven at supper time.
Bec's Cheater Lasagna (makes a 9x13 pan)
1 package of no boil lasagna noodles (Barilla or Trader Joes)
1 package of fully cooked chicken or turkey sausage, thinly sliced (I'm using TJs basil pesto chicken sausage)
1 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese
4-6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of parmesan cheese
1-2 cups sliced vegetables (I usually use thinly sliced mushrooms and zucchini) optional
2 jars of sauce (I usually use marinara and whatever is on sale. The Vons brand roasted garlic with the whole cloves is great)
In a bowl, mix together the eggs, the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. In a 9x13 pan, spread a thin layer of sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Then, cover the sauce with the lasagna noodles (don't boil them first!). Then, cover the noodles with the ricotta mixture. Next, spread some sausage and veggies to cover the ricotta. Sprinkle with more mozzarella, some parmesan cheese and cover with sauce again. Lay down your next layer of noodles and continue the process. The top of the lasagna should be noodles, sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
Layering Cheat Sheet:
Repeat from step 1
Bake at 350 for about an hour. I usually cover it for the first 45 minutes or so (spray your foil with baking spray so the cheese doesn't stick to it) and then leave it uncovered. It's done when it's bubbly and golden brown. If it's coming out of the refrigerator, add an extra 15-30 minutes cooking time.
For flair, I sometimes sprinkle the layers with red chili flakes or italian seasoning, or dried basil. If you're feeding vegetarians, skip the sausage and add extra veggies. Or, make Lisa's Vegetarian Lasagna instead.