I have been requested to recreate another of my go-to “recipes”. Every time some one asks me for a particular recipe, I almost always have to say the same thing, and that is that I rarely use a formal one, for anything. Recipes are honestly just ideas for me to expand upon. I am more of the dump and taste kind of girl, but I am going to try and ESTIMATE measurements as nearly as I can. Hope it turns out delicious for you, and if you try it, please let me know! Oh, and PS I only know how to cook LARGE quantities of anything, so for the size of lasagna I made here, it fed six adults, with just as much leftover, but it freezes beautifully!
Preheat oven to 375F
3 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion chopped
1 large bell pepper…I prefer red but any colour will do
1 package fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 cans of tomato sauce…I prefer a tomato and basil, or any one that has added seasonings already
1 large tbsp. of fresh chopped garlic…I cheat and buy it ready to go
1 cup of V8 Juice or tomato juice….it’s used to dilute the sauce to a thinner consistency so you can judge if you need more
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
3 tbsp. white sugar
2 500 gr containers of low fat cottage cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese… approx. I just make sure it’s well sprinkled on top
700-800 gr grated mozzarella….again, I cheat and buy whatever is already grated for me, so sometimes it’s a mixture of different white cheeses
2 tsp ground or grated nutmeg….shhhhh that’s the secret ingredient people taste but can’t figure out
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles…..also a cheat
Cook beef, onions, and garlic until almost done, add chopped peppers. I never cook peppers as long as other veggies because I am not a fan when they get mushy. Drain fat if there is any, then add sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning and mushrooms, and a generous sprinkle of parmesan . Stir and then add juice to dilute. When using ready to go noodles, the sauce must be a little more liquid so that the noodles will be cooked properly, so I make sure it is not quite soup thin, but not quite chili thick…pourable as opposed to spreadable. Simmer this about 20-30 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked, your house smells amazing, and people are asking what time dinner is served!
In a bowl, mix both containers of cottage cheese, egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
For this amount of lasagna I used a large aluminum turkey roaster. You can use the biggest pan you have, or make a few smaller ones to serve, and freeze. Keep in mind, if you want lots of layers in your finished product, use a deeper pan.
Spread a thin layer of sauce to completely cover the bottom of your pan. Add a layer of noodles. They do not have to touch, as they will expand during cooking. Next layer should be your cottage cheese mixture. Sprinkle parmesan and a bit of the mozzarella over the cottage cheese. Add another layer of noodles, then more sauce, more noodles, more sauce, and top it off with a healthy layer of the mozzarella, and another large sprinkle of parmesan. Depending on you pan size, you can split the cottage cheese into two layers, just make sure there is a layer of noodles under and over. Key here is to make sure you start with a layer of sauce at the bottom and under your top layer of mozza, and that your noodles are all covered with sauce, unless you’re like me and kind of like the crunchy one on the edges!
Bake at 375, for approximately 45 minutes, depending on how thick you have made it. You will know if it’s done when a sharp knife slides easily through the center. It truly is much better rewarmed, so I always make it early in the day, then cover it with foil, and reheat in a 300F oven for about 30 minutes just prior to serving.