The Lasagna

This is just how you make lasagna.

 lasagna

Rich and cheesy and easy to throw together on a regular ol’ Wednesday or as a meal for guests.  And the two meats in the meat sauce give it that little extra something that brings this up to a new level of lasagna love.

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Don’t let this from-scratch meal intimidate you.  Just think of it like a few bowls and a few layers of goodness.  You can so do this.  Four parts: the noodles, the cheeses (Mozzarella and fresh Parmesan), the tomato/meat sauce, and the Ricotta cheese layer.

Start with the meat sauce.

Brown 1 lb. of lean ground beef,

1 lb. of pork sausage,

1 small, diced onion

and 2 cloves of chopped garlic in a large skillet.

Drain the grease and then add in about 30 oz. of tomatoes (I use a quart of canned tomatoes that I quickly pulse in the food processor because my boys don’t like chunks o’ tomatoes),

12 oz. tomato paste,

2 T. of raw sugar (0r whatever sugar you prefer — sugar helps cut the acid from all of the tomatoes),

1 1/2 tsp. salt,

1/2 tsp. pepper,

and 2 tsp. Italian seasoning (dried spice blend).

Bring this to a boil over medium heat and then drop it to a simmer for at least a half an hour while you prepare the other components.

Bring a big pot of lightly salted water to a boil to cook 12 lasagna noodles as directed on the package.  As soon as they are done, drain the water so they don’t overcook and let them just sit there and relax until you are ready for them.*

In a small bowl, beat two eggs,

add in 16 oz. of ricotta cheese,

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 T. dried parsley,

and 1 tsp. salt.  Mix well.

Now, grate up about 1 lb. of Mozzarella.  I use anywhere from 4-6 cups of freshly grated cheese.  Skip the bag o’ cheese;  freshly grated is so soft and yummy.  You’ll thank me.

Okay, so now you have all of the components ready and it’s time for the fun part — the layers!  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Using a 9×13′ pan add in the layers as follows:

4 lasagna noodles

1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture

1/2 of the Mozzarella

1/3 of the meat sauce

4 more noodles

The other 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture

The rest of the Mozzarella cheese

1/3 of the meat sauce

4 more noodles

The remaining meat sauce.

Sprinkle with a little freshly grated Parmesan and into the oven it goes to bake for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees.  Pull this beauty out of the oven and let it set for 10 minutes before you cut into it.

That’s it!  Perfect lasagna you’ll make again and again.  It’s also great to make up ahead and either freeze (let it thaw 24-48 hours ahead and bake as usual) or refrigerate for a few days ahead of time for an easy last minute meal.  Just be prepared to add a 10-15 minutes extra bake time if it starts out cold.

Soon, I’ll try to remember to tell you how to make the easiest, last-minute garlic bread you’ll ever fall in love with.  But for now, eat lasagna and be a little happier.

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Serves 8-10

The Lasagna Grocery List:

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. pork sausage

1 small onion

2 cloves garlic

30 oz. cooked tomatoes and their juice

12 oz. tomato paste

2 T. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. Italian seasoning spice blend

12 lasagna noodles

16 oz. ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (and a little extra for the top)

2 T. parsley

1 tsp. salt

At least 1 lb. Mozzarella (4-6 cups freshly grated)

Adapted from American Lasagna submitted to Alltecipes.com by EthelMertz.

*To shave off a little prep time, you can skip cooking the noodles and put them in dry if you have time to refrigerate the lasagna overnight.  To bake, keep the foil on and increase the bake time to an hour.

Lemon Zucchini Bread with Lemon-Coconut Glaze

She put the lime in the coconut…

Okay, well, kinda.  No lime, just lemon.  But if you know that song, it is now not just in my head but yours as well.  You’re welcome.  :o)

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Got zucchini?  This is another way to use it up.  If you’re not familiar with baking with zucchini, fear not.  All it does is add moisture to baked goods — not flavor.

This lemon bread satisfies something in me that longs daily for lemon pound cake — another of my favorite things.   Made with coconut oil, a green vegetable, and organic sugar, however, I can pretty much justify this any day of the week.

lemon zucchini

One bowl for dry ingredients:

2 c. flour,

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

And one bowl for the rest:

2 beaten eggs,

1/2 c. melted coconut oil (I use unrefined for coconut flavor)

1 1/4 c. sugar.  Mix well and stir in the rest:

2 T. fresh lemon juice,

the zest from 1 lemon

1/2 c. buttermilk (If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, put 1 T. white vinegar into a 1 c. measure.  Fill the rest of the cup with milk and let it sit at least five minutes.)

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and gently stir.  Remember, with any quick bread, including pancakes and muffins, don’t overstir.  Stir just until the dry ingredients are fully moistened.  Too much stirring negatively affects the final texture and consistency.

Gently fold in 1 c. of finely grated zucchini.

I use coconut oil or butter to grease my pan and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top of the oil. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes or so and then remove from the pan to the rack to cool further.

While the bread is baking, make up your yummy glaze.  To 1 c. of sifted powdered sugar, add 2 T. lemon juice, and 1 T. milk and whisk together until smooth.  Add in 1/3 c. sweetened coconut flakes.

When the bread is still warm move it to a serving platter and pour the glaze over the top.  It’s best served warm, but yummy no matter what.  I even froze a loaf and extra glaze and they thawed beautifully on the counter to serve guests.  I would imagine it would also translate well to muffins if you were so inclined.

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Hope you love this one as much as we do!

Lemon Zucchini Bread with Lemon-Coconut Glaze Grocery List:

2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 c. unrefined coconut oil

1 1/4 c. sugar

2 T. fresh lemon juice

Zest from 1 lemon

1 c. finely grated zucchini

Glaze:

1 c. powdered sugar

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1 T. milk

1/3 c. sweetened coconut flakes