Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Italian Anyone???

What is more natural for a home cooked meal than a pasta dish?  I grew up loving Lasagna so much that it was what I asked for as my birthday dinner.  A family friend, Mrs. Schmidt made such an awesome version of it, even though she lived an hour and a half away, I was always excited to go to her house in hopes that we would be having lasagna (okay, so playing with my friend was also a big part!!).  Ahh....childhood memories.
photo courtesy of google images
I have tried several variations on lasagna, and still have not found the perfect recipe for us.  We have done it with Spinach and without, with ground beef, and with a beef and Italian sausage mix.  I have pre-boiled the noodles and have used the oven ready recipe ones.  I personally like doing it in the crock-pot  but the family does not, and truth be told, it does not really make it any easier than just doing it in the oven.

photo courtesy of google 
I have to say, my most recent variation used the oven ready noodles, and I did like that one.  You do not overlap the noodles, and just place them width wise across the pan instead of length wise.  They expand as they cook, so any extra space will be filled.  I made my meat sauce with a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage.  I cooked the meat before, so I could assemble in the morning before I went out for the day. That made for an easy prep for dinner after work and school.

When I make lasagna, I usually make two pans.  I figure if I am going to put forth the effort to make the dish, might as well have an extra one for in the freezer.  But, I hate having my good casserole dishes in the freezer, so I bought a disposable lasagna pan.  I looked at purchasing a regular pan, but several pans recommending not putting it in the freezer, so I went disposable.  A lasagna pan is about an inch deeper than a 9x13, but it is also about an inch wider in length and width.  So now I have a huge gap around that pan, but I through it in the freezer, and we will see when I bake it.

I also made homemade bread to go with it.  I baked the loaves in the morning, and turned one loaf into garlic bread that I popped into the oven while the lasagna set, and finished it off with a nice salad.  With Thing One on his Lenten journey, we had enough for 2 dinners and lunch for 2 on Sunday (so Thing One could have some!).  The second loaf went into the freezer and will accompany the second lasagna, probably sometime next month.

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