Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Dinner March 7, 2010

My mom, Mel, is an amazing cook. She can cook just about anything. Mel has always worked but she came home everyday and made us dinner. We rarely ate out and never fast food. For Mel, cooking your family a well rounded meal with quality ingredients is an expression of love.  Of her culinary talents, anything with a red sauce is my favorite; spaghetti & meatballs, manicotti, and of course lasagna.

Lasagna is the first dinners I learned how to cook well. (I'm pretty sure this is why the Big Man thought I was marriage material) .This recipe has taught me a lot about cooking. It has taught me patience and how to experiment. This recipe can be modified in many ways and still be tasty. You can use what ever ground meat you choose; chicken, turkey, pork, etc. Actually, you can probably leave out the meat if you're a vegetarian. Tonight, I decided to add spinach since we had some in the freezer. Like all moms, I want to sneak in veg when I can.  I use healthier ingredients than the original recipe but,  with lasagna, it is most important (and difficult) to serve the right portion size.

While I love this dish, it is not quick cooking. You'll need about two hours. But its only about 30mins active time. It's a great thing to cook while you're getting other stuff done around the house. I always double it and freeze the leftovers. And like most red sauce dishes, lasagna is better the next day.

1lb lean ground meat (I used turkey and pork)
16oz pureed (or diced) tomatoes, no salt added
12oz tomato paste, no salt added
2clove garlic, minced
2tbsp parsley
1tbsp oregano
1tbsp basil
1tsp black pepper
1tsp salt
1pk whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked per package directions
24oz low fat cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2cup part-skim Parmesan cheese
1/2lb part-skim mozzarella
1cup frozen spinach, cooked per package directions

In a heavy bottom pot, slowly brown meat on med heat.  

Add tomatoes, paste, 1tbsp parsley, oregano, basil, garlic, pepper and salt. Mix well.

Cook uncovered for 1hr, stirring every 15mins or so.

In a separate bowl, mix cottage cheese, eggs, 1tbsp parsley and 1cup Parmesan.

In a rectangular high sided dish (like corningware), layer the noodles, 1/2 meat mixture, 1/2 cheese mixture, 1/2 cup spinach, and 1/2 mozzarella. Repeat layers. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. 

Cook in oven heated to 375deg for 30mins. Allow lasagna to cool and set up for 15mins before serving. Tonight, I served it with a salad, broccoli, and homemade french bread.

I know the recipes I've posted so far have been time consuming. This is generally how I prefer to cook on the weekends, taking my time. But I have plenty of simple, quick cooking recipes. Keep coming back, I promise I'll have something for every skill level. 

Of course, this dish is Italian and not Cajun. But that's what makes NOLA food so interesting...all of the cultural influences we have. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine does.

If you have any question/comments about this recipe, pls leave me a comment or email at megmehell at yahoo.


Amanda said...

This looks great. I love lasagne, and I love that this one is a slightly lighter version. I'm saving this to try soon!

Allison said...

Oh my goodenss, this looks fantastic. So does the salad...and homemade french bread...I think I would marry you too!

Anonymous said...

Wow. This looks amazing! My mom never made lasagna very often so I guess I assume it's too difficult for me!

Hmmm...I've never made lasagna. Maybe that's why I'm single? Ha! :)

Christina A-BEAR said...

Dear woman!! How could you do this to me!? It looks AMAZING!!! Now I must try to make something amazing tonight!

Sunflower Kisses said...

I just "followed" you. I found you on "Run with Jill" and my eyes glanced down the followers section and saw "Luling." I thought, "THAT'S LOUISIANA!" So, I clicked on your page.
You have some good eatings on your page! I love it.

Anne Marie said...

Hey, fun to see the Gundlach Bundschu wine in the badkground as the winery is ~1 mile from my house out here in CA;-)

oh, and that lasagne looks fab!

Staci Dombroski said...

Looks amazing! Especially the wine :-)

ajh said...

Loved your comment on Teamarcia's blog that teaching kids to read leads to trouble! Good laugh out loud moment of the day!

Jill said...

Would you just overnight some of that stuff to me??? :) I can't tell you the last time I spent 2 hours cooking a meal, cuz if I ever did, there'd be at least 2 that wouldn't eat it so I never bother. But this they just may all eat. Thanks!!