Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Gift of Food

I love bringing a meal to friends that have just had a baby. Maybe this is because food is my language of love. I feel like I'm taking care of them by bringing them food. I also get to meet their precious little babies when they are only a few weeks old. So it's a win-win situation.

My "go-to" meal for new parents is Pioneer Woman's Lasagna. It is by far the best lasagna that I have ever eaten. The recipe kinda freaked me out at first because of some of the ingredients. I was scared of the cottage cheese. But once I tasted it, I was sold. I don't know if Pioneer Woman's lasagna is really really big or something but this recipe makes two when I do it. Again, I change the recipe a little bit.

Here's what you need:

1 package Lasagna Noodles
Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef
1 pound Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage
5 Garlic Cloves
2 Eggs (beaten)
3 cups Cottage Cheese
Dried Basil
Dried Parsley
2 jars Prego
Parmesan Cheese
1 pound Sliced Mozzarella Cheese

1. Begin by filling a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and a tablespoon of olive oil. 

2. Combine the ground beef, sausage, and garlic in a skillet on medium-high heat. I use a garlic press and press it directly into the pan. Brown the meat and drain most of the grease from the pan. 

3. Add two jars of Prego to the meat in the skillet and simmer it. I add dried parsley, dried basil, salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce and meat simmer for 45 minutes.

2. While the meat is cooking, I lay out several pieces of aluminum foil and wrap the edges around the sides of my countertops. This will make laying out the hot lasagna noodles much easier. 

3. Next, I combine the beaten eggs, cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons dried basil, 2 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. The kind out of the can. I know it's weird but it's so good in this dish. 

4. By now, the lasagna noodles should be ready. Drain and let them cool for a few minutes. After they have cooled, lay them out on the aluminum foil. I sometimes use tongs because the pasta is so hot.

5. Now we are ready to start assembling the lasagna. Start by laying four noodles on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Overlap the edges as you go. 
I'm using a foil pan because I'm giving this lasagna as a gift. 

6. Next, add a large spoonful of the cheese mixture and spread it evenly over the noodles.

7. Take your slices of Mozzarella cheese and lay them over the cheese mixture. The slices don't have to be touching because they will melt and spread out. 

8. Spoon a large portion of the sauce-meat mixture on top of the sliced Mozzarella and spread it out. Repeat steps 5-8. 

9. Finish by topping the lasagna with more of the grated Parmesan. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. I test the center to see if it is heated through.

If I am bringing this to friends, I don't cook the lasagna in the oven ahead of time. I stop at step 8 and let the lasagna cool on my countertops for a few minutes. Then, I cover it and refrigerate it until I am ready to take it to our friends.

I usually grab a loaf of garlic bread from the bakery and stop by Beagle Bagel to get cookies and petit fours.

I just found these cute labels on Pinterest that you can buy on Etsy.

So I will be finishing the gift of food off with these soon!

1 comment:

  1. This makes me really, really want lasanga. Def going to try this recipe.