Thursday, January 24, 2008

Best Homemade Lasagna

1/2 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small zucchini, diced into small pieces (or 1/2 a big one)
1 Portobello mushroom, diced very small or 5-6 small regular mushrooms, diced
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese
1 26-oz. can spaghetti sauce
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
16 oz. cottage cheese
Parmesan cheese
1 16 oz. box of lasagna noodles -- do not cook the noodles

Turn the oven on to 375 degrees. Have your 9x13 pan ready on the counter.

Put the frozen spinach into a large microwavable bowl and defrost.

Dice the onion, zucchini, and mushrooms, and mince the garlic. In a large skillet, warm 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and saute the onions and garlic over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then add in the zucchini and mushrooms. Saute 5-7 minutes. Add in the ground meat. Cook meat thoroughly. When the meat is cooked through (drain off fat if using beef), add the whole can of spaghetti sauce. Fill the empty can half way with water and pour that water in, too. Stir and turn the heat down to low and let it simmer.

When the spinach is thawed sufficiently to mix it, fluff it up and add the whole container of cottage cheese. Mix well.

Shred about 1/2 lb. of mozzarella cheese.

Spread 1 to 2 cups of sauce all over the bottom of the pan. Lay three or four (whatever fits without overlapping too much) noodles side by side lengthwise in the pan. If the noodles are not as long as the pan, break another noodle to fit perpendicular and fill the pan. Scoop and pour half of the remaining sauce all over the noodles. Sprinkle half the cheese on top. Add another layer of noodles. Pour all of the spinach-cottage cheese mix and smooth it out evenly. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese. Add another layer of noodles. Pour the rest of the sauce on and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over it all.

Cover it with foil (shiny side down), place on a cookie sheet to catch bubbling juices. Put it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Then take the foil off and let it bake another 10-15 minutes, to finish melting the cheese. Take it out before the cheese browns, though.

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