Sunday, March 18, 2012

Easy Individual Lasagna

I came across this recipe on Pinterest (hello, muse) and loved the idea of it! I love lasagna, but it's just time-consuming. I'm starting to think it takes me forever to make because I just don't do it that often. I think it would be easier if I did it more! Anyway, there are two things about this recipe that were calling my name: 1) the "individual" servings and 2) putting the meat in the food processor. Why do these excite me? 1) We have a wee one at home, but the only people eating real food are me and my husband. I love recipes that allow me to freeze stuff in individual portions so we can eat them later. 2) My husband is a VEGGIE HATER. Seriously, corn and potatoes are the only vegetables he will eat. (Ok, let me be fair -- I have converted him to asparagus. But it took forever! Though he does love it now, so I guess it was worth it.) Anyway, in this recipe, she puts the browned meat in the food processor to chop it up super fine and get that pretty sauce that restaurants always have. I couldn't care less about pretty, but a light went off in my brain -- mix in veggies! If they're ground up, they're imperceptible! Woo! Here's my version of the recipe which diverts from the original a decent bit...
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  • 1 lb ground beef (or Italian sausage or whatever meat you love!)
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 container Ricotta cheese (15 oz)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 box of uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 zucchini
  • Salt
  • Pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Brown meat in high-sided pan. (You will be adding your sauce in here, so use a pan that gives you enough room.) While the meat is browning, put on a big pot of water to boil your noodles and chop up your zucchini.
3. Once the meat is done, drain off any excess fat. Put the meat in the food processor and pulse until finely ground. You're looking for an even texture all through the meat.
4. Once you get the meat out of the pan, put the zucchini in the pan and saute until soft. Add the zucchini to the food processor and grind it up with the meat.

You won't even notice me once I'm all chopped up!
5. Add the meat and zucchini back into the pan and pour in the sauce. Stir occasionally while you prepare the rest of the dish.
6. Once the water comes to a boil, ADD TONS OF SALT and then add the noodles and cook until al dente. (Just follow the directions on the box.)
7. While the sauce simmers and the noodles boil, mix your Ricotta cheese with the egg and add salt and pepper to season. Add 1.5 cups of Mozzarella cheese and 3/4 cup of Parmesan. I used a Parmesan/Romano blend. Just use whatever you have!
8. Once the noodles finish boiling, drain and lay them out on waxed paper or cookie sheets in a single layer.
9. Prep your pan by covering the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. This will keep the noodles from sticking.
10. Spread the cheese mixture onto the noodles. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup per noodle. I just heaped a spoonful on and spread til it was covered adequately.
11. Once all the noodles are cheesed, spread a heaping tablespoon of sauce on top of the cheese.
12. Roll the noodles up "jelly roll" style and place them seam side down in the pan.
13. Top the roll ups with the remaining sauce and cheese (1/2 cup Mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, or however much you like!)
14. Cover with aluminum foil (use toothpicks to keep the foil off the cheese if this is an issue for your pan) and bake for 35 minutes. Take the foil off for the final five minutes of cooking if you'd like your cheese to brown up a bit.

My husband loved this recipe -- LOVED IT! If you have veggie-haters in your home, try this one out. You can sneak anything into that sauce! I've also found that it freezes really well. We've been eating it off and on for a week! Hope you enjoy.

OH -- by the way, I have some Ricotta cheese left over. (The big container was on sale.) What's your favorite thing to do with Ricotta? I need some ideas!

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