“Zucchini and Meat” Summer Lasagna

Gotta fix me a summer lasagna…and enjoy layers of noodles, red and white sauce, and medley of cheeses.     But I must make it “summer-friendly”, meaning less preps involved, some parts semi-homemade and not too rich and heavy sauces.   So, not minding the steamy conditions outside and little sweats inside, I was determined to make my summer lasagna.  My strategy:  Saute the vegetables and ground beef filling, jazz up a jar of pasta or spaghetti sauce, whip up a creamy ricotta cheese filling and use Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles.   So here’s the recipe…

“ZUCCHINI AND MEAT” SUMMER LASAGNA
Feel free to add any other veggies in your fridge like bell peppers, mushroom, squash, etc.   The fillings will make enough for a)  “dinner tomorrow” 9 x 13 lasagna and b) “can’t wait, I want it now” 8 inch square pan.  Once stored overnight in the fridge, the “dinner tomorrow” lasagna can be easily cut into squares.

Vegetable and Meat Filling:

1/2 lb ground beef, browned and drained
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large zucchini, sliced (use mandoline, if available)
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Saute, stirring constantly.  Add flour last, cooking it well.

Tomato Sauce:

1 (24 oz) jar pasta or spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup tomato catsup
freshly-squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Whisk to combine well.

Ricotta Filling:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups ricotta cheese (Use Calabro cheese so no need to strain to remove excess moisture)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
Beat all ingredients using electric mixer.

Grated mozzarella cheese (Use Calabro)
Topping:  1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Spray a) 13 x9 x 3 inch and b) 8 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Assembly:

1.  Spread thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of prepared pans.

2.  Top with single layer of no-boil lasagna noodles.  Spread with Ricotta filling, Vegetable and Meat Filling, grated mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.

3.  Repeat layer 2.

4.  Top with another single layer of no-boil lasagna noodles.  Spread with Ricotta filling, tomato sauce, grated mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with coarsely chopped walnuts.

Cover with foil, and bake for 55 minutes.  Remove foil, and bake an additional 5 minutes.    Let lasagna rest 20 minutes before “diving into” lasagna in small baking pan.

You’ll love this…it’s summer-rific!

My Baked 4-Layer Lasagna

TGIF, and there’s only one word in my mind…EASY…so I just baked my super-easy 4-layer lasagna.  And I can’t wait to enjoy 2 servings (at least, it’s friday yo’, it’s ok to indulge!).

My Baked 4-Layer Lasagna

Sauce:
1 jar store-bought pasta sauce
banana catsup

Ricotta Filling:
1 1/2 lb Calabro ricotta cheese
1 bunch fresh spinach, washed well, steamed, strained and chopped
1 large egg, beaten with
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

Additional ingredients:
12 pieces No-boil lasagna noodles
Sweet Italian sausage, crumbled and browned in skillet
4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese mix

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Pam-spray a 13 x 9 x 3 baking pan or pyrex.

Assembly:

1.  Spread a thin layer of banana catsup on bottom of baking pan.

2.  Layer 3 uncooked noodles, 1/3 of ricotta filling, 1/3 of browned sausage, 1 cup Mozzarella/Cheddar cheese and 1/4 of jarred pasta sauce plus few shakes of banana catsup.  (Repeat this layering 2 more times.)

3.  Layer 3 uncooked noodles, the remaining sauce plus few shakes of banana catsup and remaining 1 cup Mozzarella/Cheddar cheese.

Bake, covered with foil until bubbly, for an hour.  Uncover and let stand 10 minutes before cutting in serving portions (Serves 12).  May top with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

BOB RECIPE: Baked Lasagna

from:  Meijer
Product:  Lasagna (100% Durum Semolina)

BOB RECIPE: Baked Lasagna

Sauce:
2 (14 oz) jars spaghetti sauce or your favorite recipe

Filling:
1 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
3/4 lb Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups cubed mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
6 oz cooked spinach, chopped fine
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 (16 oz) package lasagna

Cook 1/2 package lasagna in salted boiling water until al dente.

Broil sausage 15 minutes and cut into small pieces.

Mix ricotta, spinach, egg and spices until smooth.  Pour 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of baking pan and cover with layer of cooked lasagna; a layer of ricotta, mozzarella and pieces of sausage.  Repeat this process in layers untill all ingredients are used.  Top layer should be sauce and grated cheese.

Bake in moderate (350 F) oven 35 minutes.  When done, cut in serving portions.  Place on individual dishes and serve.  Top wiht more sauce and grated cheese.

Italian Meat Sauce

3/4 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chipped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 lb ground beef
2 – 1b cans tomatoes
2 – 8 oz tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf

Cook onions and parlic in hot oil until tender bu not brown.  Add meat and brown lightly . Add meat and brown lightly.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, about 2 1/2 hours.  Stir occasionally.

Makes 6 servings.