Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meat and Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those homey hearty winter meals that help us make it through cold stormy nights. It's meal that reminds us of family, mostly because casserole dishes are easy to make and make a lot of food, so they lend themselves well to family dinners. I don't know many people who don't consume lasagna even if they have no Italian background what so ever ... like myself.

The other day I had a craving for lasagna and dug up the recipe my mom passed down to me ages ago. I wanted to make it a tiny bit healthier by adding a layer of vegetables. Everyone I know either makes a meat lasagna or a vegetable lasagna and never the two shall meet. Well I have made them meet in the middle and combine them for a tasty lasagna that has the meaty goodness that the men in your life will love and the vegetable goodness that will give everyone an added boost of nutrients, without taking away from the taste.

Meat and Vegetable Lasagna

1 box gluten free Lasagna*

1 lb lean Ground Beef
1 chopped Onion
1-2 teaspoons of minced Garlic
1 - 14 ounce can of Tomato Sauce
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Thyme

250ml Cottage Cheese
250ml Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 - 3 cups grated Mozzarella (set aside half)
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Thyme
Pepper to taste

2-3 cups of mixed sliced Vegetables* (in this case I used fresh zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, carrots and spinach)
1 - 14 oz can of Tomato Sauce

*I discovered a few tricks to help you save a few steps or some time when making this dish. First throw all of your vegetables into a food processor to slice them evenly and quickly for faster cooking. Second, don't precook your noodles. The noodles will have enough moisture from the sauce and vegetables to soften up, without having to cook them first.

First, fry up your onion, garlic and beef in an oiled pan, until all the meat is cooked through and the onions are soft and golden. Stir in jar of tomato sauce. Add herbs and heat until warm. Set Aside. In a separate bowl mix first three cheeses plus half the mozzarella, egg and herbs. Set aside. Process or slice all vegetables and set aside. To assemble grease a 9x13" baking dish and put the meat sauce in the bottom. Cover with a layer of uncooked gf lasagna. next add your vegetables and pour one can of tomato sauce over top. Add another layer of noodles. Top that with the cheese mixture and another layer of noodles. Cover this with aluminum foil and place in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove foil and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top and then return to the oven uncovered for 15 minutes.

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