I am not anywhere close to being a chef, Betty Crocker, Rachel Ray, etc….the kitchen and I are not great friends. I can cook, I just don’t necessarily enjoy cooking. I am trying to grow my cooking wings and try to cook dishes that I have never tried to cook and broaden my cooking skills. I have been inspired by my cousin (we are technically 3rd cousins I think), Grace. Grace writes a blog, Life 2 Seriously, and she has been featuring every week a post about her adventures with “On the Box” Recipes. She finds a recipe “on the box” of food and goes through her process of preparing, cooking, and eating the new dishes. Grace is also trying to become more kitchen/cooking savvy and so far has done an excellent job on improving her skills.
I have been wanting to try to cook lasagna for a while now. On a recent shopping trip to Aldi, I came across lasagna noodles and saw the “on the box” recipe for lasagna. So, here we go.
Here are all of my ingredients ready to go:
First step is to cook the lasagna noodles. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil in a large pot. Gradually add the lasagna pieces to the boiling water. Stir gently and return to a rapid boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 12-14 minutes, or until desired degree of tenderness is reached. Drain and set aside until ready to put into the baking dish.
I realized why the recipe called for gradually adding the lasagna pieces…my pot was not big enough for the lasagna pieces to fit in perfectly so I had to wait for the first few noodles to get soft enough so that I could then add in more pieces.
As the lasagna pieces are boiling, brown the sausage (ground beef).
Here is how I minced my garlic. I used a garlic press.
Add in garlic to the sausage (ground beef) and cook for 2 more minutes. The food started to smell wonderful. Now add the sauce to the sausage (ground beef) and remove from heat. I should have used a slightly bigger skillet as mine almost overflowed.
The lasagna pieces should be done by now, so drain the water off and set aside.
Combine the remaining ingredients: spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, salt, pepper.
Now comes the part of layering the sauce, noodles, and cheese. Sauce 1st, next lasagna, and then cheese…Repeat!
Once you get finished with the layers (I ended up with only 3 layers due to a shallow baking dish), top the last layer off with sauce and sprinkle the 1 cup of mozzarella cheese ove the top.
I remembered to pre-heat the oven and now we are ready to bake. 45 minutes later, we have this:
The cheese burned a little more (ok, a LOT more) than I expected. Next time I think I will wait to add the mozzarella cheese layer later in the baking process.
Now to cut it up and serve it up.
Verdict on the Reggano Lasagna:
Pete: MMMM, MMMM, MMMM! This is awesome!
Iris: I thought it was good, I was a little frustrated the top burnt so badly, but I know what to do for next time.
Overall: I will definitely cook the lasagna again. Maybe next time I will also add some black olives and some mushrooms.
Added Bonus: I ended up with 12 servings so we now have 10 servings to save as leftovers. Yea!
On the Box Recipe: Reggano Lasagna
12 lasagna pasta pieces
1 pound mild Italian sausage*
2 cloves garlic, minced
24 ounces, tomato basil or marinara sauce
10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and drained)**
32 ounces ricotta cheese (about 4 cups)
8 ounces shreddd mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
13″ x 9″ baking pan
* I used 1 pound of ground beef, since sausage gives me more indigestion than I care for right now at 6 months pregnant!
**I used one 12 ounce can of canned chopped spinach, not the frozen kind.
- Prepare lasagna pieces according to package directions, boiling for 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook and crumble sausage in large skillet, pour off any grease. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add sauce and stir well; remove from heat.
- Drain spinach and press out any excess moisture. Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper.
- In the 13″ x 9″ baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce (about 3/4 cup) on bottom of the dish. Arrange 3 cooked lasagna pieces over sause. Spread approximately 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the lasagna pieces. Spoon about 3/4 cup of sauce over the cheese.
- Repeat layers topping the last layer of lasagna with remaining sauce and spread 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes until hot throughout.
Makes 6 servings.
Prep Time: 1 hour (that is how long it took me, the rookie)
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total time start to finish: 2 hours (I allowed 15 minutes for it to cool before cutting)
Yea! I did it and it was actually good!
Iris, AKA Chef Williams (LOL!)