Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sausage Lasagna

I have been wanting to make lasagna for years and I have never done it.  I am not sure why it was one of the things on my list that I thought would be really hard to do.  Let me be the first to tell you that it is easy!  If you can make spaghetti, then you can make lasagna.

I started by pulling everything out of the freezer.  I cooked the sausage ahead of time and froze it until I had time to make everything.  I usually keep a few bags of cooked sausage in the freezer because they are great on pizza or to have on hand to throw into any meal.  I cook it in the pan and then towel the grease off and put it in a plastic bag to freeze.  If you lay it flat when you are freezing, then you can stack the frozen bags like books on a shelf to fit lots in the freezer and always have access.  I also had the fresh Mozzarella shredded and frozen in addition to the pre-shredded cheese.  I got my homemade sauce out to defrost too!

I put the frozen sausage and some of my homemade sauce that I made and froze awhile ago into a pot to simmer.  I added a little sugar, fennel, and oregano for additional flavor based on three or four different recipes that I was looking at online.  Do you see the frozen chunk in the middle?

I put 2 containers of ricotta in a bowl and added one egg.

I added the Parmesan cheese which took a lot of the container of cheese.

I stirred it together with the spatula and added some parsley for flavor and color.  I thought it looked pretty good.

I decided when I was at the store to try both the cook and the non-cook noddles to see if they were different to work with and if they tasted different.  We did a head to head comparison with two small casserole dishes and we found that they tasted very similar.

I started the bottom of the pan with the sauce.

I did the noodle layers.  Are you noticing that the pans are different?  I made four casseroles- two to eat for dinner that night and two to freeze so I had out a lot of pans which I was doing at the same time.

The next layer is spreading the cheese mixture on the noodles.  I think that if I was going to make lasagna all the time, I would probably use the non-cook noodles because they were easier to work with and held together better.  Plus, it was easier to spread the cheese on the harder surface and get a more even layer.

I topped each cheese layer with my sausage sauce again.

Then I repeated until the pan was full to the top.  I started and ended with sauce but the pattern was sauce, noodle, cheese and then start again.  It was great to make the layers and see how quickly the pan filled up.  I topped with shredded Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.


It was easy to bake and I put the pan in the oven while it was warming up so that the pan could come up to temperature gradually with the oven because I didn't have enough time to leave it on the counter to come up to room temperature before baking.  The two different casseroles cooked a little differently and the one had to be cooked longer.

It was great and we all enjoyed it!  I will make that again the next time I get a great deal on ricotta cheese.  It was super tasty and great for dinner and leftovers.  I hope that you try to make this for you and your family soon.

I am excited that I have two waiting in the freezer because they were great for dinner and I am going to enjoy having them for a quick and easy dinner in the coming months.  This was something on my list of things that I wanted to make and was always avoiding because I thought it was too hard.  I am no longer avoiding this because it was quick and easy!!  Hope you enjoy it too.

Sausage Lasagna

2 (15 oz) containers of Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
1/2 c Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp parsley
Lasagna Noodles
Cooked Sausage
1 tbsp sugar
Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese

Cook sausage and drain or use precooked sausage. Add spaghetti sauce to sausage and simmer for up to one hour to add sausage flavor to sauce.  Add sugar and season to taste with garlic, basil, fennel and oregano.  Simmer until ready to use.

In a medium sized bowl, mix 2 containers of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 c Parmesan Cheese, and 1 tbsp of parsley in bowl and combine with spatula.

Cook lasagna noodles or use no cook noodles.  Put sauce in the bottom of the pan and spread.  Put noodles on top of the sauce.  Spread with cheese mixture.  Top with sauce and repeat.  When the pan is full, spread with shredded Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Spray the aluminum foil with non stick spray and cover pan.  Bake at 350 degree covered for 25 minutes.  Remove the aluminum foil and cook for another 25 minute or until cheese is browned.  Let the pan sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting.  Use spatula or pie server to get out of the pan to serve.

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