Family Fun

Homemade Lasagna-It’s What’s For Christmas Dinner

There’s just those days when the three most dreaded words are “What’s For Dinner?”  And when it’s Christmas dinner, trying to find something new yet at the same time get out of the “same old Christmas dinner” rut, well we’ve all been there.  Now that the kids are grown with kids of their own, dinner is more about what can we consume while playing games vs. the sit down to a turkey or ham meal – in other words, we are downsizing and simplifying and nothing could be easier than lasagna. 
Some things you must know ahead of time:
1) My entire cooking reparatory can be summed up by saying “375, in a pan, 45 minutes”- if it can’t be created in those parameters, it’s just not happening unless it happens to be “350, in a pan, 45 minutes”.
2) I never measure anything when I cook-ever. It’s the same way I live my life- throw it in, mix it together and hope for the best.
3) In our house cooking is seldom a solitary activity but a family event.  I truly believe that fact was the real reason that lasagna was the dish that they picked when I asked my children and grandchildren what was the one meal that every bite “took them home”
With those caveats out of the way, let’s get started:
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 large jar Spaghetti sauce
1 Box lasagna noodles
2 large hard-boiled eggs
1 16 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 container Parmesan
1 bag shredded mozzarella 
Seasoning salt 
1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2.    Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. Time saving tip- if you don’t have readily available hard boiled eggs, throw them in with the lasagna noodles and cook both together.
 3. While noodles are cooking, in a large frying pan sauté meat is browned, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon and lightly seasoning with seasoning salt. Drain meat of  excess fat.
4.    Lightly spread a thin layer of Spaghetti Sauce on the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.

5.    Lay half the noodles in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping the noodles
6.    Spread half of the meat on top of the noodles in the prepared pan. Tip: As some of family does not eat meat, we make half of the pan with meat, and the other half without.
    7.  Spoon ricotta cheese and a crumbled hard-boiled egg on top of the meat.
    8.    Liberally sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the meat and hard-boiled egg.  My family loves cheese-the more cheese the better.
    9.    Pour spaghetti sauce on top of the ingredients and cover with another layer of lasagna noodles                                                                 
   10. Repeat layering in same order.


11.  Cover with the remaining lasagna noodles and coat with the rest of the spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and mozzarella on top.


12.   Cover with foil.  Bake in center of oven 45 minutes until sauce is bubbling around the edges.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving. 
Enjoy with freshly sliced French Bread or Garlic Bread and you have yourself a meal where every bite takes you home.
The only thing better than fresh from the oven lasagna for dinner by the way is cold lasagna for breakfast.  Make it ahead and you’re free to enjoy Christmas day with the family or better yet, make two and keep one in the freezer for when unexpected company or family surprises you!  What’s your go-to family meal?