warm up the lasagne

Saturday I tried to pretend winter wasn’t coming by wearing a cardigan instead of a coat outside. Sunday I conceded and got out the wool coat. Yesterday I completely gave in and switched out my closet and put the winter comforter on our bed.

And to top it off, I made lasagne. Because for some reason that seemed like the perfect cooling weather fall food. Also lasagne has become one of our family favorites–plus I feel so sneaky that I was able to add so many healthy things over the years without my boys even noticing.

For one, no ricotta cheese thanks to my sister’s substitute suggestion. Then I started adding mushrooms chopped super tiny and my mushroom-hating son never noticed. And as long as we’re at it, may as well add some spinach, right? As for the garlic and onion additions, those are thanks to Tyler who knows how to patiently add seasonings instead of just throwing together ingredients like I’m usually doing. And because we love it so much I figured why not share…

So here’s our recipe for lasagne. Basically we loosely follow this recipe, but add our super awesome spin. (And I TOTALLY PROMISE, no one I’ve made this for has ever guessed it didn’t have ricotta in it.) Also feel free to loosely follow my recipe as well. Who really measures stuff anyway?

(Also I apologize in advance for not being one of those fancy people with a photographer best friend to take pictures that actually look tasty. You’re just going to have to believe me and my iPhone.)

lasagne layers

EASY FAMILY LASAGNE 

For the meat layers:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jar (25 oz.) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup water

For the cheese layers:

  • 1 pack firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 container of white button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided in half
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided in half
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten

Other ingredients:

  • 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 3 cups of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350*

Cook ground beef in a large pan, adding the minced garlic and chopped onion about halfway through. Drain and return to pan. Pour in the spaghetti sauce. Add the water to the spaghetti sauce jar and shake to mix with sauce residue. Add mixture to the meat sauce and stir well.

In a separate bowl, add tofu, lemon juice, salt & pepper and mix well. Add the egg, parsley, mushrooms and half the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Stir to combine completely.

Layer in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Start with 1 cup of meat sauce on the bottom to keep the noodles from sticking. Then place three noodles, followed by 1/3 of the cheese mixture, 1 cup of meat sauce and half the chopped spinach. The next layer is exactly the same (noodles, cheese, meat, rest of spinach).

The third layer I make sans spinach, just to keep the spinach leaves more in the middle of the dish (but feel free to incorporate your spinach throughout, I am no professional cook here). Top it all off with the remaining three noodles, the rest of the meat sauce, and the other half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.

Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover lasagne tightly. Cook for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 15 minutes (or less, if you’re impatient and hungry like I usually am).

And yum time!

lasagne

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