Blog number two.... it might explain my current lack of enthusiasm for blog number 1

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I love it when great things just come to me!

I've made lasagna once in my lifetime, and it was because I lost a bet. It was the UA UF game where Prothro got so badly injured and bama still freakin' won. I had bet on Florida and since Alabama won - I had to cook lasagna for the first time ever. I remember it fondly, like it was yesterday....... it was pretty good! I was still in my beginning stages of experimenting with cooking and from what I remember I pretty much just winged the whole recipe. I have also always been a type of person that wanted to prove people wrong. Not that anyone ever told me "You can't cook lasagna", but everyone raved about how hard and expensive it was to make and I thought "No it isn't" and made it!

But I haven't made it since. I don't know why! Stop asking! But Tuesday I was reading over some lasagna recipes and replaying the memory in my head of my first lasagna and it came to me. Lasagna casserole! Now, I know, I didn't make that up. But I feel confident that I made up this certain recipe, maybe just not the name :)

Lasagna Casserole
recipe by me!

1 pound ground round, or any hamburger - that's just my fave
2 links Italian sausage - your favorite flavor, I used hot
1 - 2 cloves of minced garlic, depending on how much you love garlic
can of diced tomatoes, I used garlic and onion
small can of tomato sauce, I used basil, garlic and oregano
can of tomato paste, I used basil, garlic and oregano
2 tablespoons of parsley
1 tablespoon of savory seasoning
2 cans of sliced mushrooms, drained
1/8 to 1/4 cup of red wine
container of crumbled feta, I used a mix of tomato basil and garlic herb
mozzarella slices
4 dry cups of small shell pasta
finely grated Parmesan
bread crumbs
Italian seasoning

Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble in into a hot pan. Add the hamburger and garlic. Cook completely. Either drain off the excess fat or soak it up with napkins like I do. Dump in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and mix it all together. Then add the spices, mushrooms and wine and mix that together. Let it simmer for 20 to 30 to however many minutes you might have. In the mean time, boil your baby shells. Then get ready to start layering!
Preheat your oven to 350*
I used a corning ware medium sized oval for this dish and almost ran out of room. So if you have a large one, I would use that. I don't so I had to make do and add it to my wish list.
The first layer is just a little bit of sauce. The second layer is about half the pasta. The third layer is the feta cheese. The fourth layer is a good layer of sauce. The fifth layer is mozzarella slices (as much as you want) and if you have any feta left over you want to sprinkle on that go for it. The sixth layer is a little more sauce. The seventh layer is the remaining pasta. The eighth layer is the remaining sauce.
Now for the topping. Dust the top with the Parmesan, you can use the kind in the shaker, I won't tell. Then dust that with bread crumbs. Then sprinkle Italian Seasoning on top of that.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.


This may sound intimidating, but it is so NOT! Most of my time cooking was spent out in the yard socializing with the neighbors. Once you brown the meat and get the sauce going, you don't have to watch it. Once you layer it and put it in the oven, you don't have to watch it. It makes itself! Just don't tell my husband that, haha!

I used feta because I am not a fan of ricotta, blech! Can't stand it. But if you like ricotta more, than use that. I didn't put salt in the sauce because I knew the feta was going to be plenty salty. So if you use ricotta or cottage cheese, then you might want to add salt to the sauce.

This served 3 the first night we ate it, and I think we all got seconds. The second night we ate it, which was even better, it served 2 and we both had seconds and there was still enough for 2 more servings! BIG casserole! Perfect if family is coming over! Make it the night before through the layering process and refrigerate. When you are ready for dinner, add the topping and bake!

No comments: