Tag Archives: italian

The Great Lasagna-Off Throwdown 2010

5 Feb

Hi internet friends! It has been a while, I know. My last post was in September? I am a bad blogger. What can I say. I’ve been pretty busy. It seems like I have exchanged blog time for run time, which isn’t such a bad deal for regaining my girlish figure, and allowing me to eat yummy things, but it does cut into the time in which I have to blog. Anyhoo, I have continued to do magic in the kitchen, I just haven’t had time to catch all of you up on it. No longer! I have some delicious things to share. I’ll start with the Great Lasagna-Off Throwdown 2010.

A couple of months ago I discovered the most amazing lasagna recipe of all time. Like most edible things that I love, it comes to us via the Pioneer Woman, with some slight tweaks by yours truly. Usually on Christmas Eve my Dad makes a prime rib and twice-baked potatoes (yum!), but this year we decided to do something a little different. “I’m making lasagna,” he said. And I said, “I’ll make you some lasagna. I make the best lasagna ever.” Because I do. And he was all, “I make my sauce by slow cooking it with beef neck bones and fresh herbs. And I was all, “I use Hot Jimmy Dean Sausage, and shaky cheese.”  So I challenged him to a duel. For those of you not in the know, shaky cheese is parmesan from a can. On Christmas Eve morning we both made our respective lasagna and served up portions of both for dinner. Unfortunately, my noisy family is too polite to choose a winner. I will say that Herb had the advantage of hot sauce to put on top of his lasagna, as the wait for dinner rendered the temperature of mine a little lukewarm. Still, I stand with my lasagna as the best lasagna ever. Herb even conceded that while he was skeptical of the Jimmy Dean sausage, it really kicked the sauce up to the next level. And I will share the recipe with you now.


1. Cook the following until brown, and then drain the fat:

  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef (I use 93% lean)
  • 1 lb Hot Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage (pig)
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic

2. Return meat/garlic mixture to pan and add:

  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes (use italian tomatoes if you are feeling fancy. I also like Red Gold. And make sure you squish ’em up. A whisk works well for this task.)
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 16 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 tbsp. hot pepper flakes (don’t be stingy.)
  • 1 tsp. salt

3. Simmer the sauce for 30-45 minutes (stir occasionally) while you cook the lasagna noodles to al dente. Don’t over do it, you want them to have a little bit of a bite. No one likes soggy, waterlogged pasta. Gross.

4. Mix up the following in a bowl:

  • 24 oz container of low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs (beat them first in a smaller bowl)
  • 1/2 cup shaky cheese (grated parmesan from a can)
  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt

5. Once your noodles are drained, you are ready to assemble. You are also going to need:

  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese slices (2 packs. You could also get it sliced at a deli)

6. In a 9 x 13 pyrex or similar lasagna pan, drizzle a little bit of the sauce on the bottom. Not too much. This lasagna gets pretty thick, pretty fast. You are also going to want to use a noodle or two to mop up the sauce from the pan, it is that good. The layers go as follows:

  • 4 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cottage cheese mixture
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese slices
  • 1/2 of the sauce
  • 4 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cottage cheese mixture
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese slices
  • 1/2 of the sauce
  • shaky cheese all over the top

7. At this point, you can stick your lasagna in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. When you are ready, bake the lasagna for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until bubbly. Also, stick it on a cookie sheet so it doesn’t bubble over and cause a mess on the bottom of your oven.

8. Now, when you take the lasagna out you want to let it set for a little bit before you cut it. It is super cheesy so it is kind of a mess to take it out of the pan. However, you will have leftovers. And, honestly, I think it tastes even better leftover. Plus, after it is refrigerated for a while you can cut out perfect restaurant-style slices. Stick them in the microwave for 2 minutes, and you have lunch/dinner for a couple of days if there are only two of you to eat it. Sooooo good!

Best. Lasagna. Ever.