I’m all about using up the perishable ingredients I have in the fridge before they go bad. This week it is primarily the veggies from Papa’s (my grandfather) garden that I posted about before. Even after making this recipe I still have 3 green peppers and 3 tomatoes left. We will have stuffed green peppers sometime this week, with fresh tomatoes! At least I was able to finish off the squash.
Tonight we had lasagna which involves pasta so WF was happy. He probably would have eaten plain pasta noodles, but being the wonderful fiancee that I am, I dressed it up a little for him with some meat, veggies, and lots of cheese. One of the things I like about lasagna is its versatility. Like many of the dishes I am beginning to love, lasagna is a fairly easy recipe, although a little time consuming, that you can cater to your own tastes.
The foundation recipe was passed to me from my mom when I moved into my first apartment at college and could cook in my own kitchen. I’ve stayed true to that recipe for a while, changing a few things regarding the cheeses, but tonight I thought, “well why the heck can’t I just throw some veggies in there? Afterall, people eat VEGETABLE lasagna don’t they?”
Of course they do, and we did, sort of. Verdict: Very very VERY good.
There are a couple of things in this recipe that aren’t in my mom’s recipe. For one, her recipe calls for two kinds of cheese, ricotta and mozzarella. My version of the recipe has evolved to include ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, white cheddar and cream cheese (thanks Paula Dean!).
My recipe has, as of now, also evolved to include diced squash and green peppers. In order to keep the veggies from getting soggy (which I hate) I waited to add them to the meat sauce until just before I started layering the lasagna. This left them with just enough crunch to give an interesting texture. If you are weird 😉 and like soggy veggies I would just add them into the meat sauce at some point while it is simmering on the stove.
For anyone that doesn’t eat meat, doesn’t like meat, whatever… I think you could easily take the meat out of this. Add more diced tomatoes (either canned or fresh) and more vegetables, whatever you like.
And finally, I (as usual) halved the original recipe resulting in enough for about 3 to 4 people. A doubled version of this recipe would probably feed 6 to 8.
Meaty Vegetable Lasagna
Stuff you need:
- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 oz. tomato paste
- 10 oz. diced tomatoes
- ricotta cheese
- 4 to 6 oz. cream cheese
- shredded mozzarella – as much or as little as you want
- shredded white cheddar – “”
- shredded parmesan – “”
- 1 medium squash, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 small green pepper, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 9 lasagna noodles
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
What to do with that stuff:
- Bring water to a boil in large stock pot.
- In saute pan, brown beef and garlic in small amount of olive oil.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Cover and simmer about 20 minutes.
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Once meat sauce has simmered and lasagna noodles are cooked, drain noodles and add vegetables to the meat sauce.
- Begin layering lasagna in an 11″x6 1/2″ baking dish.
- Start with meat sauce then layer three noodles.
- Follow by spreading ricotta cheese on noodles.
- Drop chunks of cream cheese all over noodles.
- Sprinkle Parmesan, white cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses.
- Repeat layering until all noodles and cheese are used.
- End with meat sauce on top.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Let sit briefly before serving.
- Enjoy the meaty, vegetable, cheesy, lasagna goodness.