Easy Homemade Lasagna
Do you like lasagna but think making it is a hassle? Three pans is all it takes. We use home canned sauce, but you can use store bought sauce if you like. We use the old fashioned lasagna that you boil, but there is an oven ready lasagna noodle available now, which would cut the pans needed down to two. You can even make lasagna in a solar oven, but that is a post for another day!
To begin, gather your ingredients. The basic ingredients are hamburger if you want meat, bacon - or you can use a bit of bacon grease for flavor, lasagna noodles, tomato or spaghetti sauce and cheese. If you like your food spicy, gather your favorite herbs or spices such as garlic, peppers, rosemary, basil, chilli powder and fresh ground pepper.
Begin by browning the hamburger in your skillet. I like using an old fashion cast iron skillet, but do use whatever skillet you have.
When the hamburger is brown with no more pink showing, it is time to drain it. I dump my hamburger into a strainer positioned in my kitchen sink. Using hot water, I wash the hamburger to remove the excess grease that will not just run off. I also rinse the skillet out. Be sure you use hot water to do this. Once you have returned the meat to the pan, remove the strainer from that side of the sink, squirt a bit of dishwasher detergent into the sink, then use hot water to rinse the sink again and wash the detergent down the drain. This will help stop the grease from causing a clog in your drain.
Put the pan filled with meat back on the stove. If I am adding bacon bits or bacon grease, now is the time I do it. Do not add more than a tablespoon of bacon grease, less is better. If you are using crumbled bacon or bacon bits, add a generous handfull.
Have the sauce you are using and the spices assembled on the stove. Tonight I added two tablespoons of garlic scapes to the meat.
I put the fresh garlic scapes into a food grinder so they would be ground up when I added them to the meat.
This is a photo of the garlic scapes ground up. They smell pungent enough without being ground, so imagine that smell ten times stronger! I preserved my fresh garlic scapes in sea salt, so there will not be a need to add additional salt to the sauce when I make it.
In addition to the garlic scapes, I added two whole garlic cloves, a tablespoon of basil, one small red chili pepper, a tablespoon of rosemary, a teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper and a teasopoon of chili powder. The homemade sauce I used was also pre-seasoned with basil and Italian herbs.
Once all the seasonings have been added to the meat and stirred in, go ahead and add your sauce. Mix well. Lower the heat to a low or warm setting. All you are doing now is keeping the sauce warm and allowing the flavors to mix.
Once the sauce is warm, add some fresh grated cheese to the sauce. Mix well. The amount of cheese you add will vary depending on how thin your sauce is. You want to add just enough to make the sauce thick. Generally I find if I cover the top of the sauce as shown above, that is all I will need to do.
Once your sauce is done, keep it warm while you boil the water for your lasagna. A pinch of salt along with a drop of olive oil should be added to your water. The olive oil will keep the pasta from sticking.
Once your water comes to a boil, lay the pasta in the pan. It will stick out of the pan at first. This is ok. Allow the pasta to sit like this for a minute or so, then gently push it down into the water.
Once the pasta is completely submerged in the water, cook it according to package directions. This generally takes somewhere between ten and twelve minutes, but can vary so do read the directions on your box of lasagna.
When the lasagna is fully cooked, drain it into a stainer positioned in your kitchen sink. If you have a sprayer, turn on the cold water and hose the pasta off, if not, use your faucet and turn the pasta so it all gets rinsed.
Dump the pasta back into the pan and fill with cold water. This will stop the pasta from continuing to cook. Take the pan filled with the water and pasta back to your stove. Put one layer of pasta on the bottom of the pan.
Add a bit of sauce to the first layer of pasta. Be aware the sauce will thin during cooking, so do not fret that is does not evenly cover the pasta. Add a thin layer of cheese on top of the pasta.
Continue layering the lasagna, the sauce and the cheese. If you are using a variety of cheese like I do, feel free to alternate them or mix them, whichever you prefer.
This is the top layer. I put some sauce on it, homemade goat cheese and a sprinkling of Mexican cheese. I use a variety of cheese on my lasagna, usually an Italian, a Mexican and whatever other type of cheese I have on hand.
The last step is to cover the pan, put it in the oven and cook it at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. The buzzer just went off in the kitchen. I can smell the spicy mix of herbs, cheese and garlic flowing this way. Time to get off here, make a nice slice of homemade herb bread and butter and eat.
Author - The Complete Idiot's Guide To Year Round Gardening, The Complete Idiot's Guide To Seed Saving & Starting, 101 English Garden Tips, Magical Gardens, Perspective Visions: Enigmatic Masterpieces. Visit http://exoticgardening.com