Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meat Lovers Lasagna

     Every once in awhile my wife gets motivated enough to become creative in the kitchen.  I don't mind at all, especially when she gets the notion to make her "World Famous Lasagna".  I call it World Famous as she has made it for friends and family wherever we were stationed in the Air Force all over the world.  This is not your mother's lasagna, but it is the most satisfying lasagna I have ever eaten, probably because of the ingredients she uses.  It might be more appropriately titled "Meat Lovers Lasagna" as it uses several different types of meat as well as several different types of cheese.  Normal prep time for this dish is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, but using the new 'Oven Ready' noodles time was reduced to just under an hour. 
     I have always wanted to publish a post of this recipe, but Barb wasn't giving it away mostly due to she keeps it in her head.  She learned this recipe at a young age from friends at school in the Italian neighborhood in St. Louis.  Age and retirement has a tendency to mellow some folks and my wife is no exception.  The measurements are never exact, but simply to whatever suits your taste.  This dish feeds PLENTY and we made several side portions to be frozen for our Alaska Pantry this spring.  This lasagna is tasty, meaty, cheesy, and FILLING!  A single serving according to Weight Watchers is 12 points, not counting garlic bread and salad. 

First of all use the best ingredients.  This is the first time Barb tried the new 'Oven Ready' lasagna noodles. 
Brown the burger in a skillet.  While the burger is browning mix the cottage cheese, tomato sauce, and tomato paste together in a bowl, then refrigerate till use.
Slice the Kielbasa and Smoked Sausage as well.  Once the burger is done browning, drain and  place the meats in 3 separate bowls.
 Sous Chefs in training?  Nope, with any kitchen operation of this magnitude and aroma critters are attracted that Milk Bones and Whisker Lickins' just won't satisfy.
 Now the 'building process' begins.  The baking dishes are coated with Olive Oil and placed on the counter.  The lasagna is then layered as follows:  lay a layer of lasagna noodles, then smoked sausage, burger, cottage cheese/tomato mixture, cheddar cheese, another layer of lasagna noodles, kielbasa, cottage cheese/tomato mixture, mozzarella, and finish with a final layer of lasagna noodles.  Sometimes, Barb likes to add a layer of Pepperoni on top as well.  You may need to press down the lasagna each time a layer of noodles is added in order for everything to fit in the baking dish. 

 This lasagna freezes easily for storage.  The two small dishes on the left were then covered and frozen for later use.  They will be thawed and cooked enroute to Alaska this spring.  The oven is preheated to 375 degrees and the lasagna is baked for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. 
     If you are a MEAT EATER or simply enjoy a hearty meal then this is your lasagna.  Much like deep dish pizza, one serving is all it takes.  Serve with a side salad and a hunk of garlic bread.