So, a bit more on that making things for yourself. This time the concentration is food. I am sure many of you have made a pan of lasagna or two, but in case this is something new for you, here is an idea of how we make it as much from scratch as possible for now. I have a pasta maker and really should be using that to a degree, but just didn’t get into that the way I thought that I would.
Jessica loves lasagna and since she is carrying twins, we have been nagging her to eat more protein, consume more dairy and on and on. As if she wouldn’t have a clue how to take care of herself. This is the daughter who as a freshman in college having never flown before gets on a plane on her own and travels to the national college newspaper convention connecting through Chicago O’Hare Airport. I nearly freaked out when I found out, but of course by that time she was safely back in her dorm room. The following year she went to the convention, it was in Kansas City the same year that they won the World Series. Thankfully she wasn’t yet 21 so there was no worry about her trying to party with everyone there celebrating the win. And at age 26, she won a seat in the state house of representatives, thankfully she is out of that dumpster fire for this session and next, but I am getting off track. This is a post about how we in our non-Italian family make lasagna. Let’s call this the German version.
Start by placing uncooked (no boil) lasagna noodles along the bottom of a cake pan or lasagna pan. Cover the noodles with a layer of cottage cheese. Add a layer of ground hamburger then pour on half a jar of homemade spaghetti sauce and sprinkle generously with shredded cheese. We used mozzarella. Oh yes, throw on some basil and oregano, or a mix of Italian seasoning after the sauce. Repeat the whole process but before you put on the final layer of cheese add one more layer of noodles. At this point I press the noodles firmly down until the juice of the sauce covers the last layer of noodles then sprinkle with one more layer of cheese and cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 35-45 minutes on 350. I usually check on it at about the 30 minute mark and if it seems to be absorbing the liquid and the noodles are softening, pull off the foil and let the cheese brown a bit. Take out, let set up a bit (5 min.) then cut and enjoy. This is good served with toasted garlic bread or whatever you desire.
So how does this fit with my frugal philosophy? For me this is a great way to use up cottage cheese that isn’t quite as fresh as the type I would serve with a salad or eat as a side dish. I also find that one quart of spaghetti sauce is not always enough and this is also a way to use that last cup of tomato juice or even a partial jar of salsa (if you enjoy a little spice in your food—doesn’t make it in our house!!) Perhaps that doesn’t appeal to everyone, but when you are trying to get ahead of expiration dates and are not sure what to cook up, this is a great way to use those particular foods.
Hope this has made sense to you. Is there any special dish that you throw together when you are trying to clean out the fridge or the pantry??? Please share. No judging here.