This post was written by my foodie sister Robin, who is now sharing all of her favorite recipes and kitchen tips regularly on the new “Make It and Love It – in the KITCHEN” portion of this blog. Try a few of her recipes…your belly will thank you! -Ashley
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Hey guys….it’s Robin! And today, I’m sharing a recipe that has been in our family for quite some time now. And was something my mom made when company came over, special occasions, or whenever we begged because we really wanted her lasagna!!! This recipe is also something my grandma made and fed her family……so yep, one of those passed-down-the-line TREASURED recipes!
This lasagna is a little different than your standard lasagna recipe and I have loved it my whole life. Yes, I have had other lasagnas, but they just don’t even compare. I was also told at one time that this is like a Lasagna with an Irish twist. And maybe it is, because we have plenty of Irish in our family and this was a recipe from an ancestor…..but I don’t know for sure because I am not very familiar with Irish cuisine. (Any Irish out there who could support or smash this theory?!)
The reason this isn’t your standard lasagna is because it has a creamy component used in the layering…..with a delicious bite of green onion. The marriage of the marinara with the creamy and the cheesy and the
noodles…..it’s so perfect. And so incredibly delicious!
If you aren’t a huge lasagna fan, this will change your mind. And if you are a lasagna fan and already have a favorite, this variation may just take its place! We have converted many friends and dinner guests! :)
What I am going to show you is the basic lasagna recipe that we have always enjoyed…….but from there, you can put your own spin on it. Substitute sausage for the meat, add a layer of spinach into the layering, add mushrooms/carrots/zucchini, or whatever else you dream up. It’s all delicious!
So here we go…
For this recipe, I was divvying the ingredients up into 3 different pictures. But, well, somehow the filling picture turned up missing. Grrrrrr. But here are the ingredients you need for the red sauce —
And then, for the cheese filling — just picture in your mind a tub of sour cream, a brick of cream cheese, a tub of cottage cheese and green onions. You got it? Okay <<click>> …now we have a photo of the cheese filling ingredients in our minds instead of the computer screen in front of you. Ha!
The last picture……the miscellaneous ingredients. The noodles and the cheese that goes on top.
First, I like to start with the noodles and get those out of the way. If they are finished cooking before the red sauce and the cheese filling are done, that is fine because you can take the noodles off the stove and place them in a cold water bath until you are ready for them. So, go ahead and boil a pot of water and add your noodles once it becomes a rolling boil. I also like to add a little bit of oil and salt.
Next, place your raw beef, garlic, and salt into a deep skillet and cook until brown. I like to keep the beef at 80% lean anything higher than that the meat becomes pretty tough when cooked. Also, the spices are really basic and there’s no added oregano, basil, etc. This is done on purpose because this way, the basic flavors really compliment the cheese sauce. Sometimes I like to change it up a bit using half the amount of hamburger meat and half sausage meat. Sometimes, during this phase I would add vegetables such as shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, chopped mushrooms, and chopped onion. But it really is up to you and what you have on hand and if you want to kick it up a notch!
Now, drain the fat from the cooked meat. Then add the tomato sauce and tomato paste.
Mix it well. You may want to add a little more garlic and salt to taste. Let simmer on low.
At this point, your noodles should be boiling and almost done. Make sure you have plenty of water in your pot still and that it’s flowing in between the noodles as to avoid them sticking together. Your noodles should cook to “al dente” because they will finish cooking when you bake them and will absorb some of the moisture from the other ingredients. This will also give your lasagna a good structure. If not, your lasagna will be soupy and will have to serve it with a spoon and not a spatula. When the noodles are done, strain them and run cold water over them to make them cold so as to stop the cooking. You can leave them in a little cold water until you are ready for them so that they won’t stick together.
Now, chop the green onions. The more of the green part, the better. Most of the delicious flavor is in the green portion anyway…so use as much as you can. Using a hand mixer or kitchen aid, mix the 8 oz pkg of cream cheese to soften it a bit and then gradually add the sour cream. Do not worry if it is lumpy because the cottage cheese will make it lumpy and it will all mix together in the end when it is baked. So no worries if there are lumps. Add the cottage cheese and the green onions until it is all evenly dispersed. It should look lumpy like you see here.
Now, shred your cheese and set aside. I like to use the brick of cheese rather than the pre-shredded because it melts a little better. The pre-shredded cheese uses a starch to coat the shreds so that they don’t stick together as easy. That added starch makes the melting of the cheese a little bit more dry. But if you are in a pinch, pre-shredded works okay.
Now the FUN PART…..assembling the lasagna! If you have a deep dish 9X13 pan, there is enough that you will be able to get three layers. If you have a regular 9×13 pan, you will probably only get two layers to fit, with some leftover for a small dish. But just take notice how many layers you’re doing, so that you can evenly disperse them with each layer.
First I put down a smattering of the red sauce so that the noodles do not stick to the pan.
Then I put down a layer of the noodles. Don’t worry if they are broken…just piece them together. You really won’t notice them once it’s assembled and served.
Next, put a layering of sauce and meat. You can also spread a layer of raw spinach leaves on top to add a little variation. Yum.
Then, spoon out the cheese sauce the best you can. You won’t be able to smooth it out, so just drop small spoonfuls. And okay, done — this is your first layer.
Repeat and make a second and/or third layer, depending on the size of your pan.
After the final layer is done, cover the top with the shredded mozzarella.
Bake your lasagna at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes depending on how many layers you have. Once it is done and is nice and bubbly let it sit for 30 minutes to let it set. If not, it will still be a little on the soupy side. So, use this time to throw a salad together and/or garlic bread.
And then enjoy this creamy delicious lasagna that our family has loved for years!
Our Famous Family Lasagna — Recipe Card
Saute the hamburger, garlic, and salt until hamburger is done. Drain fat and then add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain and cool under running cold water.
Mix the cream cheese in the mixer until softened. Gradually add the sour cream until mixed well. Add the cottage cheese and green onions and mix until blended.
Spread a bit of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer the noodles, then tomato sauce with meat, and then the cheese mixture. Repeat the layers once more if you have a regular size 9×13 inch casserole pan and twice more if you have a deep dish casserole pan. On the last layer, spread the shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (depending on how many layers you have) until it is nice and bubbly. Pull out of oven and let set for 30 minutes and then serve and enjoy.