Saturday, November 14, 2015

Quick and Easy Lasagna and the Boy Who Loved it for Breakfast

My oldest son is a very successful veterinarian. He also is a great family man, volunteers for many community events, and is a great cook. Recently, when I visited with his family for a week, he let the beans spill, that he loved my Quick and Easy Lasagna, especially for breakfast the next morning. And, he admitted that he preferred it cold. I am definitely not a fan of cold lasagna, but I did make it this week and it was delicious served hot from the oven with lots of gooey cheese melted throughout and on the top.
I have made this recipe so many times that I can make it in my sleep. It takes about 20 minutes to throw together and 35 minutes to bake, and therefore is a great weeknight meal. When I first started making lasagna in the early 1970's ricotta cheese was not available in our small town grocery stores, therefore, I always substituted cottage cheese. It may not be very sophisticated, but my family still prefers it made with cottage cheese.

Quick and Easy Lasagna

12 lasagna noodles
1 1/2 pound ground round
1 32 ounce jar Ragu Old World pasta sauce
1 16 ounce container cottage cheese
24 ounces of shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Boil noodles in salted boiling water with a little olive oil added to water - Use package directions for cooking times. I have tried to use the "no cook" noodles, but it just isn't the same taste or texture.

Brown ground beef in large skillet until cooked through with no pink showing. I season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Mix Ragu pasta sauce into meat and simmer while noodles are cooking.

Grease with olive oil a 9X13 lasagna pan. Place 6 noodles on the bottom of pan. Spread half of the cottage cheese and 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese on the noodles. Top with half of the meat sauce. Repeat layers ending with meat sauce on top. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove foil and add the last 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese. Bake another 5 - 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven.  Let sit another 5-10 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tomato-Artichoke Spinach Salad and a 16th Birthday

Recently, I made a quick trip to Florida to visit my oldest son and his family. I had an incredible trip and was fortunate enough to be part of some very special milestones. My oldest grandson turned 16 with all of the hoopla and celebration that goes with a new drivers license and freedom. His little brother, only a mere freshman in high school was moved up to the Varsity football team for the remainder of the season and the next year. I was lucky enough to be there for a game and watch him catch an amazing touchdown pass.
Their little sister, always the cool girl, is practicing her safe passenger techniques while looking great -
Things were so very hectic, but my daughter in law always comes up with delicious meals on the run. We had this delicious Tomato Artichoke Spinach Salad one night and it was just the perfect touch to complete our pasta dinner. Since I have returned to North Carolina we have enjoyed it several times. It is fairly easy to put together and healthy also.
Tomato Artichoke Spinach Salad
3 Large Plum Tomatoes - Quartered
2 Tablespoons Basil Pesto
2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar - or Red Wine
1 cup quartered Artichoke Hearts - Drained
1/2 cup Cheese and Garlic Croutons
2 Cups Baby Spinach
Whisk pesto and vinegar in a medium salad bowl until well blended. Add tomatoes, artichokes, and croutons, toss until evenly coated. Add spinach to bowl and gently mix. Serve immediately