For years of dabbling with recipes and having TONS of leftovers that ended up going to waste, I finally had a moment of clarity. Cook what you need!! This recipe is awesome because it takes a family favorite like Lasagna and creates a smaller batch that can be handled by a smaller family, a single person or couple. This recipe does still make a lot, hence the name Hearty. It can comfortably allow 8 servings, in an 8×8 pan. So you can divide it in half if you wish, layering in a loaf pan to get 4, or freeze for lunches or dinner on a different night.
Cook time: 50 Min Prep time: 20 Min Serves: 8
DADS PERFECT SAUCE (WILL MAKE MORE THAN USED IN LASAGNA)
3/4 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground turkey sausage, or sweet sausage
1/2 c chopped onion
2 clove smashed garlic with peel off
1 can(s) crushed tomatoes (28oz)
1 can(s) tomato paste (12oz)
1 can(s) tomato sauce (15oz)
1/2 c water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp italian seasoning
3/4 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley
6 lasagna noodles, rinsed with warm water
1 pkg mozzarella cheese/provolone cheese mix shredded or sliced (2 cups shredded)
1/4 c plus 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese
1. In Crock pot, cook meat, onion and garlic on a high temp until meat starts to brown and onions and garlic have sweated, but not burned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, paste, sauce and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 3/4 tbsp salt, pepper and 1 tsp of dried parsley. Let this come up in temperature, cover and simmer for approx 2 1/2 hrs.
2. Prepare noodles by breaking noodles to fit an 8×8 baking pan. Set aside until ready to assemble after sauce has simmered. Once it has simmered long enough, turn off Crock pot rinse the noodles with warm water, no need to cook the noodles. Preheat oven to 375° F.
3. Prepare cheese mixture by adding ricotta cheese, egg, 1 tsp parsley and 1/4 tsp salt. Add 1 tbsp of the Parmesan cheese and mix to combine.
4. To Assemble: With a 1/2 c measuring cup, or ladle, place one or 1 1/2 scoops of sauce on thebottom of the 8×8 pan. Place one layer of your pre-measured noodles on the sauce. Spread ordollop the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and try to spread it best you can. Sprinkle or placethe Mozzarella/Provolone cheese mixture on top of that. Next, another layer of the sauce, thensprinkle the Parmesan cheese over that. You repeat this (starting with another layer of noodles) untilall of the ricotta is gone. I did two good layers with about 1-1 1/2 cups sauce in each layer, and 2 hand fulls of the shredded cheese mix, to give you an
idea. Once you have completed the last layer with Parmesan, I sprinkle a little extra, if any, of the shredded cheese on there too. Cover this tight with foil. PLACE ON BAKING SHEET, this probably will bubble over slightly. Into the 375° oven for 25 minutes. Very carefully, remove the foil at this point, and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes or so. Remove from oven and let lasagna cool for 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile, you can store the remaining sauce in a freezer container, make an additional lasagna (8×8 pretty aluminum pan, just be careful as it will be heavy, may want to use a baking sheet until the freezer sets it up) and freeze it for a later day or keep in the fridge for spaghetti, pizza, bread stick dipping sauce or whatever you want to use this for.