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What's Up Magazine

Menu Monday (Plus a lasagna recipe)

May 23, 2011 11:04PM ● By Anonymous

It's that time of the week again ... Menu Monday! What are you having for dinner this week?

Sunday: Kelsey's famous lasagna and roasted asparagus.
See the recipe below. Funny story: It's the least-complicated, easiest lasagna recipe in the world, but everyone absolutely loves it.

Monday: Slow-Cooker Chicken and Noodles with Bok Choy
I'm feeling kind of under the weather today, so I'm really looking forward to this brothy-noodley Asian-inspired dish that's been in the slow-cooker all day. The original recipes from Food Network Magazine called for pork instead of chicken, but it was kind of expensive at the grocery store ... so chicken it is.

Tuesday: Creamy Polenta in Portobello Mushroom Sauce, roasted turnips and sweet potatoes
I have a goal of doing at least one vegetarian meal per week, and Tuesday was designated meat-free for this week. I got two copies of Better Homes and Gardens' cookbook for my bridal shower, so I pulled this recipe out of there....but you can apparently also just get it on the Internet. Another piece of proof that cookbooks are becoming obsolete (so why do I keep buying them?)

Wednesday: Spaghetti with marinara sauce, salad
Oh. I guess I have two meatless days this week. Well, we have our first week of our bowling league this week (yeah, you heard me. Bowling. We're cool), so I need something I can make quickly before we head to the alley.

Thursday: This is going to be a chicken dish, and I"m going to fly by the seat of my pants. I just haven't figured it out yet.

Friday: Chinese food!

Kelsey's Lasagna Recipe

I always find it amusing when people rave over my lasagna because it's literally the easiest dish in the world to make. I'm also amused when people say that lasagna is a difficult or time-consuming dish to make...because it's not. I suppose it could be if you made your own sauce or noodles or what not, but really...who does? Here's a secret...even the noodles that don't say "no-boil" or "oven-ready" don't have to be pre-boiled. Just make sure to cover them with plenty of sauce and cook it long enough to make sure they're soft.

While I occasionally make a variation of lasagna, such as spinach-mushroom lasagna with white sauce or roasted veggie lasagna, I don't think the classic dish needs much to make it delicious. 

Warning: This version uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta. I know many Italians and Italian wannabes will this it's blasphemous, but I think ricotta is gross. That is all. Plus, cottage cheese is healthier.

2 jars marinara sauce (or the equivalent in homemade sauce, which I bet would be delish)
1 box lasagna noodles
3 cups mozzarella cheese
1 small tub low-fat cottage cheese
1 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper to taste

This is the basic recipe; however, you can add in other items if you want ... onion, herbs, wine, etc. Last night, I added a dash of red wine to the sauce, plus some extra salt (because the sauce I had was too sweet), both dried and fresh basil, and dried oregano. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. 

Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining spaghetti sauce, plus any additions you choose to include. 

Start to layer the lasagna by placing a row of lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Spread the cottage cheese on top of the noodles, followed by 1/3 of the sauce-meat mixture. Add another layer of noodles, and top it with one cup mozzarella cheese. Add another cup of sauce, and then one more layer of noodles. Layer the remaining sauce on top of the noodles and then finish it up with another layer of cheese (you might not use all the cheese. Play it by eye.)

Cover the pan with aluminum foil (so the cheese doesn't brown prematurely). Bake for 45-60 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes, giving it a chance to set.

Or, you could be like use, and just dig in. Who cares if it comes out in a nice, neat square?