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Mexi Pasta Salad

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I am always on the hunt for a good summer cookout side.  There are only so many times a person can make a great Potato Salad before you feel like you have potato salad coming out your ears!  I have always enjoyed a good pasta salad though.  So, I made it my mission this summer to perfect a great pasta salad and by golly, I think I got it… In fact, I know I got it.

This pasta salad is something different, out of the box and packed with fresh ingredients and delicious flavors all marrying to become one heck of a side dish.  I served it at a cookout just yesterday along-side some BBQ chicken and grilled Montreal Steak.  But, I can totally see it with some Southwest Turkey Burgers or even just topped with some fresh avocado and Grilled Shrimp or chicken.

The trick is not to gobble it all up before you get it to the party!  I call it “Mexi Pasta Salad” because although I am pretty sure there isn’t an Abuela in Mexico throwing this together, it gives a good solid nod to the flavors of Mexico. With all your basic taco toppings thrown in and some cumin to spice things up, this salad is not your run of the mill deli get.

Add salt to a good size pot… a pot larger than you think you need for the pasta if possible.

Campanelle Pasta is what I am using today, you can really use any type of pasta for this.

Be sure to stir the pasta a few times throughout the cooking process to ensure nothing sticks together.

Here are some of the fresh ingredients you will need.

Some halved grape tomatoes.

Dice up that jalapeno into a nice small dice after removing seeds and ribs. (Unless you like a kick, then you can leave in as much of the innards as you like haha)

Dice up the bell pepper (any color is fine, I like red for it’s sweetness and color)

Once you dice up half your red (it’s really purple, I never understood why we call them red onions) pepper be sure to soak them in water for a bit to take out that onion tang that makes you cry, it’s a bit too strong for a pasta salad.

Roughly chop up half a bunch of cilantro.

Roughly chop a can of black olives. You can use freshly brined black olives if you like, but there is just something about the canned variety I like here.

Now for the little to no prep ingredients… Start with about 3/4 of a bag of frozen corn… If you happen to have fresh, please use that, I didn’t have any handy.

Rinse out a can of black beans.

Drain your pasta… I cook mine just past aldente.  Also, I did not feel like having to wash another bowl, so my extra-large pot (Magic Pot from Pampered Chef) was perfect for mixing everything in together!

In a small mixing bowl, add in 1 cup of may.

To that, add about 1/2 cup of sour cream. This may seem like a lot of moisture, but we are adding a lot to this pasta.

Now the zest of one lime.

You could add in the juice of the lime, but I find the zest strikes just the perfect balance and the juice is really not needed… Save the juice for your Blueberry Mojito!

Next add in about 1/2 tsp of ground cumin.

Now a good pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Mix your dressing.

Add corn.

Add beans.

Add dressing.

Drain onions and add in.

Add your chopping block stuff.

Mix together.

And for some extra crunch, add in half a diced english cucumber. If you prefer to use a cuke from your garden, just be sure to seed it first to reduce water content.

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Mexi Pasta Salad

Serves 10-15 as a side

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta, cooked in salted water

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced small

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced and soaked in water, then drained

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 English cucumber, diced

1 can black olives, drained and roughly chopped

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 bag frozen corn or 2 ears fresh corn grilled

For the dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

zest of 1 lime

1/2 tsp. cumin

kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare all ingredients as stated in ingredient list.  Drain pasta.  In a small bowl mix together mayo, sour cream, cumin, zest, salt and pepper.

Add dressing to pasta. Add beans, corn, both peppers, drained onion, tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers and black olives.  Mix well.  Taste for salt. Pour into serving bowl and chill at least 2 hours.

 

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Basic Spaghetti & Meatballs

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It’s not often that you can find a meal that is as great as a Sunday dinner as it is a week night meal, but Spaghetti and Meatballs fits that bill.  We are talking REAL Spaghetti and Meatballs, the kind where you actually roll the meatballs with your own two hands.

I must make this dish a dozen different ways, but this is a nice basic recipe.  If you like to add parmesan to yours, feel free, if you like to add anchovies, go for it… But, this recipe is simple, not too complicated and because the meatballs are slowly simmered in the sauce instead of baked or pan-fried, they are nice and tender and help to flavor the sauce at the same time.

This sauce and these meatballs are also great when you make a big batch and freeze them!  So, put in the effort on a Sunday afternoon, have it for dinner, freeze the rest and a week later, you have a great Wednesday night meal!  Just boil up some more pasta and you are good to go!

Start with ground beef.

Grab some parsley.

Add in some bread crumbs.

Then some Worcestershire sauce.

Add basil and half and half to moisten the bread crumbs.

Saute some onions.

Add in an egg as a binder.

If you wet your hand, it’s easier to form the meatballs.

Make golf ball size balls.

Get them ready for the sauce.

In a large pan start with olive oil.

Saute some onions.

Add in some garlic when your onions are soft.

Next add in som San Marzano whole tomatoes. You really want the whole tomatoes here, because you know they aren’t just giving you left over scraps, these are good.

Add into your pot with your onions.

Take a potato masher gently to the tomatoes. If you go crazy here, you will be wearing tomatoes, so easy does it.

Get them good and mashed.

Now add in some tomato paste.

You need to give it time to melt in.

Mix it in well.

Add some Worcestershire sauce here as well.

Now a palm full of Italian seasoning mix.

Mix.

Gently drop meatballs in.

Make sure they are all nestled in well.

Get some sauce over top of them.

Cover and simmer on low.

Add in some parsley.

Stir it in.

Cook your pasta to package instructions for aldente pasta and drain.  I am using Barilla’s Spaghetti Rigati because it has ridges that help to hold on to the sauce!

Ladle in a ladle or two of sauce to coat pasta, do not over sauce!


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Spaghetti & Meatballs

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 lb. Spaghetti Rigati (or your favorite cut of pasta), cooked aldente to package instructions

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground beef

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 onion, small diced and sautéed until tender

1/2 cup half and half or whole milk

1 egg

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. Italian seasoning mix (optional)

Sauce:

2 large cans San Marzano whole tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

4 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. Italian Seasoning Mix

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 cup red wine (optional)

Directions:

For Meatballs:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Wet hands and form golf ball sized balls.  When sauce is ready, place in sauce and gently simmer.

For Sauce:

Saute onion in olive oil.  When tender, add whole tomatoes, mash with potato masher until broken down to your liking.  Add remaining ingredients.  Add meatballs, bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

To plate:

When pasta has come to aldente (after sauce is ready), drain and add in 2 ladles of sauce.  Coat pasta with sauce. Top with meatballs.  Serve hot and enjoy!

 

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Spaghetti Frittata Pie

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I have a family of four, two of the four happen to be toddlers.  So, when we make spaghetti in our house inevitably there are left overs.  None of us are terribly big fans of re-heating left over spaghetti, so I decided to come up with a recipe to use up that left over spaghetti in a whole new way.  Hense, I give you the Spaghetti Fritatta Pie!

This simple pasta and egg dish is the perfect solution to my left over dilemma and the funny thing is, we like the pie left over too!  I made some angel hair pasta (my kid’s favorite) with some homemade sauce and some Italian sausage (my husband’s favorite).  I hate to waste food, especially a home-made sauce, so I put it in the fridge in a Tupperware container.  8 eggs, a pie plate, a block of cheese, and just a few more staples later and wala, a brand new meal.

This may seem odd to you and to be honest, I wasn’t sure about it when I started out.  But, I love Pasta Carbonara and this has a lot of the same element, so I gave it a try.  You don’t know until you try right?

Start with a pad of salted butter in a pie plate, this one is 9″.

Use a paper towel to spread your butter.

Your pie plate should be well buttered.

This is my left over Angel Hair with Sweet Italian Sausage and tomatoes with some basil.

Add into buttered pie plate.

Fill your pie plate up with spaghetti. This is about 2 full cups of cooked and prepared left-over Angel Hair pasta.

In this shot I have 6 eggs, but for my 9″ pie plate, I actually ended up adding in two more for a total of 8 eggs.

Beat them well.

Add in a good pinch of Italian Seasoning blend. this is about 1/2 tsp.

Beat the seasoning into the eggs.

Add in a good pinch of kosher salt, again this is about 1/2 tsp.

Beat into the eggs.

Pour the egg mixture right over your spaghetti or in my case Angel Hair.

This is what you should have.

Slice up some grape tomatoes.

Dart the top of your pie with grape tomatoes.

Add on some Fontina cheese, I am using about 4 oz.

Hand shredding is the way to go, although I’m not sure you can find pre-shredded Fontina anyway.

Add on some shredded parmesan cheese. This one is pre-shredded.

Just add cheese right up on top.  Pop this in the oven for about 45 minutest until the middle has almost set.  Then take it out, tent with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. The center should set right up for you and the rest will settle nicely.

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Spaghetti Frittata Pie

Serves 4-6Ingredients:

2 cups left over Angel Hair pasta and sausage (or whatever pasta you have)

8 eggs, beaten

8 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shaved

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning mix

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

6-8 cracks black pepper

1 cup left over sauce for topping

1 tsp butter

Directions:

Butter pie plate.  Place pasta and sausage in buttered dish.  Beat eggs and add in Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper.  Add in shredded Fontina cheese.  Pour evenly over pasta and sausage.  Dot with tomatoes and sprinkle with parmesan.  Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes until set.  Remove from oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes before serving.  Cut and drizzle with warmed left over sauce. Enjoy!

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Butternut Squash Orzo in Sage Butter

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I love Thanksgiving! Each year we string together a line of tables accommodate anywhere between 15-22 people! I love that my family all comes together to dine around a long formally set table.  I love the traditions that come along with this holiday from watching the Macy’s Day parade on T.V. as I am cooking in the morning to ending the night with a slice of pumpkin pie and coffee and leafing through all the Black Friday store flyers with my mother, sister’s, aunts and cousins!  But, most of all I love making my family happy by serving everyone’s favorite dishes and enjoying all the dishes that my family brings to the table too!

I always prepare a large turkey of course and my dad loves getting the leg. My sister Vicky loves my stuffed eggs, my sister Lindsey brings everyone’s favorite scalloped potatoes, my mom loves my turnips and carrots and so on and so forth.  But, each year I love to add one or two dishes that are new just to keep things lively.  This year, I have developed a side dish that I am quite sure will become a new family favorite!  Butternut Squash Orzo in Sage butter is a velvety sweet and savory side dish that has a few different levels of flavor and will definitely hold its own along side my mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce!

If you are looking to spruce up your holiday menu, give this one a try… I’ll show you how I do it…

Here are some butternut squashes… If you are looking for a squash pay attention to the color… the darker the color, the sweeter and more ripe your squash… so the one on the bottom is the one we will be using today.

There are a couple of ways to tackle this oddly shaped vegetable. I like to start by slicing it down the middle to give you a stable surface to work with.

Look how nice and orange that flesh is.

Scoop out those seeds along with their connective tissue… You can totally roast these just like pumpkin seeds.

Here is one method of removing the skin. Start by slicing it up into 1″ slices.

Now just remove the skin from each slice.

The other way to do this is to leave the half squash whole and just carefully peel.

Cover a cookie sheet with some parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Dice up the peeled squash and spread out on the cookie sheet.

Add on a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

Toss the diced squash in the oil. Pop this in a 350°F oven for about 20-25 minutes until fork tender.

Meanwhile get a pot of salted boiling water going on the stove and add in a box of orzo. Cook to the box instructions.

In a large skillet, melt a stick of salted butter.

Grab a couple of shallots.  If you don't have shallots... just use an onion, dice and soak in water for a few minutes.

Grab a couple of shallots. If you don’t have shallots… just use an onion, dice and soak in water for a few minutes.

Dice up your shallots.

Grap a handful of fresh sage leaves, this is really an important ingredient, fresh is best here.

Chop it up.

Add your shallots and sage into the butter.

Pull your squash out of the oven and be sure it is fork tender.

Add the squash into the skillet and coat with the butter, shallots and sage.

Drain your orzo.

Once the squash is coated, add in the orzo into the skillet and toss for a few minutes until the flavor has time to penetrate the pasta.

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Butternut Squash Orzo in Sage Butter

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

1 lb. cooked orzo

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 stick salted butter

6 fresh sage leaves

2 shallots, diced

olive oil

kosher salt

fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Start a pot of water boiling and add some salt, cook orzo to package directions for al dente.

On a parchment lined cookie sheet, spread out diced squash.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until fork tender.

In a large skillet over med/high heat, add in butter.  Add in shallots and sautée until tender.  Add in sage.  When squash comes out of the oven, add it into the skillet and toss in the buttery sauce.  Then drain the orzo and add it to the skillet.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake

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My husband often works pretty late and on occasion, I will have a meeting to get to late into the evening as well.  On nights like that I am thankful to have the support of my parents who adore my children.  And my kids love going over to Vavó and Vavô’s house!  But, my mom also works all day, so when they will be there up until bed time and the kid’s need supper, I like to bring by something ready to put in the oven when I can.  something easy and portable is this “Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake”!

Of course if I am making this and bringing it to my parent’s house, then that leaves my husband to fend for himself, not to mention a hungry me when I get home… So, what I decided to do to solve that issue was to make one big batch and divide it among two smaller baking dishes, which was more than enough to feed both homes! (Of course you could make this recipe and freeze half too! – just freeze before the final step of popping it in the oven)

This recipe is great for kids because it has a fun cork screw pasta, cheese and it’s not spicy at all… Of course you could kick it up by using a spicy sausage and spicing up the sauce a bit, but my kids love this version and since Mom and Dad were out working late, the kids win.  It’s got all the same ingredients of a lasagna, but it’s got some semi-homemade ingredients like an easy jarred marinara and it takes about 20 minutes tops to prepare! Then, just pop it in the oven and serve!

This meal is easy enough to be a week night meal, pack away as a freezer meal or serve to a crowd! Let me show you how I did it…

Pick a fun tubular pasta with ridges… I like Cavatappi, it looks like a cork screw. Start this boiling before you do anything else so it can be ready when you finish with the other steps.

Take one package (5-6 links) of Italian Sausage, sweet or hot and take the casings off… Today, I went with sweet because it’s meant to feed the kids. Place in a large skillet over medium heat. I like using sausage in this because it cuts down on some of your work be providing flavor right off the bat, plus my husband loves Italian Sausage.  But, if you wanted to use some ground beef or turkey, that would be fine too! You could even make the sauce without any meat at all!

Dice up an onion.

Add the onions right in with the sausage and add just a splash of olive oil right on top to help them get going.

You want to render out the fat from the sausage and bring everything to a golden brown color. If you have some extra fat in the pan you can either drain it or leave it… I didn’t have much fat left in my pan at all.

Now here is the “Easy” in “Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake”… Add in one jar of your favorite ready-made Marinara Sauce.

For some additional moisture and body add in one can of diced tomatoes… If your family is not a fan of chunks of tomatoes in their food, you should still add in one can of tomato sauce.

Add the tomatoes right in, you want them to cook down a bit.

Add in about 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper.

Place two cups of ricotta cheese in a bowl.

Add two eggs in with the ricotta.

Here is another “easy” ingredient… Add in 1/2 cup of pre-grated parmesan cheese.

Stir together making sure to really work those eggs in.

Next, add in some shredded mozzarella cheese.

Once you have a smooth consistency, add in some Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Once your pasta is drained, add in cheese.

Stir together.

Either divide among two baking dishes like I did, or use one 9″x13″ baking dish.

This is a block of mozzarella… You can find it right in the regular dairy case.

For this recipe, you can dice up about half the block.

Dot the top of cheesy pasta with half of your cubed mozzarella.

Pour the sauce on top.

Spread the sauce.

Dot the top with the remaining cubed mozzarella and some additional shredded mozzarella. Then add on a dash of grated parmesan. Now you are ready to wrap this and pop in the fridge for later or bake.  Whenever you are ready to bake, just place in a 350°F oven for 30 mins.

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Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake

Ingredients:

1 box Cavatappi Pasta, cooked to al dente

For the sauce:

5-6 links Italian Sausage, casing removed

1 onion, diced

1 tsp. olive oil

1 jar marinara sauce

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tsp. Italian seasoning mix

salt and pepper to taste

For cheese mixture:

2 cups Ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup shredded 3. cheese

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 dash salt

1 dash pepper

For topping:

8 oz. block mozzarella, cubed

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

1 Tbs. grated parmesan

Directions:

Cook off pasta to one minute less than the package ingredients, drain.

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage while chopping it into smaller bits with a wooden spoon.  Add in onions and oil.  Render the fat out of the sausage and drain if needed.  Once sausage and onions are brown, add in jarred marinara and can of diced tomatoes.  To the sauce add in Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine ricotta, grated parmesan, eggs, shredded mozzarella, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Add cheese mixture to drained pasta.  Place in a baking dish.  Directly on the cheesy pasta add on 1/2 the cubed mozzarella, then sauce.  Now dot the top with remaining cubed mozzarella, shredded mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.  Serve, enjoy!

*Note: If making this recipe gluten-free, just use a gluten-free pasta and follow all instructions.

 

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Stacy’s Meat Lasagna

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One of the first truly big meals I learned to make as a kid was lasagna.  My dad just loved the stuff… so he asked me to make it once a week… kind of a funny request for a Portuguese man… but I have always loved making my Daddy happy so weekly lasagna it was!  Over time, I started learing to tweak things here and there. I developed my own methods and preferences.  It was really one of those repetitive recipes that unknowingly taught me how to cook… After all, I wasn’t following a recipe, I would do it week after week and almost each week something would change, some times I kept the change and sometimes not so much.  What better cooking lesson could there be?

Through all this trial and error I learned that meat lasagna is the way to go. Although this recipe has taken me just about 25 years to perfect, it is pretty basic and pretty classic, but has an unbelievable flavor that is both simple and complex at the same time. Homemade meat sauce, hand mixed cheese and mozzarella along with thin flat pasta noodles are what makes up this delicious dinner.

This recipe is a rather large recipe, but you have options.  If you have a big family, you can get 12-16 generous portions here, so great… If you would like to use it for a party, even better!  But, if you just don’t need a huge lasagna, it’s still worth making and splitting half into a pan for the freezer!  You are doing the same work, might as well get two or even three meals out of it!

Here’s how I do it…  There will be 4 layers in all.

Let’s start with the sauce…

I start by mincing an onion.

Place onions in a pan with some heated olive oil over medium heat.

Here are the flavors that you will need to layout head of time… this method will make for a less stressful cooking experience.

Once the onions are starting to caramelize, add in the dry spices… crushed red pepper flakes and italian seasoning. This will allow their flavor to really bloom. Also, add in your minced garlic at this point so it doesn’t really get a chance to burn. Sautée for a minute or two with the onions.

Add in browned ground beef. I happened to have some that I browned up earlier in the week. If you don’t then be sure to brown and drain separately from the onions as draining the fat will take a lot of the flavor of the onions and spices away with it and won’t allow you to get the desired effect with the caramelization.

Add in a few swigs of Worcestershire sauce. This gives you an amazing background flavor you can’t get from much else.

Add in two extra large cans of tomato puree.

This ingredient is indispensable. Add in one full can of tomato paste.

This is what your can looks like when you are through adding in the puree, that won’t do.

Add some white wine into each and swish it around so you can get the remainder of that puree! I hate wasting. You could use red wine here, but I find it to be a bit too strong for a lasagna, so I use white.

Now this is a little more acceptable.

Mix it all together over med/low heat. Be careful! It starts to sputter at this point!

Strip the thyme leaves off the stiffer little branches.

Chop or rip up your basil.

Chop or rip up your basil.

Add in your fresh herbs now.

Cover up your skillet… as you can see, before I even got to my camera, the sputtering has continued.

Now let’s start on the cheese mixture.

You are putting so much work into this recipe… please use a real block of parmesan cheese (the best you can afford) and shred the cheese yourself, it makes a huge difference here.

This is the left over parmesan rind from the block of parmesan I used for the cheese, don’t throw that out! As a matter of fact, if you ever end up with a rind for another recipe and feel the urge to throw it out, avoid that urge and just freeze it for times when you are making sauce!

Toss that in the sauce.

Shred up your cheese and divide a handful of it out to reserve for later.

For this large lasagna, you are going to need a large container of whole milk ricotta cheese.

For this large lasagna, you are going to need a large container of whole milk ricotta cheese.

Dump that into your mixing bowl. You’ll want a medium to large mixing bowl.

Add in your parmesan along with about 3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. (You can cheat with the mozzarella if you choose to get the pre-shredded stuff or you can shred your own.

To the cheese add in a bunch of fresh cracked black pepper.

Then add in a good pinch of italian seasoning mix.

Add in two eggs.

Add a good pinch of salt.

MIx together.

This is what you should have when all mixed.

Now we just need to gather two more ingredients and we are ready to build our masterpiece!

The first is the pasta… I use this oven-ready pasta for three reasons 1. the big step of pre-cooking pasta before hand gets eliminated 2. the noodles are flat with no ripples and 3. they are thin… all things that make for a great lasagna!

And the next is the mozzarella … This is the cheese that I discovered as a kid and it really makes a big difference in the body of the lasagna.

Now we build!

This is an extra-large lasagna pan… this recipe won’t go all the way up the sides of this really big pan, but if you use a 9″x13″ pan, it certainly will.

Start off by ladling some sauce into the bottom of the pan… this serves a couple of purposes… 1st I always like to sauce the bottom and 2nd the pasta won’t stick to the bottom.

Place the pasta on top of the sauce.

Because we are using oven ready pasta, I like to put a sort of skim coat of sauce on top of the noodles.

Add on the cheese mixture.

Spread the cheese mixture as evenly as you can.

Add the mozzarella slices on top of the cheese mixture.

Now start on the next layer by ladling on more sauce.

when you start a new pasta layer on top of another layer of sauce, you always want to make sure you are laying them out in a different pattern so that when you cut into it, it’s got pasta running from the top of the slice to the bottom.

Finish off the top with a good coating of sauce.

Add some shredded mozzarella to the top.

Grab the little pile of parmesan we set aside earlier and sprinkle right on top.

At this point, bake for 45 mins to 1 hr until the cheese on top is thoroughly melty, but not burned.

When it comes out of the oven, let it set for a good 10-15 minutes before cutting.

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Stacy’s Meat Lasagna

Serves 12-16

For the sauce:

2 28oz. cans of tomato puree

1 6-8oz.can tomato paste

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup hot water

1 med. onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbs. fresh basil

1/2 tsp. fresh thyme

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. dry Italian seasoning

1 tsp. kosher salt

Parmesan rind

Directions:

In a large skillet or shallow pot, sautée onion in olive oil over medium heat.  When caramelized, add in red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and garlic, sautée for a couple minutes.  Add in ground beef, continue to sautée. Add Worcestershire sauce, continue to sautée.

Next, add in tomato sauce and paste.  Rinse tomato cans with white wine and add in to sauce.  Add in parmesan rind and cook over low heat for 30 mins.  When done add in 1 cup of hot water to loosen if needed.

Check for salt at this point.

For the Cheese Mixture:

1 large container of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together.

Build your lasagna:

Ingredients:

1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles

2 packages sliced mozzarella cheese

meat sauce, prepared

cheese mixture, prepared

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  In a large lasagna pan, start by adding sauce to the bottom of the pan.  Next, layer on the noodles.  Skim coat the noodles with a bit more sauce.  Next, add on a layer of the cheese mixture.  Next, add on the mozzarella slices.  Repeat until you reach the end of your ingredients. Be sure to think about how large your pan is and how to divvy up the layers.  End by covering in sauce and adding on the shredded mozzarella and shredded parmesan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until all the cheese on top has melted and started browning nicely.  Enjoy!