Week 1 of Junior Year…check. To think that I am half way done with college is pretty unbelievable (and scary). I have to go out in the real world pretty soon. What the heck am I going to do out there? Maybe make this lasagna for people? Who knows. On my first night back at Virginia Tech, I was wondering what I was going to eat for dinner (a usual thought for me occurring around 10 o’clock in the morning). All of the dining halls were still closed, and spending my whole summer studying abroad in Spain and relaxing with family and friends did not equate to me making any money this summer – no eating out either. So this left me with cooking in my apartment, obviously something I’m not opposed to doing. But I volunteered to cook for Kevin and his roommates and my friend, Jessica, so I knew I was going to have to make something easy peasy if I was cooking for 5 and didn’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen all day (which, again, I love doing). Lasagna was the answer.
Instead of making homemade pasta sauce – hello Food Lion brand! But don’t you worry, this still tastes super homemade and flavorful (maybe because I added a few secret ingredients to this lasagna). While caramelizing the ground sirloin, I added garlic powder, dried oregano and…drum roll please…ground nutmeg! I figured the earthiness of the nutmeg would kinda sorta go with the meat and I always see Food Network chefs add a dash of nutmeg to béchamel sauce (Italian butter, cream, flour sauce), so I took a chance. And it was worth it!
Semi-Homemade Meat Lasagna: (little maddie’s original)
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 60 minutes Serves: 6 hungry college kids
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1 lb. ground sirloin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (you can also use parsley, whatever you have on hand)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 (26 oz.) can pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 (15 oz.) containers ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
- 2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 15 oven-ready lasagna noodles (you may use more or less depending on the size of your casserole dish)
Preheat oven to 350°. Pour EVOO in a skillet. Place ground sirloin in skillet once the oil is hot. Season with salt and pepper, and spices from garlic powder to crushed red pepper. Cook meat completely. Take off skillet and pour pasta sauce, water, and meat in a bowl, set aside. In another bowl, combine ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, and 1 cup of the parmesan cheeses with the eggs (I also added about 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano to this cheese mixture, but this is optional). In a 13 x 9 baking dish, pour 1 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of the dish. Top with lasagna noodles. Then spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Repeat these steps, meat sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture. Top with remaining noodles and meat sauce, making sure the noodles are completely covered. Cover with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. I also did a few dashes of crushed red pepper and oregano on the top of the lasagna, but this is optional. Cover the baking dish with foil and place on a cookie sheet to catch any thing that spills out of the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.