Saturday, March 24, 2012

Final, final post for today

Have I mentioned how much I like my fridge? I bought myself a new fridge and matching freezer this fall. It's an all fridge and upright, auto-defrost freezer. They have lots of room and I can find everything I put into them. This makes me really happy. Even after doing a week's meals for two families (the Pradzynski's and my own household), I still have room in the fridge. The first picture is of all of our salads and soups. We buy those containers when they have them in the stores before Christmas. They're so nice because they stack easily and they fit perfectly into the fridge. The larger containers hold eight cups, while the smaller ones hold four cups. Unfortunately we always seem to have more bottoms than tops; we accidentally had three lids on the burner when it was warm a few weeks ago and melted holes into three lids - so sometimes the top container of a stack will have plastic wrap instead of a lid on it.

The casserole we made today was lasagna. Now my niece Rachel will inform you that I don't actually make lasagna, I make a nice cheesy casserole. That's because if the lasagna isn't like your mother made, it's not really lasagna. Her mother used to make lasagna with tomato sauce, meat and cheese on top. My kids would tell you that it's not really lasagna without spinach and lots of vegetables inside. Here's my lasagna recipe:

In a large dutch oven combine:
1 lb lean hamburger - This is actually optional; you can do it meatless and most people won't know provided you have enough "chunks" of things in it. I've made it with 1 cup red lentils instead, or just lots of other vegetables, and no one really notices (except Rachel, but I've already explained that).
1 - 300 gr. package sliced mushrooms - This is the standard package from the store. I work full time and don't have time to spend washing and chopping, etc.
3 large carrots cut into pennies
2-3 green peppers, cut into chunks
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 TLB chopped garlic
Any other vegetables I may have in the fridge that need to be used up.

Brown the hamburger with the onion and garlic, add the rest of the vegetables. Also add:
1 large can spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce (the 700 mL size)
1 large can water
1 small can tomato paste
Add enough water until the dutch oven is half full and it's all pretty soupy.

In a separate bowl mix together:
2 packages frozen chopped spinach (I usually thaw them in the microwave)
1 L creamed cottage cheese
1 egg (the egg's actually optional, but the original recipe I followed and made my own did call for an egg)

Layer the lasagna:
a layer of the meat sauce
a layer of uncooked noodles
a layer of meat sauce
a layer of uncooked noodles
a layer of the cottage cheese and spinach mixture
a layer of noodles
a layer of meat sauce
grated mozzarella cheese to cover

Cover with a layer of parchment paper then tinfoil. The parchment means that the cheese won't stick to the tinfoil. Much better that way. I don't have my cheese on the lasagna shown in the picture because I'm out, but I'll add it before baking it.

This recipe actually makes two large lasagna pans or my giant roasting pan full.
I usually freeze it at this point or if I'm making it Saturday for Sunday potluck, I put it in the fridge and bake it Sunday morning.

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