My feet have just touched back down in Stone County, after a wonderful ‘warm’ trip to McPherson, Kansas. We had a great class yesterday at the Cook’s Nook. The weather was terrific, the guests were delightful and the shopping was outstanding. When your find a quality cooking store that also has knowledgeable associates and owners, you’ve found a gem. Questions are readily answered and I too come home knowing more about specific tools and products. Thanks so much to the staff at the Cook’s Nook!!!
As of this writing I haven’t even unpacked the electric refrigerator. In route I took the gals traveling with me to an interesting market outside Carthage, Missouri. If you ever have the opportunity to stop on Highway 96, just outside Carthage, be sure to visit the ‘Circle E County Market’. (417 246 1144) Angel food cakes are not my forte’, so I purchased a huge strawberry cake to bring home. It was light and so good in the flavor department. This store carries homemade sandwiches and baked goods just for starters. Cooks will find wonderful noodles and baking products. Be sure and put it on your list when you’re next in the Carthage, Missouri area. Another suggestion while in Carthage would be to visit the ‘Pancake Hut’, which is an icon of the town. Not fancy, just good!
This week my dish is my new Lasagna recipe, which I finalized for our Super Bowl Party. I was really pleased with the outcome. Now I’m ready to make it more often and to prepare a chicken lasagna too. My criteria for good Lasagna is probably the same for many of my readers.
- Good body, so you can cut it, and it stays together in form.
- Good cheeses, the best would be fresh grated, not grated in the bag.
- A good mix of meats. Straight burger or chuck is just too boring.
- The ricotta filling or cottage filling should hold together and not ‘slip off’.
- If texture is an issue on the filling, consider processing it in a food processor.
Like many meat cuts and breads, Lasagna will taste better and cut much better if you allow it to sit, after it has been removed from the oven. I try for at least 10 minutes.
Become experimental with the cheeses. You’ll see that I implemented Gouda. This doesn’t mean you can’t do your own thing. I’ve heard friends from Platte County, Missouri tell me how their Lasagnas had like 3-4 pounds of cheese in one pan. I certainly didn’t use that much, but I felt it had ample. Speaking of pans, I’m now on the hunt for a quality lasagna pan. This way my recipe can stand a little taller with three layers instead of just two. I thought I’d found one in McPherson, but it was heavier than what I desired.
I told my friends this weekend that the next time I make lasagna I’m going to serve it only to our family of 3. It’s not that I don’t want to share, but I’d like to have some for the freezer. This is one dish that freezes quite well.
While in McPherson I also got to experience a good movie and dinner, at a fairly new restaurant called, ‘The Fieldhouse’. Again, a great eatery, good menu selections, and a quality wait staff. I had so much dinner that I brought a large portion home and had it the next evening! I would also be amiss not to mention Sunday dinner at the Breadbasket in Newton, KS. It feels like you’ve made a trip back in time to Grandma’s Sunday dinners. This buffet is not for the faint hearted, be prepared to enjoy ‘lots’ of food.
It was good to pull in the drive tonight and see my family. However I think I could have traveled for a couple more days! I had my assistant, Bonnie, with me along with two other friends, Linda & Pat. We laughed and chuckled the entire time.
Try my new recipe friends, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.
2 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. pork sausage or Italian sausage*
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 minced garlic
25 ounces tomato sauce
2 small cans tomato paste
1 (23 oz.) jar Thick pasta/spaghetti sauce**
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons dry Italian seasonings
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
24 ounces small curd cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon dry basil
1 tablespoon dry parsley flakes
1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
12-14 cooked lasagna noodles
8 ounces mixed Italian Blend Cheese
8 ounces fresh grated mozzarella cheese
8 ounces fresh Gouda cheese
*Use any mixture of meat, you will find it much more flavorful when pork or Italian sausage is implemented.
**For testing purposes Ragu Homestyle Thick & Hearty was used.
Cook the beef and sausage in a large skillet along with the diced onion and garlic.
When meat is done, drain away any excessive oils. Now stir in tomato sauce,
spaghetti sauce, paste, brown sugar, Italian seasonings and black pepper. Bring the sauces to a light boil over medium heat. Reduce and simmer with a lid for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Cook the lasagna noodles following box instructions. While the pasta is cooking prepare the filling. Whisk the two eggs and stir in the cottage cheese in a small bowl. Add dry basil, parsley flakes and parmesan cheese. The eggs and the cheese will help bind the filling inside the lasagna. You will follow standard steps for making lasagna. The amount of meat in this recipe is pretty large compared to most recipes. This is due to the fact that many lasagnas I have eaten are sparse on the meat! You could also use a baking pan that is slightly larger than a 9 x 13 for this recipe and you would have plenty of everything for a slightly larger size.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan. Layer in 2 cups of the meat sauce evenly in the bottom. Place 5-6 noodles over the meat. Place half of the filling over the noodles. Layer in another 2 cups of meat sauce distributing evenly. Place 8 ounces of mozzarella or Gouda over the meat sauce. Continue with the next layer until you reach the top of the pan where the mixed Italian cheese is a good top layer.
Bake in a 350 degree oven covered with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with vegetable spray. After 35 minutes remove the foil and continue cooking for another 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven when golden around the edges. Allow lasagna to sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving. Twelve servings is pretty standard, but if you have big eaters present consider making more. If using a standard 9 x 13 pan expect to have 1-1 1/2 cups of meat sauce leftover.