Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beef and mushroom lasagna

Friends of ours came over last night for dinner. Their days here in the States are numbered, as they prepare for their return to Australia. Decided to make them lasagna during a less than cool part of summer. Lack of foresight on my part. However, to my credit, I was thinking about a food that many of our friends seem to appreciate - lasagna. If left to my own devices and preferences, I probably would have made a vegetarian lasagna. Or a soup. Or Asian food.

When I've made lasagna in the past, I made it without boiling the pasta first. Doing so required a fair amount of additional liquid (insert added water here) and I went without a third layer of lasagna pasta when made this way in the past. This time, I boiled the lasagna pasta first.

The following is the brief recipe, followed by a photo essay of the recipe. Should you choose to follow the latter, I warn you ahead of time and apologize for the tremendous number of photographs that follow.


Beef Lasagna

  • 9 pieces of lasagna pasta.
  • 1 family size package of lean ground beef.
  • 1 small package of baby portabella mushrooms - presliced.
  • 1/2 red onion, diced.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • olive oil, just enough to stir fry the beef, mushrooms, and onion.
  • 2 24 oz jars of marinara sauce - I like Barilla's marinara sauce.
  • 1 1/2 24 oz containers of cottage cheese.
  • shredded cheese - I happened to use 2 different packages this time: mozzarella and Mexican style.
  • Pan fry each of the three - onion, ground beef, and mushrooms - separately.
  • Then combine the three with the pasta sauce and let marinate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Drop some marinara sauce here and there, at the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan.
  • Line up three pieces of lasagna pasta; followed by the sauce combination, layer cottage cheese, and pay shredded cheese on top.
  • Repeat previous step.
  • Line up three pieces of lasagna pasta on top. Cover that last layer with shredded cheese.
  • Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil.
  • Bake on 475 for 50 minutes, covered. Add shredded parmesan cheese or Mexican cheese and place back in the oven covered for 10 minutes.
  • Let lasagna cool for 10 minutes. Cut and serve.


Lasagna noodles

Lean ground beef

Sliced baby portabella mushrooms

Half a red onion

2 cloves of garlic

a little bit of olive oil

2 jars of 24 oz jars of marinara sauce

1 1/2 containers (24 oz) of cottage cheese

shredded cheese

The process:

Skin and cut a red onion in half

Slice thinly one way

like so.

Then slice thinly in the perpendicular direction.

Diced onion is what we're wanting.

After peeling the garlic, I used a garlic press to mince the garlic cloves.

Use just a bit of olive oil (I used no more than a few table spoons) to cook the onion until it's transparent. Then remove the onion, leaving behind remaining the olive oil.

Cook the ground beef on higher heat. Once well done, let cook off. Remove the beef, leaving behind any grease, fat, or juice. I put that liquid stuff in a different container.

Place the minced garlic with a bit of fresh olive oil on medium heat. Then add the mushrooms. I added a bit of sea salt, so it wouldn't be too dry.

Combine the three aforementioned ingredients. Also add the marinara sauce; both jars.

Mix and let sit over night.

Next day, I boiled the lasagna noodles for about 9 minutes.

The marinara sauce mixture after it's been sitting overnight.

Dabble the bottom of the pan with some marinara sauce.

Put in one layer of lasagna pasta.

Cover with thin layer of marinara meat sauce.

Add cottage cheese.

Followed by shredded cheese.

Repeat the last 4 steps: add a layer or lasagna pasta.

Add meat marinara sauce.

Add shredded cheese.

Followed by cottage cheese.

Add a last layer of lasagna past along with shredded cheese on the very top.

Cook at 375, covered, for 50 minutes. Uncover, added Mexican shredded cheese or shredded parmesan cheese, cover, and cook for 10 more minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting or serving.

Viola. Fertig.

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