This is a variation of the lasagna my mother has made for years. Everybody makes their lasagna different, below is the picture of hers I helped her make during spring break. Her's has two layers and uses one bottle of sauce, all other ingredients are the same. Mine has four layers and two bottles of sauce.
I am trying to make this one a diet lasagna. I have begun a new diet... diet of Anna, meaning I made it up myself, so I have been trying to cut the carbs, cut the fat intake, cut the sugar, eat more salads for lunch and actually get back into a walking and exercising schedule. Sticking to diet drinks and water, and am trying to always buy lower fat products like ricotta and mozzarella, and cutting down on the fruit juice! I didn't realize how much calories orange and apple juice actually have in them! I'll let you know how it is going. I doubt I will ever get back to my high school self, grad school can pretty much kill your body and soul!!!!!!!! So my goal is my sophomore college self.
Today was beautiful, so I took my dog Lucy to the University of Alabama quad and did two laps. That probably wasn't even a full mile. My dog only weights 12 pounds, but she has never been fond of leashes and pulls something terrible! So I feel exhausted from battling her! We have had her for almost 3 years, but there are still a few habits that we haven't broken! She was a humane society puppy. ADOPT DON'T BUY! She is hilarious when she decides she wants to stop walking... she will literally lay down in the middle of the sidewalk and just look at me! Haha, she has me trained! She knows I will just pick her up and go home. She didn't do that today thank goodness! She is my baby! Took us a year to figure out what kind of dog she actually was. She is a Norfolk terrier and we think she is around 4 or 5 years old now. When I cook in the kitchen, she hovers at my feet. Especially when there is cheese involved!
CHEESY SPINACH LASAGNA
1 and 1/2 boxes lasagna noodles ( I buy whole wheat or Barilla Plus)
1 and 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
2 small chopped onions
1 box sliced portabello mushrooms
2 bottles tomato sauce (I buy Classico Tomato and Basil and Classico Spicy Tomato and mix together for extra flavor)
1 bag or box frozen chopped spinach, heated and drained
1 large tub of low fat ricotta
2-3 cups part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
pinch of parsley
1 lasagna pan
First of all, you can use whatever casserole dish you normally use, but I prefer to use a disposable lasagna pan (because I dont' have a real one...... yet!). You can buy these at the store in the disposable section of aluminum pans, the pan is just deeper than normal casserole dishes which I really like for layered casseroles! Some people put a beaten egg in their mixture to help it stay together, but I really don't think this recipe needs it. If you are going to serve some red wine with your lasagna, you could also add a few tablespoons of it to the mixture for some extra richness. I used a splash of Yellowtail Pinot Noir and it was delicious!
In a large frying pan, brown the meat, onions, and mushrooms. In a large mixing bowl, combine together meat mixture, spinach, ricotta, and 1 bottle of sauce. My bowl this time was too small to also add the sauce, so I just spread it on top of each layer. Begin the layering by spreading a few tablespoons of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Spread an even layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom. For the end piece, you will have to bread off 2-3 inches of the lasagna noodle to fit. Then layer 1/4 of meat mixture and spread evenly, spread a 1/4 of remaining sauce, then sprinkle a handful or two of mozzarella cheese over the mixture. Place another layer of lasagna noodles on top and repeat. Repeat until you run out of meat mixture. I ended up with 4 layers. Do this however you like it. I have also combined all ingredients with a package of pasta small shells and baked it all together. I have also scooped this into large shells and manicotti and placed sauce and cheese on top of this and baked. For the lasagna I am using dry noodles not precooked. For the top layer, place a layer of dry noodles, then spread a good layer of sauce and top with all remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle a bit of parsley over the top, when the cheese melts the parsley just makes it look more restaurant style. Adjust cheese and sauce according to how you like it. If you are in a hurry, just bake it at 350*F for 1 hour. If you have the time and patience.... Bake at 300*F for an hour covered and then at 350*F for 30 minutes uncovered.
I recommend serving this with a nice balsamic vinegrette salad or salad caprese.