National Lasagna Day is July 29th what better time to learn to bake a great dish of lasagna. Try lasagna roll-ups, Mexican lasagna, vegetable lasagna or triple meat lasagna. Follow a few of these tips to create your own family dish, experiment and make lasagna your way.
Triple-Meat Lasagna – Make your own meat sauce using one or more meats such as the combination of ground beef, sweet Italian and hot Italian sausage.
Meatless Vegetable Lasagna – Make your lasagna sans the meat and use plenty of fresh vegetables. Use a single vegetable like eggplant alone in the dish or a combination of your favorite vegetables.
Basic meat lasagna requires cooking your meat(s) adding fresh onions, minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook thoroughly then reduce the heat and simmer the flavors in your meat sauce.
Drain excess fats and add your own tomato or spaghetti sauce. It is a good idea to use ready made spaghetti sauce if you are short on time it helps reduce the preparation time.
Dried herbs instead of fresh herbs is better when baking because fresher herbs will lose their flavor when baked. However, when the lasagna is finished layer fresh herbs on top of the lasagna.
Lasagna can be made with two types of herbs. The boiled pasta or no boil, if using no boil noodles you’ll need to use extra meat sauce and cheese. Stir the boiled kind gently as they cook then drain in a colander and lightly coat pasta in oil to keep from sticking. Otherwise cook the noodles down completely with cold running water to keep them from clumping together.
Add flavor by using the freshest ingredients and generous amounts of cheese. This adds to the overall flavor and quality of the lasagna dish.
Cheeses is a plus in this recipe, add an Italian blend of cheeses like mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and Romano cheeses. Many cooks are adamant about using ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese, but it is a personal choice. I prefer the cottage cheese.
If you don’t have ricotta cheese available or find it too expensive, here is a tip for using cottage cheese instead. Strain the liquid from the cottage cheese and place the cheese in a mixing bowl, add one egg and one tablespoon of corn starch per cottage cheese container used in your recipe. This makes the cottage cheese less watery.
Do not use powdered processed Parmesan cheese; grate it fresh for better flavor. If you have other types of cheeses available like Asiago and Romano add them to the grated Parmesan and blend them together before using in your lasagna.
Brand names are not necessary, especially in the case of Ricotta cheese. Check the label on Ricotta cheese because many name brands are adding stabilizers. In this case using a cheaper brand make for a better cheese.
Save yourself time and buy grated mozzarella cheese or the Italian mixed cheese already shredded. When it comes to the hard grating cheese, grate that yourself for the best quality.
Frozen spinach must be thawed and squeezed dry by hand literally using all your strength to squeeze the water out of it. If you don’t get out all the excess moisture there will be too much moisture in the lasagna filling.
Add sauce to the bottom of the pan to keep pasta from sticking. Overlap lasagna noodles until you have a full sheet across the pan. Add generous layers of cheese and meat sauce or vegetables ending with sauce only on top.
Cover the lasagna dish with foil before placing it in the oven to bake. During the last 10 – 15 minutes remove the foil, add a layer of cheeses and let it slightly brown on top.
Bake lasagna as suggested in your recipe of choice; however, let your lasagna rest for 15 minutes before cutting it. During those 10 or 15 minutes you can bake the garlic bread and mix a simple garden salad.
Experiment with the following Kraft recipes, if you like using my tips to create your own style of lasagna. This family dish will surely become an a great family recipe and can be used for holiday gatherings.
Try a new twist on making lasagna: How to make spinach-chorizo lasagna roll ups (Video)
Kraft and Food Network lasagna recipes. Photos shown in my slideshow:
Vegetable Lasagna in White Cream Sauce
Spicy Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups
Table for Two Lasagna