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This is not fancy food, but it is tastier and MUCH cheaper than the frozen lasagna entrees in the freezer case at the store. If you are making it for your family, make one for the crockpot and one for the freezer for another day. To make a freezer entree for entree exchange, you need to make 3 times this recipe for 24 generous servings.
When you prepare dishes with uncooked noodles, the sauce provides ALL the moisture as the dish bakes, so you have to use plenty, and it should not be very thick. The sauce will thicken as the noodles absorb the extra liquid. If you will freeze before baking, add one extra cup of sauce.
The no-boil type lasagna noodles are thinner than the regular ones and make a more tender dish. I think they are worth the small extra cost, and use them even when I have time to boil the noodles.
9 x 13 pan or 3 1/2 quart crockpot- 8 generous servings
Brown ground beef,onion/ celery and garlic in skillet, drain excess meat fat. Stir in tomato sauce,tomato paste, salt and Italian spice or oregano. Separately, mix the mozzarella and the Parmesan. In a third bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, and parsley.
Brown onion/ celery and garlic in skillet. Stir in chicken, alfredo or tomato sauce,tomato paste, salt and Italian spice or oregano. Separately, mix the mozzarella and the Parmesan. In a third bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, and parsley.
Cook and drain chopped vegetables, measure out 3 cups, set aside. Brown onion/ celery and garlic in skillet. Stir in alfredo sauce or tomato sauce and tomato paste, salt and Italian spice or oregano. Separately, mix the mozzarella and the Parmesan. In a third bowl, mix ricotta or tofu, eggs, and parsley.
Crockpot method (6-8 hours on low, don't use high):
1 quart salsa (may mix mild and medium, or use green)
2 cups nonfat cottage cheese
4 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced and seeded OPTIONAL FOR GARNISH
I use Pace salsa with cilantro when I don't have time to make my own. If you are baking immediately, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
Saute pepper, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Add salsa, bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce is reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions and drain well. Combine the cottage cheese, eggs, parsley, and chiles; mix well and set aside.
Arrange part of the cooled lasagna noodles in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread part of the cottage cheese mixture over the pasta then an equal part of the the cooked chicken/beans, then half the salsa mixture.
Sprinkle part of the shredded cheeses on top. Repeat the layering steps, ending with the shredded cheeses.
Bake, covered, until bubbly and heated through, about 45-50 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle evenly with remaining half of cheese, and bake 5 more minutes. Let stand uncovered for 10 minutes before cutting. You can add a spoonful of guacamole or sour cream to garnish. Top with jalapeno slices, if desired.
If you omit the guacamole, and add a little extra sauce, you can freeze this fully assembled and reheat by cooking the thawed casserole for 50-60 minutes at 350 (thaw it in the microwave or overnight first). Sprinkle with a little more and bake 5 more minutes.
* Using tortillas in a rectanglar pan: Cut the round tortilla into a wide center strip and two "halfmoon" slices. Use the center stips to make the bottom and top layersand piece the middle layer(s) together from the round edges.