Basic Lasagna

This week, the #SundaySupper crew is dedicating our recipes for those that suffered through Hurricane Sandy.  Although it’s not shown in the news much anymore, there are many folks that are still in need.  

Since I’m in Wisconsin, I’m not able to physically help out, but I’m hoping that some of you will join me in making a small donation to one of the charities that is helping to bring relief to those most affected.  If you’re unsure of where to donate, the #SundaySupper crew has links below of some charities that we recommend.

Another thing that we’ve asked our #SundaySupper readers to do is to think about how they can use food to help others.  Food is such a source of comfort during times of need, or sorrow, or change.  By sharing a meal with a friend or stranger, we can really make a difference.  For times like that, I make my Basic Lasagna recipe. 

Although nothing fancy, that’s the point with this recipe. This basic lasagna is freezer ready so if a family in need has been brought TONS of food already by neighbors, they just have to pop this meal in the freezer, and thaw it when they’re ready. It’s hearty. It’s family friendly, (what kid doesn’t love a basic pasta?) and I can make it vegetarian so that I don’t have to worry about special dietary needs. I’ve even removed the eggs from my cheese mixture in case there are any concerns about egg allergies. I’ve had lots of families tell me that this was the best meal that they were brought because it was practical- not fancy or impressive.  

I didn’t even attempt to take fancy pictures this week since this plate went right into the freezer.  It will sit there for a few months or until I’m notified that a family in my area needs a meal.  I usually keep a couple of these on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 large package of lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 – 26 oz cans or jars of pasta sauce
  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked (optional)

Directions

Boil the lasagna noodles in salted water until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.  In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, Parmesan, oil, Italian Seasoning, garlic powder, pepper, and salt.  Using a clean hand, mix until fully combined.  Taste a bit of the cheese mixture and add more of the spices to taste.

In a 9 x 13 inch disposable foil pan, pour a thin layer of the pasta sauce to coat the bottom.  Then, place a layer of noodles over the sauce, slightly overlapping the noodles.  Drop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles until you’ve used up half of the cheese.  Carefully spread the cheese to try and cover as much of the noodles as possible.  If using ground beef, sprinkle half of the ground beef on top of the cheese layer.  Then, pour another thin layer of sauce on top of the beef layer.  Repeat the layers of noodles, cheese, beef, and sauce.  Place the final layer of noodles.  On top of the final noodle layer, pour a thicker layer of sauce and then top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

If freezing, cover with foil and mark with date, ingredients, and directions to cook.  If serving immediately, put in a oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.  For the final 10 minutes of cooking time, remove the foil so the cheese can brown.

For other delicious ideas for meals to make and take to help others, check out the fabulous list below:

Breakfast and Brunch:

  • Orange Rolls from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!
  • 12-Grain Buttermilk Pancake Mix from What Smells So Good
  • Cranberry Bread from Home Cooking Memories

Comforting Casseroles and Entrées:

  • Pork Chop Casserole from In the Kitchen with Audrey
  • Basic Lasagna from Fast Food 2 Fresh Food
  • Italian Sausage and White Bean Bake from Girlichef
  • Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes from Crispy Bits n Burnt Ends
  • Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Bake from Gotta Get Baked
  • Baked Salmon with Cucumber Salad from The Urban Mrs.
  • Enchilada Pasta Casserole from Dinners Dishes and Desserts
  • Spaghetti Pizza Bake from Small Wallet Big Appetite
  • Gluten Free Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta from No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
  • Cabbage Koftas from Soni’s Food
  • Bowtie Marinara with Goat Cheese from Family Foodie

Warming Soups and Sides:

  • New England Clam Chowder from The Meltaways
  • Italian Wedding Soup from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
  • Soul Warming Butternut Squash Soup from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
  • Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese “Croutons” from Damn Delicious
  • Corn Basil Handpies from Vintage Kitchen Notes
  • Manhattan Clam Chowder from Noshing with the Nolands
  • Comforting Broccoli Cheese Soup from Juanita’s Cocina
  • San Antonio Chicken Tortilla Bake from The Weekend Gourmet
  • Peruvian Steak and Potato Stir-fry from Hip Foodie Mom
  • Simple Southern Red Potato Salad from Mama Mommy Mom
  • Homemade Chicken Soup from Daddy Knows Less
  • New Orleans Red Beans and Rice for Those in Need from The Catholic Foodie
  • Sweet and Sassy Pineapple Stuffing from In the Kitchen with KP

Sweet Endings:

  • Pound Cake Loaf from Magnolia Days
  • Fall Apple Pie from Cravings of a Lunatic
  • Dairy-free Marble Cake {Marmorkuchen} from Galactopdx
  • Mini Dark Chocolate Cakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Icing from The Realistic Nutritionist
  • Orange Pound Cake from Basic n Delicious
  • Spicy Gingerbread with a Mocha Glaze from Daily Dish Recipes

If you are interested in making a donation to help the hurricane victims, here are links to the two charitable organizations we recommend:

Please join on us on Twitter for #SundaySupper on November 25, 2012, throughout the day. In the evening, we will meet at 6 PM CST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.We’d also love to feature your recipe ideas for #HelpingHands on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board so we can share them with all of our followers.

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